During dinner with mutual friends at the Harvard Club, Matthew Dietel was seated next to Patty Scangas, and he immediately began a conversation about what they soon discovered to be shared passions: art, antiques and family. “We were so engrossed in one another, we seemed to completely forget that we were not alone,” says Patty. They remained as enamored throughout their courtship, and on Patty’s birthday, Matthew surprised her with the ultimate present: a marriage proposal staged at her home. Following the excitement, the couple joined Patty’s twin sister, Pam, and boyfriend, Greg, for a dual birthday and engagement celebration on a romantic dinner cruise around Boston Harbor.
Having each been married before in traditional style, Patty and Matthew were intent on creating a more personal experience for their nuptials. They always knew they wanted to marry privately, but given both are close to a wide circle of family and friends, it was also important they celebrate everything—and with everyone—meaningful to them. They succeeded in fulfilling all their wishes by holding two separate events: an intimate ceremony for two at the legendary Halekulani resort in Hawaii and three months later, a grand “celebration party” for about 100 guests in Boston, surrounded by the rich history of one of their favorite places, the Museum of Fine Arts.
As lovers of Asian antiquities, Patty and Matthew decided to tie elements of the Far East to both events. Flanked by exotic arrangements of purple orchids and white calla lilies, the bride and groom exchanged vows on the balcony of their suite with the stunning silhouette of Diamond Head in the distance. After a kiss, a glass of Champagne and a dance, the two enjoyed dinner at the French restaurant, La Mer, where the ease and simplicity of their decision to “elope” filled them with complete joy. “We were thrilled and laughed like young kids on a first date. We were so happy. It was unbelievable,” recalls Patty.
Once back in Boston, the newlyweds began preparing for an event that would be as much about celebrating the beauty of friends, family and art as their marriage. As guests ascended the staircase to the museum’s Upper Rotunda, two pedestals topped with large Asian-inspired arrangements of fuchsia peonies, orchids and towering branches greeted them for cocktails. Single orchid stems in tall, narrow vessels were placed in a linear pattern along the seating card and cocktail tables, and a Japanese pagoda ice sculpture served as the station for the raw bar. Dinner and dancing were held in the Koch Gallery within walls hung with one inspiring painting after another. As Patty remembers, “It was like going back in time, as we sat having dinner surrounded by the work of the great Old Masters.” To complement the stimulating backdrop, each table was decorated with white linens and a trio of tall white phalaenopsis orchid plants intertwined with curly willow branches in low square vases. Tiny lights suspended in leaf-lined glass cylinders accented the grouped centerpieces.
At every place setting, a gold-plated fortune cookie filled with gold Jordan almonds and a personalized fortune in gold ink was meant for each guest. Supperclub-themed cards announced the four-course dinner menu—including elegant touches like an intermezzo of Champagne ice with fresh currants and an indulgent cheese course. While Patty and Matthew shared a two-tiered buttercream cake decorated with fresh roses in Hawaii, they chose to serve individual chocolate “celebration cakes” at the party in Boston.
And because Patty comes from a sizeable, tight-knit Greek family, Greek music and dancing were also part of the festivities. But the highlight of her evening was dancing with Matthew to the dynamic music of the swing band, which filled the Great Hall from end to end. “Matthew is a bit shy about dancing in front of people,” admits Patty. “And it was so sweet when he asked me to dance in front of everyone. It was so romantic.”
With every aspect of the magical Hawaiian ceremony and chic Boston affair speaking to their deepest passions about life and love, Patty and Matthew’s hopes for their distinctive wedding were realized. “When we visit the museum, which we often do, we are taken back to the most memorable party—the special celebration of our marriage— we’ve ever had. We smile and feel so happy to be together,” beams Patty, adding “And we tell each other we are going to have a party here again.” An anniversary party, perhaps?