La Dolce Vita
One couple bring s a taste of the good life to Delaware with their Italy-inspired wedding.
“When we first were engaged, I wanted a destination wedding,” Kim says. “But it was important to my husband to be near our families.”
Instead, the duo agreed to compromise with one condition—no matter what, they had to feel connected to the venue. Both native Delaware residents, many of the typical bridal venues weren’t fresh for the couple.
“There are a lot of lovely places to hold your wedding in Delaware,” Kim points out. “But every place we looked at was already memorable for someone else’s wedding, and it wouldn’t have been for our own.”
So the couple kept searching. But they were on a tight timetable of only 10 months.
Bernie proposed on a cold December night at the Longwood Gardens Christmas show. “I didn’t even want to go because it was so cold,” Kim says. With a little push from her mom who convinced her to go, Bernie managed to pop the question (after two times around the garden, Kim adds). The couple chose October 7, 2006, just a few short months away, as their wedding day.
“I was unlike a lot of brides,” Kim says. “My mom was in town for the beginning of the planning so I rushed to get everything done. Six months into it I was totally burnt out.”
But one of the most important details wasn’t finalized until months into the planning—a venue that had the perfect blend of home and the exotic. Yet somewhat miraculously, the couple uncovered a little bit of Italy in Delaware.
“I was reading a local magazine and there was an article about the Patio at Archmere,” she says. Coincidentally that same day her fiancé called about a historic mansion in Claymont—the Patio at Archmere.
Built in 1910 by a prominent businessman and located 15 minutes north of Wilmington in Claymont, Archmere, the Patio as it is commonly referred to, brings a little bit of Italian Renaissance architecture to Delaware.
“We drove over to check out the property and were instantly taken out of Delaware,” Kim says.
And just as they wanted, the place felt special to the couple. “Nobody at our wedding had ever been there before,” Kim says. “We had never been there before.”
With the venue selected, the rest of the details took shape. “We wanted a fun, elegant wedding, without the traditional wedding trappings,” she explains.
What did that mean for the couple? For starters, no sit-down, stuffy dinner. Instead, with the help of J. Scott Caterers, based out of Malvern, Pennsylvania, Kim came up with a menu of not only fabulous food, but also a form of entertainment.
The mansion, with its many rooms, indoor courtyard, and unique design was the perfect setting for adventure stations. Each station, four in all spread across different rooms, consisted of a different type of food.
Guests feasted on a salad, stir-fry station, grilled meats like peppercorn tenderloin, marinated ahi tuna and shrimp, and, as a tribute to the country that inspired it all, risotto with crab meat, mushrooms and veggies.
Not only was the dinner original, it also kept the 150 guests moving throughout the mansion.
Somewhat more traditional, however, was the cocktail hour and four-tier, ivory wedding cake decorated with a simple fondant bow. And as a final adventure station, the couple had a chocolate fondue reminiscent of their first date at the Melting Pot.
Of course, food was only part of the evening. “Bernie and I love to dance together,” Kim says. “We swore we were going to have fun at our wedding. As soon as the band started playing, we were out on the dance floor.” Based on the recommendation of a friend, the couple hired a 10-piece band based out of New Jersey.
Other details, like venetian-lace trimmed seating cards and vintage Italian postcards for guests to sign their well-wishes continued to transport guests out of the state.
As for dress, Kim wore an ivory, pleated silk organza dress with pear accents, perfect for her petite, five-foot frame. Wanting her bridesmaids to simply be “beautiful versions of themselves,” she chose knee length chiffon dresses in a midnight blue.
Flowers and table decorations were just as simple and elegant. The bride carried a bouquet of 36 black beauty red roses. Pillar candles, floating orchids, tulips and other flowers were placed on all the tables.
“I never had a color theme, but kept choosing things I loved,” she notes. “Somehow, it all looked beautiful.”
Other simple touches made the day even more special for the couple, Kim explains. Although she wanted the day to feel unique, she also wanted to keep certain elements of Delaware and childhood.
“My girlfriend and I stayed over at the Hotel DuPont the night before the wedding,” she says. The next morning a trolly arrived at the hotel to transport the bride’s party to the church, and then later to Archmere.
It was also important to remember Bernie’s late father, who passed away two years before the wedding. The couple had Bernie’s father’s wedding ring engraved with the dates of their wedding on one side and the date of his parent’s wedding on the other. Bernie now wears it as his own wedding.
“The ceremony took place at the Sacred Heart Oratory in Wilmington—the same church his father grew up attending,” she says. “It felt like his father was with us when we were married.”
Looking back would she have made any changes? Not a single thing. Because somehow, the couple managed to create their perfect wedding – a destination wedding in Delaware.