September 16th
Stante excavation and a Traditional Italian Wedding

The long day of shooting began with a trip to the office (more like a home, really) of Maria Stante, owner of Stante Excavating a excavation company in Northville.   She and her sons Antonello and Mario and nephew Donato, work hard to make their business successful.  You might think a business specializing in heavy construction is an unusual one for a woman to run, but spend five minutes chatting with Maria and you'll quickly conclude as we did: this is no ordinary woman. Both a delightful storyteller, a shrewd businesswoman and a serious advocate for woman's rights, Maria immigrated to the United States from Abruzzi when she was nineteen and worked her way to her present position through the unlikely occupation of seamstress. She points out to our great delight that her business office is equipped with a full kitchen, and when she holds business meetings for potential customers, she'll often cook. The way to a man's contract is through his stomach? She relates the struggles and sadness she's encountered on her long journey from Abruzzi and winds up showing off her latest 'toy'… a brand-new Corvette! This is one gutsy lady.

A full-blown Italian wedding is the stuff of Hollywood, and later in the day, it was both an honor and a pleasure to attend and film the traditional ceremony joining the Romanelli and Campo families at St. John's incomparably beautiful chapel in Plymouth.

St. John's, whose renovation was completed in 2000, was the idea of Cardinal Adam J. Maida whose vision was to revive the property, built in 1949, as a resource for youth and families.

Following a traditional Mass, the bridal party traveled to an extravagant reception at the Laurel Manor, complete with all the trappings that would go along with a world-class Italian wedding feast. While a live harpist played, indescribably wonderful prosciutto was hand-sliced to order, pasta was freshly made by Rita, who has been 'on board' at Laurel Manor for eighteen years.

That's due in the main to owner John Del Signore and wife Lina, who have made the Laurel Manor one of the most sought after destinations in metro Detroit for meetings, video presentations, social events… and naturally, wedding receptions. This is, in fact, the fourth reception that the Del Signores have done for the groom's family who have only good words for the exquisite cuisine, elegant atmosphere, and extraordinary service.

  Wonderful pastries for the wedding reception
Chef Greg preparing for the wedding reception dinner Rita making pasta in the kitchen at Laurel Manor
Waitstaff marching out the first course