When Amanda DiIenno, her mom and sisters set the date to shop for wedding dresses and enjoy her bridal shower in March 2020, they never could have imagined that a global pandemic would not only change their plans, but also derail her and Anthony DiIenno’s wedding date, too. She knows it was one of many special events that were halted due to the novel coronavirus, but that didn’t make it any easier.
“Rescheduling was devastating,” DiIenno confessed. “My entire family lives in different states across the country, so flights were cancelled and the whole weekend was ‘postponed.’ Well, you know how that went. We didn't want to keep rescheduling this year, as we had seen so many of our friends and relatives do, just to hear that the virus is worse or places were shutting down again. ‘Corona’ made Anthony and I really appreciate that we had each other, and at the end of the day, it’s our union as husband and wife that is truly important to us. The party will go on when the world is at peace again. But we did not want any of our loved ones to feel obligated to put their lives at risk just to show their love for us. So, we decided to postpone our reception to 2021.”
There’s a happy ending to this tale, so let’s start at the beginning — the love story!
The Gables at Chadds Ford: Tell us how you met and fell in love!
Amanda DiIenno: Anthony and I met at Duffer’s Pub, where we both worked for several years. It’s the true love story of a bartender and a bouncer! We were playful and flirty for some time and we finally made a date at Pescatore's in December 2016. We honestly were a couple instantly — I can't remember spending many days away from each other after that. He proposed to me on Memorial Day 2019 in Brigantine, N.J., at his sister's shore house, and I was so relieved and overwhelmed. I knew he was the one about a year into our relationship, when I couldn't picture my life without him. We were friends before we dated, and that really helped us feel comfortable from the get go. Once we were engaged, I immediately thought of The Gables. At the time, I was only helping out bartending for weddings and banquets, but I just fell in love with the outside patios and the inside’s rustic feel. We’d looked at ballrooms and city venues, but none of them felt like "us." The best part? Anthony had worked out a surprise with owner Ann Kolenick and Cathy Centofanti, events and marketing, at The Gables and made the decision before I knew. We had an appointment to just "look" and talk about prices but I later found out (and cried like a baby!) that Anthony told them to book us for October 2, 2020. I was so relieved. I love the staff, the food, the venue … I was just so excited.
And then … global pandemic. How did you cope?
It seems “corona” had other plans. We had family members traveling in and we didn’t feel right asking people to travel with so much uncertainty. Our amazing friends had paid for an all-inclusive trip to Mexico for our combined bachelor/bachelorette party the week of September 10, 2020. We knew we wanted to be married and start our lives — we didn’t want to wait! My soon-to-be sister-in-law suggested we have a small ceremony on the beach and marry there! We loved the idea, because we wanted to get married, but didn’t want to have our big reception with so much risk in the air. So, we had a symbolic, short ceremony with eight friends as our witness on a beautiful beach in Mexico. One of our friends got ordained and legally signed our marriage license in Pennsylvania so we could exchange our vows in Mexico! It was a great day, but we were still partially sad we couldn’t have all of our family and friends there. But, they didn’t miss out! We’ll have a church ceremony in 2021 to bless our marriage, and we'll hold our intended reception at The Gables so everyone can gather together and celebrate our union. It's been crazy, but we wanted to have a little control over our lives, and that seemed to be the best way to take matters into our own hands.
How did rescheduling the big reception go?
Everyone at The Gables, especially Ann and Cathy, have made all of this go so smoothly. They understood our situation, jumped right in to help and have been understanding and patient as we plan for 2021.
What are your dreams for that October 2021 date?
Our dream is to just feel comfortable and safe during our reception. The Gables has so much space and outdoor scenic areas which makes it perfect. I can't wait to eat and drink and mingle and HUG our family and friends!
If you had to postpone your wedding — or other special event — due to the novel coronavirus restrictions or other reasons, take heart! Since we can’t predict what’s to come, we’ve made it easy and inexpensive to hold a date. Simply check our Availability page, then click on Hold the Date; it’s just $50 to do so! We’re here for you, so feel free to reach out with any questions.
The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley and features fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm, and enchanting outdoor dining (in season). The Gables is also the perfect venue to host a special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.
Photos: Excellence Playa Mujeres