Victoria Mardovich and Frederick Catanese ran into each other at a party in college and found they had a lot to discuss. Though they didn’t attend the same high school, the pair had actually met when they were young children. “Our families belong to the same country club, so we went to golf camp together and swam at the same pool,” Victoria notes. They spent the party reminiscing about their childhoods, sparking a connection that blossomed into a relationship.
As the years passed, “I started thinking about how good my life was with her and how I had never felt so comfortable with anyone as I did with Tori,” Frederick muses. He began planning an elaborate proposal, having his brother – a private jet and helicopter broker – pretend to gift the couple a helicopter tour around Manhattan. “Freddie seemed nervous while we were waiting for our turn on the helicopter, but I didn’t think too much of it because he is afraid of heights,” laughs Victoria. Soon after take off, he presented the ring and popped the question. At first, she didn’t even hear him. The sight of the diamond ring made his intentions clear, and she quickly exclaimed, “Yes!”
Tori had opened a bridal salon only a couple months before the engagement, so suddenly she could relate to her brides very easily, even trading vendor suggestions. However, she did not need to hear any recommendations for her favorite venue, Oheka Castle. After viewing other locations, it was clear nothing would top the estate. “We knew we couldn’t have it any other way,” the bride confirms.
Given her occupation, it should not be surprising that Victoria wound up with two dresses: A big, dramatic gown to begin, and something more comfortable for the after-party. She made quite an entrance, as her first dress featured exquisite details trailing from the illusion back into the lengthy train. In addition to two ensembles, the bride also took part in two ceremonies: a simply sweet one for guests, and a traditional Catholic service the night before, to honor the faith of Tori's father, who tragically passed away on September 11, 2001. His spirit was felt during the alfresco ceremony as well. “I told our priest that I wanted [my dad] to be mentioned in a way that people would smile and not cry,” the bride shares. By coincidence during the vow exchange, a cross was formed in the sky as the result of two planes passing by. “I didn’t notice the day of, but when I saw it in pictures after the fact, it brought me to tears,” confides Tori.
In addition to the newlyweds’ first dance, the reception began with a mother/daughter dance to “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. "This was definitely a highlight," shares Tori. "It's been our song since I was five years old." The bride was then able to enjoy seeing the fruits of her labor fill the space. “Oheka Castle has a lot of gold elements, so we worked with that and added white, light pink, and pale blue touches,” she explains. The loose and airy floral centerpieces were arranged both high and low, giving the room dimension. Each place setting had an important feature: “I designed a favor card that had a faded American flag with metallic writing highlighting my father’s name,” the bride reveals. Each card explained that a donation had been made in the name of Edward Mardovich to Families of Freedom, an organization that provides education to children who lost relatives on September 11th.
After dinner, friends and family took to the dance floor. At one point, Frederick took a twirl with his new wife’s paternal grandmother – one of Tori's favorite moments of the night. “They have the most amazing connection, which means the world to me,” she discloses. Both bride and groom agree that the wedding was everything they could have hoped for. “I would relive it over and over again if I could!” Tori exclaims. “It was the perfect day,” Freddie adds.