Street Fashionista: Roberto & Vanessa Moneta

Category:  Fashion
Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Street Fashionista: Roberto & Vanessa Moneta by Leslie McAllister

Summer Wedding Bliss

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, tiny, colorful butterflies are flitting by, and the fluffy clouds are smiling – why wouldn’t you want to marry at such a glorious time? Weddings have become mega affairs in the last forty years – 300-plus guests, designer gowns, million-dollar celebrations. I wonder: do we sell ourselves out with overpopulating the exchange of vows?

Here’s the thing: there is something quaint and meaningful with an under-100-wedding; it becomes sacred, intimate. And the gowns – so over-the-top anymore – what happened to that sleek, ladylike ingénue? Gowns now are gushing with sequins and tulle and lace and stuff and whoa… too much.

The gracefulness of a classic gown with clean lines, a little lace, a little silk, a tiny bustle, a tuck, and a touch of opulence – never out of style be it in white or ivory. Talk about setting a trend: Queen Victoria started the whole white wedding idea in white lace when she wed Prince Albert in 1840. Prior to that gowns were emerald velvet, pale pink, scarlet, or even, gasp, tweed suits. But this white thing stuck, and it really does make a maiden glow on the day she is betrothed.

So my thoughts – classic, simple, delicate, understated; have someone you love make it, try a neckline (give the strapless dress a rest and let us miss it), try a jacket, try a cape, experiment with a headdress, and a pair of fun funky shoes. That’s what I always said: I will buy a $5 dress from an estate sale and spend $1,000 on my shoes a la Christian Louboutin – I’m sure he has something in my size.

Who? Vanessa Vahanian-Moneta and Roberto Moneta with Vanessa’s babies Milo and Fiona, and gal pal, Sue Martin.

Where? Their wedding at the Customs House (The old EAM)

Why this crew? There is such a timeless innocence here. There also exists class, sophistication, and imagination in this bunch. Vanessa’s dress is dripping with vintage glamour and crisp elegance. A traditional gown complemented with a pop of lavender heels and boldly colored bouquet of garden flowers. The bridesmaid, Miss Martin, (maids not pictured Noreen Finn-Atwood and Dawna Northup) is dashing in her ‘40s-inspired dress with victory curls, hot pink tights, and a sweet butterfly representing the married couple. Milo and Fiona are perfect in their black and white ensembles, and Rob is debonair in his black on black tux and white-hot kicks.

Vanessa, tell me about your two dresses, the one Deb Sementelli made and the get-away dress. Ideas? Inspiration? Memories while making them? I had dreamed of my wedding dress since I was a little girl. I had searched for months just looking for ideas in magazines, blogs, and Etsy shops. I narrowed it down to two different ideas, one very traditional and one very edgy. I chose traditional because of the vintage-inspired theme of the wedding. Deb was wonderfully excited about the materials she found to make the dress. It came down to two days before the wedding, and I began to think of an edgier dress. My mom and I went on a search for a getaway/post reception dress. Lo, buried in the racks of Macy's obnoxious teen prom dresses, was a dress much like the ones I drew when I was 7. Bingo!

What was your inspiration for the bridesmaid dresses, and where did you find them? Colored tights, hair, bouquets, butterflies, bags? I love vintage, and I really like the look of the ‘40s. After the fab ‘20s, the depression stripped the glitz and glam and fashion grew balls – sharp angles and material that hugged and draped over a woman's body. My girls helped me search, and we found a maker on Etsy: “Heart My Closet.” When it came to the starkness of the white Custom's House and black dresses, to express my style, I thought to do fun tights with colorful bouquets, which I did myself. The butterflies come from a childhood association with my name, a genus of butterfly named ‘Vanessa’. A few months back, I was displaying the butterfly earrings we carry at Glass Grower’s Gallery and noticed ‘Moneta’ on a label. I looked it up, and sure enough, there is a genus of butterfly by the same last name I'd be taking! Lastly, the bags. I know the brides often go with jewelry for the ‘maids, but when it came down to it, I liked the idea of something even more functional – vintage clutches! I happen to have a great connection, wink wink, to find such goodies, and thanks to Shop Juju's my girls had absolutely perfect gifts!

Rob, tell me about the groomsmen’s tuxedos and the inspiration there. Honestly, Vanessa picked them. I mean, we agreed of course – but she took the reigns as far as pointing out a slim, clean look. The black on black was very reflective of my own style, so it all turned out looking great.

Loved your babies, Fiona and Milo. Vanessa, talk about what they are wearing. Simple and effortless but classic. We let them pick their own. We Internet shopped for months. After observing that most everyone was wearing black, Milo was very specific on what he wanted. His desire to look so dapper was so adorable. I never have to worry about Fiona's choice in clothing – E.S.P. when it comes to dressing up. She's a true fashionista who always dresses just right for the occasion.

Overall wedding vibe? Simple, but emotional. We were blessed with the presence of 70 of our closest family and friends. The smaller wedding made it seem so meaningful and true to our emotions. Our favorite memory happens to be the same one – that moment I walked down the aisle. I looked around at the guests, our attendants, and Rob – and everyone seemed to just sparkle.

I looked her in the eyes, added Rob, beaming, and knew this was it.

What's next? Immediately? Sofa shopping. Long-term? Raising our beautiful family.

Find me out on the town and challenge yourself to get noticed by the Erie Reader!

Leslie McAllister can be contacted at, and you can follow her on Twitter @ShopJuJus. 

Erie Reader: Vol. 7, No. 23
Now Available — Pick It Up Today


Grin and “bear” it in support of Pennsylvania’s Special Olympics

Extraordinary histories across canvases of skin

A conversation with former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card 


JazzErie will continue to please enthusiasts by hosting Bobby Selvaggio and Red Rhinoceros at the Erie Art Museum.

The acclaimed Broadway musical Kinky Boots is stepping up to Erie’s Warner Theatre.


Extraordinary histories across canvases of skin

A conversation with former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card 


JazzErie will continue to please enthusiasts by hosting Bobby Selvaggio and Red Rhinoceros at the Erie Art Museum.

The acclaimed Broadway musical Kinky Boots is stepping up to Erie’s Warner Theatre.

 Flower Crown’s debut LP is an utterly gorgeous piece.

Restoring the stories of women who matter 


A conversation with journalist Philip Rucker 

Harrisburg does good

Suburbicon spends too much time winking at its own cleverness to be an entertaining story.

On November 15th, Teddy Rankin will be performing with his father, Glenn, at The Colony.

2017 Best of Erie Voting Now Open! Vote Now!
Closing in
Click here to close now