Anyone who knows Teresa Giudice—either personally or from her longtime stint on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey—knows that the reality star throws one fabulous party.
So it’s only fitting that her wedding to entrepreneur Louie Ruelas, held last August at the luxurious Park Château Estate & Gardens in East Brunswick, was the ultimate party—filled with jaw-dropping entertainment, decor and flowers that truly dazzled the couple’s 225 guests.
“I wanted everybody to walk in and be wowed, like, ‘Oh my God, this is spectacular,’” Teresa tells New Jersey Bride. “And that’s what they did when they walked in. They were wowed.”
The venue, one of the most high-end wedding locales in the state, is impressive enough on its own, with its elegant mansion set on 15 acres of stunning grounds. Pair that with Teresa and Louie’s flair for all things fun and their unique personal touches, and the day was unforgettable. Fans can get an up-close look at the wedding by tuning into the special Teresa Gets Married, which airs on Tuesday, May 23 at 8 pm on Bravo and starts streaming on Peacock the next day.
During the reception, guests boogied to music from a 16-piece band provided by Jordan Kahn Music Company and a DJ from Geo Events later in the evening. Jordan Kahn also put together an extravagant display of live, immersive entertainment. Sultry burlesque dancers stripped down to nearly nothing, aerialists showed off their impressive moves, a sword swallower provided some dangerous fun, and stilt walkers in metallic suits strutted across the dance floor. The couple also enlisted drummer Tito Puente Jr., a childhood friend of Louie’s and the son of famed musician Tito Puente, and saxophonist Art Crichlow to play more terrific tunes.
The performers were glitzy, glamorous and sexy—just like Teresa envisioned. “I wanted the dancers to have as little clothes as possible,” says Teresa with a laugh, adding: “Yes, I’m all about sexiness, I wanted that sexy vibe.”
Overall, Teresa and Louie hoped for—and achieved—a day that was “elegant, magical, timeless and classic.” Teresa adds, “I wanted a lot of entertainment because I’m all about having a good time.”
It worked. The dance floor was packed all night with family and friends—like bridesmaids and fellow RHONJ cast members Jennifer Aydin and Dolores Catania, plus plenty of other television stars, including Loni Love and Bob Harper, Real Housewives of New York City alumni Jill Zarin and Dorinda Medley, and Real Housewives of Atlanta personalities Kenya Moore and Cynthia Bailey.
“You know when you go to a wedding and it’s, like, nobody’s dancing? And it’s, like, everybody sitting down and eating—the dance floor is empty?” says Teresa. “I swear, I don’t remember that at all at my wedding. It was never empty.” “Luckily,” she adds, “the cocktail hour had a ton—a ton—of food,” so guests could have fun during the reception and not worry if they missed part of the dinner. “It was insane. And I’m Italian, so growing up, food was the most important thing to us.”
Although guests didn’t spend too much time at their tables, when they did sit down, they were undoubtedly impressed by the stunning, mostly white floral arrangements. Tables either featured massive floral “trees” (chosen because Teresa and Louie met for the first time under a tree, during a walk at the Jersey Shore) or smaller but still grandiose arrangements atop gold structures with crystals and candles hanging down.
Preston Bailey, a favorite among celebrities, handled event design and production, while Jessica Rogers was the event planner.
Jessica describes Teresa’s mindset during the planning process as, “She said, ‘I want the reception to be like Ibiza. I want party, fun, excitement.’”
That extended to every element of planning, including Teresa’s dress choices. For the ceremony, Teresa wore a custom Mark Zunino Atelier blush mermaid gown, which was fitted through the body and flared at the bottom. But for the reception, the TV star wanted to be able to move freely all night without a shred of discomfort. She chose designer Galia Lahav’s Gaga gown, an ethereal creation with a sexy, off-the-shoulder corset top and a voluminous skirt made of ice pink and ivory lace.
As for her hair Teresa certainly went big, with a look that included three pounds of hair, three-and-a-half hours of styling, a bejeweled crown—and a $10,000 price tag for it all (including the headpiece). Even with all that hair, Teresa had no problem dancing all night. “I got used to it,” says Teresa, who did the “shake test” to make sure everything was in place. And, as her stylist Lucia Casazza describes Teresa, “She’s a strong woman.”
This is the second marriage for both Teresa and Louie. Teresa and ex-husband Joe Giudice have four daughters—Gia, 22, Gabriella, 18, Milania, 17, and Audriana, 13—while Louie has two sons—Nicholas, 21, and Louie Jr., 19.
With a blended family, Teresa says she and Louie wanted to “incorporate the kids” into their special day in meaningful ways. During the outdoor ceremony, which was officiated by Louie’s sister Victoria Ruelas, the couple and all six children took part in a unity candle ritual to represent their coming together. Although the couple knew about the candle-lighting portion of the ceremony, there was one surprise cooked up by Louie’s sister and their event planner. “We asked all of the kids to record a little blurb to their parents on their wedding day, and we actually played that as they were lighting the candles,” says Jessica. “It was really, really special to hear their words to their parents during that moment.”
Teresa’s daughters and Louie’s sons, who were all members of the wedding party, also gave speeches during the reception.
Jessica says that it isn’t always easy to bring two families together, but other couples can take a cue from Teresa and Louie. “When it comes to second marriages and blending your families, you go through a lot,” she says. “And so, for her to come to this moment and to believe in love still and to have that second chance, it’s really an inspiration to other women. You can always find that happy ending. Just keep walking with your head held high.”
As fans of RHONJ know, Teresa’s brother Joe Gorga and sister-in-law Melissa Gorga (who are also on the show) did not attend the wedding, following years of drama, both on-screen and off. Teresa offers this advice to other couples dealing with family drama: “You know what? It’s about you and the person you’re marrying. Make it about the two of you. Don’t let any outside noise affect you. That’s what Louie and I did. We just focused on us. Especially when you have children, then you focus on your children—and your family and friends that are there for you. And just have the best time ever.”
Like a true Jersey girl, Teresa met her love at the Shore. The Garden State native rents a Shore house every summer with her daughters. But it was by chance that Teresa met Louie when she did, while out for a walk with two girlfriends. Louie typically spends his summers overseas but decided to stay closer to home in the summer of 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. He grew up in Rockland County, New York, but had been living in Allendale since 2016.
Louie, who didn’t immediately recognize Teresa from TV, almost left their initial encounter without expressing his interest, but, after some prodding from his son, asked Teresa for her phone number. She took his business card and said she’d give him a call. She got in touch later that day, and they spent hours talking on the phone that night. They made plans for another walk a few days later and progressed to dinner on their third date. Fast forward to October 2021, and Louie proposed during a romantic trip to Greece. Less than a year later, they wed at the Park Château.
Now, Teresa and Louie, who live in Montville, do “everything together,” says Teresa, from cooking to shopping to dancing to, most importantly, communicating openly. “You know how people say opposites attract? Well, I’m not really into that,” she says. “My first husband, we were opposite.” Teresa and Louie also planned the wedding together. “He loves to do everything with me,” she says. “And I love that too. Like I didn’t have that before. With my first marriage, I did things on my own.”
A significant moment for Teresa was walking down the aisle by herself to Ave Maria, one of her late parents’ favorite songs. Although she considered having her daughters walk her down the aisle, she decided to do it on her own—like how she’s lived her life in recent years. “After, you know, Joe left, I did it all by myself, raising the girls and everything,” she says.
She adds, “I felt so good, so powerful walking down the aisle by myself, because I know I did everything. No one helped me with anything.”
Another favorite ceremony moment for Teresa came after the couple exchanged their original vows. Teresa and Louie took a moment to turn toward their guests and make eye contact with their family and friends, as a way to show gratitude to their guests for being part of their special day.
The couple made it a priority to incorporate personal details into their big day. For Teresa, honoring her deceased parents, Giacinto and Antonia Gorga, was of the utmost importance. Her custom veil by Mark Zunino was embroidered with the Italian phrase Sempre Insieme, which means Always Together; the saying is also inscribed on her parents’ mausoleum.
“My parents were always together, and I feel like that’s Louie and I because we’re always together,” Teresa says. An ice sculpture with the same phrase was on display at the cocktail hour.
Inside Teresa’s ceremony gown, Mark Zunino embroidered three pink hearts because she and Louie both love hearts, and 333 because the number 3 is significant in Teresa’s family.
“My mom passed away March 3rd, my dad passed away April 3rd, I met Louie three months after my dad passed,” Teresa says. “My dad was with me three years after my mom passed. My parents got married in three months. Everything is three.” She considered picking a wedding date with the number 3 in it, but ended up choosing August 6, 2022: “I figured it’s August 6: 3 plus 3 is 6.”
Teresa felt her beloved parents’ presence at the wedding. Teresa’s medium, Gina Marie, who was a guest at the wedding and has appeared on RHONJ, even saw a sign from the late couple during the ceremony. “As we’re getting married, there was a cloud and then two rays of sun coming through the clouds,” says Teresa. “She’s like, ‘That’s your parents. They were looking down on you and Louie.’”
VENUE Park Château Estate & Gardens PHOTOGRAPHER Jenna Russo (@silentcapturephoto) VIDEOGRAPHER Kenneth Cooper Films LIVE BAND & IMMERSIVE ENTERTAINMENT Jordan Kahn Music Company RECEPTION DJ Geo Events DRUMMER Tito Puente Jr. SAXOPHONIST Art Crichlow CEREMONY DJ LJDJs VIOLINIST Candice Anderson FLORIST Wedded Events BRIDE’S HAIR Lucia Casazza BRIDE’S MAKEUP Priscilla DiStasio EVENT DESIGN & PRODUCTION Preston Bailey EVENT PLANNER Jessica Rogers COORDINATOR Sarabeth Quattlebaum CEREMONY DRESS Mark Zunino from Bridal Reflections RECEPTION DRESS Galia Lahav from Bridal Reflections VEIL Mark Zunino HEADPIECE Bridal Styles Boutique BRIDAL ROBE Lé Lauriér Bridal by Lauren Holovka BRIDE’S SHOES Badgley Mischka BRIDESMAID DRESSES Coco Chateau GROOM’S ATTIRE Sal Lauretta PHOTO BOOTH Tap Snap ICE SCULPTURE Okamoto Studio CIGAR ROLLER The Cigar Host INVITATIONS RoseBox NYC, Custom Cobra CAKE Palermo’s Bakery OFFICIANT Veronica Ruelas FOOD TRUCKS Columbia Inn, Curbside Confections NITROGEN DRINKS & DESSERT Frost 321 LED WRISTBANDS CrowdSync UNITY CANDLE Bonnie’s Creations FLIP-FLOPS Reception Flip Flops REHEARSAL DINNER The Highlawn BRUNCH Château Grande Events by David Burke