Danielle Tullo and Nicholas La Testa's love story began at a high school state championship game in 2007. "We didn’t go to the same school and were each with our own group of friends," recalls Danielle. "I spotted Nick and asked a mutual friend to introduce her to him. I instantly had a crush (I was 14, so yes, it was a crush)." After some communication on each others' Facebook walls and over AIM, the two finally swapped numbers. "Our first phone call was three hours long and lasted until 1 a.m. I was hiding in my bedroom so my parents wouldn’t hear. After a few months of courting at the mall movie theatre and Starbucks, Nick asked me to be his girlfriend on May 30, 2008."
While on vacation in Santa Barbara 11 years later, Danielle spotted a ring in the window of a jewelry store on the property and fell in love. "I didn’t know that when we left, Nick contacted the jeweler about the ring," Danielle says. "He ended up flying back to California for a work trip a month later, so drove eight hours round trip to buy the ring." On September 13, 2019, Nick got down on one knee while the pair were overlooking the Manhattan skyline from the deck of their New Jersey home. "When he proposed and I realized it was the ring from the window, I pretty much lost it," she reminisces.
When it came to choosing a venue, the couple wanted a grand and elegant location with a "wow factor." Danielle notes, "I love to host and am known for throwing parties for my friends, so it’s always important to me that celebrations are experiences for everyone to immerse themselves in." So, the pair chose The Shadowbrook, a renovated estate on 80 acres in Shrewsbury, New Jersey. "We loved that when you were on the grounds, you almost could forget you were in New Jersey," they share. "The property is so quiet and beautiful and romantic, that it felt like an escape without having to leave the state."
The duo tapped Amanda DiNardi, lead planner and owner of Copper + Chloe, to help bring their wedding vision to life. "I loved the wedding planning process because I’m a total planner and had a very specific vision in mind," reflects Danielle. "Amanda made it so wonderful, and through her, I was able to book the most incredible team of vendors who understood everything about what I was looking for."
"I wanted a romantic, black and white affair. I love traditional style but I wanted a modern twist. In the design, there was a lot of acrylic and velvet involved," shares Danielle. Penn and Paperie created the modern invitation suite, including a custom velvet sleeve.
Nick wore a timeless black tuxedo with loafers and accessorized with the watch Danielle had given him that morning as his wedding gift.
"I had a dress before I had a wedding date and a venue," says Danielle of her Pronovias gown. "I always thought I would do something very traditional, even though I am a very sparkly and not subtle person. As soon as I tried it on, it felt made for me."
For her beauty look, Danielle wanted to feel "glamorous, but still soft." She opted for long brushed out waves for the ceremony, and transitioned to a slightly pulled back half-up half-down look for the reception.
“The bridal bouquet was designed to be a beautiful and lush expression of Danielle's modern but elegant style and featured the summer's finest white blooms we could get our hands-on," shares her floral designer Gabrielle Wile. "Highlighting romantic, high petal count flowers such as Princess Mayuki garden roses, frilly peonies, Clooney ranunculus, fragrant Japanese sweet peas, white freesia, and delicate astilbe told the design story of classic and timeless bridal beauty that we were looking to create for her.”
"I actually love the look of a veil so much that I wanted to wear one all night," shares the bride. "This is sort of a tradition my mom started, and my sisters did the same. I had a cathedral-length veil for our ceremony, and then changed into a shorter, sparkly veil for the reception."
While Danielle knew she wanted her bridesmaids to wear black, she decided to let them make the final choice when it came to the dress. "I had a bridesmaids brunch at my apartment where the girls all came over and I rented a bunch of dresses from a local bridal shop of styles I love," she explains. "Shockingly, it was an unanimous decision to go with the Bill Levkoff dress we went with. Everyone loved it and felt great in it, so it was exciting!"
The groom's party kept in step with Nick, donning black tuxes and loafers.
The couple set the tone for the wedding ceremony by asking guests to stay off their phones. They also had live musicians to create an elegant ambiance in the room.
"Our aisle was 75-feet long so I knew I wanted it to be very dramatic but enchanting and romantic at the same time," explains the bride of her ceremony décor. "So, we decided to line it completely with white flowers and candles. We rented beautiful white chairs to fill the space, and then got a white rug with our wedding monogram for the aisle runner."
“The ceremony floral surround was created to appear as though it was growing from the aisle and increasing in crescendo as it rambled its way up and around the bride and groom, providing a romantic and lush backdrop as they said their vows," shares Wile of the half-moon arch.
Danielle's father walked her down the aisle as the string quartet played the classic Elvis song, "Can’t Help Falling In Love."
"Our close friend was our officiant," shares Danielle. "He had interviewed us, our bridal party, and our parents before the wedding. Hearing how they described us, and the words we had said for one another was so special."
"We didn’t write our own vows, but we didn’t go with traditional vows, either," notes the bride. "We wanted something to better represent our marriage, love, and friendship." So, each stated the following: "I take you as my wife; with your faults and your strengths; as I offer myself to you with my faults and my strengths. I will help you when you need help; and turn to you when I need help. I promise to support your dreams; and walk beside you offering courage and strength through all endeavors. From this day forward, I will be proud to be your husband and your best friend.”
After sharing a kiss, the newlyweds recessed to "I Like Me Better" by Lauv.
Nothing mattered because I was getting to marry Nick and that’s all I wanted out of all of this.
"While you might feel very stressed leading up to the wedding, I promise that the week of the wedding, all of a sudden, you’ll feel a weight lifted off of you," shares Danielle to others planning their own nuptials. "Suddenly, nothing mattered because I was getting to marry Nick and that’s all I wanted out of all of this."
"One of my favorite details was our escort chart," shares the bride. "I knew I wanted to make it a moment and I love mirrored items—I’m also sort of known for my love of mirror selfies. So, I worked with Copper + Chloe and Wile Events to design something completely custom and special."
"I really wanted a ballroom and I wanted something with high ceilings. The Shadowbrook ballroom has 30-foot ceilings, so it was absolutely perfect for what we wanted," shares the bride. "For centerpieces, we went with a mix of high and lows. I love the way that it creates balance in the space, especially in such a large room. Our large centerpieces were around six feet or so, which was nice since the ceilings were so high!"
Florals also truly made a statement throughout the reception design. Hundreds of playa blanca roses and majolica spray roses were stunning additions to the sweetheart table and the staircases framing the dance floor.
"Our custom logo was scattered throughout the entire design plan, from our aisle runner to our drink toppers and menus," notes Danielle. "So we had a little bit of ND flare wherever you were." They definitely made a statement on the two signature cocktails: an espresso martini for him and a cosmopolitan for her.
As Danielle and Nick entered into the reception, they took a turn on the dance floor to "Lover Remix" by Taylor Swift and Shawn Mendes. "We had the Frank Simmons Band from Hank Lane for our ceremony and reception, and for our after party had JB Pro Live as our DJ," notes the bride. "The 12-piece band was so versatile and could play such a range that made it so interactive and fun all night."
"My niece, who was with me when I bought the dress, did a surprise speech for us. At 9-years-old, she got in front of 214 people and read the speech she wrote herself," shares Danielle. "It had everyone crying and laughing. Since Nick and I have been together since 2007 and Ella was born in 2012, she’s only ever known me and Nick. It was so special and sweet to hear what she had to say about us, from her 9-year-old perspective."
Later in the night, the newlyweds had their parents hit the dance floor. Danielle danced with her father to "You Lift Me Up" by Josh Groban, and Nick and his mom got down to "The Perfect Fan" by the Backstreet Boys.
Palermo’s Bakery crafted a modern four-tier cake filled with chocolate fudge and adorned with the couple's monogram for the event.
Of course, there was more to nosh on than cake. "This venue is known for incredible food, which our guests are still talking about," share the bride. "Highlights included a 1.5 hour cocktail hour with over 20 stations including a live sushi chef, a Viennese hour, and an afterparty menu. We’re total foodies, and this venue let us really customize the menu to us and our favorite things, which we loved."
"For the last dance, the band played Don’t Stop Believin’ and actually pulled me and Nick up onto the band stage," recalls Danielle. "It was incredible seeing the ballroom from that perspective, with everyone we love all on the dance floor smiling and having fun."
After swapping vows (and french fries at the afterparty), the couple jetted off to Maui, Hawaii for a relaxing honeymoon. Despite all the details that go into planning, Danielle reflects, "I promise the stress is worth it all. You’ll get to the point where you will be so excited to marry your person that everything else fades to the background."
Bridal Robe Lé Lauriér
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Hair Sarah Mari Beauty
Makeup Make Me Up Eva
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Bill Levkoff
Groom’s Attire The Black Tux
Florist and Paper Goods Wile Events
Photographer Jessa Schifillit