A Fairy Tale Wedding at The Castle
Linda Borella and David Hershman July 26, 2008
When David Hershman told his bride-to-be, Linda Catherine Borella, that he'd known from the day he met her that he wanted to marry her, nearly every one of the guests at the couple’s wedding burst into laughter. And that’s because their wedding took place 32 years—or 11,816 days—after that first meeting.
“We met in college, while we were working at Macy’s part-time,” Linda says. “When he first proposed in 1978, after we had been dating two years, I said no. I wanted to see the world, climb the corporate ladder. Then, when I was ready five years later, he wasn’t. We’d break up, get back together, take time off to care for ill parents, but neither of us married during all those years.”
Then, in January 2007, David, a senior vice president at Citibank, planned a holiday surprise and the couple flew to Paris for a long romantic weekend. “But I came down with a one-hundred-two degree temperature and couldn’t leave our hotel room,” Linda recalls. She just wanted to go home—or to the nearest hospital. She certainly didn’t want to stroll along the Pont des Arts.
“‘Just come with me,’” she remembers David insisting. “I was feverish, I wanted to sit down, but he told me I couldn’t sit on that bench, it had to be that bench, with Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower in view. I knew something was up.” David proposed with an emerald-cut diamond engagement ring. “And I said, ‘Yes.’ The crowd cheered!”
At 53 and 52 respectively, David and Linda were hardly the age of your average bride and groom. So a big, expensive wedding—who needs that?
“Let’s elope and have a party,” David suggested.
“Since neither of us has been married before,” Linda suggested, “let’s have a small, intimate wedding…”
That is how it started out. They both wanted something elegant and warm. Elegant, it was. And warm, of course. But small? Not exactly, with 104 guests.
A friend had recommended the Castle on the Hudson as a wedding locale. And as they drove into Tarrytown from their home in Forest Hills, David realized he was familiar with the Castle. When he was a boy, his family used to drive by on their way to the Catskills and he would tell them, “One day I’m going to live in that castle.” Well, perhaps not live, but marry.
For the next year, Linda, a handbag designer for Alcan Packaging whose client is Calvin Klein Fragrances, meticulously plotted out every detail of her wedding, right down to the table linens and mosaic candle holders to the perfect wedding favors: engraved pear-shaped soaps to complement a cast bronze pear sculpture in the Castle’s garden.
But even the best-laid plans can’t control the weather. While it had rained the entire week before the wedding, the morning of their wedding date, July 26, 2008, looked clear. Then, about a half-hour before the ceremony, the sky darkened, and a few fat drops of rain began to fall. “There were thousands of flowers on the huppah alone—there was no way we could move everything inside,” reports Michael Casarella, the Castle’s sales director. Linda came to the door, surveying the garden with the silk and organza-swagged tables, the ornate floral displays lush with cymbidium orchids, hydrangeas, illusion roses, and cascading ivy.
Just then, a huge wind whipped in out of nowhere—blowing the storm clouds away. “Both my parents have passed on,” she says, tearing up. “But I could feel their presence with me at that moment.”
That presence continued as the guests entered a private entrance to the Castle’s Great Dining Hall through a candlelit oak-paneled foyer in which 20 photographs of the bride and groom’s deceased parents were displayed in jeweled frames. “People told us they felt they were entering our home,” she says. A small portrait of her parents was even incorporated into her bridal bouquet, so they were with her every step of the way.
Later, on the lower level, while the band (and dancers) took a break, the newlyweds presented a slide show they had created to the tune of “You Send Me,” à la Rod Stewart. “It really told the story of our lives together, growing up together,” Linda says—proving that fairy tales indeed come true.
Venue & Caterer: Castle on the Hudson, (914) 631-1980, castleonthehudson.com. Cake: Castle on the Hudson. Flowers: Diana Gould, Elmsford, (914) 347-7408, dianagouldltd.com. Flower Designer: Regina Lavecchia. Photographer: Frank Farina & Co, Tarrytown, (914) 439-7878, frankfarina.com Bridal Attire: Kleinfeld Bridal (646) 633-4300, kleinfeldbridal.com, Rivini antique ivory duchess satin gown Kenneth Pool antique ivory cathedral-length veil, Maria Elena headband. Groom’s Tuxedo: Rothman’s, New York and Scarsdale, (914) 713-0300, rothmansny.com. Music and Slide Presentation: Hank Lane Music, (212) 626-8300, hanklane.com. Photographer: Frank Farina & Co., New York City and Westchester locations, frankfarina.com. Hair: Christophe Bouchet at Rosario Acquista Salon, New York, (212) 288- 3244, rosarioacquistasalon.com. Makeup: Lanier Long, lanierlong.com. Wedding Invitation: Village Invites, New York, (212) 220-6199 Officiants: Reverend Italo Barozzi and Rabbi Allen Block.