Ted easily spotted the vivacious young lady who captured his attention at a party almost a decade earlier. Seizing the oppportunity to not lose sight of her again, he convinced her to join him at an event at the 1984 Olympics. They've been inseparable ever since, and were married for 18 blissful years before Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer. While undergoing treatment, Ted said to her, “We are going to have the biggest 25th wedding anniversary imaginable.” Filled with more fear than faith, she responded, “Are you sure we shouldn’t just plan for a 20th?” Ted smiled and reassured her, “No, we are going to have a 25th.”
Upon reaching that milestone, the spouses were immersed in the construction of their home. So they decided to postpone and commemorate their 30th with a vow renewal. “Our inspiration came from the victory of fighting an illness, but everyone really deserves to celebrate a marriage at any time,” affirms Penny.
For the venue, the pair was drawn to the luxurious property where they spent their first night as husband and wife. Penny picked a palette of pink shades to honor her journey with breast cancer. Roses also figured prominently in the stationery and floral designs for the event. The bride credits her planner, Alexandra Rembac, and her team at Sterling Engagements for orchestrating such an unforgettable fête. “It’s not something I would have ever been able to accomplish on my own; it was spectacular because of her. It was definitely a much simpler [process] than 30 years [ago],” she says with a grin.
Friends and family, including individuals who had attended their wedding, gathered on a verdant lawn for the ceremony. Arrangements of hot pink roses, chartreuse hydrangeas, and greenery were placed on low, rectangular stands along the aisle, which was carpeted with blush and magenta petals. The same bloom combination beautifully bedecked the dome of a garden pergola, creating an enchanting altar.
The bridal procession was a stroll down memory lane as well as a celebration of family. The original maid of honor, best man, and flower girl retraced their steps, while Ted's two sons escorted their wives – one pair carried their twin sons. The bride and groom’s granddaughters were their flower girls and donned white lace dresses and sashes adorned with bundles of rosettes. Floral and foliage halos crowned their heads. Lastly, the little ladies held stephanotis posies, in homage to Penny’s original bouquet.
The vocalist who sang during the service wrote a personalized rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to reflect the couple’s story. “It was just magical,” notes Penny. A longtime friend and Elvis impersonator, Harry Shahoian, had the privilege of officiating the vow exchange. The bride and groom made their grand entrance hand in hand. “Nothing can really prepare you for the emotion, the significance, and truly the experience of having everyone that means something to you and has been there for you, there on an occasion like this,” she recalls of the moving moment.
Redesigned from the first time she wore it on the day of their nuptials, Penny was glowing in the classic satin and lace gown with three-quarter sleeves and pearl details. A sparkling headband provided by her planner was her “something borrowed.” Penny carried a bouquet of Double Delight roses – her favorite flower – with champagne petals edged in fuchsia. Ted was dapperly dressed in a double-breasted tuxedo.
Magenta and canary uplighting brought a sense of the sunny summer day into the reception ballroom. Petals surrounded tall and petite floral designs of light and bright pink dahlias and roses, green hydrangeas, blush astilbe, and verdure. Opulent gold touches glinted from the rims of glass chargers, ornate flatware, chairs with rosy seat cushions, and delicate threads woven into the textured white linens. Pretty vintage goblets in a champagne hue joined classic stemware. Pastel pink napkins were topped with either a rosebud or blooming rose. Penny expressed her romantic nature in the heart-shaped escort cards and loving messages displayed throughout. For example, in the alfresco lounge with chic ivory and gilt furnishings the following message was projected on a wall: “Loved you then, Love you still, Always have, Always will.”
Harry sweetly serenaded the newlyweds with Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” for their first dance. This was followed by a special family dance where Penny danced with her stepsons and Ted danced with his daughters-in-law to “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.
Since the cake at her wedding fell far short of her expectations, Penny was unsure about including one in the festivities. Wanting to amend that pastry faux pas, Alexandra encouraged her to aim for the perfect cake this time around. The creamy four-layer confection, inspired by the lace of her bridal gown, did not disappoint. Penny was especially touched when Alexandra pointed out a hidden message she had the cake designer add – “Forever in Love” piped with two hearts.
“Everything was just beyond my wildest dreams,” muses the bride. “The day was a feast for everybody. A feast for the eyes, for our family and friends, for our souls.” When asked the secret of their marriage, Penny chokes up a bit and reveals, “My husband still pursues me, just like he did from the very beginning.”