Although she had been dating Michael Sosna since high school, Courtney McCann was surprised when he popped the question after seven years of dating. “Even when he got down on one knee, I wasn’t sure what was going on!” says Courtney, a special-education teacher. Once the shock wore off (and she said yes, of course), the couple—both from Manalapan—started planning the big day. And when picking the date, it seemed fitting the couple would wed on Father’s Day weekend since Courtney had lost her father, Thomas J. McCann, a New York City firefighter, on September 11. “I wanted to have several touches throughout the day to honor my dad, and getting married on that weekend was a good start,” she says.
The couple also wanted to get married outdoors, so they chose the Estate at Florentine Gardens. Flowers were a big part of the day, with lush arrangements of white, pink and purple roses and hydrangeas all around, including the gazebo where the bride and groom exchanged vows.
Courtney’s love of colors was showcased in everything from the bridesmaids’ purple dresses to the floral-themed programs and guest fans. Since her dad’s death, Courtney and her mom had always looked for butterflies as a sign that he was watching over them.
They had already planned a butterfly release for the end of the ceremony, and the bride was walking down the aisle to a harpist’s rendition of “Butterfly Kisses.” So imagine her delight when Courtney stepped into the garden and it was filled with butterflies.
After exchanging vows, the 260 guests toasted the newlyweds with champagne and signature cocktails. Courtney and Michael danced to Bryan Adams’ “Heaven,” and the live band kept everyone up on their feet for the rest of the night. One of the biggest highlights was the couple’s four-tier wedding cake, which Courtney calls “a work of art. Palermo’s did the most amazing job—it was almost too beautiful to eat!”
After the wedding, the couple enjoyed a two-week honeymoon in Hawaii—but the fun was just beginning. On September 11, Courtney found out she was expecting: a boy, due on her parent’s wedding anniversary.