In a bohemian-style wedding Saturday afternoon, Big Brother alums Dominic Briones and Daniele Donato tied the knot at the Newland House Museum in Huntington Beach, Calif.
“Truth be told, I really didn’t like him at first,” she says with a laugh. “I thought he was a little troublemaker. But we became friends, and although I didn’t like him like that, it just grew.”
She adds, “After the finale, we became inseparable. We got to know each other really well, and we fell in love!”
As their relationship developed, Briones says he tried to think of the perfect way to propose.
“I took Dani on a road trip last August and we stopped at the St. Louis Zoo,” he says. “We both love penguins, because they mate for life, so I set up a behind-the-scenes tour without her knowing. One of the zoo workers brought out two little penguins. As we were playing with them, I turned and popped the question right there. She loved it!”
The ring, he says, “is a solitary diamond with a half bezel set. She had told me what she liked and didn’t like, but it was still a surprise.”
Next came the wedding planning. “We wanted something that was a good reflection of who we are,” says Daniele. “We didn’t want a traditional ceremony, because that’s not exactly us.”
After looking at “maybe 1,000 dresses,” Daniele found the perfect one online – a vintage-style dress from BHLDN, the wedding line of Anthropologie.
“It’s vintage but modern,” she says, “with little sequins in copper. I’m sort of a hippie girl. I saw the dress and immediately knew it was the one. I went into one bridal stores and I felt like the dresses looked like down comforters. So when I saw this, I was like, ‘Perfect.’ We had a much harder time looking for something for Dominic to wear.”
Briones wore dark purple pants from the Gap and a matching plaid purple shirt and a cardigan sweater. His bow tie was off-white, with matching Converse shoes.
The bridal party included family and friends. The ring bearer was the 5-year-old son of Big Brother 6 contestant April Lewis. Fittingly, he was dressed as a penguin. The bridesmaids and groomsmen entered to the strains of Meiko’s “Stuck On You.”
“It’s an upbeat, happy song,” says Donato. “And this is the happiest day of my life, so it made perfect sense.”
Honeymoon on Hold
When the bride walked down the aisle – with her grandmother giving her away – the DJ played The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.”
About 120 guests – including Big Brother and Amazing Race couple Brendan and Rachel Reilly Villegas – watched as the bride and groom exchanged vows. After the ceremony, there was a cocktail hour, followed by dinner. The spread included a panini section, a pasta area and a gourmet macaroni and cheese bar for the kids.
The couple have no immediate honeymoon planned, but both have a future trip in mind. “I’ve always wanted to go to an airport and take the next flight to wherever it goes out,” says Briones. “That’s what we’re going to do.”
“I don’t care where we go for the honeymoon,” says Daniele. “All I care about is that I married my best friend, and we’re going to share our lives together. We mesh so well. We don’t like being away from each other. We love being around each other so much. That’s enough for me. I couldn’t be happier.”