October 7, 2006 | Photography by Creative focus
By Carrie Walker
Taken from what seems to be a scene from a romantic comedy, this couple’s chance meeting is one that literally stopped traffic.
“He pulled me over,” Jennifer says. “He caught me speeding on Route 28!”
But the odds got even crazier for the Pittsburgh natives. Lucky for Jennifer, the dashing State Trooper that pulled her over, Michael Zampogna, was actually a neighbor. Much to both of their surprises, they both lived at the Docks.
“He ended up just giving me a warning for fear of creating a ‘bad vibe’ in the neighborhood,” Jennifer says.
With the neighborhood’s juju intact, Michael and Jennifer were re-introduced through a mutual friend in the apartment complex. The two began dating with a trip to an Irish pub and some dessert at the Cheesecake Factory. Their relationship was clearly on the fast track to love and on the first warm day of May 2006, Michael took Jennifer to a park on the Carnegie Mellon University campus and asked her to be his wife.
The couple decided on a destination wedding, using her father’s Boca Raton condo as the spot to hold their special day. For Jennifer, choosing to have the ceremony on the white sandy beaches of the Florida coast was an easy and heartfelt decision.
“Before my mother died, she always told us that if we ever needed her, we could find her walking along the beach, so it just seemed fitting that we had our wedding there,” Jennifer says.
After an intimate ceremony in front of a gathering of 80 guests, Jennifer, in a white Tomasina dress with Swarovski crystal detailing, and Michael, in a dapper suit, released a gaggle of butterflies in honor of her mother and then led guests to the first of their two receptions.
Michael Mottola from Boca By Design created their entire ocean-inspired nuptials and pool-side reception. A sea of blue and teal as well as bouquets of hydrangeas created the tropical retreat. Guests snacked on crab cakes and sipped Mojitos to the sound of steel drums. And after a main course of tenderloin and fresh vegetables, they danced into the night to the Florida-based band, Applause, booked by Pittsburgh-based event planner Bonnie Tambellini of Entertainment Unlimited.
Once they returned to Pittsburgh, the party didn’t stop, and they planned a cocktail party in November at the Green Oaks Country Club to include more people. Fall foliage in shades of burgundy, rust, and green by Botanically Correct created the fall-themed atmosphere. And they relied again on Entertainment Unlimited to book Dr. Vinnie Vegas and the Lounge Lizards as well as the John Parker Band; even Elton John stopped by — in the form of impersonator Lee Alverson — to wish the happy couple well. Their 215 guests enjoyed pumpkin cheesecake and warm brownies instead of the traditional wedding cake.
“It was so nice having a small intimate group for the wedding in Florida, but I did enjoy coming home and having the larger reception,” Jennifer says.
Just as fate had a strange way of bringing this pair together, it would also play an interesting role in their honeymoon. After deciding to forego a vacation in the Caribbean because of hurricane season, the pair opted for a luxurious stay in Hawaii. They spent their time sightseeing and relaxing poolside but just as their romantic getaway was about to end, the island experienced an earthquake.
“We laugh now because there we were avoiding the Caribbean because of the chance of a hurricane and now we were stuck in Hawaii with no electricity because of the earthquake,” Jennifer says.
Safely back on the mainland now, the couple is nesting in Chapel Harbor at the Water in O’Hara Township.
In the Details
For their November reception, the couple opted for rich fall foliage, using Botanically Correct to create a seasonally appropriate look. Botanically Correct, 3831 Hills Church Road, Export. 412.215.7590.
Jennifer and Michael depended on Bonnie Tambellini of Entertainment Unlimited to book the best, a total of four bands on two wedding days. Entertainment Unlimited, 1701 Banksville Road, Green Tree. 412.343.7700.
Florida company Creative Focus captured Jennifer and Michael’s island-themed sea-blue reception, and David Owens photographed the guests at the couple’s Green Oaks Country Club reception. Creative Focus Photography and Video, 5884 NW 79th Way, Parkland, Fla. 954.753.FOTO. David Owens Photography, 317 Highland Lane, Sewickley, 412.841.4252.