A Vegas-style wedding chapel quietly opened in Patchogue this winter, and the love and warmth inside stands in stark contrast to the lingering snow.
Newlyweds Leann and Lou Pisano of Patchogue are making it their mission to offer unforgettable, intimate marriage ceremonies and vow renewals, with complete focus on the couple — available for under $200.
“If you love each other, and you want to make that commitment, we are here to help you share and expand on that love,” Leann said.
No matter the religious background or sexual orientation, the chapel at 124 Medford Ave., Suite C, welcomes all people and strives to make their wedding day one to remember.
At the bottom of a stairway in a building shared with a personal injury attorney and — only coincidentally — a divorce lawyer, visitors will find a room decked out in flowers, quality fabrics, fairy string lights and a little bear representing the flower girl.
After falling ill with COVID-19 and surviving the virus together, the couple’s love only grew stronger, they say.
They were married in September at Swan Lake in East Patchogue. The small ceremony was officiated by Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri.
It was special, emotional, and didn’t break the bank for the couple after they had come to struggle financially after their COVID bouts.
Acquiring a wedding officiate, finding a church for the ceremony, and booking a venue can be expensive, the couple says.
That’s not even speaking to the reception, as the average cost of a wedding on Long Island is currently $60,000.
“When we were both sick with COVID, neither one of us was working. At the time I wasn’t getting any help being in the healthcare industry and I was out four months,” she said. “It was something we could afford and it was beautiful.”
After having such a positive experience with her own ceremony, Leann thought it would be a great idea to provide the same service for those who may not have the means to have an extravagant wedding, or had to postpone their wedding due to pandemic concerns.
She researched becoming an ordained minister and before putting together her little chapel, made sure she was compliant with the state laws.
“My wife did her homework,” Lou said.
The Long Island Wedding Chapel offers several kinds of wedding packages on its website, ranging from the simple “Vegas-style” wedding for $150 to an all-inclusive ceremony.
The ceremony can be performed at the Patchogue location, or wherever the couple requests. They will travel.
Couples are allowed up to two witnesses, the chapel holds about 10 people, and either Leann and Lou, both ordained ministers, can perform the ceremony.
Other offerings include a green-screen for a preferred background, photography, traditional wedding music, fresh flowers, and a special spa day package for the bride and groom at Eloisa Beauty Center Spa next door.
Leann said they are looking to grow the chapel, incorporate other local businesses, add more packages, and offer preferred venues as backdrops, such as the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Oakdale.
The couple is also in talks with the Patchogue Chamber of Commerce about setting up a possible Airbnb experience for the bride, groom, and party.
Back in December, they offered free marriages to frontline workers.
“We are a destination and we’re a community,” Leann said. “We are going to work together to help people.”
Lou said simple, unconventional wedding ceremonies are significant and memorable because they remind people why they decided to get married in the first place.
After their own small ceremony, the couple said they no longer have the desire to have a typical wedding.
“These big weddings on Long Island, they are for the family and friends, the wife and groom don’t really get a chance to actually enjoy their own day,” Lou said.
“The priority here is to actually celebrate the couple’s love.”
Top: Leann and Lou Pisano in front of the alter they created for The Long Island Wedding Chapel on Route 112 Patchogue. (Ana Borruto)