Elise Del Casale & Bill Viscuso
June 22, 2019 in Philadelphia
When Elise moved to Bethlehem to earn her master’s degree in special education at Lehigh University and teach special-needs students at Lehigh’s Centennial School, she didn’t know many people in her new town. But her good friend Nick from college lived nearby.
In February 2015, Nick invited Elise to the movies. She said yes, and he texted Bill, his friend since high school: "I have a good friend from East Stroudsburg who I think would be a really good match for you.”
Elise had no idea this was a setup.
There wasn’t any talking once American Sniper started, but afterward, Nick, Bill, their friend C.J., and Elise all went for drinks. Bill, who grew up in Allentown, quickly found common ground with Elise, who grew up in Torresdale. “I’m a huge Philly sports fan, and her being from Philly and also a big sports fan, was a huge plus,” he said.
They made just-the-two-of-them plans a few weeks later at Bethlehem Brew Works, when Elise had a break in her teaching and school schedule. “What do we do now?” Elise asked when their meal and drinks were done. Bill hadn’t figured their first date would stretch longer than dinner. Thinking on his feet, he suggested Revolutions — a place that’s a bit like Dave & Buster’s, with a bar, music, and an arcade.
Their hopes for more conversation were dashed by a screaming heavy-metal band, leading them to scream themselves in attempt to hear each other. Mostly, they laughed.
More dates followed, and within a couple of months, “we knew we had something special,” said Elise. “He’s just so genuine and kind to everyone, not just me. And we had similar interests and upbringings.”
Both grew up in families with busy schedules. Elise and her sisters, Sarah and Claire, all played sports. So did Bill and his brother, Tommy. It was tough, but the Del Casales and the Viscusos always made together time a priority. “My family sat down to dinner together every weeknight,” Bill remembers. “It was one of our core values as a family. Elise’s family did that, too.”
Bill was also drawn to Elise’s dedication to her students. “Elise is passionate about teaching, and I love to talk to her about it,” Bill said. “My mom’s a teacher, and so is my sister-in-law and my aunt. I know all the work and time she puts into it, and I respect and admire her for that.”
Bill, who is now 29, is a sales finance manager for Mars Wrigley in Hackettstown, N.J.
Once Elise, who is now 27, graduated from Lehigh, she started a job hunt. She wasn’t opposed to working in the Lehigh Valley, but she always knew she would move closer to her family in Philly. The couple decided to pick an equidistant location between their families, and in August 2016, moved to Doylestown. They loved it so much, they bought a home there a year later. Elise now teaches at Jamison Elementary in the Central Bucks School District.
In November 2017, Elise’s parents, Anna Marie and Nick, told her the family was gathering at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to celebrate her Grandmom Caroline’s 91st birthday. On the Art Museum steps, Elise called her mother. “Where are you guys? Where are we meeting you?”
“We’re running a little late,” her mother said. “We’ll meet you there.”
As she and Bill reached the top of the steps, she turned toward Bill to fill him in on the new plan. He knelt.
“My whole body was shaking,” Elise said.
Bill wasn’t calm, either — it seemed like there were at least 200 people on the stairs that day. When he opened the ring box, it was upside down — Elise was looking at the inside of the top lid. Bill flipped the box so she could see the ring, said something neither quite remembers about loving her so much, and asked her to marry him.
“I was shaking. I was crying. I think I said yes,” Elise said.
Bill’s friend hid in the crowd and snapped pictures of the whole thing.
The next day, Bill, with the help of his parents, Tom Sr. and Linda, surprised Elise again with an engagement party for 50 at Melt, a restaurant in Center Valley, Pa.
The couple were wed in a traditional Roman Catholic ceremony with full mass at St. John the Evangelist in Center City. The bride walked down the aisle to a string quartet playing “A Million Dreams” from The Greatest Showman.
The reception for 240 was held at the Crystal Tea Room. A “Generations of Love” display of their parents’ and grandparents’ wedding photos adorned the entrance. Elise’s Grandmom Caroline died in 2018, and the pearls she had worn on her wedding day were draped over her wedding picture.
The couple’s cocktail hour featured Bill and Elise’s favorite drink, the Moscow mule, and an Eagles logo ice sculpture. The reception was capped with a cheesesteak station, soft pretzels, and Tastykakes.
Bill was so nervous the night before the wedding that he hardly slept. The nerves continued as he waited in a room behind the altar with his brother Tommy, who was his best man, and the priest, Msgr. Paul Kennedy, and then as he stood in the church waiting for the bride. When Elise appeared at the other end of the aisle, Bill forgot all about his nerves. “It was the first time I was seeing her that day, and in her dress, and she looked so beautiful,” he said. “It really hit me: This was the woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.”
Just before go time, Elise’s father kissed her cheek and told her he loved her. They walked through the church door, and everyone she loves was in the pews before her, looking at her and smiling. “I was overwhelmed with how many people were there to celebrate us,” she said. “And then I looked at Billy, and this was such a big moment. We were finally getting married!”
A bargain: The couple knew their string quartet was amazing — the musicians are friends of the groom’s brother, and had played at his wedding. “They gave us a really good price,” Elise said.
The splurge: The day the bride went to Kleinfeld Bridal in New York, her favorite wedding-dress designer, Hayley Paige, was in the store. “She helped me pick out my dress,” Elise said. “I spent a few thousand more than I was planning to spend, but it was a really neat experience.”
Two weeks in Italy and Greece, including Santorini. “The views you’ve seen in pictures? It actually is that beautiful. You can’t even believe this place exists,” Elise said. “There are these high cliffs along the coast, and each little street has restaurants and beautiful homes. It’s really charming,” said Bill.
Officiant: Msgr. Paul Kennedy, St. Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia
Ceremony venue: St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, Philadelphia
Reception venue: The Crystal Tea Room, Philadelphia
Food: Finley Catering
Music: Jellyroll, BVTLive!, Philadelphia
Photography: Rebecca Barger, Jenkintown, Pa.
Videography: His and Her Productions, Philadelphia
Dress: Designed by Hayley Paige, purchased at Kleinfeld Bridal, New York
Hair/Makeup: Tina Kane, Philadelphia
Groom’s attire: The Black Tux, via Nordstrom, King of Prussia