Like many modern couples, Stephen Caruso and Michael Fomby’s romance began online.
In summer 2014, Michael was making the move to Kansas City from Texas, having accepted an internist position in the area. A couple of weeks before his arrival, he decided to dip his toe in the local dating pool by signing up for a Plenty of Fish account. That same day, he connected with Stephen.
The two hit it off and, when they met in person, Stephen, an operations manager for a local business services company, made a lasting impression. He set up a KC-themed tour, complete with stops by The Roasterie, Crown Center, Gates BBQ and Penn Valley Park.
“I think we knew right away that we were it for each other,” admits Stephen. The two went on to date for the next 18 months, buying a house and navigating a long-distance stretch along the way before Michael popped the question.
“We were discussing future plans while cooking dinner one night, when Michael said, ‘We need to make it official,’” says Stephen. “He took the knee and proposed in front of the stove. I gladly accepted, utensil in hand.”
For the better part of a year, the two worked with Sarah Quinlivan of Quintessential Events to iron out plans for an over-the-top event to be held at the Uptown Theatre. They also tapped Tyler Wirken of Wirken Photography to capture the day.
“I don’t really do anything by half,” admits Stephen. “We didn’t want a boilerplate wedding, we wanted to make it about our guests—something that would be a positive, uplifting and captivating experience for everyone.”
And from the moment their loved ones arrived to the venue, where the couples’ names hung in the marquee, it was clear that it would be a night to remember.
Fire dancers waved their flaming batons outside, while a red carpet unfolded in the Uptown’s grand entry. A step-and-repeat of their wedding emblem served as the backdrop for the paparazzi-inspired entrance, complete with strobe flashes and a photographer on hand to mimic the madness of an award show.
Inside the theater, guests snagged flutes of Champagne off the brass hoop skirt of a strolling performer, before sneaking off to Visual FX’s 360-camera booth for some pre-ceremony shots. Once everyone took a seat at their assigned tables, which doubled as ceremony and dinner seating, the couple made their grand entrance.
Taking advantage of the venue’s size, Michael and Stephen each walked their own aisle to the orchestral sounds of The Mission theme, meeting on center stage.
Stephen donned a custom Paolini Garment dinner jacket with metallic gold and royal blue underlay, paired with navy tuxedo trousers and Magnanni loafers. Michael opted for a classic navy Hugo Boss suit and Ferragamo loafers.
The wedding party—a mix of groomsmen and “brosmaids”—impressed in navy Joseph Abboud tuxedos and Amsale sequin gowns.
Following the kiss, the evening’s entertainment began with a bang—an in-your-face version of “One Night Only” from Dreamgirls kicked off on stage, while aerial performers from MoonDrop Circus swung overhead on silks. Guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvre and cocktails, among acrobalance routines, stilt walkers and the sounds of 2 Proud 2 Beg playing a mix of Motown, disco and R&B.
During dinner, guests savored everything from beef tenderloin drizzled in mushroom thyme sauce to bourbon-glazed salmon to fusilli with broccoli, artichoke hearts and shaved parmesan.
Meanwhile, loved ones took to the stage offering speeches, including an awards-style “Best Couple” toast presented by the best man and best matron. Afterwards, everyone hit the dance floor, stopping briefly to enjoy a profiterole-wrapped confection from Adorn Cakes by Aleta.
To cap the night, the newlyweds snuck away to the theater’s upstairs balcony to say thanks to their loved ones before releasing hundreds of balloons onto the party below and making a quick, sparkler-lit departure outside into a vintage Bentley.
WHO DID WHAT
Ceremony + reception: Uptown Theater
Event planning: Sarah Quinlivan of Quintessential Events
Catering: Uptown Theater
Cake: Adorn Cakes by Aleta
Flowers: Michael Stringer, Kansas City Flower Co.
Invitations + program: Marie Baldwin, Cherry Street Studio
Custom emblem: Marie Baldwin, Cherry Street Studio
Photography: Tyler Wirken of Wirken Photography
Videographer: Brandon Parigo
360 camera: Visual FX
Grooms’ attire: Custom, Paolini Garment; Hugo Boss, Nordstrom
Grooms’ hair + grooming: Joey Brooks/Mitch Cotter of
Hudson Hawk Barber & Shop
Groomsmen: Joseph Abboud Tuxedos
Bridesmaids: Amsale, Bella Bridesmaids
Brosmaids’ hair: Chop Tops
Hair and grooming: Chop Tops, Hudson Haw
rRings: David Yurman
Music: 2 Proud 2 Beg
Entertainment: MoonDrop Circus
Specialty lighting: Platinum Productions