This Intimate Christmas Eve Wedding Had Just 19 Guests
The guest list included parents, grandparents and siblings—and Santa Claus.
When a Philly wedding pro gets married, we know to expect something great. And by great, we don’t necessarily mean big or over the top. We simply mean great, no matter the size of the Big Day planned. This 19-person Christmas Eve wedding hosted by Mari Mi Bridal owner Monet Malatino (and photographed by Danielle Nowack) proves that the smallest weddings are sometimes the mightiest. Because, really, weddings are all about the details — and being surrounded by those you love.
When owner of Philly’s own Mari Mi Bridal Monet Imperato met fellow South Philly native Mario Malatino III, she noticed how handsome and tall he was. Mario, in return, thought she was beautiful. So it’s no surprise that after meeting on the night before Thanksgiving, they started dating and never looked back.
Six years later, on Christmas Eve, Monet and Mario got engaged at their home surrounded by their children. Later that evening, they hosted their annual Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes. Aside from the holiday, the Christmas Eve engagement was significant to Monet because her grandfather was married on Christmas Eve in 1987.
The couple planned their wedding over the course of two years. Monet initially thought she wanted a large wedding — going so far as to book a large venue — because her years of experience in the industry led her to believe she needed to put on a spectacular event for guests. “I felt like we were doing the big wedding for the wrong reasons,” she said. With this realization, she and Mario changed their plans — instead opting for a guest count of 19.
On Christmas Eve two years after getting engaged, Monet and Mario wed at Davio’s.
“We’re an Italian-American family, so we knew the food would be something that we’d feel at home with,” Monet said when originally sharing her wedding plans with PW. “The upstairs Director’s Room looks like it could be a larger wedding venue, but scaled down. You get the grandeur without having to be lost in the space.”
One of Monet’s favorite details included wearing her mother-in-law’s headpiece from her own wedding day 35 years earlier. “My father-in-law took it out of preservation for me, and I gave her a card the night before the wedding letting her know I would be wearing it in her honor,” she says.
The intimate ceremony and reception were attended solely by close family. As he does every year, Monet’s father dressed up as Santa Claus to surprise the kids.
“I loved that we were such an intimate group and enjoyed every second together,” Monet says. “It was truly about us, love and family.”
Photographer: Danielle Nowack | Venue, Catering & Cake: Davio’s | Planning/Design: Ann Catania | Florals: Ten Pennies | Bride’s Gown: Enzoani from Mari Mi Bridal | Hair: Alexis Burkhardt | Groom’s Attire: Rudi’s Formal Wear | Entertainment: Philadelphia String Quartet and Rad & Kell of EastCoast Entertainment | Videography: Moving Moment Weddings | Menus, Place Cards & Signage: House of Catherine
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