Airplanes, long dresses and a miniature tuxedo, dancing shoes, a real castle, baskets of flower petals, and a beautiful bride and handsome groom…
These are the things of which fairy tales are made!
At least for Maura (11), Joel (then 6), and Kara (4) Michalczyk, from Dunmore, that seemed to be the case as they arrived in Rome, Italy, to serve as junior attendants for the July 3, 2016 wedding of their uncle, Joseph Michalczyk and his bride, Anna Huzar.
Joe, formerly from Dunmore, is a graduate of and basketball standout and former team captain, both at Bishop O’Hara High School and Moravian College, and Anna graduated from North Brunswick Township High School and Rutgers University.
The couple had many mutual friends in NYC and Miami, but had never met, until an intervention on social media led to a meeting over cocktails. Joe, then living in Arlington, VA, and Anna in New York City, respectively, began a long distance relationship that ensued for three years. Ultimately, tourists and locals shouted to Anna to “Say Yes!” as Joe proposed at sunset on the beach in Bali. She did!
Anna, originally from Poland, has family throughout Europe and the USA, and both have friends all over the world, so a destination wedding was chosen. The couple visited Bracciano, Italy, and fell in love with it. Castello Orsini-Odescalchi (Odescalshi Castle, Metropolitan City of Rome) on a volcanic lake, Lago di Bracciano, was chosen as the site for their wedding. The medieval castle has been used as the setting of movies and television shows, and was the site of many famous weddings, including Martin Scorcese, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
An intimate dinner in Rome provided a venue for both families to meet and rejoice prior to the festivities. A former convent, Donna Savelli Camilla Hotel, Rome, was chosen for their rooftop rehearsal reception and, later, dinner in the gardens.
Arrangements of blue and violet hydrangeas, white flowers, roses, lilies, etc. decorated the Parrachio Santo Stefano Protmartin (St. Stephen, First Catholic Martyr), Bracciano, Italy. The colors complimented the varying shades of violet in the dresses of maid of honor, Anna’s sister, Dr. Diana Huzar Diaz, and her seven bridesmaids.
Black tuxedos were the order of the day for Joe’s best man, his brother Mark Michalczyk of Dunmore, and his seven groomsmen, including childhood friends, formerly from Dunmore, and high school basketball players, Tony Battaglia, Moosic, and Jamie Higgins, Lake Ariel.
Joe’s tuxedo and shirt were custom designed and tailored by Peyman Umay, who embroidered the bride and groom’s names and the wedding date on the inner shirt sleeve plackets.
Anna’s silk satin princess dress, adorned with Swarovski crystals, was by Prina Toranai, Keinfeld Bridals Dominik Huzar, Anna’s brother, escorted her down the aisle and Father Don Piotr Bartoszek, Poland and Rome, Italy, cousin of the bride, officiated at the wedding mass.
Medieval heralds in costume with flags, drums and trumpets, lined the way as guests ascended the red carpet to Odaleschi Castle for the reception. Overlooking Lake Bracciano at sunset, serving stations and bars dotted the castle gardens for a pre-dinner reception. After photos on the ramparts and gardens, Joe and Anna were proclaimed by a herald, followed by 30 men in medieval attire performing a flag show.
Later, guests were announced by the heralds as they entered a magnificent torch and candlelit dining room in the castle, decorated with original tapestries and statues, standing vases of violet hued flowers and table arrangements, and tall silver candelabras.
Mark Michalczyk and Tony Battaglia roasted the couple and offered a heartfelt toast, as did maid of honor. Following a multi-course dinner, the 160 guests adjourned to an inner courtyard festooned with violet lighting, matching the colors of the wedding party, for dancing, a dessert table, photo booth, caricaturists, and selfie stations.
Joe and Anna made a striking entrance as they descended the grand staircase in a violet lighting and heart shaped spotlight and later that evening, reentered, entertaining their guests with a specially choreographed dance. A fireworks display, set to music, coincided with the champagne toast and cutting of the wedding cake.
Local guests included Diane Michalczyk, sister-in-law of the groom; Michelle Higgins, Jamie’s wife; Karen Battaglia, Tony’s wife; and Dolly and Joe Michalczyk, Dunmore, parents of the groom. The Michalczyks are all from Dunmore, and Anna’s Mom, Danuta Huzar, resides in North Brunswick, New Jersey; her father Stanislaw is deceased,
The Michalczyks’ honeymoon included an extensive trip to Capri, Florence and Venice, Italy, the Greek Islands, The United Arab Emirates- Abu Dhabi and Dubai, India , and The Maldives.
Anna is a Medical Device Territory Manager – Hemodynamic Specialist for Cheetah Medical. Joe is a CPA. and partner in the Transaction Service Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The couple now resides in in Manhattan.
A new feature of The Dunmorean will be a “Wedding of the Month,” which kicks off with our September couple, Joe and Anna Michalczyk, who were married at a castle in Italy.
We are looking for couples who would like to submit their wedding story. The only requirement is that at least one of the couple, their parents, or their grandparents are from Dunmore.
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our deadline for October will be on the third Wednesday of the month.