Kelly Assenza and Vinnie Freda went on their first date in Washington, D.C., two days before Christmas Day 2015. “I actually wasn’t feeling well that night,” Kelly recalls. “I’m a teacher, and I was raising my voice often in the classroom. So when I got to dinner, my voice was really raspy.”
Though Kelly loves everything about being a teacher, she was worried her growl of a voice that night wouldn’t lead to a second date. “Lo and behold, we had a second date—and a third date, and all that,” Kelly recalls. “Luckily, he wasn’t in it for my voice!”
Two years later, in March 2018, a trip to Lake Tahoe, Calif., ended with Vinnie on one knee saying, “I want you to be my person forever.”
The original wedding date was set for April 18, 2020, which they opted to delay a year due to the pandemic. Kelly was heartbroken, but friends and family arrived with cupcakes and donuts on what would’ve been her wedding day. “Our anniversary is now 4, 3, 2, 1,” Kelly notes.
Both the ceremony and reception were held at Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, with 80 guests in attendance. The former was oﬃciated by Kelly’s cousin Frankie, and the couple wrote and recited their own vows. “Vinnie actually wrote his the morning of,” Kelly recalled. “But, hey, at least they were done.”
The reception that followed was worth the wait. The couple’s dog, Kramer, joined them on the dance floor, and Vinnie’s cover band surprised guests with a performance at the reception. Carvel ice cream wedding cake was served. “He makes me laugh every day,” says Kelly of her husband. “I fall more in love with him every day.”
Ceremony and reception: Penn Oaks Golf Club, West Chester (pennoaksgolfclub.com).
Number of guests: 80.
Bride’s gown: David’s Bridal (davidsbridal.com).
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Lulu’s (lulus.com).
Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits: Jos. A. Bank (josbank.com).
Photographer: Mike Morby (morbyphotography.com).
Music: Garden State Radio (gardenstateradio.net) and 7 Deadlies (7deadliesband.com).
Hair: Looks and Lashes (looksandlashesbeauty.com).
Makeup: Salon Social (slmsalonconcierge.com).
Florist: Matlack Florist (matlackflorist.com).
First dance: “Everything” by Michael Bublé.
Honeymoons: Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Mass.; Italy.
Careers: Kelly is a fourth-grade teacher; Vinnie is a pharmacist and drummer.
While there are thousands of love stories out there, perhaps one of the sweetest is a marriage between best friends. That’s certainly the case for Laura Wagoner and Alex Manian, who dated through high school but initially went their separate ways for college—Laura to Washington College in Maryland and Alex at Shippensburg University.
The two reconnected when Laura transferred to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, mostly because of Alex. After dating for the better part of a decade, Alex proposed to Laura in November 2018 under the arch at Valley Forge National Historical Park. “It has a special place in my heart,” says Laura, who’s on the park’s board. “We’ve spent so much time there.”
When the pandemic struck, the couple held a socially distant legal ceremony in their backyard on May 16. Her aunt oﬃciated, getting a license just for the occasion. The church ceremony at St. Patrick’s, Laura’s home parish in Malvern, was moved to October, with half the original guest list. Everyone celebrated afterwards on the back deck of the nearby Desmond Hotel.
The following May, on the original date of their nuptials, Laura and Alex donned their wedding garb to capture seasonal photos at Valley Forge. Concerning the ups and downs of planning a wedding during a pandemic, Laura says, “It really taught us to go with the flow.”
— Erica Barnes and Kim Douglas
Ceremony: St. Patrick Catholic Church, Malvern (stpatrickmalvern.org).
Reception: Desmond Hotel Malvern (desmondgv.com).
Number of guests: 90.
Bride’s gown: Wtoo, Van Cleve Bridal & Evening Wear (vanclevebridal.com).
Bridesmaids’ dresses: JJ’s House (jjshouse.com).
Groom’s and groomsmen’s tuxedos: Calvin Klein, Joseph A. Banks, (josbank.com).
Hair: Maria Weismuller.
Makeup: Molyvan Elliot.
Florist: Blue Moon Florist (bluemoonflorist.com).
Cake: Sweet Jazmines (sweetjazmines.com).
First dance: “River” by Leon Bridges.
Photographers: Dave Apple and Marissa D’Orsogna Hamalian (mhamalianphoto.com).
Honeymoon: Annapolis, Md., and Cliff House, Maine.
Careers: Laura is a lobbyist; Alex is in finance.