Oct. 12, 2019, in Philadelphia
Acquainted through mutual friends in the late 1990s, Stacie and Bruno hadn’t even seen each other in a decade when, in November 2016, they attended the same funeral. At the Mayfair bar where everyone gathered afterward, their reunion yielded easy and enjoyable conversation. Bruno, who grew up in Mayfair and still lived nearby, asked if he could reach out on Facebook, and Stacie, who lived in her native Port Richmond, said yes.
After a few weeks, messaging wasn’t enough. They exchanged numbers and talked, old school style, for hours. In January 2017, Bruno sent a rare text: “I’m in your neighborhood. Do you have plans?”
Once Stacie explained that Garage is a Fishtown bar, he met her and her friends there. Afternoon gave way to evening, and Stacie and Bruno went alone to the Mayfair Diner, where they planned what the couple considers their first real date: Rogue One at the Franklin Institute IMAX the next day.
They saw each other at least twice weekly. Mutual interest was clear, but interactions were intentionally limited to the verbal kind; her divorce and subsequent dating history and the end of his long-term relationship made them cautious.
“I felt too old to make the same poor choices,” Stacie said. “To help with that, we had checklists,” Bruno added.
Loves travel? Check. Digs a good party and a nice drink? Check. Works and plays equally hard? Check and check.
They kissed for the first time on Valentine’s Day 2017.
That spring, they became The Brady Bunch, but with pets: He sold his place and moved with miniature pinschers Turner and Nooch to join Stacie and cats Smokey and Mitchella at her house in Port Richmond, where they will live until moving to a riverfront home in the Far Northeast this spring.
“She’s really funny, really smart, and really beautiful inside and out,” said Bruno. “ I have a lot of friends, but she is absolutely my best friend.”
“He has a charismatic personality. He’s liked, admired, and respected by so many people, and he is super funny,” Stacie said. “But what really drew me in the most were those conversations we had, and, that with him, I can totally be myself.”
Stacie, 46, is a real estate agent. When they began dating, Bruno, also 46, worked in IT, but was tired of it. She suggested he get his real estate license, and they now work together as the Dream Team 1 through HomeSmart Realty Advisors. Bruno also bartends Friday nights at Bluegrass Billiards and does social media consulting.
In December 2018, Bruno told his mother, Vivian, that he planned to propose to Stacie. “You’d be a fool not to,” she said. Bruno’s late father, Bruno Sr., had passed away when he was a teenager. His next stop was Ocean City, N.J., where Stacie’s father, Albert, and stepmother, Barbara, gave their happy blessing. Then it was back to Port Richmond to talk to Stacie’s mother and stepfather, Mary Ann and Hughie, who were equally enthusiastic — even after Bruno told Mary Ann that no, he couldn’t propose at her house.
A few days later, the couple arrived at a gorgeous Riviera Cancun resort, where hundreds of other people were also waiting to check in or out. After hours of waiting, they were finally in their room and Stacie sprawled out on the bed, declaring it the end of a very long day. She looked forward to a nice dinner on the beach — but surely, she suggested, it could wait until tomorrow?
It could not. With the help of travel agent Maria of MJ Travel, Bruno had arranged for not only a special meal, but live music. Without giving away the plan, he persuaded his tired girlfriend to rally. Alas, Mother Nature was not feeling as cooperative. A sand-filled wind threatened to blow the staff member who was hanging lighting right off the ladder. And Stacie could hardly see with her hair blowing around. Bruno quickly arranged for Plan B: A table with an ocean view, but on a sheltered patio, was prepared. She sat down, and Bruno knelt beside her.
“Stacie, I knew from the moment I met you that you’re the only one I ever want to be with,” he said. “Will you marry me?”
She said yes, and he slipped a ring on her finger.
They celebrated all week.
Vivian, who suffered from COPD and congestive heart failure, had been in and out of the hospital. In spring 2019, she entered hospice.
Stacie approached Bruno with an idea: “I know you don’t have your dad here. Would you mind if we took our vows ahead of time, at the hospice center, with your mom?”
Bruno loved that suggestion, and so did Vivian.
On May 11, the Rev. Jonathan Clodfelter was honored to lead the couple through a short ceremony, witnessed by Vivian and the rest of the parents, in the Vitas Hospice’s family room. Bruno’s friend, Scott, owner of Blue Monkey Catering, prepared much more food than was needed, so the couple opened the buffet to other families visiting their loved ones and the staff. Vivian passed away a week later.
Clodfelter, who is a priest at both Church of the Redeemer in Springfield and Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Clifton Heights, also officiated the couple’s October wedding, held on the grounds of the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale. The bride walked with her mother and father down a long, winding path to the ceremony location and right down the aisle as duo Mike & Callie played Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.”
It was 72 and sunny, yet a full rainbow appeared in the blue sky. “It had to be my Aunt Rita [who passed away in early 2019] and his mom,” Stacie said.
After dinner, the couple asked their 150 guests to join them back outside for a surprise. “People were making bets at the tables. I heard someone wonder if this was going to be a baby reveal!” said the bride. For 10 minutes, everyone enjoyed the actual surprise: a professional fireworks show.
The couple’s first dance was to “From the Ground Up” by Dan + Shay. Stacie danced with her father to “You’re My Hero,” by Teresa James and with her mother to “Like My Mother Does,” by Lauren Alaina. Bruno surprised mother-of-the-bride Mary Ann by asking her to dance to Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight.” Then, for more than four hours, the dancing never stopped — except when guests snapped pictures with the Mirror Me Photo Booth X, which looks like a giant smartphone.
The bride and her parents approached the ceremony from behind the groom before the winding walkway led them around to the other end of the aisle. Bruno was talking to best man Domenic when he heard the guests go silent, then gasp. He turned and saw Stacie moving slowly toward him. “It was every bit as exciting as I thought it would be,” he said. “It was perfect music for the perfect wife, and perfect friends and family.”
During their first dance, Stacie thought about how appropriate the words were as she looked into her new husband’s eyes and smiled. “I just felt all the love in the world,” she said.
Eight days in Punta Cana with 22 family members and friends. “We invited anyone who wanted to come,” Bruno said.
Behind the scenes:
Photography: Rebecca Barger Photography, Jenkintown, Pa.
Videography: Donald Check, Digital Video Artistry, Reading, Pa.
Bruno’s formal wear: Domenico, Philadelphia.
Stacie’s formal wear: Camille La Vie, Philadelphia.
Planner: Allison Ladley, Union League Golf Club at Torresdale.
Travel Agent: Maria Henry of M & J Travel, Newtown Square, Pa.