Christine is a lover of art, culture and champagne. Her boyfriend, Andrew, perfectly blended these elements into his proposal, which included an art gallery, a bottle of her favorite drink, and a painting that contained — in French! — the words “Will you marry me?” So where was Christine to plan a wedding that would provide the same romanticism as her proposal? Orlando wedding and event venue, Bella Collina, of course! This Montverde, Florida, venue bears authentic Tuscan design, and this Italian feel was the inspiration for the entire wedding. Christine knew as a former event coordinator that a beautiful setting requires little additional help. Bridesmaids and groomsmen wore soft, understated colors that blended naturally with the surroundings. Because Italy evokes thoughts of wine and vineyards, countless wine bottles were collected and used as wedding décor, a few filled with flowers to line the aisle during the ceremony. But the most glorious display of bottle décor was seen at the reception dinner, aptly situated in the wine cellar, where hundreds of wine bottles holding glowing candlesticks filled the center of the long feasting table, illuminating the space with a romantic light. Photos by Brandy & Beau Photography!
Tell us how you met…
We met through a friend and we dated for 3 years before he popped the question. I had no idea it was coming. It was literally the greatest surprise of my life.
Now for the proposal… details!
I love Champagne, but I also love art. Andrew blew my mind with his proposal. He had planned it for months and is apparently really good at keeping secrets! He commissioned and helped design a painting of the map of Champagne, France from a local Orlando artist. He then had it displayed in an art gallery Downtown Orlando. As we passed the gallery he casually asked if I’d like to go inside – maybe find something for our home. Wandering around unsuspecting I noticed a (quite large) painting by an artist we had commissioned a piece from previously. I then noticed that written in French on the painting were the words “Will you marry me?” (I took two years of French in college – which he wasn’t aware of) As I looked over, Andrew had dropped to his knee and was asking me if I knew what those words read. Needless to say, I said yes! Then the curator brought out a chilled bottle of Palmes d’Or Champagne and popped it right there in the gallery. It was perfect! I got to take home a new painting, a diamond ring and a fiancé all in the same day!
We want to know about all the wedding details, was it small and intimate or big and traditional?
Intimate, non-traditional and semi-formal.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
I wore a Ramona Keveza RK292 gown from Boca Raton Bridal. My bridesmaids wore various dresses purchased from Bloomingdales.com & Bluefly.com, shoes & jewelry personally chosen by each one.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
Our wedding was planned in less than 4 months and was held on the Friday before Memorial Day. It was intimate, elegant and everything we planned for. Of course a wedding is a very special time for the B & G, but it was more important that we gave our guests an experience to remember – we hope we did!
Was there a specific theme or style?
Our wedding venue was meant to set the tone for our entire wedding. Bella Collina’s Tuscan inspired design allows your guests the experience of a destination wedding without the expense!
What inspired the theme or style?
As a former event coordinator, I have been inspired (as well as turned off) by many of brides and vendors. I have come to live by the tenant that less is more and I wanted very much not to compete with our surroundings. My colors were very understated and because I think of wine when I think of Italy, I used elements of wine throughout our décor.
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
Champagne, Champagne and more Champagne. I love bubbly so I used that as a somewhat consistent theme. I had champagne served throughout the day, from the moment we woke up to the time we had the wedding party dropped off at their final destinations. Our cake was champagne flavored and my signature cocktail was a French Martini with Champagne. We were also the first couple to use the wine cellar for our reception dinner. It added a very romantic feel. If you look at the photo of our feasting table, you will understand why – it was really the defining piece of my theme; a rustic but elegant candlelit dinner.
Did you DIY any of the details?
My most favorite details about the process were DIY! I handmade hankies for each of the women in my bridal party, and sent them out along with their invitations. Each one was different and customized asking “_______ , Will you be my Bridesmaid?” With the help of our family and friends, and Tim’s Wine Market, we collected, cleaned and cut nearly 100 wine bottles that were used in various ways throughout the ceremony and reception. The center of our feasting table was lined with hundreds of clear wine bottles that we used as candlestick holders. It was truly a sight to see and all of the work we put into it was well worth it! We also used wine corks out of our personal collection as place card holders.
What was the most memorable moment?
We did a first look before the ceremony and I’m so happy we did. We were able to share that moment with just each other and because there were no distractions, we will always remember that moment as perfect as it was.
Tell us about the food and desserts.
Food wasn’t at the top of my priority list. I don’t think guests necessarily care about prime rib or fancy chef concoctions – most just want something yummy and plenty of it. We had our soup/salad courses plated to allow for toasts and then main course was a simple buffet of Turkey, truffle whipped potatoes and pasta presentation. Our cake was small (3-tier) but delicious! The Sugar Suite makes it fabulous from the inside out. I chose champagne (of course!) with raspberry buttercream and Andrew chose chocolate cake with Guinness buttercream for his layer. We served it with tea & coffee.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
Relaxed. Because our wedding was intimate, I wanted the music to be the same. We had a 2 person live band that worked out perfectly. They played softly throughout dinner and then moved upstairs with us to the dance floor to take it up a notch. Our song we danced to was “Crazy Girl” by Eli Young Band and wasn’t a part of their collection so they learned it for us. That was a really special touch.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
We’ve asked ourselves this a few times and there really wasn’t much we would have changed. There were a few people that didn’t make it to the wedding that we would loved to have had them there, but that was beyond our control.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
From my experience as a planner, there are so many things I already knew going into the process: start with a budget, stick to the budget, a good photographer beats everything, ask for help – don’t demand it, be flexible, be present, EAT! There wasn’t much I really thought anyone could advise me on – but after it was all over and looking back, the best advice I received was from my groom. He said, “If you don’t have expectations, you can’t be disappointed.” Well it’s just CRAZY to not have any expectations (right?!) – I mean you’ve paid a pretty penny for this party – this is your family, your best friends and your wedding, it HAS to be perfect. It won’t be, so keep your expectations at a minimum and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to enjoy it all.