Joseph and Staci grew up 10 minutes apart in New York, but didn’t meet until they both wound up miles from home in New Mexico. Just two months after their first date, he knew he could never love another woman more, so he asked her to be his wife. Share their love.
When You Know, You Know
Staci, 46, and Joseph, 57, both unexpectedly relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and met online while looking for new friends in the area. It turns out they grew up just a few miles apart in New York and they shared many things in common. It took just two months for them to realize that their love was the real thing. On June 4, 2012, they were married in the desert of beautiful Sedona, Arizona, before their closest friends and family. Share their love!
A Mother's Touch
“My mother styled my hair in a chignon because I look good with my hair up,” says Staci. “I have natural hair, so I had box braids put in to make the bun easier to place. My makeup was done by a fellow New Yorker, Liz Margin.” Staci also chose braids for her big day because she wanted to jump right into the water on her honeymoon.
Staci wore crimson Stuart Weitzman pumps on her big day to match her wedding colors. “I ordered my shoes online and prayed that they looked like the photo and fit,” she says. “Luckily for me, they did!”
Staci found her wedding dress at Alfred Angelo. “I really wanted to have some sort of straps on my dress,” she says. “A halter cut usually looks nice on my frame, so I searched for that design. I wanted a hint of bling as well.”
“I accepted Joe’s proposal because he is a leader,” Staci tells us. “He is secure. He is not afraid of responsibility. He takes on the role of the man in the relationship with ease. He is a traditional man who learned the importance of family values from his Sicilian grandparents.”
“When I met Joe, I was 45 and had never been married before,” says Staci. “Everyone, including my mother, used to tell me I am never going to get married and had a better chance of getting struck by lighting than walking down the aisle. I didn’t listen to them. I knew, because I wanted it, that I would get married. I just didn’t know when. I tried to rush it, but it didn’t work. Things happen when they are supposed to happen, not when you want them to.”
Staci’s niece served as her maid of honor. The easy-going bride let her pick the style she wanted, but insisted it be that exact color. Her niece wound up choosing this lovely style from Alfred Angelo.
When it was time to head to the ceremony, beautiful bride Staci hopped a ride in a 1965 crimson convertible Cadillac, which broke down just hours before the wedding but luckily was repaired just in time to pick her up.
To represent her favorite color, and show her sorority (Delta Sigma Theta) some love, Staci chose crimson as her wedding color and added gold as a highlight. Her wedding-day flowers were deep red, with a variety of burnt oranges and deep fuchsias mixed in to stand out among the red rock mountains.
Staci and Joe admit that although they had a wedding budget, it wound up being very difficult for them to stick to it. “I was the one saying ‘Let’s cut back on things,’” says Staci. “Joe was the one saying 'Let’s include this and that.' He often said, ‘I want you to have your dream wedding.' In the end he was right, because our wedding was amazing.”
“I felt extremely comfortable with Joseph,” says Staci. “My feelings grew fast, so I blocked them, but couldn’t hold them steady for long. What was it about him? I think the simple things: He’s fun to be with, active, open to adventure, not to mention marriage-minded and family-oriented... and he has an appreciation for my vegan cooking.”
The happy couple married at an amazing site nestled beneath the magnificent red rock cliffs of beautiful Sedona at the Seven Canyons Ranch on Rachel’s Knoll. Majestic mountains and idyllic panoramic views surrounded their ceremony location. Staci wanted her guests to be absolutely awestruck by the experience and remember it for years to come.
“After watching the wedding scene from the movie Fools Rush In, staring Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry in the '90s, I knew I was going to have a destination wedding and get married on a cliff somewhere surrounded by the open sky and huge mountains,” says Staci, who chose picturesque Sedona as her dream location. “I wanted to mimic that wedding scene as much as possible.”
“Joe wrote our vows and told our story in detail,” says Staci. “Our wedding ceremony lasted about 20 minutes. Since we had a destination wedding and those who attended traveled far, we wanted to give our guests a quick ceremony.”
To celebrate Staci’s African-American heritage and Joseph's Italian culture, the couple incorporated many traditions into their wedding: They jumped the broom, gave traditional Italian favors and did both the traditional Italian group dance the Tarantella and a Soul Train line during their reception.
“Even though Staci did not say yes the first time I proposed, I still believed she would eventually,” Joseph admits. “I just had to prove to her that I could be as good a husband to her as I knew she could be as a wife to me.”
“Joe appreciates everything I do for him,” says Staci. “He has an adventurous spirit and I like that a lot. I knew, with him, I would not have any problems doing things I always wanted to do but had no one to do them with.”
Staci and Joseph’s wedding reception was held at the Range House at Seven Canyons. Because cars were not allowed on the ranch, their guests were transported to and from the ceremony and then on to the reception in a streetcar trolley so they could enjoy the scenery along the way.
“At the cocktail hour and reception we had a deejay,” says Staci. “I was adamant about playing old-school jazz music during the cocktail hour and dinner. The atmosphere had a warm, chic vibe and I wanted soft tunes to capture the elegance.”
For the first dance, Joseph and his new wife chose Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” “I wanted music that possessed heartfelt words that represented our union and that wasn’t played at many weddings.”
Because Staci is vegan, the couple had two wedding cakes. Joseph chose chocolate, his favorite flavor, for their traditional cake, and their wedding planner worked overtime to find an amazing baker willing to make a vegan cake for the bride to enjoy.
Guests enjoyed a formal sit-down dinner beneath the stars that began promptly at 7 p.m., and afterward danced the night away at the lounge inside by the fireplace. “We selected the location because we knew there would be a marvelous view of the full moon and a silhouette of the mountains,” Staci says.
Their wedding favors were five almonds for each guest, representing Joe’s Italian culture. At Italian weddings almonds are traditionally distributed in tulle bags as favors to the guests, as a symbol of the couple's bittersweet union. The number of almonds in each bag is very important — even numbers are considered bad luck, so bags of three or five almonds are a representation of the couple and their future children. The five almonds symbolize longevity, health, wealth, fertility and happiness.
Since Joseph’s favorite classical piece is titled “Claire de Lune” and Staci has been attracted to the full moon all her life, the lovebirds chose to marry on a day of a full moon. “Getting married on a full moon created a setting to begin a new life together when the alignment of all the planetary and solar centers is in the highest state of sensitivity and contact,” says Staci.