When Gretchen and Al tied the knot in Boca Grande, Florida, they were inspired by classic wedding elements, including blue and white strips, lush ivory floral arrangements, and a ceremony by the sea. If you love a classic, preppy wedding, get ready to settle in for a gem!
“We made our wedding a weekend celebration. On Friday, we held a golf and tennis tournament for guests, and my grandfather gave boat tours around the island. That evening, Al’s parents hosted a cocktail party at the Boca Grande Library to welcome guests. Almost three-quarters of our guests took part in Saturday morning’s Island Run Race, and my grandparents graciously hosted a Sunday brunch. We definitely took over the island!”
Did you incorporate something old, new, borrowed and blue into your wedding day attire? My grandmother’s handkerchief served as my something old, while beautiful drop earrings from Al’s parents was my something new. My mother and my sister both wore my mother’s best friend’s ring, which was a sentimental something borrowed and blue.
“My family has been venturing to Boca Grande every year for Christmas since before I was born. This special little island feels like home. When Al and I began dating, it became very dear to him, too. When we thought about where to get married, it wasn’t even a choice – we knew Boca Grande was the place!”
Your ceremony in three words. Non-traditional, playful, windy!
Who officiated your ceremony? Our fathers officiated the ceremony. Both have played such large roles in our lives, and having them officiate was unspeakably special.
What was your ceremony music? Al and I absolutely love Frank Sinatra, so every song in the ceremony was a Sinatra tune.
What were your ceremony readings? My father revised a Leo Tolstoy story, one of my favorites growing up, to mimic our relationship. It started the ceremony on a very special note. Al’s father also included a reading about baseball, which has always been a big part of Al’s life, and love.
What were your vows like? Two of our close friends got married in early June and we loved their vows, often called “Eskimo Love Song.” When we heard them, we knew they were special. It made it extra sweet that they were chosen by such good friends, who were honored that we used the same vows:
“You are my husband / you are my wife,
My feet shall run because of you,
My feet dance because of you,
My heart shall beat because of you,
My eyes see because of you,
My mind thinks because of you,
And I shall love, because of you.”
What was your favorite moment of your wedding ceremony? It was very windy the day of our wedding, and halfway through the ceremony, Al took off his coat and gave it to me. I don’t think anyone will forget that!
Gretchen carried a bouquet of white and ivory garden roses, peonies, and soft dusty miller.
“We wanted our guests to have an amazing time, and that inspired most of our decisions.”
How would you describe your reception? Fun! I don’t recall ever leaving the dance floor once the band started playing!
The escort table featured a lush bed of hydrangeas where calligraphy cards were displayed, and Gretchen and Al incorporated nautical touches throughout the reception, including rope knots to hold table numbers and blue bottles of water at each place setting.
What was your wedding menu? We served a salad with hearts of palm, spiced pecans, gorgonzola and a mustard vinaigrette, followed by bronzed grouper and pan-seared beef medallions with sweet corn relish, wild mushrooms and basil-whipped potatoes.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Enjoy every minute, because the day goes by in a flash.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? No – we loved every second, even the wind at the ceremony. It made our wedding day special and memorable.
What songs did you dance to at your reception? My father and I danced to “Do You Love Me” by the Condors, and we invited everyone come to the dance floor to boogie down to “Sweet Caroline” with Al and his mom. Since Al and his family are big Red Sox fans, this was only fitting, and our guests loved it!
Did you serve any special treats at the end of the night? We surprised everyone with pizza and Boca Bay Pass Club Hummers, an after-dinner drink staple.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Vanilla with Buttercream frosting. We also served a groom’s cake – a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting – and a candy bar. My best friend’s family has a chocolate company in Milwaukee, and they helped us create the most delicious chocolate bar full of toffees and caramels.
What was your favorite part of the reception? The looks on our family and friends faces when we surprised them with our wedding dance! We began with “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra and midway through surprised everyone by transitioning into a swing dance, then a meringue! No one saw it coming, and it was great fun.