The Wedding of ...
Valerie Brandford & Bossuet Pierre
Ceremony: St. Peter’s by-the-Sea
Reception: OHEKA CASTLE, 631.659.1400
Gown: Maria Farbinni
Tux: Joseph Abboud
Photographer: Millimeter Photography
Makeup: Marie Therese
Hair: Kristina’s House of Hair; Mary Johnson; Beauty Bar
Florist: Pedestals Florist
Cake: OHEKA CASTLE
Entertainment: Hart to Hart; Samba Nova
Wedding Planner: Karyn Michael Events, Karyn LoCicero
Bossuet and I met 19 years ago when we taught in the same school. Soon after, he relocated to another state, but every year he called me on my birthday. For 16 years that was the only communication we had, until he called and invited me on a date. He brought a dozen long-stemmed red roses and took me to a fascinating restaurant. We learned we were both retired.
That was the first of many dates, and every time he visited me he brought more roses. I couldn’t bear to throw the petals away, so I dried them and placed them in decorative glass vases. Two years later, Bossuet proposed at the restaurant where we had our first date. I was so shocked, I couldn’t speak. When I finally said, “Yes” the entire restaurant erupted in unison, “She said, ‘Yes!’ ” I was the only person there who hadn’t known about the proposal!
When looking for a venue, Bossuet wanted me to be the only bride on site. I thought of OHEKA CASTLE and we went to visit. As the iron gates slowly opened, we were transported into an enchanted world. We wanted our guests to experience this feeling and grandeur. Meeting Rick Bellando, the catering representative, and Steve Kessler, the hotel manager, confirmed our decision. They were wonderful at working with my amazing wedding planner Karyn LoCicero to orchestrate the wedding of our dreams. Watching Daniel Andreotti, the cake designer, sketch our wedding cake right before our eyes was breathtaking.
We had our religious ceremony at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Clusters of cascading white roses, the organist’s beautiful music, and the melodious voice of the soloist prepared our guests for the delightful evening ahead at OHEKA CASTLE. We exchanged vows for the second time in the awe-inspiring Water Gardens. The grand staircase was floodlit in bright pink and highlighted by candles intertwined in the greenery. At the bottom of the staircase was a harpist. At the top were two violinists. Beyond them was a magnificent pink champagne tower. After exchanging vows, we were showered in the petals I saved from Bossuet’s visits.
Our guests were able to enjoy the lounge, grand ballroom, patio, and outside garden. Each area was decorated in shades of pink and had its own seating arrangements with silk monogrammed throw pillows. There was an outside bar where guests could enjoy rum punch and our Malibu and pineapple signature drink. We had a premium bar, hors d’oeuvres, and eight food stations.
The terrace ballroom was transformed into an enchanted rose garden for our reception. The tables were decorated with light pink linens, gold rimmed chargers, gold flatware, and crystal glasses, as well as a crystal and pearl broach placed on each silk napkin. The gold centerpieces held tall, large arrangements of pink roses. The monogrammed dance floor was pink and gold, and there was a lace pattern super-imposed on the ceiling. Our 12-piece band area had a backdrop of billowing drapes and a floral wall decorated with roses. The room was magnificently prepared for our first dance.
Dinner began with tri-colored lettuce with port wine poached pears. Our guests could choose grilled sterling silver filet mignon, French-cut chicken breast, or pan-seared Chilean sea bass. Dessert was our plated wedding cake and the dessert café. The food was delicious, and with a waiter for each table, the service was impeccable. During dinner, we surprised one of my cousins by playing a few of her recorded songs, which added more love and joy to the evening.
We asked our MC to keep the dance floor packed, and there was non-stop dancing all night. Towards the end of the reception, the colorful Samba Nova Band entered the room. Four feather-costumed dancers, four Caribbean drummers, and two Moko Jumbie stilt dancers began performing. Our guests were able to experience one final highlight of our Caribbean culture. After a short performance, the band led everyone, via Congo line, into the Grand Ballroom for the Caribbean Carnival after-party.
Our wedding day was the epitome of the vivacious, exciting, sincere love Bossuet and I share, and the love we have for our family and friends. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who worked behind the scenes, especially Gary Melius, the owner of OHEKA CASTLE, Deborah Nadel, Barbara Armstrong, Darleen Hendricks, and Max Jean-Louis for making our wedding day one we will always cherish.
Huntington, NY, 631.659.1400, www.oheka.com