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And now for the wedding as Diva Productions saw it! Remember, if you're having issues with the video loading, press play, then press pause and wait for it to load completely before you watch it. It's so worth it.
Mike and I were set up on a blind date by two of our long time college friends. We had all attended Louisiana State University together, but Mike and I had never laid eyes on each other. Neither one of us expected much of the set up as he lived in Chicago and played major league baseball and I had a career and family back in Louisiana, but after the first date, we never looked back.
According to Mike, he started planning the proposal in February of 2009 after only knowing each other six months, but it wasn’t until October that it actually played out. Unfortunately all of his planned romantic ideas fell through and we ended up on the couch one night after his home cooked meal, catching up on our favorite TV shows that we missed during baseball season on the DVR. He couldn’t wait any longer and he popped the question… and of course my answer was yes.
The wedding plans started right away as we had a lot to figure out with location and a date. I was set on a destination wedding and Destin sounded great since I consider it my second home. He only needed a date to work around the baseball season that allows him free time for 3 short months out of a year. After meeting with a few locations in the San Destin area, we decided on Carillon Beach. Not only was the location perfect, but our coordinator, Victoria Valpone, sat with us and planned our dream day out detail by detail over coffee in the very lawn we would have the reception.
We even had a few unexpected changes throughout the engagement when my husband was traded from the Chicago Cubs to San Francisco and the Giants took their season to the very end winning the World Series! We originally thought we would get back to Louisiana in October to finalize all the last minute details; we instead did not get home until November 7, just a few short weeks before the wedding. Fortunately Victoria, and her very helpful assistant, Avis, worked their magic and helped tie up all lose ends while we communicated via telephone from the opposite end of the country. And who would complain about a World Series Championship!
Once the date and location were set, it was time to pick vendors. I have to be honest and say we let Carillon Weddings direct us on all of these, but we were more than pleased with every last detail. Our photographers were amazing. Paul and Mecheal Johnson took some of the most beautiful bridal shots of me a few weeks before the wedding. Their choice of scenery and the way they caught the slightest smirks and expressions truly amazed us. And the wedding was no short of that. Our only problem was how we were going to choose which pictures to include in our wedding album!! Every picture they took was incredible.
We had one main request for the reception, and that was a great band that would have everyone up and dancing… and we got exactly that. We selected Meet the Press from the Gulf Coast and worked with Robert Collier on song selections. They learned Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing” as our first dance and played many of our other favorites from all decades. When I tell you they had everyone on their feet, I am not exaggerating. My grandmother even shocked us all when she spent her night on the dance floor and even got up on stage. We wanted a reception where the music was appealing to all ages and brought everyone together, and “Meet the Press” did an amazing job accomplishing this!
One of the last touches we added was a cinematography and it was the best decision made! We had thought all along that our pictures would capture all the details we needed. But as we realized how quickly the engagement process was flying by and we could barely remember details from the showers and parties, we opted to book a videographer to capture the day of the wedding for us. I emailed and talked with Joanna Banks-Morgan of Diva Productions for a few weeks up to the wedding about certain things that would take place that weekend and how much coverage we wanted. They participated in the rehearsal to see how everything would play out and then showed up Saturday morning ready to go. A few short weeks after the ceremony they had a trailer put together that showed some of the best clips from the wedding like we were the stars to a new movie about to be released. Once we got the video, we sat back and relived every last detail. We were able to see what each other was doing minutes before the “I Do’s” and it showed us scenes we never even knew took place because we couldn’t be everywhere. We have all ready watched it about a dozen times and can’t wait to show our children one day!
As an Italian family, we have a few traditions that we have started and each wedding they get bigger and better. For my family, “That’s Amore” started as a favorite song of one of my great uncles. On a family vacation in Destin, it was a joke that all the cousins sang it one night and now it has stuck. At each of our weddings, the cousins all get to the front of the stage, sit the bride on the groom’s lap, and sing along to "That’s Amore," showing the love and closeness that we all share! In my opinion, there is not better song about love and was a perfect part of our reception!
Cinematography: Diva Productions / Photography: Paul Johnson Photography / Venues: Meeting House & Village Green by Carillon Weddings / Coordinators: Victoria Volpone & Avis Johnson for Carillon Weddings / Officiant: Edwin Caraballo / Catering: Townsend Catering / Floral & Event Decor: Nouveau Flowers / Band: Meet the Press / Cake: Confections on the Coast / Ceremony Music: Wedding Music Plus / Calligraphy: A Fine Hand / Wedding Gown Designer: Vera Wang / Bridesmaid’s Dress Designer: Priscilla of Boston / Hair and Makeup: RuffCuts, Jenee DeJohn Scott