Real Wedding: Sarah Varacalli & Dan Ventura


Real Wedding: Sarah Varacalli & Dan Ventura

Nicole Vaunt Photography

Sarah Varacalli and Dan Ventura met online in June 2015 via JCrush, a dating app for Jewish singles. “I fell in love with his picture,” admits Sarah. “I couldn’t wait to meet him.” Two days later, on a first date that lasted five hours, Dan had already invited Sarah to meet his mother back in Israel. 

“It was amazing,” remembers Sarah. “Dan was so sweet. He had this pureness to him that I’d never seen before.” And, despite the fact that he runs a law firm/real estate company and is a former special-forces officer in the Israeli Army and she a model for MSA Models New York, the pair quickly discovered, “we had everything in common,” says Sarah. By September they were engaged, by October they’d bought a home and on Dec. 5, 2015, (just six months after they met) they were married — whew!

“Within the Jewish community, moving fast is considered normal,” says Sarah. With their wedding, “We wanted people who weren’t familiar with that process to really feel our love,” she explains. Their Orthodox celebration, a gathering of 85 close family and friends in the backyard of the home they’d purchased in Easton, was “a huge reflection of us: religiously, aesthetically and emotionally.”

“I’ve always wanted to live someplace rural,” says Sarah, “it’s been almost an escapist fantasy.” And so, when the newly engaged couple viewed the four wooded acres complete with an antique farmhouse circa 1770, “we knew it was perfect,” says Sarah. “It felt like we’d be living in a Bavarian forest.” One look and she told Dan, “This is where I want to get married, as well.”

A backyard wedding in Connecticut in December? “It was 65 degrees and everything was still in bloom,” laughs the weather-blessed bride. “It was amazing.”

Elegant and understated was the goal. “I didn’t want anything ‘over the top,’” explains Sarah. A violinist performed classical music in the garden and Abel Caterers of Woodbridge served gourmet tidbits while Sarah and Dan had their witnesses sign the ketubah (a Jewish marriage document and time-honored ritual) inside their new home. Classic white floral arrangements designed by Rosa’s Florist in Bridgeport accented the tent and the chuppah under which blessings were recited.

As for the bride herself, whose clients have included some of the country’s top wedding designers, “I didn’t want something overly bridal,” admits Sarah. “It didn’t fit the setting. I wanted something gardenlike, almost fairylike…” Her flowing number from Portuguese designer Diogo Miranda was just that. “I wanted to wear as little makeup as possible,” adds Sarah, so New York-based makeup artist Riki Frankel honored the already beautiful bride’s wishes to simply “be me.” Longtime friend, colleague and organic-beauty expert Sally Biondo created custom skincare for the bride, as well as the dried-rose tea used as wedding favors. 

“It truly was our dream wedding,” says Sarah, a grateful bride and now a mother-to-be. Yes, the newlyweds are expecting their first child on Oct. 15. B’sha’ah Tovah!

Photography: Nicole Vaunt Photography,  Philadelphia

Officiant: Rabbi Maurice, Appelbaum

Dress Designer: Diogo Miranda

Headpiece: Alexander Wang

Custom Rings: Lenox Jewelers, Fairfield

Music: Azamra Dj, New York

Caterer: Abel Caterers, Woodbridge

Florist: Rosa’s Florist, Bridgeport

Hair/Makeup: Riki Frankel Hair Makeup, New York

Custom Skincare/: Favors Sally Biondo, New York

Rentals: Fairfield Tent & Party Rental, Fairfield

(This article was originally published on a different platform. Some formatting changes may have occurred.)

This article appeared in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of The Connecticut Bride

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