Heather DiRubba and Paul Pastorini met in high school—but don’t call them high school sweethearts. Though he was a football player and she was a cheerleader—a natural match if ever there was one—the two didn’t connect until more than 10 years after they graduated from a Catholic high school in Poughkeepise. Heather, the Senior Director of Publicity for A+E Television Networks, was out walking her two dogs in her Harlem neighborhood when she ran into Paul, a New York City police officer stationed in a precinct there. They struck up a friendship (over a mutual love of the New York Giants) and started dating in February of 2012. “I can describe our courtship in one word: easy!” Heather says. “We both always talk about how, in only a few dates, we knew this was something different.”
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Heather and Paul requested an “unplugged” ceremony; Heather asked each of her bridesmaids to choose a dress in blush pink. Each bridesmaid got to find her own dress.
Paul proposed while the couple was in Cape Cod for a family reunion on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard in June 2013. “We rode the bikes to the beach and walked along until Paul got down on his knee and asked me to marry him,” Heather says. “After that, we rode back to meet our family and celebrated with an impromptu engagement party.”
When the couple, who today lives in Dobbs Ferry with two rescued pit bulls, wasted no time in booking The Rhinecliff for the wedding. “We wanted to host a smaller wedding and have our ceremony and reception at one venue as well as have some hotel rooms on-site,” she says. “A venue along the Hudson River was also very important to us. It also serves farm-to-table cuisine, and the menu is seasonal. We had the freedom to choose meals and foods that we favor versus picking from a set wedding menu.”
The couple chose The Rhinecliff in part for its river views.
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A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) ,Heather looked for a similar kind of customization for her wedding dress. “It was very important to me to purchase a gown that was American made and from a local/indie designer,” she says. “I worked with Rebecca Schoneveld, who attended FIT and is Brooklyn-based, for a custom gown. I chose a champagne silk underlay with a French lace overlay. One of my bridesmaids, Alisa, is a wedding veil designer and her business is based in Chappaqua. Alisa designed and hand-sewed two custom made veils for me using the same French lace from my dress. I wore a shorter veil for First Look photos and a cathedral length veil for the ceremony.”
The couple asked the 80 guests in attendance to “unplug” for the ceremony. “We asked all of our guests to put down their cell phones and put away their cameras,” she says. “Paul and I had been to one to many weddings where all the guests did was stand up the whole time during the ceremony and take photos and distract from what was really happening. We wanted our family and friends to really be in the moment with us.”
Lydia Castiglia of Catskill Flower Shop acted as both florist and day-of coordinator; The couple chose a red-velvet cake with cream cheese frosting inside and buttercream frosting outside; NYPD Pipes and Drums led guests from the ceremony to the reception.
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NYPD Pipes & Drums walked all the guests over the cocktail hour, which was followed by dinner and dancing to PJ the DJ. “We wanted a DJ that would let us pick out all of the songs we specifically wanted played throughout the evening,” Heather says. “A few months before the wedding, we spent a few Friday nights—with a few bottles of wine—playing both of our iPods, as well as our maid of honor’s iPod. We picked out a few hundred songs that were must-plays for our reception and after party. It was fun pulling together our own music list!”
Ceremony/Reception Venue and Caterer
Planner, Florist, and Décor
New York City, NY
Veil and Garter: Alisa Brides (646) 450-2882
Shoes: L.K. Bennett “Erica Glitter Print Leather Peep Toe Wedges” (866) 480-9600
Earrings and Bracelet: Bauble Bar, New York City, NY
Vintage, 1960s Clutch Purse: Etsy shop A Goddess Divine
Dressing Robes: Etsy shop Singing Slowly
J.Crew suit purchased at
New York City, NY