Wedding Party

Dustin Bengtson


Dustin is Mandy's oldest brother. While they didn't grow up in the same house they have grown very close over the past several years, since Mandy moved out west. Dustin and his family (wife Karla and children Carter and Avery) meet up with Mandy, Tony, and Gaia at least once a year for Thanksgiving. Tony and Dustin have bonded over their shared love of cooking and good beer (plus teasing Mandy, of course), and they enjoy tag teaming the Thanksgiving meal preparations. Dustin is a Deputy Operations Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Cottage Grove, Oregon. He spends his downtime chasing Carter and Avery in their many extracurricular activities and adventuring in the mountains and on the coast.

Gaia & Evie

Flower Girls

Gaia and Evie have been best friends since before they were born. Their parents (Mandy & Ethan) met in prenatal yoga and stayed in touch throughout pregnancy and beyond. The girls were in daycare together for a year and shared a nanny (Holly) for another year. Their families still get together frequently, and the girls are like sisters. They know how to be loving and kind, but they also know how to push each other's buttons. They are excited to share the role of flower girl in the wedding! It will be adorable!

Breezy Salmonsen

Bridal Attendant (in spirit)

Mandy and Breezy met a few months before Mandy moved to Truckee, California. They were destined for friendship. After Mandy migrated to Truckee, they spent countless hours talking, hiking, sharing meals with friends, and relaxing on the public docks of Donner Lake. Breezy was the biggest supporter of Mandy and Tony's relationship from the very beginning, and continues to be an important part of their lives. In fact, Breezy and husband Reuben are one set of Gaia's godparents. Breezy is a Physicians Assistant and works in reproductive health. She enjoys volunteering, mountain biking, hiking with her dog Noodle, and cross country skiing in her downtime. Breezy and her husband Reuben had a sweet baby boy (Bodie) in May 2023 and moved across the country. She won't be able to make the wedding, but she will be there in spirit and in our hearts. We LOVE YOU BREEZY!

Allison Bonanno

Bridal Attendant

Mandy and Allison became friends several years ago in Las Vegas. They bonded over climbing and hot yoga and spent many hours in the kitchen preparing meals together. Allison is also a master hair stylist (a stylist to the stars!). Even though Mandy lives in Reno, she flies to Vegas at least twice a year to get her hair cut by Allison. Haircut trips are a fun excuse to meet up in person and enjoy some much-needed conversation. In her free time, Allison enjoys running 5k races, cooking, puttering around in her backyard garden paradise, practicing Pilates, going to live musical theater productions, and writing (she is authoring a book!).

LeAnna Conley

Bridal Attendant

Mandy and LeAnna met in Las Vegas through the climbing community and founded the Apathetic Climbers Association. They would often meet-up to climb and decide instead to skip the whole activity and just hike in the desert and talk. Mandy still gets to see LeAnna on haircutting trips to Las Vegas. LeAnna has a big heart and is a counselor in a rural Nevada school district. During her freetime, LeAnna enjoys hiking (especially near their home in Blue Diamond, Nevada), loving on her two dogs (Oscar and Butters), mountain biking, and climbing with her husband Adam. LeAnna is also a volunteer at an animal shelter in Las Vegas and helped Mandy to find and adopt Frankie. She is a gifted doggie matchmaker!

Ethan Clift

Bridal Attendant

Mandy and Ethan met at prenatal yoga in Reno and stayed in touch throughout their pregnancies. Their daughters were born three days apart and have become like twins after two years of shared childcare. Mandy and Ethan have grown equally close over the past three years and still meet up regularly for play dates and to talk about work and life. Ethan is a CEO of a music software start-up company (Tonic Audio) that he runs with his wife Allie. In his downtime, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, crafting (quilts are his current passion), and learning stick and poke tattoo artistry. The girls (Evie and Gaia) will be flower girls together at the wedding. Prepare yourself for the cuteness!

Vanessa Helfrick-Paulus

Bridal Attendant

Mandy and Vanessa met at prenatal yoga class in Reno before they gave birth in the middle of the pandemic. The two reconnected more than a year later and bonded through toddler play dates and navigating the shared parenting journey. Vanessa has two beautiful boys with her husband Nathan, and the families meet-up regularly to share meals and fun kid-friendly activities. Vanessa works as a social services consultant. In her free-time, she enjoys yoga, paddle boarding, hiking, community events, local politics (she completed the EMERGE program!), and enjoying sweet moments with her family and friends.

Steve Gesualdo


Tony has known Steve since 1984 when Steve was born...they're brothers! Only 22 months apart, they grew up together as partners in crime and competitors. Steve is the younger brother who excels at most things he does. As the boys grew older, they physically went in different directions, but Steve has always been there when needed. Since 2007 Steve has lived in Madison, Wisconsin. After moving there, he met and married his wife Jess and they now have two boys, Cam and Jax. Steve and Tony try to see each other every year or two, often for holidays or on a beach, and now with the families in tow.

John Watson


John and Tony met in high school after Tony moved to Georgia in the late 90s but only became tight a few years later when they became roommates in Athens, Georgia. Living in Athens through their 20s, they enjoyed good times and supported each other as they grew and learned. John and Tony’s friendship is brotherly in that it always feels comfortable no matter the time elapsed. John now lives in Maine with his wife, Emily, and their two girls, where they live on a small family farm and micro-roast coffee.

Tony Rice


Tony and Tony crossed paths in restaurants in 2004 in Athens, GA. After some hard-headed work disagreements, they went out for a drink and became quick friends. Since then, they have worked together in multiple restaurants, played music together, and shared a lot of memories. Tony R. stays in contact the most, calling regularly to check in and chat about life. Tony R. still lives in Georgia with his wife Jen and daughter Denver. Because of their insightful chats on the phone, Tony and his wife Jen are one set of Gaia's godparents.

Cody Stock


Cody and Tony have worked together for over two years, being the only two steady geologists for a junior gold exploration company. Tony met Cody in graduate school at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where they overlapped for a semester with the same advisor. Beyond geology, they share many interests, including their love of the outdoors, music, and strange humor. Originally from Burley, Idaho, Cody now lives in Reno but spends much of his off-time traveling the world and traveling the wilds of Nevada for work.

Bengtson-Gesualdo Nieces and Nephews

Honorary Wedding Attendants

All 10 of Mandy and Tony's nieces and nephews will march down the the aisle as honorary wedding attendants. Look out for:

Reid, Gavin, Emmy & Sadie Bengtson

Carter & Avery Bengtson

Julia & Jacob Russ

Camden & Jaxson Gesualdo

Stephanie Bengtson

Mother of the Bride

Stephanie (Mandy's mom) is known as Mom, Grandma, and Mormor to her 3 children and 7 granchildren and adored by all. She and Dave live in Cape Girardeau, MO and make an annual trip in their travel trailer to visit Mandy, Tony, and Gaia every summer. Even though she lives far away, she remains close to Gaia with regular video chat calls. Stephanie is a retired education program administrator and has been enjoying retirement days quilting and joining Dave as his "Doordash co-pilot".

Dave Bengtson

Father of the Bride

Dave (Mandy's dad) is affectionately known by Gaia as Morfar(!). He and Stephanie have 3 children and 7 granchildren and live in Cape Girardeau, MO. Since retiring from a long career in agriculture, Dave has taken up driving for both work and pleasure. He drives for Doordash and for a local auto dealership. More importantly, he and Stephanie make a cross country drive with their travel trailer each summer to visit Mandy, Tony, and Gaia. With a little arm twisting you may convince Dave to get out on the river to fly fish, but he is always game for tackling house projects with Tony.

Carolyn Gesualdo

Mother of the Groom

Carolyn has been loving and supportive through the years to all her children and now grandchildren. She is grandmother to 5, and she is great about communicating with them and constantly teaching them new things. Carolyn enjoys the simple things in life, like outdoor adventures and time with family. While her children and their families are spread across the country, she enjoys having everyone together and pushes for it as often as possible.

Richard Gesualdo

Father of the Groom

Rich passed in 2008, but has still been present through the influence he had on Tony. Among many other things, Rich taught Tony to do his best in everything and do it to completion. Dad humor was made for Rich. He loved baseball and could talk about it for hours. He was a smart, curious, strong-willed, dorky, and unconditionally loving father. Rich is greatly missed but he is here in spirit.

Jeffrey James Binney

Reception MC

Jeff has been a part of Mandy's life since middle school when they met at music camp and became quick friends. They were close throughout high school, doing all kinds of geeky music activities together, marching band, concert band, choir, show choir dance captains. (Can we say jazz hands?) They also competed in a number of vocal and instrumental small ensembles, taking Missouri's music competitions by storm. Jeff left Missouri after college to pursue a career in musical theater and comedy (from NYC to LA). While keeping his day job in the tech world, Jeff produced a hilarious and heartwarming documentary telling the story of his journey to becoming an ultrarunner. Check out his film "Once is Enough". Jeff and Mandy have remained friends over the years, and we are thrilled to have him MC the wedding reception.