Obtaining the blessing of the father of the bride is far from an outdated convention – in fact, the practice is very much alive and well, and was beautifully observed by Patrick Deyhle before he proposed to Vanessa Abreu. “Vanessa’s family is very traditional Portuguese, and I was also raised with the impression that you don’t propose to a girl without getting the father’s permission first,” he says. After arranging to meet Mr. Abreu at a favorite restaurant, Patrick arrived to find his intuitive future father-in-law waiting at a table already furnished with food and wine. “We had barely sat down before I told him that I loved his daughter and wanted to ask his permission to marry her,” he recalls. “Before I finished speaking, he was nodding, and said that he would love having me as an addition to the family. It was fairly emotional, and without a doubt I was more nervous for that event than I was for the actual proposal!” That subsequent proposal was an equal success, and Patrick and Vanessa began planning their wedding.
The site of the ceremony was a very easy choice – the couple first met at the same Catholic church Vanessa had attended since childhood. Fortunately, the house of worship was large enough to accommodate the pair’s 500 guests. “I loved that the church was full!” the bride enthuses. “It was truly amazing to see how many family members and friends came to the ceremony.” On the day of the wedding, the sanctuary was overflowing with flowers selected to complement the earth and ivory tones of the décor. Branches of cherry blossoms accented delicate altar displays of hydrangeas, lilies, and roses in the palest shade of crème brulée. Each row of seating featured a lush aisle arrangement of hydrangeas and roses connected by swags of fabric, while a custom aisle runner hand-glittered in two shades of gold ran the length of the room.
The couple had a sizeable bridal party: 10 attendants each. “I have numerous friends, many of whom I have been close with for over a decade,” Patrick explains. “It was important to me that they all played a role in the wedding.” Classic black was the shade chosen for attendants to wear, with bridesmaids sporting creamy sashes and pearl-dotted bouquets of ivory roses for contrast. The bride herself donned a beautiful strapless A-line accessorized with a stole to shield her shoulders from the March chill. Crimson roses embellished with crystals composed her dramatic bridal bouquet. “Vanessa walking down the aisle was the most memorable moment for me, hands down,” says the groom. “I had envisioned it for a long time, and she was as stunning as I had imagined.”
A spectacular new venue dedicated to special events was enlisted for the reception, and the grand styling and splendid details of the space served as the perfect backdrop for the extravagant gala the couple had in mind. “I have always believed in the mantra ‘If you are going to do something, do it right,’” says the groom, “and this could not have been more evident than in our wedding reception. You’re doing it once, it’s a huge event, so why not blow it out in epic fashion?” The luxurious ballroom boasted sweeping entrances, crystal chandeliers, marble columns, and elegant moldings. “I had a vision of a warm, very romantic room with only ivory and gold,” the bride describes. “I was also specific about my flowers – I did not want any greenery showing.” Golden accents including chargers, candles, and satin chair sashes brightened the otherwise off-white décor, while the occasional underscore of black added a minimalist elegance. Candelabras in alternating crystal and gold featured snowy floral displays in varying heights. Square-shaped counterparts balanced long Tuscan tables that bordered the gleaming dance floor. A fabric-lined alcove with floral displays on mirrored stands gave a modicum of privacy to the bride and groom, plus provided a striking focal point at the head of the room.
An elaborate cocktail hour offered stations of food, and a sumptuous sit-down dinner was enjoyed. Slices of the couple’s crystal-embellished wedding cake accompanied a delightful Viennese hour in which a magnificent display of desserts was presented to attendees. In a nod to the bride’s heritage, a Portuguese dance troop performed for the crowd, and a live band played Portuguese music. “One of the band members was a disk jockey and played American music at a pretty solid rate,” adds the groom. “It was a unique mix that allowed both cultures to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves equally.” Personalized boxes of Godiva chocolates went home with guests at the end of the evening. The emphasis on family, friends, and tradition gave the wedding of Vanessa and Patrick a radiance that could not be outshone by all the dazzling details. The feelings of everyone from the father of the bride to the 500th guest were carefully considered, and the result was an occasion that was truly grand… in every sense of the word.