Fashion / Weddings

Princess Bride From a Houston Restaurant Empire Gets a Wedding That Has People Buzzing

And the Most Beautiful Cake Ever


As if the wedding ceremony at St. Anne’s Catholic Church for Lia Vallone and Andrew Smith were not lovely enough, the family-orchestrated dinner reception at the Ballroom at Bayou Place was one so special that guests will be praising it for months, if not years. And who would expect anything less from the house of vaunted restaurateur Tony Vallone?

With Vallone as father of the bride and Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza as celebrant, the stage was set for an unforgettable wedding night.

One might have expected Tony and Donna Vallone to commandeer his iconic namesake restaurant, Tony’s, for the wedding reception. But both parents and daughter have so many close friends (Lia has been in 22 weddings) that the guest list could be pared to no less than 500 VIPs, too many for the champagne reception and grand seated dinner that the bride’s parents were planning. Two bands, a generous dance floor, scores of beautifully dressed dinner tables, open bars, passed hors d’oeuvres, endless bubbly — this spectacular evening called for a grand venue with plenty of room for all of the celebratory clinking of glasses and air kisses.

With sparkling chandeliers overhead, thousands of roses arranged by the talented Nino Shbeeb and the black-tie attired throng dressed to the hilt, the tableau commanded the highest kudos.  Aside from the beautiful beaming bride and her mother, stunning in a Tom Ford gown, focal point of the reception was the glorious seven-tiered, 6-foot-tall confection by Nadine Moon of Who Made the Cake!

Taking cues from the couple’s marsala- and gold-hued invitation, Moon created a scrumptious “divine white” cake with amoretto butter cream filling in a decorative motif that mimicked the golden lace on the invitation. She ordered special molds for the lace, made from sugar and painted in edible gold dust. Trails of life-sized edible roses, peonies and orchids in varying shades of purple circled the towering wedding cake. “It was so regal and so beautiful, just perfect for the princess bride,” Moon said.

Once inside the ballroom, guests were seated for a magnificent multi-course dinner that lived up to the highest of Tony’s standards in terms of both quality and service. No small feat for a discerning gathering of 500.

Although the first course was labeled “degustation” the serving of both wild mushroom risotto and cannelloni of poached young hen was heaven on the palette and could have sufficed for dinner in itself. But as is the Italian way, food is love and the menu continued. The second course was comprised of long stem Roman artichokes with pesto vinaigrette, Vallone Olive Oil and parmigiano reggiano. For the entree, guests were served a combination of seared sea bass and a truffled filet of prime beef with fontina fonduta.

And for dessert, the cake took center stage.

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