Elena Delle Donne and Amanda Clifton give back with their dream wedding.
Credit: Rebecca Yale
Last year, on November 3rd, in front of 200 of their closest friends and family members, WNBA All-Star and MVP Elena Delle Donne married her longtime girlfriend Amanda Clifton. The two said “I do” at the Hempstead House resort on the North Shore of Long Island, N.Y. It was literally a dream wedding, as Delle Donne and Clifton were selected for The Knot’s Dream Wedding—a highly publicized event in which one lucky couple gets to live out their dreams and have everything planned for them by the best of the best in the wedding industry.
“I don’t know who wouldn’t want The Knot to give you your dream wedding,” Delle Donne laughed during a phone call before the wedding took place. “After we got engaged, my agent called both of us and said that a pretty cool opportunity had come about with a magazine called The Knot. They wanted us to be their first same-sex couple for the Dream Wedding series. She asked if we were interested and of course we were.” Even though Delle Donne and Clifton had kept their relationship and private life out of the spotlight, as the first same-sex couple to appear on The Knot’s Dream Wedding they felt it was a great opportunity to share their love story with the world and help break down some of the harmful stereotypes that still exist about same-sex couples. “Elena has always been super private, and I’m not—in any way, shape, or form,” joked Clifton. “We talked about it and weighed that in, but at the same time we knew it was a great opportunity. We wanted to let people know it’s OK to be gay and be public about it, and normalize what we are.”
“That was another big reason for saying yes to The Knot,” Delle Donne added. “Obviously, it’s great to have them plan the wedding, but to have it out there in People magazine, Us Weekly, and all these different media outlets is what we’re all about—nor- malizing the fact that women get married to women, and men get married to men. It doesn’t matter. The more that people see things in the media and on television, the more they be- come normal, and it’s not such a huge coming-out anymore. So, if we could be a part of that process, that’s what was really important for us.”
Once they were set on moving forward with The Knot, planning the wedding kicked off before the start of the WNBA season. Delle Donne and Clifton sat down with renowned, Brooklyn-based wedding planner Jove Meyer and discussed their likes and dislikes. They said he kept them actively involved in all the details as time progressed, emailing them different options regarding the venue, flowers arrangements, dresses, and rings. Once the All-Star break hit mid-season, Delle Donne was able to take some time to meet with Meyer again, in person and with Clifton by her side. And after a game in New York City, they got together with their moms to sample good food, including four different types of wedding cakes. In the end, they decided on a cake with 11 tiers that stood over six feet high—yet, it was still shorter than Delle Donne.
Another aspect of the planning involved what to do about wedding gifts. As a high-profile couple, Delle Donne and Clifton felt they already had everything they wanted, and made the decision to do something charitable instead. “[The Elena Delle Donne Foundation] gives back to the special needs community. And we like to give back in a way where families who are struggling to take care of their children with special needs have the resources to make it a little bit easier,” Delle Donne said. “Also, the foundation gives money to Lyme disease and treatment. I’ve been dealing with Lyme disease for eight and a half years, and the treatment and diagnosis process isn’t where it should be. The Knot had the idea to set up a registry to give money to the Elena Delle Donne Foundation, and we were immediately, like, yes! So, we were super-excited to have our special day and to be able to give back in some way at the same time.”
“The Knot has made it so seamless, and it took a lot of the stress off of us,” Clifton said. “I know a lot of brides get wrapped up in the tiny details and some things are just out of your control. But we just went with the flow and enjoyed it.” It was the first time that everyone, on both sides of their families, were together at once—and it made their wedding day truly special. That, and finally getting to say “I do” to each other.
“I love how real Amanda is,” Delle Donne beamed. “She’s true to her feelings and can communicate those feelings far better than I’ve ever been able to, and she’s got a huge heart for all the people who are close to her.” “My favorite thing about Elena is kind of the opposite,” Clifton said. “Her willingness to keep everything light and not take life too seriously. She’s always makes everything fun, and says that life is not as serious as I normally take it. She’s the lighthearted one of us.”
It sounds like their Dream Wedding was a dream come true.