Going Stag: Stephen Stagliano’s Wedding [Part 1]
Let’s get one thing straight. This is not an interview. This is two guys (great ones, actually) talking weddings and marriage. A huge thanks to guest correspondent Earl Anderson (Mr. Frostings) and Stephen Stagliano for choosing us as the forum to publish this piece. The next time someone tells you that guys don’t care about weddings, direct them to this post. Photos are courtesy of Callaway Gable, please do not steal/crop!
Stephen Stagliano is quite a guy. If you’re not convinced, ask around. His former students in Santa Clarita, CA will tell you. So will his brother, Michael Stagliano. Michael was last season’s co-winner of Bachelor Pad and suitor of Jillian Harris on The Bachelorette. More importantly to Stephen, he is his twin, his best friend and was the best man at his wedding. Michael gave, what was in my opinion, the best wedding speech I have ever heard. If that speech was exaggerated, then Stephen has me fooled. Humble, straightforward and sincere, Stephen is exactly what he appears to be.
So, what could possibly draw this church going, unassuming man to the red carpet? Enter DeAnna Pappas.
DeAnna chased reluctant Bachelor, Brad Womack, all the way to the finale of The Bachelor, season 11, then was famously named The Bachelorette on The Ellen Show. When DeAnna’s final choice turned out to be more of a frog than a Prince, her journey brought her to the arms of our hero.
Married October 22nd 2011, DeAnna and Stephen have set out to prove that two very normal people can build a traditional and loving marriage in Hollywood…. and dance their butts off while doing it.
Mr. Frostings: Being married is the natural result of getting married. Sounds like a no-brainer, but waking up married is still quite a shock to the system for many grooms. When did it hit you that all this wedding business was really just the beginning?
Stephen Stagliano: First of all, thank you for the kind words, Earl. That was a wonderful recap of my life these past few years. I was certainly happy to have you and Mrs. Frostings as part of that journey. I agree, Michael’s best man speech was one of the best I had ever heard and one of the happiest moments of my life…. next to marrying DeAnna of course.
Before answering your question I want to say “I LOVE being married”. I find that many cliché’s are true, the most important of which is that I feel complete having committed myself to the woman of my dreams. To answer your question directly, I realized that the wedding was just the beginning on our way TO the honeymoon…it’s a bit of a funny story.
When we arrived at the airport at 7:30am we went to the Delta check in counter for our 10am flight to Belize. When we ran my passport it did not scan correctly. Several years ago while back packing through Thailand it was damaged in a severe rainstorm (that is another good story). About 3 months prior to our airport check in DeAnna told me that I should get a new one. I reassured her that it would be fine as I had traveled several times with the same passport internationally, and the airlines would just type in the number off my passport once it did not scan. This was NOT the case at Delta as two months prior to our flight Delta changed their passport policy to no longer accept damaged passports of ANY kind….ooohh *&$%.
We joke around about it now, saying that DeAnna almost filed for divorce on the first day of our marriage, hahaha, but at the time it was awful. In hindsight it ended up being a blessing in disguise. We went back to Serenbe and had a wonderful time with our family and friends, where we were able to unwind and reminisce about all of the happenings of our wedding. I was also very sick and was able to get to a wellness clinic the same day I got a new passport. In addition, Hurricane Rina was barreling towards the Belizean coast and we would have been in danger had we made it there when we were planned to arrive.
What a wonderful example of real marriage that we were given, literally on the first day of our lives together. I dare say our vows were put to the test, hahaha. I do not think I have ever seen DeAnna so mad, but everything worked out beautifully and we ended up having a safe, healthy, and un-belizable honeymoon.
My questions to you, Mr. Frostings, is how long did it take you to settle in to your marriage with Leslie? By comparison, things are still fresh and new and fun for DeAnna and I right now, so I am wondering how long that lasts.
MrF: Next to falling asleep on your honeymoon, messing with a bride’s much-needed rest after a wedding is grounds for divorce!
Good groom question, by the way. Leslie and I are very lucky. We are both very affectionate, both very PDA, and both slow to anger. Since this is a second marriage for both of us, we appreciate what we have found together. I never leave the house without kissing her goodbye. She calls my office when she wakes up. To answer your question directly, I believe that the love doesn’t fade over time, just our willingness to live it. I try to remember that love is an action. As long as I’m willing to live in our marriage, live in the love I feel for her, she will always feel it.
Your wedding process was a little different than most. Dealing with the press, sneaky little paparazzi, and demands of the Bachelor Family had to be difficult. Looking back, what was the most stressful part of the planning process?
SS: Wow, I love what you said. Love is an action. I am going to steal that if you don’t mind! I need to read the book you should write on love and marriage, hahaha.
Our wedding process was a little out of the ordinary. It was strange how some expected stress was removed and problems appeared where we least expected them! A perfect example of this is our experience with you, Earl! Once we met with you and Leslie we knew we had nothing at all to worry about, which was so nice. Thanks to your recommendations, we had vendors reach out to us for photography, video, our flowers, and creating our invitations and other paper goods, which was wonderful. It turned out that all our vendors were wonderful! I think an added stress of wedding planning is simply choosing which vendors you are going to go with. We skipped right past that step by having an amazing wedding vendor (Fantasy Frostings) take care of us.
Ironically enough, it was the press that added on unexpected stress. Several things stand out. I remember DeAnna and I could not “release” our engagement because at the time we were under contract with a production company to shoot a reality show with DeAnna, Michael, Holly and I called “Four Better or Worse.” That was really hard on us. DeAnna could not wear her ring out and we could only tell close family about our engagement.
Press was also a bit of an issue as we were not sure who to go with and what the best avenue would be. The Bachelor Family wanted to cover the wedding, but they were right in the middle of filming the next season with Ben so several of our friends from the show could not come.
The pinnacle of stress for our wedding with press was on the wedding day. We had discussed having security at our wedding, but never did I think paparazzi would come all the way to Atlanta and all the way to Serenbe for the photos. Low and behold four different guys showed up! To answer your question, this was the most stressful part for me. DeAnna was really upset and I was very angry. I actually sent my groomsmen out on Paparazzi Police Patrol to canvas the area! The actual police came a few minutes later and found two other guys in the woods around our venue, but one still managed to elude them and get away with a few photos. Crazy.
As I write this, I can’t help but realize that none of what I talked about was stress from wedding planning, but rather about the press. Hahaha. DeAnna and I ran in to a few stressors that are typical, like the wedding list and seating chart, but that is all. DeAnna did an unbelievable job and handled everything beautifully.
Earl, I had the privilege of being a guest at your wedding to Leslie and it was honestly one of my most favorite weddings. Not that this is a point of comparison, but I thought it would be an interesting point of conversation that where DeAnna and I chose to do the full on southern wedding extravaganza, you and Leslie had a simple back yard barbecue wedding. Both were wonderful. It calls into question, from the guy’s perspective, what are the common denominators to having a great wedding? I will let you answer first
MrF: The mythical “Great Wedding”, huh? You’ll have better luck finding The Great Pumpkin. A great wedding can only be found in hindsight. Today’s couples are unique in their own special ways. Our wedding was perfect for us. A backyard BBQ with friends and family was our perfect day. Your wedding was all about family and friends too, but it also visualized you two as a couple perfectly. The key to making a great wedding for any couple is a great wedding planner. It needs to be someone you trust and someone with the empathy to feel your vision and the skill to make it a reality. I preach this to brides at every opportunity. If you want to enjoy your wedding day, there is no better investment.
Now that you are almost a wedding expert, what advice will you give your brother Michael when he begins to plan his big day?
SS: Oh man, that is a loaded question! I think my first piece of advice would be something for him to say to his wife… “What can I do to help?”
DeAnna loved when I offered to help. The reality is that the woman takes care of most of the preparations. I was very involved in the seating chart (good for the man to do) and the DJ play list (great for a man to do). All other things I just offered to help when I could or offered my opinion/advice when it was welcomed and/or wanted.
The other piece of advice that I would offer to my brother is that he needs to be the rock and foundation of the whole production. I found myself saying things like “Everything is going to be fine.” “Everything is going to be beautiful and perfect.” “Everything will work out.” I think it is very easy for the brides to get caught in the trees and lose sight of the forest sometimes. It can be very beneficial for the groom to be calm, assertive, and have faith that everything will work out just fine.
Oh and one last thing…the bride is always right!
I can’t think of a more appropriate place to leave part 1 than at “the bride is always right.” Give that statement a night to sink in and then come back tomorrow morning for the epic conclusion of Going Stag. Not that you should need any extra coaxing to do that, but we’ll be featuring video of Stephen and his groomsmen dancing at the reception. So, no excuses!