Think you want a destination wedding? So did Olympic swimmer Diana Munz, who won a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle relay and a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. She also won a bronze medal in the 800-meter freestyle in the 2004 games in Athens. When the 24-year-old Chagrin Falls native got engaged to longtime love Palmer DePetro, a manager and bartender at Valerio’s Italian Village Ristorante in Little Italy, in late January 2005, she had her heart set on saying “I do‚” in Florida. But even with 19 months to plan the Aug. 26, 2006, event, Diana and her mother found that time to visit prospective locations was in short supply.
Unlike many brides, she was not content to plan her big day over the Internet. Diana also discovered that using vendors hundreds of miles away can be risky business, if only because of the distance. Although she says she enjoyed the July 2005 weekend she spent shopping for wedding gowns in New York City, making two of the three fittings for her strapless ivory satin Vera Wang gown at the designer’s Madison Avenue bridal boutique proved to be a problem. She missed the second appointment because of bad weather and had to drive to the critical third — scheduled in July, right after British officials announced they’d uncovered a terrorist plot to blow up commercial flights over the Atlantic — because she was too afraid to fly.
In the end, Diana opted for a 4:30 p.m. ceremony with “lots of flowers and candlelight” at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Chagrin Falls. Getting married close to home meant more of the approximately 200 friends and relatives invited could attend. The 6:30 reception was held at the Mentor Harbor Yacht Club, where the Munzes have been members since before Diana was born. The floral arrangements and bouquets were done by Breezewood Gardens & Gifts in Chagrin Falls, the same florist Diana’s mother and two sisters call whenever they need flowers for an occasion. The wedding pictures were taken by Beachwood-based photographer Herbert Ascherman Jr., who had photographed Diana when she was just 2 years old. Her sister-in-law even made the wedding cake, which consisted of a tier of cherry-filled yellow cake, a tier of strawberry-filled chocolate cake, and two tiers of buttercream-filled yellow cake. The result was a perfect day with a lot less stress.
“Everything was completely the way I wanted it to be,” Diana says.
— Lynne Thompson