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Inspiration can be so helpful when planning a wedding, but it can also become overwhelming, which is why I can completely understand why Gabriella and Colin were so thankful to have their wedding planner, Eventi by Diana Venditto, helping them edit down all the adorable ideas that they came across. Together, they chose to include meaningful details that were not only sentimental, but also oh so fun, like their bow tie bar and their balloon release! While it was a fun experience for guests, releasing the balloons was also a sweet nod to Gabriella’s parents, who released balloons at their wedding many years before. Including subtle details like this, and having all their friends and family along to celebrate, made Gabriella feel like “the luckiest girl in the world!” Y’all, I hope every bride feels that way!

We’re so lucky Marta Locklear was on hand to capture this beautiful day!

I grew up on an island on the Chesapeake Bay–our house on the Magothy River has the most beautiful sunsets. We have a large, close-knit family and lifelong family friends on the island who were all an important part of the wedding weekend. I always knew I wanted to get married on the Island, and having our whole extended family and my island family involved in our wedding was so special.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Diana set up a beautiful bow tie bar, where we asked guests to exchange their traditional ties for bright bow ties! We also walked down the aisle to music by a live bluegrass band.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many little details! Diana, our wedding planner, did such an amazing job tying them all together. It’s really easy to go on Pinterest and decide you want to do every adorable thing you see. Diana really understood our vision and did a great job editing what we wanted to make it special without being overwhelming. The groomsmen and ring bearers wore bow ties that matched the napkins, menus, save the dates, invites, etc. We also had a bow tie bar! I think the most special and meaningful part of the wedding was when we released balloons after the ceremony. It is something my parents did at their wedding, so it just felt like such a beautiful, subtle way to honor them.

Our main dessert was s’mores! We wanted to do something casual and fun. My parents have a fire pit that created the perfect bonfire. Our caterer, Sascha’s, makes their own marshmallows with coconut, and we provided all different chocolates to use in the s’mores. We also had a small chocolate wedding cake so we could do a traditional cake cutting.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the night, the DJ started to play “Piano Man.” All of a sudden, in such an organic way, the entire dance floor made a big circle, singing along arm in arm. I remember looking around the room and seeing both of our our families and friends from all different parts of our lives, from near and far, all together. It was such a powerful moment for me. I knew our wedding would be such a special day for Colin and I, but I never realized I would truly feel like the luckiest girl in the world!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Colin and I met while working for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Colin started working for Brady after surviving the Virginia Tech massacre (he was shot four times). He is a passionate advocate for gun violence prevention. I started working at Brady after college, before I joined Teach for America.
Tell us all about the proposal! He surprised me at school! He had a whole plan set up with my principal and the other teachers at my school. They set up a meeting with me at the end of the day, and then Colin showed up. I was really confused at first, but then he got down on one knee. Neither of us can remember what he said! We immediately called our families and friends. Everyone was so happy for us–it was just a great day.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 260
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. When I showed my mother and mother-in-law-to-be the dress I had ordered online, they politely told me I should return it. The next day, my mother offered to take me to a bridal salon, which is where I chose my gorgeous Vera Wang gown.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Both my parents and Colin’s parents have amazing marriages, and they have both modeled to us what a happy, healthy marriage looks like. I think it was the best gift they could have given us.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? It was really hard to set our budget! I think having a wedding planner helped us set and stick to our budget because she had a better understanding of how much things would cost. She also helped us figure out what to spend money on and decide what wasn’t as important.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? All of our vendors were just incredible. I would call our planner, Diana, with an idea and she would take it, run with it, and come back with something so perfect. She really was the magic behind the whole wedding! We also had an amazing caterer, Sascha’s, who took our vision and created a fantastic menu that really complemented our wedding. There were bacon straws, s’mores, and Southern bbq–we were in heaven!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are really just enjoying our time together! In the future, we hope to start a family.

Photographer: Marta Locklear / Videographer: Bowen Films / Planner and Florist: Eventi by Diana Venditto / Caterer: Sascha’s / DJ: Marc Wilner / Band: Skribe / Paper Products: MLC Design / Bride’s Gown: “Delaney” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Veil: Vera Wang / Hair Stylist: Rumors Hair Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Michael Kors / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Menswear: J. Crew / Photo Booth: Pixilated Photobooth

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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The phrase “beach wedding” can stir up some cheesy connotations, but I daresay that people whose minds automatically go to Hawaiian shirts and stargazer lilies have never been to a coastal wedding in the South! From Rosemary Beach to the Outer Banks to St. Simon’s Island (where today’s gorgeous celebration was held), Southern brides certainly know how to turn a beach locale into a completely elegant place to tie the knot. Lindsey and Daniel chose St. Simon’s Island for their wedding because her small hometown wasn’t easy to travel to from New York or DC, where Daniel’s family lives. That was only the first of many ways they infused their day with Southern hospitality, and I imagine their Northern guests left both totally enchanted with the South and grateful to have witnessed such a meaningful union.

Thanks so much to The Willetts for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! By accident, after a day of shopping with my Mom in NYC, I found a pair of blue shoes that I loved. They ended up being my wedding shoes. Danny gave me a pair of pearl and diamond earrings, and I borrowed my maternal grandmother’s pearl bracelet.

I always loved my mom’s long-sleeve lace wedding dress, which she actually borrowed from her best friend. Once I was engaged, I asked my mom if she thought it was possible for me to also borrow it for my wedding. Unfortunately, the dress had not been preserved well and I couldn’t get it zipped, so I began looking for my own version of a long-sleeve lace dress. I finally found it in New York City and I love it more than anything! Nothing would make me happier than to see my sisters wear it someday too.

My favorite part about any wedding is seeing the groom’s face when the bride walks down the aisle. It is such a beautiful and emotional moment to watch. I definitely wanted to experience that moment at my own wedding, so being the traditionalist that I am, we did not do a first look.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our ceremony. From the beginning, I knew I did not want a big wedding, and our ceremony turned out perfectly. It was in a small white chapel overlooking the water, and we were surrounded by 130 of our closest family members and friends. Of course, arriving at the reception was a lot of fun too, because I finally got to see all of my ideas brought to life. Everything was just perfect!

I’m from a small town in southwest Georgia, and it is not the easiest place to travel to from New York City or DC (where Danny’s family lives). I’m too traditional and practical to have a true destination wedding, so we finally decided on St. Simons Island, Georgia. It was still close to home, and it was at the beach, and a place I grew to love during my college days. Getting to St. Simon’s was easy for everyone too, so it made perfect sense for us.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The best Southern combination, in my opinion, is boiled peanuts and beer, preferably at the beach. I made sure that a big bucket of fresh boiled peanuts was at the bar so everyone (including the Northerners in attendance) could indulge in my Southern favorite with me!

My best friend in New York City, Emily Ellison Sharp of Emily Ellison Studio, is a florist. She has the best taste and unbelievable talent. I knew from the beginning that I wanted her to do my flowers and I completely trusted her with all of my ideas. The flowers are something people are talking about today. Everything was absolutely gorgeous!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Just wait until you are married! It is SO much fun!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Danny and I were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend in New York City. Our first date was dinner at a cute West Village restaurant on Banks Street. Unfortunately, a new restaurant opened in its place, but we still go back on March 29 (the anniversary of our first date) every year!
Tell us all about the proposal! Danny knows how much I love the beach (summer or winter–it doesn’t matter!). For Christmas, he gave me an overnight trip to our favorite place in The Hamptons. Before dinner, he insisted that we go to “our” beach to see it in the snow–a phenomenon I’m not familiar with, being from the South. Not expecting what happened next, I looked down and Danny was on one knee in 12 inches of snow, with more snow falling on the windy beach. It was like being in a real life snow globe! I said yes, and we ran back to the car so that he could officially put the ring on my finger. That night, we enjoyed a beautiful dinner at an old inn in East Hampton by the wood-burning fire. It was magical!
When did y’all get married? April 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we did not write our own vows. However, Danny and I agreed that the ceremony was the most important part of our wedding, so we had our preacher from New York City marry us so that it was someone we both knew well and who knew us as a couple. During our ceremony, our preacher said, “Love must act as light must shine and fire must burn.” I find the quote so beautiful and relevant in our very practical day-to-day life and relationship.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are in the process of buying an apartment in New York City (gulp!). I can’t wait to start our life together in our new home and enjoy living in one of the greatest cities in the world! Of course, decorating our home will be fun too! We are truly so grateful!

Photographer: The Willetts / Videographer: Todd Urick Films / Ceremony Venue: Lovely Lane Chapel at Epworth by the Sea / Reception Venue: Village Creek Landing / Florist: Emily Ellison Studio / Caterer and Cake Baker: Halyards Restaurant / Rentals: Beachview / Band: Sandy B and the Allstars / Painted Details: Ashley Curry / Paper Product Printing: Dabney Lee / Bride’s Fascinator: LeFlowers / Bride’s Shoes: French Sole New York / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Custom by Holland and Sherry Bespoke

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Elizabeth L. reply

    Beautiful pictures, and I love the advice from their preacher!

  2. avatar Sabrina reply

    I’m in love with the bride’s dress! Could you tell me what label it is ?

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Along with the many wedding pros and vendor friends we asked to share their favorite thing about marriage for V7, we also asked someone else who is very special: you! We loved opening up this question to our dear readers on social media, and are excited to share some of the sweet responses we received!

Eric Kelley

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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