The Goffredo sisters were engaged within three months of each other and planned their weddings to be five months apart. But that quickly changed once the Style Network pitched the idea of joint nuptials.
Lauren Marie, 23, Goffredo and Joe "Skats" Schiavo, 30, were engaged in September 2007, while sister Deborah, 26, and Kenneth Miletto followed suit in December. The Goffredo-Schiavo wedding was scheduled for May 9 with the Goffredo-Miletto union set for Oct. 3.
In February, Lauren Marie, now of 17th and Wolf streets, was online when someone suggested she check out "Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?," a reality series that showcases planners around the country working on dream weddings. In her application, she told of how her sister was stealing her thunder and how her parents had to help finance two weddings in the same year. A call from Style two hours later quickly arranged a two-hour phone interview with the couples, which the sisters videotaped and sent to the network.
"She wanted it just for her wedding, not for my wedding too," Deborah, now of 19th and Bigler streets, said.
Nonetheless, the siblings were told in March they were picked for a fall special with taping to begin in a matter of weeks. Initially reluctant, the brides-to-be were convinced by April to share the spotlight, but there was a conflict — both were to be the other’s maid of honor.
"We were going to change [clothes] at the beginning, but then I was like if I can’t be at your Mass, that’s not fair," Deborah said. "I’m not at my sister’s Mass and you’re not at my Mass because we’re going home to get changed. I don’t want to get out of my wedding gown the day of my wedding."
Added Lauren Marie, "So then we fired each other as our maids of honor and we hired our other sister [Natasha Goffredo]. She was so excited that she had to deal with two brides."
Deborah canceled October’s nuptials to set up something at her sister’s wedding site, St. Monica’s at 2422 S. 17th St., but the two insisted on separate Masses — one at noon, the other at 1:30.
"Then our wedding planner said we couldn’t make people sit through three hours of Mass," Lauren Marie said of James Tramondo, whose services were provided by the network.
Ready to go forward with a double wedding, the girls sat down with their parents Phillip and Deborah.
"We go in and hug them and kiss them," Deborah recalled. "Then we’re like, ‘Mom. Dad. We have to talk to you guys. We decided to save you money. You’re having two weddings in one year. You guys are paying for receptions, so we decided to just share our wedding.’"
With both couples now officially husbands and wives, the family plans to throw a block party when the show airs, complete with a big screen for all to watch.
"Basically, we’re just looking forward to seeing it," Lauren Marie Schiavo said. "It was such a great experience that we had with it."
Added the new Mrs. Kenneth Miletto, "I didn’t really pay attention to what they were filming because we were getting married. I’m curious to see how they’re going to put it all together and show it to the public."
The sisters from 12th and Shunk streets are accustom to happily ever after. Their parents were engaged after just four days of dating and have been married 30 years. The siblings have three others in addition to 28-year-old Natasha, who is set to marry in Guatemala in March: Phillip Jr., 21, and twins Tyler and Travis, 14.
Schiavo, a Peirce College grad, met her future husband, originally of 12th and Latona streets, seven years ago through a mutual friend. The two have been together since Valentine’s Day ’03.
Miletto, a Gwynedd-Mercy grad, met her bridegroom, formerly of the Northeast, through an Internet dating site two years ago. After talking on the phone a few times, their first date was a Phantoms game. Wasting no time, he asked her out for a second date that night.
The siblings were engaged about two years ago with Schiavo’s ring coming in the middle of the night and Miletto’s during her Sunday school class at Stella Maris, 814 Bigler St., which happens to be the sisters’ alma mater.
The big days’ planning was under way before the show came calling — with pink and crystal with a night-club feel for the Schiavos, and a Tuscan Italian wedding with green and pearl for the Milettos — and it became a combined affair.
"Me and Debbie were pretty hesitant to do it at first because we’re so different and we didn’t think we were going to mesh well," Schiavo, an ’03 alumna of St. Maria Goretti High School, 10th and Moore streets, said.
A film crew captured the couples everyday lives, including at the Center City law office where both work — Schiavo as a paralegal and Miletto as a legal secretary — along with the hectic nature of planning a wedding. Thirteen days before the occasion, Tramondo stepped as stress relief for the brides-to-be.
The network also provided hair, makeup, flowers, transportation, photography, dance lessons and honeymoons. The Schiavos had booked a getaway to Fiji and Los Angeles following their ceremony, but the Milettos canceled their trip to Jamaica for an excursion to a nearby winery as they await the network’s location choice.
The traditional serenade, which will be in the show, consisted of hundreds gathered around their parents’ home at Ninth and Johnson streets May 2 with about 20 members of the Avalon String Band. The brides stood on the deck while the grooms serenaded them from below.
At the wedding, 42 members of the bridal party filed into St. Monica’s prior to their father walking both of his daughters down the aisle, one on each arm.
The affair had a fairy-tale ending for the couples and their 325 guests.
"They just did such a wonderful presentation of everything," Schiavo said of Style. "Everything came together. People are still, to this day, talking about our wedding."
Combining themes and personalities was a challenge for the reception held at the La Grande Ballroom at Lucien’s Manor, Berlin, N.J., but both were content with the outcome. A violinist serenaded guests at one end, while the other was transformed into a nightclub.
"It might have been crazy in the beginning, but overall it turned out perfect," Miletto said. "We both got our moments to shine. I felt so special on that day and she felt special on that day and that’s what my mom was worried about — making sure that we both felt special and we did."
Neither has regrets about sharing her big day and both would do it all over again.
"It’s just something special now we can share our anniversary if we decide to do something or go somewhere," Schiavo said.
"Maybe in 10 years we might have to do another big thing," Miletto said. "Maybe we’ll do it at where I was supposed to get married or something — if they’re not mad at me for canceling."