When Brian and Suzette LaMonica tied the knot for the first time in 1997, they had a simple ceremony at Brookhaven Town Hall with a Justice of the Peace. After they were married, they headed to Suzette’s parents’ house for a simple dinner. The dinner was just Suzette, Brian and their parents. Rather than having an elaborate wedding (the wedding of Suzette’s dreams), they opted to have a simple ceremony and planned for a big celebration for their ten year anniversary.
Three children and nearly thirteen years later, Suzette and Brian still hadn’t had the big wedding they always wanted. They started planning their dream wedding as a renewal of vows for their ten year anniversary, but Suzette’s beloved father suffered a massive heart attack and died unexpectedly a mere three weeks into the wedding planning. Suzette couldn’t imagine having a wedding without her dad, and called the entire celebration off. Of course, Brian understood. Shortly thereafter, Brian’s step-father died in a fire. It was a very sad time for both families, and no one felt like celebrating.
All of her brothers and sister had elaborate weddings, but Suzette still felt left out. When Brian spoke with his good friend and wedding planner Candice “Candy” Cain about his upcoming thirteenth anniversary and dream honeymoon that he booked as a surprise for Suzette to Sandals Regency St. Lucia, he really opened a can of worms. Candy suggested that she and Brian plan Suzette’s dream wedding without her knowing. Instead, she would think that she was modeling for a fashion show for Candy’s travel and event planning company, The Candy Cain Travel Co.
Operation: Stealth Wedding was born.
Together, Brian and Candy planned every possible detail of the long overdue wedding for the couple. Candy contacted a variety of wedding vendors in the area to see if they would be interested in helping out by either giving a discount or even donating something to the wedding. The response was outrageous:
Crestwood Manor in Northport, NY offered Brian their beautiful venue for the cocktail party, ceremony and dinner for a fraction of what they usually charged for a wedding with 100 people. The beautiful manor tucked away in the hillside of Northport was the perfect location. Since it was a bit of a drive from Brian and Suzette’s home in Brookhaven, Suzette wouldn’t suspect anything as they drove up the winding driveway.
Lynn Stolfi, owner of Autumn Studio, designed three different invitations which strangers voted on through the Stealth Wedding Blog. The invitation with the most votes was the one that Brian used for his wedding. Lynn supplied over 100 handmade invitations and response cards for the wedding at absolutely no charge. Like everyone else, Lynn wanted to be a part of something pretty incredible– A wedding that the bride herself wasn’t aware of!
Susan Schwizer, owner of Sweet Beginnings and Invitations, jumped on board and handcrafted the programs and menus, which blog readers also voted on. “It was so much fun to see what people liked of my work,” Schwizer said. “They designed this wedding according to the options that we gave them. It was so cool!”
The wedding cake, however, was another story. A local baker agreed to furnish the cake for free. However, when Candy called to make the final arrangements, the baker demanded a whopping $1800 for the wedding cake. Fortunately, Candy’s friend Dawn Cousins was in the process of opening Piece of Cake Bakery, and agreed to create the cake at no cost at all. Unfortunately, Dawn lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Since the cost of the plane ticket was a lot less than what the original bakery wanted as well as less than any other bakery quoted for a last-minute wedding cake, Brian flew Dawn out from Cheyenne to create the wedding cake in Candy’s kitchen. The flavor of the cake, which was chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache filling, was also voted on by the blog readers. “It was a great opportunity and a terrific experience,” Dawn said. ‘I would do it again in a heart beat.” The four-tiered cake was the showpiece of the reception, and Suzette told Dawn that it was the prettiest cake she had ever seen. (Tastiest, too!)
Speaking of dessert, Nina Roy of Morgan’s Bay Confections heard the story of Operation: Stealth Wedding when Brian and Candy stopped in to buy some chocolates. After hearing everything that Candy and Brian planned, Nina asked, “How do we get involved?” Morgan’s Bay gave Brian and Suzette twelve trays of handmade chocolates for the tables at their wedding reception.
Photographers Amy Pedatella and Sue Mignano agreed to photograph the wedding, and solely charge for the prints and albums purchased. They did a spectacular job, making Suzette believe even more that she was the star model of the fashion show for Candy’s bridal showcase. They discreetly snapped pictured of Suzette getting ready, her jewelry, the dress, the decor and everything else for Suzette and Brian to cherish forever. Photos can be seen on Sue’s website, located at www.suemignano.com.
Guests danced to the tunes spun by the DJ entertainment company Step Lively. Wine was provided by Duckwalk Vineyards and Emily Margulis, consultant with The Traveling Vineyard. Celebrity stylist Birgitte Philippides did Suzette’s hair. Her dress, purchased off the rack from Adrienne’s Bridal in Islip, was altered to fit her like a glove by Mrs. Aileen Lee. The Crestwood Manor menu featured Atlantic Salmon, Chateaubriand, Vegetable Lasagna and Lemon Roasted Chicken.
From beginning to end, the wedding was a smashing success, very romantic and a whole lot of fun. People are still talking about it!