Real Wedding: Cindy and Dante

This television couple traveled from Los Angeles to tie the knot in a ceremony inspired by Washington.

Cindy and Dante on their wedding day on October 15, 2013. All photographs by Drew Xeron Photography and Hunter Images by Brandon Scott.

On their first date, Cindy Castro and Dante DiRusso did what any ordinary couple just getting to know each other would do—they (fake) got married. The two were introduced in 2007 by mutual friends in Arizona, but their first meeting was unfortunately followed by Dante’s almost-immediate relocation to Los Angeles. However, an online friendship soon blossomed. They were not reunited again until 2008 on a “Vegas or Bust” group trip, which proved their official first date. “We pretended to get married and bought fake wedding bands and fooled our friends,” says Cindy, an associate casting producer for reality television series Kitchen Nightmares and Tattoo Rescue, among others. “The rest is history.”

When it came to the real engagement—after a five-year romance—Dante, a producer’s assistant for television shows The Xeron Factor, Say Yes to the Dress, and Who Has the Last Laugh, among others, opted for a much more low-key proposal. Taking Cindy to his Ohio hometown, Dante told her that we wanted to go to his family’s logging property. “Dante took me to the tree that his grandfather dedicated to carving milestones,” says Cindy. “It was freezing cold and I didn’t understand why he wanted to show me the tree now. And then he got on one knee and proposed.” When it came to the October 5, 2013, wedding, the bride, a native Washingtonian and University of Maryland alum, wanted to return to the District for a “D&C in DC”-themed celebration.


Photographer: Drew Xeron Photography and Hunter Images by Brandon Scott.

Wedding Ceremony Venue: Church of the Holy City

Wedding Reception Venue/Caterers: W Washington DC Hotel

Cocktail Hour: P.O.V Lounge

Event Coordinators: Kathy Mathis and Stephanie Economides

Bride’s Gown: House of Wu, from Love Couture Bridal, for the ceremony; Nesa Fab for the reception.

Hair Dresser: Hanna Yoseph

Makeup Artist: Caritza Aguilar, Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase

Groom’s Tux: Black by Vera Wang, Men’s Wearhouse

Cake: Addy Maes

Wedding Cake Flavors: Ombre vanilla bean cake with pistachio buttercream and strawberry jam filling, and ombre buttercream icing.

Cake Toppers: Made by the groom

Florist: Berkeley Briggs, Dahlia Floral Design

Lighting: Superlative Events

Music/Entertainment: DJ Javon Lovelace

First Dance Song: “Ready My Mind” by The Killers

Invitations: Champagne Press

Bride and Groom’s Favorite Wedding Detail: “Mapex Snare drum base layer of the five-tier wedding cake, and the cake room.”

Biggest Surprise of the Wedding: “Designer Nesa Fab surprised me with a second wedding dress,” says Cindy.

Wedding Favors: The Italian cookie table that served 2,000 cookies handmade by the women of Canfield, Ohio.

Favorite decor detail: “The pinspot lighting that made the reception table centerpieces pop and all the uplighting that added spirit to empty spaces.”

Wedding Theme: “D&C” in D.C., modern, luxe, Victorian

Four Words that Describe the Wedding: Stunning, stylish, elegant, love

Honeymoon Spot: Marco Island, Florida

Where the Couple Currently Live: Venice, California