Proposals & I Dos

Mrs. February: A Long Engagement Allowed This Bride to Shift Focus During the Pandemic

In Brides of Long Island’s Monthly “Mrs.” series, we profile some of our members’ unforgettable weddings. This month, we spoke with BOLI Danielle Romanelli about how enlisting the help of her future husband made wedding planning less stressful.

Courtesy of 3 Elements Photography

You would think that after 10 years of dating, you would want to get married right away. But Danielle and Justin Romanelli took their time after getting engaged in June of 2019 and chose to have a long engagement. In the end, it turned out to be a great decision, as after COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, Danielle, who is a nurse, had to shift her priorities from wedding planning to focus on everyone’s health and her job. And that two-and-a-half-year buffer helped with that.

Childhood Sweethearts

Danielle and Justin met when they were 15 years old at a park in the summer between middle school and high school. So, it wasn’t a surprise when Justin proposed after 10 years of dating during a trip to Montauk. “When we got engaged in June 2019, since we’ve been together forever, it was kind of the ‘a-ha’ moment that we’re finally getting married,” says Danielle. And because of that, they wanted to relax and bask in the glory of actually being engaged. She says they didn’t even start looking for venues until October 2019. And that’s when she fell in love with Larkfield. “I wanted that Tuscany sort of vibe because I’m Italian and we had gone to Italy recently. It was an easy choice to pick,” says Danielle. “Also, the fact that there are no rugs in there!”

Courtesy of 3 Elements Photography

Shifting Focus

When they chose the date of Oct. 8, 2021, Danielle and Justin had no idea of what 2020 would bring. So they kept booking vendors, trying to plan something new every three months. But, she says, “I stopped planning in 2020. I focused on my job. I focused on going to work.”

She says that even though she still had about a year left to go before her wedding, she and Justin were stressed about the unknown. They didn’t know if they’d have to postpone or change plans. Her mindset, though, was on her family’s health and her patients.

When she picked back up planning in 2021, she took leaps of faith in some vendors, specifically her hairstylist. “I chose Jess [at Girasole Salon] probably four months before the wedding date,” says Danielle.

I got into that mindset that I was going to look beautiful no matter what.”

She says she let blind faith guide her with the rest of the planning, and it all worked out.

MORE: Planning a wedding in a new reality

Courtesy of 3 Elements Photography

Asking For Help

Even before COVID hit, Danielle admits she was very overwhelmed with planning. She says she had a gigantic list of things to plan, and she let it get ahead of her. So, she asked Justin for help. “I think the most important thing is talking to your partner before you plan,” she says. She adds that they set boundaries based on their strengths and weaknesses and tackled her to-do list for the wedding together. “Giving some things up and letting my partner enjoy [planning] the best day of their life was huge.”

What did Justin do? Danielle says he chose his tuxedo, as well as the tuxes for his groomsmen. He also chose the DJ, the Larkfield Music Group, and made song lists that he knew would get the party going. Danielle says they picked Larkfield together, and she picked the photographer, 3 Elements Photography.

Whether you plan with your partner or plan by yourself, Danielle says “Give yourself time and mental space, especially during COVID, to actually plan. And plan for things that might happen that you didn’t want to happen. Be flexible with the inevitable.”

MORE: Don’t sweat the small stuff

Courtesy of 3 Elements Photography

A Dream Photography Team

As with some weddings, there were slight hiccups on Danielle and Justin’s wedding day. But she didn’t let that stop her from enjoying the day. While getting ready with her mother and sister, Danielle says the limo showed up and she felt sort of rushed to finish up. Something she wasn’t thrilled with, but, again, she didn’t let it ruin her day. In fact, even when they got to the church, and she wasn’t ready when the procession started, the photography team at 3 Elements Photography, Stephanie and Carol, jumped in to help with her cathedral veil. “Carol was the one, actually, that decided at the last minute to place my veil on the back of my dress so that I could move down the aisle.” Something Danielle says she is grateful for.

“I had the best photography team in the world,” Danielle says. She adds that everything that could have gone wrong, they fixed it. “They were there for my photography, but they were there for me emotionally. I couldn’t have picked a better team to be there with me on my day.”

Courtesy of 3 Elements Photography

Party Extension

Despite getting their DJ switched out at the last minute, Danielle says the Larkfield Music Group killed it on their wedding day! She says they took all of her husband’s recommendations and the DJ transformed their wedding. And they even extended the wedding with three extra songs because the vibe on the dance floor was so great! “They were phenomenal. And Larkfield didn’t make us feel rushed,” she says.

And why not party it up! Danielle and Justin had been together 12 years on their wedding day. There was certainly plenty to celebrate! After their wedding, they took two relaxing weeks in St. Lucia for their honeymoon.

Courtesy of 3 Elements Photography

Have Some Blind Faith

Danielle has so much good advice when it comes to your wedding day and planning! Based on her experience at the church, she says “Anyone with a cathedral veil should try it on before you walk down the aisle! It’s like another dress, but on your head!”

She also recommends taking the time to get ready on your own with your mom, or perhaps just one or two close friends. Because she had a large bridal party, she just got ready with her mom and sister and says it was a big help. “Everyone was beautiful that day, but they got the chance to pick their own stylist for the day.” And it made the morning easier to plan!

Of course, she recommends a longer engagement, especially if you work full time and are planning on your own. And for COVID brides, she wants to remind you that the case surges usually happen around the holidays and the winter months, so take that into consideration when picking a date, this way you hopefully won’t have to worry about more restrictions.

MORE: Plan your wedding based on the season

And, “Have some blind faith,” she says. “We got a huge lesson that we have to be flexible – a pandemic hit us!” So she suggests trusting the process and taking those leaps of faith in some planning decisions. “You’ll enjoy your day more if you don’t get hung up on little things. Take the day as it comes and make the best of everything.”

Dress and veil: Seng Couture 
Makeup: Total Glam NY, a BOLI Preferred Vendor
Hair: Jess at Girasole Salon
Reception: Larkfield
DJ: Larkfield Music Group
Photographer and videographer: 3 Elements Photography
Flowers: James Anthony Floral 
Cake: Dortoni @dortonibakery