Wedding bells to ring at Brecknock Hall again, for free

Dylan Padworski of Mattituck never thought he’d see his older brother Alexander cry. On May 15 he witnessed the tears of joy flow.

Alexander Padworski, 32, of Mattituck and his fiancée, Heather Tricoli, 34, of Chicago, Ill., were selected as the winners of Peconic Landings 12th annual Veterans Day Wedding Giveback.

“Everybody was overjoyed,” Dylan Padworski said. “It was nice to surprise him. He was very happy, his fiancé was very happy, they both cried.”

The contest provides a complete wedding and reception at Peconic Landing’s Brecknock Hall on Sunday, Nov. 10, in honor of Veterans Day. Chosen by a panel of Peconic Landing members, the prize includes $65,000 worth of products and services, from food and flowers to photography and live music, all donated by local businesses and organizations intending to create a fairy tale wedding for the couple.

The Veterans Day Wedding Giveback began in 2011 to thank Long Island’s military personnel and recognize them for their service to the country. The annual contest is open to both active and veteran service members.

The couple was told the good news at a surprise reveal with various family members present in person as well as through Zoom.

Alex Padworski “embodies the very essence of service,” said Peconic Landing president and CEO Robert Syron.

“This couple’s dedication to our nation, along with their inspiring commitment to each other, epitomizes the spirit of the Veterans Day Wedding Giveback. Peconic Landing is honored to host Alex and Heather as they embark on their journey together.”

Heather Tricoli and Alexander Padworski, boatswains mate first class in the U.S. Navy, got engaged in January in Disney World. (Peconic Landing Courtesy Photo)

Alex Padworski’s journey to becoming a boatswain’s mate, first class in the U.S. Navy started in Mattituck.

“I was a member of NJROTC [at Mattituck High School] and was heavily inspired by Senior Chief [Charlie] Turner who taught my classes — he is still a mentor to me today in and out of the Navy,” he said. “The North Fork is a place I will always consider home, even after living all around the world for the past 12 1/2 years.”

Currently stationed on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy in Virginia, Alex Padworski has been in active-duty service since 2011. His career has been marked by commendations, accolades and awards including the Navy/MC achievement medal, Good Conduct Medal, GW-Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

The couple got engaged in January 2024, when Alex Padworski proposed to Ms. Tricoli with a ring at the Palm Restaurant in Disney World after dating for two years. They met online after his return from a 10-month deployment, but their love quickly flourished over dinners and adventures in Richmond and Williamsburg, Va.

Sponsors for this year’s Veterans Giveback include Amanda Seely Photography, Arni Paperie, Beautiful by Dina, Blooms by Design, Brecknock Hall, Bridge Lane Wine, By Hand Catering, Dr. Beat, East End Events Catering, Ever Eventful, Fresh Face Photo Booths, Greenport Brewing Co., Greenport Wines & Liquor, Jerri’s Cakes & Confections, KP Designs, Mad Fashion Love XO, McBurnie Tent, NJROTC, North Fork Bridal Shoppe, North Fork Picture Cars, Riverhead Flower Shop, Southold Fish Market, Sterlington Deli, Sugar Magnolias Flowers, The Shoals, Times Review Media Group, Vineyard Vans, and White Diamond Video.

“Congratulations to two lucky people that are a big part of this country,” Dylan Padworski said about his brother and his fiancée. “What a wonderful thing. I’m happy for them.”