Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
Downtown nuptials: Long-distance couple ties sudden knot with local help
Photo courtesy of Phase 3 Photography - Craig and Tessa Dellio got married this Valentine's Day at Laura Moore Fine Art Studios in downtown McKinney, the culmination of a long-distance relationship and on-the-fly preparations made possible by downtown businesses.
Craig and Tessa Dellio's relationship has been anything but conventional from the start.
That it culminated through a last-minute, eccentric wedding just fits.
And they couldn't have done it without the heart of McKinney.
"It was totally a downtown McKinney wedding through and through," said Tessa, 57, who moved into a historic district house in October. "We feel like we're home here, and everybody's so accommodating, as we found out."
That realization came last week, when a courthouse knot-tying seemed viable, albeit undesirable. Craig, whom Tessa met online two years ago on an art appreciation website, still lives in Toronto, Canada. Neither attends a McKinney church, slimming their venue options, but they didn't want to wait any longer.
They got engaged in July, but distance and responsibilities keep them apart for months at a time. One day, as Tessa strolled around her new neighborhood - on the phone with her far-away love - she noticed Bridal Blooms. They would do the flower bouquets.
"From there, everything within a half-mile radius - everything to do with our wedding - happened," she said.
Their photographer Julie Shields - one of Tessa's neighbors, unknown at the time - the wine, the cake, all of it would come from businesses downtown or nearby. Allen Jewelers, the lone city outsider, took five days to complete a wedding band that matched Tessa's engagement ring.
And it all came together in about a week, in time for the soon-to-be Dellios' Valentine's Day wedding, an equally serendipitous decision.
The couple, who first saw each other in New York City about a month after meeting online, relied on similar trips and visits between Toronto and DFW every few months. "Communication, communication, communication," Craig said of their making it work.
Just part of that is live laptop chatting - and movie watching. "When he's in Toronto and I'm here, he'll get some movie, arrange a time to watch it, and we watch each other watch it," said Tessa, who before lived in Carrollton and has three children and three grandchildren.
About two weeks ago, their movie of choice was "The Vow," a romance film that shows a young couple married at a Chicago art gallery. It made sense to the real-life couple watching, who'd met on an art website and didn't yet have a wedding venue.
Craig searched for McKinney art galleries and came upon Laura Moore Fine Art Studios, the downtown gallery off Tennessee Street. He called Moore, who happened to be in Cancun, Mexico, celebrating Cupid's day a little early
"I had never met them," said Moore, adding that a couple of similar calls fell through in the past. "I just couldn't resist holding a wedding on Valentine's Day."
So Feb. 14, hours after Tessa picked up her white gown, the couple went to the art studio. Moore locked her doors for a half-hour, she, the photographer and the officiator the only others there.
"It was intimate, and that's what we wanted - just a private, quiet wedding," said Craig, who like Tessa had been married before.
Post-wedding, the romance continued on a downtown carriage ride, complete with a "Just Married" sign and pictures, thanks to Shannon Cole's Happy Trails service. They ate a four-course dinner at Ruggeri's, and three days later held their reception upstairs at One Lazy Lizard, just a few doors down from Moore's studio.
"They got married on the fly," said David McDaniel, manager at One Lazy Lizard. "There were people, their friends, here Sunday who didn't even know it was happening."
In April, they plan to celebrate their nuptials again with Craig's family and friends in Toronto. Before then, and until Craig enters "semi-retirement" in about a year, the couple will maneuver their love by computer and cell phone. Across an entire country.
They're unconventional, married in very unconventional fashion.
"We knew exactly what we wanted and agreed on everything. Once you focus on what you want, it's just a matter of finding the means to get it done," Craig said. "Don't put off what you could do today to tomorrow."