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