The Wedding of ...
Debi Ianelli & Mitchell Russo
Ceremony & Reception: The Vanderbilt at South Beach,
Gown: Halston Heritage and Zac Posen
Bridesmaids: Show Me Your Mumu
Tux: Hugo Boss
Photographer & Cinematographer: Flashback Photography
Makeup & Hair: Serenity Hair Studio
Florist: Flowers by Bernard
Cake: The Sweet Life Bake Shop
DJ: Trio Productions, Inc.
Event Painting: Erika Event Painting,
Mitch and I met when we were 15 years old. We dated for a couple of years, then went on to live separate lives for the next 32 years. I am an event planner and he is a project executive. We both married other people, had children, divorced, and reunited when my daughter Jillian actually set up our first date. Mitch was a baseball coach at her high school, where she played softball, and he asked her if he could take me out. I said no at first, but they were both persistent. Together they planned a beautiful dinner date and I decided to go along with it. After five years of dating, he asked all our children for permission to marry me and proposed during a mini vacation at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
During my career, I’ve seen a lot of venues and nothing is quite like The Vanderbilt at South Beach. I know from previous work with Margaret Addivinola, event planner, that she makes every event special. She is so accommodating, professional, and easy to work with. She and Felix Laureano, the maître d’, executed every detail of our wedding to perfection.
We had a quaint ceremony on the front deck of The Vanderbilt. It was performed by the engaging and energetic Reverend Sica. Our five children were our bridal party and each did a special reading and joined in a special family candle-lighting.
Our guests are still raving about the food at our cocktail hour. We had a beautiful display of hors d’oeuvres including baby lamb chops, sliders with avocado aioli, mini crab cakes, New England lobster rolls, and more. We also had a Mediterranean table with an array of flat and pita breads, hummus, vegetables, and feta cheese.
We were going for a “shabby chic” feel in our ballroom. Our tables had blush and taupe Lamour tablecloths with ivory lace runners. Our centerpieces were in distressed boxes, filled with blush and cream roses, white hydrangeas, cascading orchids, and wispy greenery. Our guests were mesmerized by our live painter who painted the wedding throughout the night!
Our DJ did a great job of playing a variety of music to keep guests dancing throughout the whole party. We surprised our guests with a performance by Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti, who is well known for his TV achievements on America’s Got Talent and more. Our guests were thrilled.
For more of a party ambiance, we chose a cocktail-style reception with several food stations around the room rather than a sit-down dinner. We had all types of cuisines, including a “Steak Au Poivre” station with New York shell steak in a brandy cream sauce, a sushi station with a sushi chef, and a “Fresh from the Sea” station with oysters, crab claws, and shrimp cocktail, served on an ice carving of the Verrazano bridge. My favorite station was the crepe station! We had two signature drinks: one martini called Lolita, named after a special friend, and a raspberry martini called Russotini, to honor our marriage. For dessert, we had our delicious wedding cake and a dessert tapas display which included vanilla and chocolate cream puffs, warm apple fritters, and more.
We are so grateful for the love and support of our children, who were all such a beautiful part of our wedding, and for our family and closest friends. Thank you to Margaret, Felix, and The Vanderbilt at South Beach for all their help.