June 15, 2012–As the editor of Southern New England Weddings, I love reading the love stories we feature in each edition. “Our” couples happily share their endearing how-we-met and how-we-got engaged stories. It’s rare, in fact it’s never happened before, that I can personally remember a woman announcing her engagement. But I can clearly remember the smile on the then Danielle Cort’s face when she walked into the Dunkin Donuts in Bristol one chilly morning and showed me her stunning engagement ring. The now Danielle Raciti just looked so, well, happy!
Danielle is our company’s managing editor and the editor of Southern New England Weddings: Destination Edition. On the plus side of the wedding planning concept, she spends much of her day immersed in all things wedding. On the potentially negative side of the concept, she had virtually every woman in the company offering suggestions of what she and fiancé Ray just had to do when it came to planning all the details for their Big Day. But, no; Danielle and Ray worked together (without the opinionated input of her coworkers) on making their wedding exactly what they wanted.
Danielle and Ray are literally high school sweethearts. They began dating during sophomore year after Ray told Danielle she “had the most beautiful eyes,” she says, adding “Of course I was smitten!” They’ve been inseparable since.
Ray, a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, frequently travels for work. Throughout their 16 month engagement, when he was home, they were planning. The first step was selecting their venue, Linden Place in downtown Bristol, RI.
“Linden Place provided the outdoor ceremony area, cocktail space and reception venue we were looking for. It was great to have our guests mingle throughout the mansion grounds,” says Danielle. The site is just down the street from where the couple lives so the guys were able to get ready at home and then walk to the venue. “We got some great photos out of that,” says Danielle.
Susan Battle, the site administrator for Linden Place, describes Danielle and Ray as “a very low-key couple with a really great eye for style,” adding: “They truly transformed the ballroom to reflect their personalities and seaside Bristol with nautical-style draperies and a soft color palette.”
The years of working on a wedding magazine seemed to streamline, rather than overwhelm, the couple’s planning process. “We’re pretty simple when it comes to design and both Ray and I were on the same page when it came time to discuss the overall look and theme of our wedding. Because it was a summer wedding, we chose color combinations of mostly white, ivory, pale peach and gray with pink and green to accent,” says Danielle.
When selecting a photographer, an element that Danielle describes as “one of the most important decisions,” the couple chose someone familiar, longtime Southern New England Weddings advertiser, Corinna Raznikov. “There’s something real and organic about her photos that truly place you back to the time they were taken,” says Danielle.
Corinna, who also photographed the couple shortly after they were engaged, expresses great enthusiasm for working with Danielle and Ray saying, “Danielle has such beautiful style and natural elegance. She was an angel to photograph – couple that with the warmth and kindness of both of the bride and groom’s families, and the whole day was magic.”
The ‘warmth and kindness’ of the couple’s families was a sentiment expressed by many of the talented team who worked with Danielle and Ray.
Victor Rodrigues of Victor Events, the DJ for the big day, felt it too saying one of his favorite moments came during Danielle’s father’s toast: “He explained that although he may have not been ready, or sometimes even really wanting to do some of the things he did for her while growing up, he did them anyways because he loved his little girl. Then all of a sudden this strong, confident guy breaks down in tears and thanks her saying ‘Danielle, thank you because I didn’t realize it then, but it was you, this little girl, that was molding me into the man that I am today.’ It was such a great moment. The entire reception was a continuation of love, excitement, and energy.”
And Danielle is ‘feeling the love’ right back at Victor saying, “Victor is amazing. He did the music for our entire event – pre-ceremony, ceremony and reception – and it was perfect.”
Another important element of the day for the couple was food. They love to cook together (rumor has it that it’s Ray who’s really the cook). Meal preparation is such an integral part of their lives that Ray popped the question while cooking one evening, so when it came time to select a caterer and menu, they did so carefully, choosing Plantation Catering of Newport.
“Danielle was probably one of most creative and prepared brides. I have been in the industry for 10 years and I have never had a bride that had a vision like hers. She knew every detail of every single solitary thing that she wanted. I can easily say that she had her wedding vision down to a science and executed to a T!” says Director of Sales Amanda Saccoccio. Their menu included an array of passed hors d’oeuvres such as eggplant crisps and mini bleu cheese burgers followed by a sit-down dinner, served at three long Tuscan-style tables, of an arugula salad to start and then chicken herb roulade and pan-seared Atlantic cod with wild mushroom ravioli.
So how does a wedding magazine editor summarize her own wedding planning adventure?
“Overall, Ray and I really strived to create a wedding that celebrated our love. Looking back, we know that we did that, and we also created moments throughout to celebrate the love and appreciation we have for many of our family and friends. It wouldn’t have been a celebration without them,” says Mrs. Raciti.
Our sincerest congratulations.
Photography Corinna Raznikov
**This article was featured in Southern New England Wedding magazine’s 2013 annual issue.
Want to see Mr. & Mrs. Raciti’s engagement photos? Click here.