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Buffalo behind the scenes at Martha Stewart-style wedding

The Sun Valley wedding of Buffalo-native Peter Shanley had such elegant storybook style that this month's Martha Stewart Weddings magazine put him and his bride on the cover.

While his hometown contributions, with their behind-the-scenes servings of saucy hot wings, didn't make the inside pages, they did add a certain quirky charm to the swanky affair.

Prewedding picnic chicken wings were Fed-Exed from the Anchor Bar, and guests brought Bison French Onion chip dip and homemade cookies with them on the plane.

The spread in the April issue played up the sprigs of lavender on the guests' napkins and table place cards displayed on birch branches, yet Shanley says his Buffalo roots also helped him know that the snowshoeing woman he met at a friend's New Year's Eve party in Idaho was the one for him.

And, Buffalo people -- from his parents to mates from City Honors class of '99 who did some break dancing after dinner -- helped make his wedding a memorable blast last summer. "Although our wedding looked kind of perfect, it was not stuffy at all," Shanley said.

The day before Shanley and Pauline Montupet exchanged vows by a creek at the historic resort town where Hemingway wrote and fished, a casual picnic featured Sahlen's hot dogs, Fowler's sponge candy and the wings, which Shanley celebrated by wearing a big wing-shaped orange hat.

"Some of my friends were kind of laughing that it kind of felt like a church picnic," said Shanley, speaking by phone from San Francisco, where he works as product director and website developer for Hewlett Packard.

In fact, his strong connection to his Buffalo church led Ward Ewing, former minister of Trinity Church, to fly in from Tennessee to marry the couple.

Most of the well-detailed Martha Stewart quality of the wedding was the doing of the bride, whose parents have a vacation house in Sun Valley. An alumna of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Montupet has a wardrobe-styling business and has helped create the look of the online catalogs of The Gap and Banana Republic.

A friend's sister who works for Martha Stewart Weddings thought the wedding at the historic ski resort was just right for the magazine.

While the couple didn't get paid, being selected for the "real" weddings edition, along with the surprise of getting picked for the cover, was its own reward.

"It's pretty cool and fun to see it," Montupet said. "There was a lot of hot glue gunning."

The rustic-yet-polished "Love on High" photos on Pages 102-109 feature the bride's chignon fixed with her grandmother's 200-year-old tortoise-shell comb and her bridesmaids in caramel-colored dresses designed by a friend and dyed with pear and walnut leaves. A "Wild West" font was used for the invitations and for a custom-made letter "P" carved in wood and perched atop the honey-spice wedding cake.

A favorite Buffalo-infused highlight for the bride included the Jim's-Steak-out-esque subs made with wing sauce and blue cheese and served at the end of the evening: "Which everybody loved and devoured at midnight after a lot of dancing," she said.

It was a thrill this month for Shanley's mother, Judy, to glance over at the Wegmans' magazine rack and notice, "Oh, my God, it's here!"

To think about the wedding now, Shanley's parents remember tying a lot of knots -- the guests' names were slung as signs on chair backs and how well-planned it was. With four days worth of gatherings, the Shanelys felt free to spend hours and hours sitting with family and old friends and "sharing the magic moments of our lives."

"It was probably the most elegant wedding that we've ever been at," said Steve Shanley, a retired Buffalo school psychologist.

For his son, his romance and marriage led him to reflect on Buffalo's place in his heart.

"My wife actually laughs at how often I bring up Buffalo. For people who aren't from there, they don't really understand," said Shanley, 30.

"You kind of have this loyalty to this place that you came from, the place that gives you this foundation. It's the blend of the small town and the metropolitan cosmopolitan stuff. It makes good people," he said.

When he met Montupet five years ago, her directness and penchant for living in the moment, attracted him and made him think of the city's blue-collar honesty. He said Pauline made him remember his friends in high school, and added, "She made me feel like I was young again."

Instead of worrying and planning as he had during his sometimes stressful undergraduate studies of political science and psychology at Yale University, he felt relaxed around her.

"We're so grounded in each other there's no fears," he said. "We don't need to over-think it And she's gorgeous."