“Will you wear me out?
Keep me up past my bedtime,
steal away my breath?”
Tell us your love story!
We met as kids on the same soccer team when we were in grade school! We both grew up 5 minutes away from each other in Queens, NY. And even our families knew each other from the neighborhood! We then met again in High School and sat next to each other in classes, but we were never super friendly. Ten years later, we reconnected on Facebook (of all places!) and agreed to get a drink. Our first date was not great. We were both kind of nervous and it was so awkward. Danny was surprised to hear from Mario again the next day. It was that bad! Three days later we met up to play pool and something was different. The nervousness was gone, and something sparked. We saw each other about 5 times in the following week and have been together since.
What about the proposal?
After moving in together in Astoria, we often talked about the future and what we both wanted. A few years later, we both knew we wanted to take the next step and get married, but it all seemed like a distant dream, especially when you grow up thinking that a legal marriage is something you’ll never get to experience. Danny had made plans to propose to Mario on a vacation in Tulum, Mexico, but Mario beat him to it in June of 2017 during a walk on the Long Island City waterfront. It was simple and sweet and completely took Danny by surprise. What was more surprising was that both of our families knew and were able to keep it a secret. Mario surprised Danny with a brunch the next day at their apartment and everyone was there to celebrate.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
This is super cheesy and cliché, but we always talk about the end of our second date after our disastrous first date as the moment things clicked. We kissed each other goodnight after a great evening and things somehow just clicked. It was then that we both knew we had something incredibly special.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We were pretty set on the Queens Museum as our wedding venue. Mario had visited prior to us getting engaged and commented that it would be such a stunning place to get married. We both grew up minutes away from Flushing Meadows Corona Park where the World’s Fair took place in the 30s and again in the 60s. The museum not only is incredibly stunning with dramatic glass walkways and soaring ceilings, but the history of it is incredible. The iconic Unisphere in front is a famous New York City landmark. The building itself housed the first United Nations. Later, Robert Moses built a gigantic panorama of New York City for the 1964 World’s Fair that is still the museum’s centerpiece. Getting married there was significant for our families, too. We are descendants of Italian immigrants who came to the US throughout the 20th century for better lives. They settled within a few blocks of the park in Corona, Flushing and Bayside. New York, and especially Queens, holds such important meaning to us. It is our story. The 1964 World’s Fair was all about progress and the world of tomorrow. For two Italian American men to be wed on the same grounds, surrounded by 185 loving family members and friends in 2018 is incredible! It represents everything the fair stood for. We set out to create an evening that felt very New York. A lot of wedding trends these days seem rustic and vintage. We wanted the total opposite; modern, dramatic, and cosmopolitan. We incorporated things that were unique to the museum and to the theme. We used local vendors wherever possible. The bakery we frequent in Astoria made our cake. The florist Danny’s family had been going to for years, Flowers by Peter, provided the flowers. The famous Lemon Ice King of Corona provided Lemon Ice during dessert. The cocktail hour featured food from different cultures that make up Queens, one of the most diverse places on Earth.
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
Getting married at a nontraditional venue always requires a lot of extra work. We were prepared for this and our vendors made it easy. Our catering manager Emily coordinated everything with the museum and the rentals which took a lot of work off our plates. The most difficult part of planning was finding out that Paul Simon decided to have his final farewell concert in the park, a stone’s throw away from the museum, at the same time as our wedding! We had to scramble to find out solutions to get our guests in the park safely and without delay. It all worked out in the end, but it produced some incredibly stressful moments.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
Take your budget and add 25% to 30% on top of it. That’s your real budget. A lot of unexpected costs come up during planning especially in the last two months leading up to the wedding.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Yes, our biggest advice is that during the planning phase, make sure you are planning the wedding as if you are actually ATTENDING the wedding yourselves and not running it. We’ve heard from so many friends that their actual wedding went by in the blink of an eye. This was so true, but we prepped enough to make sure that we were able to enjoy it. Things like taking all posed photographs before the ceremony and saying hello to guests as they entered cocktail hour so we didn’t have to walk around to every table later were key.
Let the professionals do their jobs. You can have opinions or want things to look a certain way, but they’ve been doing this for a lot longer than you! If you are a control freak, it can be hard to let go of certain things. Trust is key. Most importantly, and we can’t stress this enough, having our own Day of Coordinator was our life saver. Terri from Terri Rose Events swooped in a few weeks before the wedding and took over all the logistics and vendor communications. On the day of, she kept everything running and was next to us the entire time making sure everything was perfect. We quickly realized that without her, we would have had to do a LOT of things ourselves. Don’t trust that you’ll have the time to handle it on your own and don’t burden a friend or family member with “helping out.”
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Our entrance was definitely a highlight. The Queens Museum has a glass walkway and staircase that hangs above where our reception was. We both walked across it and met each other midway down the stairs and then walked down the rest of the way together to a cover of “The Rainbow Connection” by Sleeping at Last. It was a stunning moment! Cocktail hour was held in one of the museum’s gallery spaces, and guests transitioned to the main reception area via a walkway over the New York City panorama. It was an incredible photo op, not just for us but for our guests as well.
"we all want that
person who makes
us calm in the
soul and crazy
in the flesh."