So they got set up at a wedding, and Cara Perricelli and Tom Zahn hit it off right away. In fact, just a week after Cara’s cousin, Lou, paired her with Tom for their friend’s nuptial, the two were going out on their own — to a romantic dinner at Soba in Shadyside. Within a month, they had officially coupled up.
“When you know, you know,” Cara says. “He comes from the same background as I do: a big Italian family full of tradition. It wasn’t long before I knew I wanted to marry him.”
A year and a half later, in May 2004, Tom took her back to Soba, where he had rented out the top floor, playing it off like he had invited a group of friends to have dinner with them.
Instead, he used the intimate setting to propose. And as a second surprise, he had their parents waiting downstairs to celebrate — Cara’s parents drove in from Murrysville, and Tom’s parents flew in from New York. Both families celebrated over dinner.
The celebration continued on August 12, 2006, when Cara walked down the aisle of Sacred Heart Church in Shadyside in a silk strapless gown by Tomasina, glittering with Swarovski crystals. The Omni William Penn Hotel reception that followed was sweet — literally.
The couple had a “Willy Wonka table” abounding with toffee drops and pink meringue squares and lollies of cheesecake dipped in chocolate. Homemade candies were the work of goodie goddess April Gruver of the Vanilla Pastry Studio in the West End.
Even more delicious was the bride and groom’s first dance to Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E,” a spinning, sweeping spectacle that Cara and Tom took dance lessons to orchestrate. Tim Condron Design’s aromatic hydrangeas and giant Sonia roses instilled romance in the air. And the six-tiered twisting cake, also by April, added whimsy, exploding with pinks, yellows, and greens. Wedding planner Sheila Weiner made sure the whole thing went off without a hitch. The diva of details knew just how to orchestrate Cara’s and Tom’s big day.
The Zahns now reside in Shadyside. Cara is a sales representative for Sun Life Financial, and Tom is studying at Duquesne University School of Law, where he has remained first in his class for two years in a row. Soba is still their favorite restaurant.