When Dina Zappone and her husband, Sal, opened their first business in Gilbert six years ago, Zappone’s Italian Bistro, it was a slow process full of humble beginnings. Her newest venture, The Cottage Wedding Venue, experienced no such growing pains.
“It just kind of took off, and I don’t see it slowing down,” Zappone said. “We projected our first year to sell maybe two to four weddings a month, maybe ending the year at 30-40 weddings. Our first year we sold 88 weddings.”
After a massive renovation, the Cottage hosted its first wedding last June. At the end of 2018, the Zappones added a full commercial kitchen so now everything can be done on-site.
The property, located on Gilbert Road just north of Warner, holds up to 150 people with most weddings averaging around 75-100 guests.
“Our biggest thing here is all-inclusive, affordable packages,” Zappone said. “We don’t think that weddings need to be expensive.”
Another perk: The packages are completely customizable.
“We can do as little as a la carte, or we can do every single thing for you,” Zappone said.
The Zappones now run a total of three local businesses—the restaurant, a catering company called Z Catering and the wedding venue.
“On a given Saturday we’ll run a 100-person wedding here, and then have two vans doing 100- to 150-
[person events]at two other locations—plus the restaurant is open,” Zappone said.
Zappone said it is a lot to balance, especially with two children, so the plan is to sell the restaurant. In fact, it is already on the market.
“The three businesses have really thrived in the last year, and it’s awesome, but it’s not something we can keep up,” Zappone said.
Catering is how Zappone first got introduced to the wedding industry, and she said she liked it right away. While it can be a stressful business for some, Zappone said she feels right at home on the big day.
“This is my industry, so I’d like to think I’m pretty prepared,” she said. “I’ve been doing this since I was 7, so 37 years, and I’ve probably put on a thousand weddings and parties.”
The Cottage Wedding Venue
535 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert
Hours: by appointment