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Congressional Courtship

By Laura Hill | Photography by Chuck Eaton Photographers

Posted: Saturday, Oct. 02, 2010

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At the young age of 29, Patrick McHenry left real estate behind and went to Washington to serve the people. Nearly three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and five years later, it was that very same intensity that captivated Giulia Cangiano over a lunch meeting set up by mutual acquaintances. “The instant we started talking, we knew. My boss later said something was up when he excused himself and neither of us noticed,” muses Giulia, an economist with a Ph.D from the University of Maryland.

There were immediate sparks. Giulia quickly grew attached to the pace of life with Patrick, who represents North Carolina’s 10th District covering the suburbs of Charlotte to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While they lived in Washington D.C. during the workweek, she fell in love with the Carolinas they commuted to every weekend. “I can see why families stay and settle here,” reveals Giulia. “People are so welcoming and friendly – I always felt right at home.”

There was no question as to whether to tie the knot, only when. But after just seven months of dating, a romantic weekend to the Inn at Perry Cabin in eastern Maryland caught her off guard. “Before dinner he announced that he had a surprise. Patrick got down on one knee and I immediately said yes. Honestly, I had no idea – he even managed to distract me long enough beforehand to call my mother and ask her blessing.”

With a hectic schedule of travel, North Carolina constituents to tend to and life in Washington, drawing inspiration from timesaving tips became a theme to streamline the wedding planning. “Choosing Chuck Eaton Photography was an easy decision for us and one of the first we made. Capturing the memories was essential and his work really shined,” Giulia explains. She chose the lovely Ballantyne Country Club as the location for her bridal portraits.

The couple also quickly booked Belmont Abbey College, Patrick’s alma mater, as the ceremony and reception location.

On June 5, 110 guests gathered at the campus’s century-old Basilica for the Catholic ceremony. The decisive bride had paid a visit to a “Brides for Breast Cancer” sale months earlier, where she discovered a silk strapless ball gown with hand-folded pleat detailing. A long train suited the striking Gothic-revival setting. “One of my favorite moments was the five minutes Patrick and I spent together before the ceremony began. We walked ourselves down the aisle. I still haven’t been able to find the words to describe how amazing it was,” Giulia recounts.

McHenry campaign signs were playfully repurposed for the occasion and led guests to the nearby Haid Theatre for the reception. The orange, green and yellow tablescapes full of peonies, hydrangeas and roses, along with plenty of draping throughout, softened the venue. “I was really trying to capture a casual Southern feel with a little bit of summer in New England, where I grew up,” says Giulia.

Guests dined on decadent eats like beef and turkey tenderloin, stuffed mushrooms and shrimp tempura. Three tiers of cupcakes in carrot cake, Boston cream and lemon raspberry flavors by Tizzerts satisfied the sweet tooth of the guests. Afterward, bridesmaids in navy cocktail dresses with orange peep-toe pumps and groomsmen in classic tuxedos danced the evening away with the blissful couple.

Following the wedding, the pair retreated back to Perry Cabin for a mini-moon. “Patrick is balanced and thoughtful,” reflects Giulia. “He wants to make my life easier each and every day, just like the people he serves at home.”

Featured vendors

Photography
Chuck Eaton Photographers
704-844-2993
www.chuckeaton.net

Cake
Tizzerts
704-375-7400
www.tizzerts.com

Bridal portrait location
Ballantyne Country Club
704-544-1404
www.ballantyneclub.com

Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ‘She Said Yes! - Laura and Heath’

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