On the evening of May 29, 2010, Darci DiBuono didn’t expect to meet her future husband while waitressing at her family’s Italian restaurant. Phil Pinello was having dinner with his son and nephew before a Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup finals game. “We had an instant connection and were flirting back and forth,” she recalls. Halfway through their meal the two young boys shouted from the table, “He thinks you’re cute!” Flattered and very interested, Darci thought of giving Phil her phone number, but he left before she had the opportunity. Evidently smitten, Phil returned another night “and the rest is history” says Darci.

After a beachside proposal while vacationing in St. Barts, the couple began to orchestrate their wedding. Fortunately, they counted on quite a team with their talented wedding planner and Darci’s parents. The bride also appreciated Phil’s good-natured involvement whenever she asked him to join her for appointments or to take care of certain tasks.

Loved ones were invited by way of a sophisticated wedding invitation and gathered at The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii – where the Darci’s family are parishioners and her paternal grandparents were wed – for the traditional Catholic mass. The historic sanctuary featured stained-glass windows and thin swaths of colorful fabric draped from the lofty ceiling.

Inspired by the sense of union she remembered from attending services when she was younger, Darci requested that attendees hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer. “[I] loved seeing everyone from both sides of [our] families and friends come together and make one long connection,” muses Darci, who was aglow in a strapless dress with ruching, a sparkling belt, and a frothy skirt.

Following the vow exchange, everyone walked to the DiBuono family restaurant for drinks and to sample bites from a plentiful antipasto display and passed appetizers. For their guests’ convenience, trolleys transported everyone to the reception. Besides being able to accommodate the couple’s 530 attendees, the Grand Ballroom of an iconic downtown Chicago hotel held another importance for Darci. Twelve years earlier, she and her twin sister had their cotillion ball at the same venue where her grandparents had been in attendance. “Sadly, they didn’t make it to my wedding day, so I felt their presence was there with us,” reveals the bride.

The fairy-tale setting was highlighted with amethyst uplighting. Scroll design projections on the ceiling offered a decorative backdrop to magnificent crystal chandeliers. Attendees took their seats on silver chiavari chairs with lilac cushions at round tables either clad in solid purple or patterned tablecloths. High and low arrangements were composed of ivory roses, orchids, and hydrangeas. “My mother and I worked with the amazing team at Kehoe Designs and together we came up with the idea of doing purple lighting with white flowers and candles as centerpieces,” shares Darci. “The room turned out magical and more beautiful than anything I could have dreamed of.”

At the end of the stylish father-daughter dance, the bride’s mother and sister joined the duo to perform a choreographed family dance. “It was a lot of fun,” attests Darci. As for their first dance as husband and wife, the couple selected “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice since the groom is not a dancer. However, Phil was clearly caught up in the revelry of their very special day because he danced with Darci until 3AM.

And that is exactly what Darci recommends other couples remember on such momentous occasions – to fully delight in the celebrations! “At one of the meetings with my wedding planner, I told her nothing was going to ruin my wedding day and that it was going to be the best day of my life,” she emphasizes. “I wanted to enjoy every minute of it, and I did. I had fun from the moment I woke up ’til when I finally went to bed.”