A New York City couple celebrated their love in just about the cheesiest way possible this week: They got married at a pizza restaurant.
Gamaliel Vallego, 42, and Estela Valerio, 37, said ‘I do’ on Thursday after two and a half years of dating, and their wedding was anything but traditional.
The newlyweds exchanged vows just feet away from several restaurant-grade pizza ovens, with a ceremony conducted by a restaurant manager and enough slices to go around for every guest.
Cheesily ever after! A New York City couple celebrated their wedding at an &pizza restaurant on Thursday
The mozzarella to her marinara! Gamaliel Vallego, 42, and Estela Valerio, 37, said ‘I do’ at one of the chain’s Manhattan locations
A piece of the pie! &pizza held several weddings in their stores in honor of Pi Day, March 14
Super appropriate! The groom joked that pizza was his first love
Mom’s certainly unique! The bride said her 11-year-old son and 17-year-old both thought the locale was funny
All the toppings! The couple even designed their own signature pie for the party
Gamaliel and Estela got married on March 14, a date many people call Pi Day. The faux holiday celebrates the math symbol Pi (π), which is often rounded to 3.14.
People like to acknowledged the date by eating different types of pie, including of the pizza variety — but &pizza, a pizza chain with locations up and down the East Coast, raised the bar and host weddings for the big day.
At one of their New York locations, Gamaliel and Estela were eager for the opportunity for a free wedding — and a way to incorporate Gamaliel’s love of pizza into one of the most important days of their lives.
‘Pizza is my life,’ he told DailyMail.com ‘I think I have eaten some form of pizza on average one slice a day since I was eight. &pizza gave me the opportunity to combine the two things I love the most in life.
‘I always say, my first love is pizza,’ he added.
The wedding was certainly pizza-centric. The store’s ‘Head of People’ Andy Hooper was ordained for the occasion and officiated the ceremony in front of 25 guests.
‘Pizza is my life,’ the groom told DailyMail.com ‘I think I have eaten some form of pizza on average one slice a day since I was eight.
Fun couple! The bride wore a short white dress with cobalt heels, which matched her husband’s tie
Outside the box: The bride also had a bright blue manicure
Legit: The store’s ‘Head of People’ Andy Hooper was ordained for the occasion and officiated the ceremony in front of 25 guests
Score! The couple also got a one-year supply of pizza for free
Sweet! The wedding included pizza, sparkling wine, flowers, and balloons, all provided for free
And guests ate plenty of pizza, including a signature pie that the couple designed for the occasion that was topped with peppers and feta.
During the taste test, the groom said, ‘She made hers and I made mines and then we tasted each other’s pizza. I liked some of the stuff on hers more than mine and she liked some of mine more than her and boom, we made our signature pizza and we were thinking master piece.’
There were also black and white balloons from BASHESDC, flowers from 1-800-Flowers.com, and bottles of Chandon Sparkling Rosé.
Gamaliel, who works as a director of financial aid at Columbia University School of Nursing, and Estela, who is an Administrative Coordinator at the college’s School of Public Health, said their family and friends loved the idea of a pizza party wedding.
‘They all thought it was a joke at first,’ said Gamaliel. ‘And then they were like, “Yeah this is so Pito [his nickname] and Estela.” But they are excited and happy for us.’
And now for dessert! There was also a tasty cake — to a pie — from Milk Bar
Romantic! The newlyweds are pictured feeding each other wedding cake
Something new: The groom and a few guests wore pizza socks. The bride also got him pizza cufflinks, while he got her a pizza Pandora charm
Gamaliel said friends and family ‘all thought it was a joke at first… and then they were like, “Yeah this is so Pito [his nickname] and Estela”‘
Special day: The pizza shop was closed and decked out for the occasion
Looks like fun! There was also a digital photobooth where guests and &pizza staff took pictures
Estela, who has a 17-year-old son and a 10-year-old son, said her kids found it hilarious and weird.
‘They thought it was funny and odd to have a wedding at a pizzeria,’ she said. ‘My youngest said ‘Who thinks of having a wedding in a pizzeria?”‘
Given the size of their family, the date — 3/14 — was also significant: Estela was excited to notice that 3 + 1 = 4 signified her and her two children coming together with Gamaliel.
Going forward, they plan to incorporate Pi and pizza into their lives. In fact, pizza has already made quite a few appearances.
‘I got her a Pandora pizza charm to wear as her something new and be able to wear it always. She got me pizza cufflinks to wear with any of my suits,’ the groom said. The groom and several guests also wore pizza-patterned socks on the big day.
Kiss the bride! In Philly, Kalista Werman and Lenin Cruz said ‘I do’ two years after they met while working at a Starbucks
Tasty! They also designed a signature pizza for the reception
The first Pi Day wedding held at &pizza was in 2006, and now the chain has opened up the opportunity to other customers
This is actually not the first wedding to be held at an &pizza restaurant on Pi Day: That honor went to a couple who wed in D.C. in 2016. Over the past two years, though, the chain has opened up the opportunity to other customers.
This year, they hosted 14 ceremonies in total, including weddings, commitment ceremonies, and vow renewals.
While a pizza place may seem like an unconventional spot for a wedding, the brand says it makes a lot of sense for them.
‘The ampersand in &pizza stands for connectedness, and there is no stronger connection than that of a marriage,’ they said in a press release. ‘Playing off the pun of pi vs. pie, the company wanted to offer couples a unique way to say “I do” that speaks to the brand’s commitment to celebrating unity and standing up for love.’
This year, weddings were also held in Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Happily ever after… In Boston, Keiara Moore and Tiffany Wooten married at another store
Something to remember: The couple is seen cutting into their pizza together
They were engaged for a year ahead of their &pizza wedding on Thursday
In Boston, Keiara Moore and Tiffany Wooten were engaged for a year ahead of their &pizza wedding on Thursday.
In Philly, Kalista Werman and Lenin Cruz said ‘I do’ two years after they met while working at a Starbucks.
And in D.C., five couples tied the knot over the course of the day, starting with Jordan Monroe & Adonis Miller — who got married ten years after meeting and not long after welcoming a baby girl.
They were followed by Alisha Benjamin and Tormaine Stewart, who made it official five years after meeting on Facebook; do-gooders Kortney Hall and Jermar Green, who married after meeting while working with kids with AmeriCorps; and Tinder matches Amanda Mesa and Rosemary Kim.
Finally, Traci Flemons and Chimemezue Anyanwu Traci chose the venue after Traci, a federal government employee, felt grateful to the company for offering free pizza to furloughed workers during the shutdown.