From Disappointment To Delight

It rained and the honeymoon got cancelled, but for a local restaurateur and his bride, the wedding was as sweet as panna cotta.



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A forbidding sky (and matching sentiment painted on a nearby rock) didn’t deter Tom Cuomo and his new wife, Rachel, from enjoying a tender moment.


“I wanted to be married on the beach.” Unfortunately, fate had other plans. On the day of the wedding, it poured.

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When Rachel Kip contemplated her upcoming wedding to Tom Cuomo on July 3rd, she had two themes in mind. The first, given the fact that her husband-to-be owns Chappaqua’s Grappolo Locanda restaurant, was—understandably—traditional Italian food and culture. The second was Thailand. “We were supposed to go to Thailand for our honeymoon,” she says. “It was going to be a very adventurous, two-week-long trip with elephants and all sorts of things.”

Twenty-seven-year-old Tom threw himself into the first theme. “I was more involved than might be typical for a groom because food is my profession,” he admits. “One of the reasons we chose to be married at the Surf Club in New Rochelle was that their head chefs are from Italy and we definitely wanted an authentic Italian feel. Many of the guests, including some of my family, were coming from Italy for the wedding.”

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Rachel embraced the concept, booking traditional musicians to play Tarantella (the gypsy-like music of Southern Italy that forms the background to the group dances of the same name). She let her husband plan much of the sit-down dinner menu as well as the elaborate cocktail-hour buffet that included six hot-food stations, lots of passed hors d’ouevres, and an entire roast pig. The favors included Jordan almonds and bottles of homemade limoncello, a lemon-flavored Italian liqueur. The Old World touches, the couple hoped, might appease guests put off by the secular wedding ceremony that preceded the reception.

But Rachel, inspired by her upcoming honeymoon, wanted to throw some tropical, Asian accents into the mix. Her invitations, by Crane, “had an Asian design influence with lots of red.” Floral design at the reception followed suit. Westchester Floral Decorators in Pelham provided arrangements featuring Rothchild lilies, burgundy vandor orchids, and other exotic, tropical blooms. Rachel’s six bridesmaids wore red Rothchild lilies tucked in their hair and Tom’s six groomsmen wore matching boutonnieres. “I couldn’t find centerpiece arrangements I liked—they were all too traditional,” Rachel says, “so I did grass and orchids because I liked the Asian feel and the red accents.”

The scene was set for a traditional Italian/exotic paradise-themed wedding. The backdrop even came complete with a beach. “The beach was one of the reasons I wanted to get married at the Surf Club,” Rachel says. “I wanted to be married on the beach.” Unfortunately, fate had other plans. “At the last minute, there were major staff changes at the restaurant and we had to cancel our honeymoon,” Rachel says. “It was summer, our busy season, and we couldn’t leave for two weeks.” And, on top of that disappointment came bad weather. On the day of the wedding, it poured, forcing the ceremony indoors.

All was not lost. “The next day, at my in-laws’ house in Yorktown, we had a big Fourth of July barbecue with fireworks and fifty of our wedding guests came,” Rachel says. Later, the couple departed for a three-day trip to Bermuda. And of the wedding itself, Rachel has fond memories. “We all had a lot of fun,” she says. “And the food was great!”




The centerpieces, by Westchester Floral Decorators in Pelham, featured red Rothchild lilies and orchids “blooming” out of a grass base; Rachel and Tom saw eye to eye about the details of their nuptials.



Rachel’s bouquet inspired by her planned Thailand honeymoon, featured exotic, tropical blooms;



The wedding cake, baked by the Surf Club and adorned with fresh flowers.






Tom and Rachel opted for a secular ceremony. Although Rachel had wanted to be married on the beach, inclement weather forced them indoors.



A band of traditional musicians performed the distinctive, Southern Italian music of the Tarantella.



 Rachel chose simple, black, strapless gowns from David’s Bridal for her bridesmaids. Her own gown was designed by Maggie Sottero.



A sunny moment. “We dote on our pet bulldog so we had a ‘bride and groom’ bulldog couple as a cake topper,” Rachel says.


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