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Real Wedding: Devorah & Carlo

Bride: Devorah Shannon Cohen
Groom: Carlo Bertucci
Wedding gown style: Eliza (Vera Wang Fall 2010 Bridal Collection)
Wedding date: July 2, 2011
Boutique purchased: Vera Wang NY (Madison Ave)
CeremonySt Eugene’s Cathedral, Sonoma, CA
ReceptionTrentadue Winery
Photographer: Catherine Hall

First things first, where did you meet your husband and was it love at first site? Carlo and I met five years ago in business school at MIT Sloan. At the beginning of our first semester, we were put on the same “core team” (a group of six students who take all of their classes and work on projects together). My first impression was that Carlo was a typical New York finance guy, but I found out I was wrong as soon as we started talking. We immediately hit it off after Carlo won me over with his uncanny ability to solve puzzles during a team building activity and with his declaration that the Grateful Dead was his favorite band. He quickly became my best friend at school, and ultimately my best friend in the world. Over the next few months of hours and hours of studying together, our friendship evolved into something more. When we graduated in 2008, we moved to New York City together, where our relationship grew stronger over the next couple of years as we supported each other through our new careers.

How did he propose? Tell us the story! One day, in the Spring of 2010, on the way home from a walk through Central Park with Carlo, I suggested that we stop into a few stores to look at engagement rings. He seemed amenable to the suggestion and was surprisingly engaged as we moved from store to store, a clear departure from his usual shopping demeanor. At that point, I started to eagerly await a proposal, but Carlo brushed me off every time I brought up the topic, insisting that he hadn’t thought about it since that day we went shopping. Nevertheless, as we approached Memorial Day, I had secret hopes that Carlo would propose over the long weekend (and that the plans we had sketched out to spend the weekend with friends were all a ruse). I had convinced myself that this was indeed the case when Carlo asked if I wanted to go out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend, although my hopes started to wane when we ended up bailing on our reservation to eat at our favorite burger joint instead. Despite a promising romantic post-dinner walk through the West Village, ultimately we strolled towards home without a ring on my finger, and I decided to confess to Carlo that I had hoped he would propose this weekend but knew that it was impossible at this point. In response, Carlo laughed at me – and my rich fantasy life – and offered to look at rings again in the fall. The next morning, we had planned to wake up early to take the train out of the city to see friends for the rest of the weekend. As I was sleepily drinking my coffee and reading a magazine in my pajamas, Carlo asked me to come into our home office to look at something on the computer, a common request of his that didn’t usually yield anything particularly exciting. With that in mind, I almost responded that I was busy, but luckily I got up off the couch and went into the room, to find him on one knee with the ring of my dreams and an incredibly sweet proposal. After I said a very enthusiastic yes, we celebrated with an entire day of special meals and activities, inspired by our past and current lives together, that Carlo had planned for us. It was one of the best days ever.

Once the wedding plans started, what made you decide on a Vera Wang gown? I was so excited about dress shopping, that I began the search for the perfect dress almost as soon as I got engaged. I was fortunate enough to live in NYC, and so I had a lot of options. I started out by going to two of the top multi-designer bridal salons in the city, where I figured I could try on a variety of dresses to get a feel for what I liked. It was fun, and I saw many nice dresses, but I found the process at these places frustrating, where the sales associates chose dresses for me to try rather than allowing me to browse all of the styles. Then, I booked an appointment at Vera Wang.  From the minute I stepped into the Vera Wang boutique, the experience was like a dream come true. My sales associate, Jill, was amazing and took me through all of the racks, pulling every dress I wanted to try. Each dress I tried was nicer than the last, and I found that, unlike other designer’s dresses, Vera’s creations are not just beautifully made, pretty wedding dresses. There is something more to her designs, they are not only stunning but also have a unique, special quality above and beyond a regular wedding dress; each one is truly a work of art. Once I tried on a Vera Wang gown, I knew that there was no way I would end up with another dress.

How did you accessorize to make your wedding day unique? In terms of my personal accessories, I wore: Vera Wang shoes (which were extremely comfortable, even though they were very tall. I happily wore them for 12 hours straight, dancing up a storm, and I don’t even usually wear heels!); fresh peonies, one of my favorite flowers, in my hair; an antique veil that had been worn by over thirty women in Carlo’s family; an art deco bracelet borrowed from my mom’s best friend and earrings in the same style which my parents gave to me. In addition, we added many personal touches to the overall event. With the help of family and friends, we took on some DIY projects that included the thousands of cookies my aunt made from my late grandmother’s recipes (in the Pittsburgh tradition of serving homemade wedding cookies) and the programs made by my mom’s best friend from childhood.  We will never forget everything that everyone contributed to make our wedding day perfect – there were so many elements of the day that were made special by virtue of the fact that they came to us with so much love.

What was the inspiration or theme for your wedding? A big part of it was the location. On our first of many trips together as a couple, we traveled to Napa and Sonoma and enjoyed the amazing food, wine and atmosphere that California’s Wine Country has to offer. For our wedding, we wanted to share that experience with our family and friends and therefore decided to have our wedding in Sonoma County over the 4th of July long weekend. We both love to cook and to entertain and it was important to us that we host a great event for our wedding in which guests would feel as comfortable as if they were in our home. We wanted the reception to be elegant, but not formal, with a touch of whimsy, and that informed our decisions on venue, décor, attire, food, drinks, etc. Once we pinned down the location, the next thing I chose was my dress, literally a couple of weeks later. The Eliza fit my vision of the wedding exactly – it was, at the same time, traditional, romantic, playful, beautiful and completely unique. Somehow it managed to have a vintage, yet decidedly modern feel at the same time, which was something I strove to echo in our wedding theme. I was able to use the dress as inspiration in making a lot of the other decisions regarding the overall look of the wedding; I even kept a picture of it folded up in my purse for the entire year of planning!

Did you stay true to the Old English wedding rhyme: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. If so, what were yours? Yes, in fact I think I had at least two of everything!

  • Something old: I wore an heirloom lace veil that had been worn by over thirty women over the course of multiple generations in my husband’s family before me, by some miracle it went with my dress perfectly! I borrowed an antique, art-deco bracelet borrowed from my mom’s best friend.  I also wrapped a handkerchief that had been my great-grandmother’s around my bouquet.
  • Something new: my dress, my shoes, the earrings that my parents gave to me.
  • Something borrowed: the heirloom veil and the art-deco bracelet, which were also my “something old.”
  • Something blue: the sapphires in the bracelet and earrings that I wore.

What tips do you have for new brides picking out their wedding dress? First, trust your instincts. Don’t feel like you have to try on a million dresses if you feel like you’ve found the perfect one more quickly.  On the other hand, don’t hesitate to keep trying if you don’t feel absolutely sure of your choice.  I loved trying on dresses, and there were so many options that were beautiful and flattering – so it seemed like it was going to be a hard choice to decide on one dress.  Even though it was a difficult for me to be decisive at first, especially with the divergent opinions of my shopping companions, ultimately, I knew the Eliza was the dress for me because it was not only amazing looking, but it also it suited my personality perfectly and my face lit up when I put it on.  My choice was validated when, as soon as I came home and said I chose a dress, my fiancé immediately said he knew which one it was.  Earlier, I had shown him pictures in magazines of various dresses by different designers to see what he liked (I wasn’t planning to show him my actual dress, but wanted to make sure I didn’t pick a general style that he hated).  He was right; he guessed I chose the Eliza because he knows me so well and he also knew it was the perfect dress for me.

Second, don’t underestimate the importance of alterations. I had my alterations done at Vera Wang, and they ensured that it looked like it was made for me. In addition to the gorgeous design, the fit of the dress was a key factor in how I looked in my dress on my wedding day. On my wedding day, people asked if my dress had been taped on, that’s how good the fit was, but it there was no tape involved. My dress ended up looking like it was made for my and my body because of the expert alterations that were undertaken to make sure it fit perfectly. I also decided to change the neckline of the dress to make it a sweetheart instead of straight across, which tweaked the design to make it more flattering for my figure.

What was your favorite part of the day? And, are there any other anecdotes you would like to share? On our wedding day, I was very nervous in the morning about timing (particularly because my hair and makeup started very late, I was afraid of being stuck in traffic and being late for the ceremony!) but as soon as we got to the church, I felt completely relaxed. I will never forget the feeling I had during our marriage ceremony; I was elated to stand up in front of everyone with Carlo by my side and to be marrying such a wonderful person that I love so much. We were both beaming ear to ear, and I could feel the love of all of our family and friends as I looked out into the crowd. Another great memory was at the reception, when we danced the traditional Jewish celebratory dance, the Hora, in which we were hoisted in the air on chairs surrounded by everyone dancing in circles. The band was awesome (they were actually transitioned into the Hora from playing Sweet Home Alabama, which was definitely something unique) and it was a crazy, fun way to get the party started while also incorporating a tradition from my background.

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