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Real Wedding: Lisa & Thomas

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Location: 
Germantown, New York

It only makes sense that Lisa Tassone fell for a man who could make an unforgettable dish of pappardelle with rabbit ragú—and that Thomas Giudice couldn’t resist a woman who dreamed of opening her own restaurant. After all, both hail from big Italian families where making great food is a proud tradition.

The couple first crossed paths while working at different restaurants in the Hudson Valley; Lisa was a server and Tom was a chef. But it wasn’t until Tom responded to Lisa’s offer to hire him as a chef for her new restaurant that they really got acquainted. “We started going on business meetings, looking for kitchen equipment, discussing menus,” says Lisa. “The rest is history.”

When Tom planned a romantic weekend getaway, Lisa had no idea that he’d visited her father the week before to get his permission to ask for her hand in marriage. But in the end, the groom-to-be couldn’t wait—and completely delighted her with a proposal a couple of days before their departure. Although they both lived in Connecticut, they quickly decided to tie the knot in the place they’d both grown up, the beautiful Hudson Valley.

Lisa and Thomas wanted to recreate the romance of Old World Italy for their wedding, so they opted for a formal church ceremony—and even made their own wine to give away as favors. At the reception, food was served family-style at long tables laden with fresh figs and pasta, with a cheese course and pignoli cookies to conclude the meal. The couple wanted to make sure the party lasted long enough for their approximately 300 guests, so they held an extra-long reception that ran for about seven hours. “I hate going to weddings that end when you just start to have fun!” says Lisa. “Of course, we danced the tarantella and drank homemade limoncello. This was
a great joining of two big Italian families!”

Lisa and Tom, whose wedding day was the same as Tom’s parents’ 40th anniversary, exchanged vows in the church where the older couple had tied the knot decades before, Mount Carmel Church in Poughkeepsie. For the bride and groom, the ceremony itself was full of laughter and smiles. “I thought I would be so nervous walking down the aisle, but instead I was practically giggling,” says Lisa. “And a lot of our guests commented on how they wouldn’t forget Tom smiling from ear to ear while he was waiting for the ceremony to begin.”

The reception took place on the spectacular grounds of the historic 18th century Clermont Estate overlooking the Hudson River. Opting for a rustic yet elegant style, the couple chose a color palette of chocolate brown, crimson, and green, with tangerine accents. Each reception table had a burlap runner made by Lisa and a wooden box centerpiece containing a small tree anchored by moss and flowers. Flickering candles made the gorgeous table even more romantic, as did the stunning river views.

There were many thoughtful details that made the day feel unique and personal. At the reception, the couple again paid tribute to Tom’s parents by giving them their very own miniature wedding cake and having the DJ play their first song. The couple also took a unique approach to keeping track of everyone in attendance. “We took Polaroids of the guests and had them write notes next to their pictures. It made people more likely to sign in—and it was really great to look at after the wedding,” says Lisa.

When it comes to hiring wedding professionals, Lisa advises other brides to ask around. “Word of mouth is the best advertising—try asking your photographer to recommend a caterer, since they’ve seen their work before.” She stresses that developing relationships with the people you choose is the best way to make the event feel personal. “Take care of all your details ahead of time and find professionals you can trust to carry out your vision,” she says. “It’s not really about the dress, the flowers, or any of the other details,” she says. “It’s all about your love for each other and having a great time.”