By Kaysee Mitchell
When Brian LaMonica and Suzette Miglino were married on September 20, 1997, they had a simple ceremony at Brookhaven Town Hall followed by dinner at Suzettes parents house. They (and everyone else) thought that they would have a big celebration later in life, such as a big ten year anniversary renewal of vows celebration. Brian and Suzette didnt even go on a honeymoon.
Twelve years and three children later, Brian and Suzette still never had their dream wedding. Enter travel and event planner Candy Cain, who also happens to be good friends with Brian and Suzette. Candy suggested to Brian that he throw a surprise renewal of vows celebration. Never in a million years did they think that they would actually pull it off.
Operation: Stealth Wedding was born.
Candy and Brian worked together for six months planning the wedding, rallying community support, quietly spreading the word and keeping Suzette confused and in the dark. Suzette was under the impression that she was modeling as the bride in the fashion show portion of Candys bridal showcase, while potential guests received handcrafted invitations from Autumn Studio . Candy even planted her own cousin, Jacquline Fini, as a decoy model that was supposed to be the maid of honor in the fashion show, who was styled and dressed with Suzette.
The guests arrived at Crestwood Manor in Northport at 4:00 in the afternoon for cocktails, while Suzette was being styled by celebrity stylist Birgitte Phillippides. Right before 5:00, the guests slipped out onto the terrace and took their seats and read through the programs created by Sweet Beginnings, Invitations and Favors of Port Jefferson. It was difficult for all of us to keep it a secret, but most definitely worth it, a note from Brian thanking his guests said.
Brian and Suzettes two daughters, Cassandra (4) and Alexis (9), and Suzettes sister Jacelyn Maxwell entered carrying beautiful silk bouquets of hydrangeas, spider mums and roses created by Juliette Marotta of Creative Edge Events in Brookhaven. Jacquline entered and took a seat in the crowd after she disappeared from Suzettes view. Distracted by photographers Amy Pedatella and Sue Mignano, Suzette entered. Her thirteen year old son met her as she turned the corner to walk down the aisle. He said, Surprise, Mom, and Suzette finally realized what was happening: She had just walked into her dream wedding.
There wasnt a dry eye on the terrace as Brian and Suzette were led through their renewal of vows ceremony by Reverend Vanessa Siders. The couple and their children participated in a symbolic sand ceremony, and the ceremony came to a close with Suzette and Brian sharing a kiss in front of all of their friends and family.
A three hour reception of dinner and dancing ensued, culminating with a double chocolate cake made by Dawn Cousins, chef of Piece of Cake Bakery in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dawn flew in for the weekend to make the special cake for Brian and Suzette, and received rave reviews from the New York crowd. It is the prettiest cake I have ever seen, said Suzette. Its a dream come true. The cake was paired with handmade chocolate truffles from Morgans Bay Confections in Babylon.
All of the vendors involved with the wedding pulled together as a community to celebrate and support Brian and Suzette, for very little or no cost at all. It is a wonderful thing to be involved in something this beautiful, said Mrs. Aileen Lee, the seamstress who altered Suzettes wedding gown. It is important for a community to show love for people as special as Brian and Suzette.
Brian and Suzette left for a week-long honeymoon at Sandals Regency St. Lucia the morning after their wedding, August 2nd.
Kaysee Mitchell is a lifelong resident of Brookhaven Hamlet. Her articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Teen Trend Magazine, Multiples Magazine and the Long Island Advance. Currently, Kaysee is a full-time freelance writer for several different websites. She still lives in Brookhaven with her three cats.
Photos courtesy of Amy Pedatella and Sue Mignano