October 12, 2019
Church of the Assumption, Ansonia/Waterbury-Oxford Airport, Oxford
Photography by Christina Tooley Photography & Film
Danielle Olmstead has spent much of her life “in the back of airplanes.” Indeed, with a grandfather and father who were/are pilots and a sister who has since joined them, “I grew up in aviation,” the Southbury native says. “It’s something you’re born into it. It’s in your blood.” In fact, although she now works in the aerospace industry in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, Danielle once worked at Waterbury-Oxford Airport, where on Oct. 12, 2019, following a poignant 1:30 p.m. ceremony at the Church of the Assumption in Ansonia, she and Michael Ukanowicz celebrated their marriage with an aviation-themed reception.
Danielle and Mike, who grew up in Oxford, met when they were both 16 scooping the sweet stuff at Rich Farm Ice Cream in Oxford. They dated that summer, but later fell out of touch for almost 11 years until Mike ran into Danielle’s best friend, who reconnected them. Some things, it seems, are just meant to be. “Mike is the best complement to me,” Danielle says. He supports my dreams and lets me be me (crazy, silly and always on the go), but he also grounds me. He is one of the most caring and compassionate people I’ve ever known.”
But was Mike on board, so to speak, with Danielle’s high-altitude plans to transform a working hangar at Waterbury-Oxford Airport into a sophisticated backdrop for what was to be a black-tie affair for 225 guests? “He was a little nervous at first,” Danielle admits. “It was a lot to transform.” But the then-bride-to-be, who has been known to plan an air show or two in her day, knew it could be done.
The goal was “for it to be the best party our friends and family had ever been to,” Danielle says (#loveatfirstflight). A vintage twin-engine Beechcraft Model 18 aircraft resplendent in a corner of the hangar oversaw all proceedings, while, following a photo shoot with the father of the bride’s cherry-red 1968 Camaro, Danielle and Mike made their entrance to the reception via a Cessna Citation X private jet, which was then parked outside the massive hangar doors kept open to take in views of the runway and what turned out to be a spectacular sunset. Hangar walls were draped with crisp white linens and tables dressed with black, white and golds. At “check-in” handsome brass bottle openers shaped like airplanes told guests their gate (i.e. table) numbers, while a wooden plane on each table held an assigned airport code (BOS, LHR, SRQ, AKL …) and shared space with photos of the bride and groom from visits taken at each corresponding city.
In the end, “we created a ‘fantasy’ for the day,” Danielle says, and “it was the most fun we’ve ever had.”
Officiant: Father David Madejski
Dress designer: Hayley Paige
Headpiece: Morgan Chapel veil
Shoes: Lilly Pulitzer
Music: Silver Arrow Band, New York
Caterer: Gallucci’s Catering, Danbury
Florist: Christine Nelson, Wolcott
Makeup: Amie Olmstead/Jill Finelli
Hair: Amie Olmstead/Shannon Page
Lighting: Vivid Events, Brookfield
Rentals: Durants Party Rentals, Danbury