Real Weddings

Gianna and Joseph at Addison Park

Posted on November 27, 2019 by Ariana Baio

We’re both from the same small town, and we met one night out at a local bar in 2013. With a little help of social media, we connected the following day and knew our lives were forever changed.

He popped the question on Christmas Eve. He gave me a very large box, and inside were a bunch of smaller boxes, one of which had the ring! Surrounded by family, it was the BEST Christmas gift I could have asked for.

We decided to keep our color scheme classy and simple, like our classic black and white venue. The bridesmaids wore a nude elegant dress and the groomsmen wore all black. The groom stood out in a black tuxedo with a white shirt and black bow tie. We had live musicians play the cello, harp, and violin as we walked down the aisle before reciting our vows to each other. My husband even got his wish of having our bridal party walk down the aisle to the Jurassic Park theme song played by our live musicians. After our I DO’s, we departed down the aisle to one of our favorite songs, Only One by one of our favorite bands Yellowcard. Our musicians spent weeks creating and learning sheet music to this not so traditional wedding song!

While we were debating on our favors, my grandfather passed away. He was our only grandparent between the two of us who was going to be present on our wedding day. We decided in honor of my grandfather, as well as my husbands grandfather, our favors would be a donation we made on behalf of our guests to the American Cancer Society. From our personalized seating display and signs to our remembrance table and our cigar roller, our night was simply a reflection of us.

Addison Park is such an elegant venue and we both knew nothing else could compare for us. We looked at only Addison Park and instantly fell in love. Coming from a large Italian family we knew what people really talked about when it came to weddings – food! The endless courses and impeccable service only reassured us we made a great decision! We spent our entire engagement envisioning our gorgeous outdoor ceremony, amazing food and night full of dancing in the stunning ballroom.

Our menu consisted of an amazing cocktail hour with endless stations plus our signature drinks- Johnny Walker Old Fashions & Watermelon Margaritas. Our first course was a mixed greens salad with a choice of penne vodka or rigatoni marinara. Following, was an intermezzo of lemon sorbet topped with mint and fresh strawberries. Our main course consisted of prime rib, chicken marsala, sea bass and shrimp oreganata or a vegetarian platter. Lastly- we had a full blown Viennese hour with tons of pastries, cookies, chocolate fountain, ice cream, donuts… you name it we had it! Our wedding cake was vanilla and cannoli cream. As our guests left, we had cheeseburger sliders & French fries to end the night!

I tried on about 50 wedding dresses and was convinced I was not going to “say yes to the dress” at Kleinfeld’s. As I was walking back to the fitting room to change, I saw another bride who was taking this dress off. I mentioned how it was beautiful so I tired it on and instantly couldn’t stop smiling. My entourage of six people thought I was coming out dressed to leave, instead I was wearing this stunning gown and we all started crying. I couldn’t have been happier with my choice.

My favorite moment had to be my first look with my groom! I walked down the staircase to where my groom was awaiting at the bottom. It felt like a real Cinderella moment. The instant we saw each other, my nerves went away and was overcomes with happiness.

I placed picture charms of my grandparents who passed away around my bouquet to feel as if they were with me on my special day. This was such a small detail but one I couldn’t live without it. Another detail that was special, was we both wrote cards to each other to read the morning of our wedding. Along with the cards, my groom surprised me with a stunning diamond tennis bracelet. ( I chucked the one from forever 21 I was planning on wearing). I surprised my groom with an all black Movodo watch to compliment his tuxedo. We both were so surprised.

It rained practically all day! I was getting upset realizing that my outdoor ceremony may be indoors, and although it would still be beautiful, was not how I imagined it. 20 minutes before our ceremony was due to start, the rain cleared up and my groom and the staff went outside and wiped down the chairs and set up for our ceremony like planned. Aside from Mother Nature raining on our parade- literally, the one thing that went wrong was my groom deciding he was going to smash the cake in my face. I guess I should have known he wasn’t going to listen to my request not too. Although it made for great pictures & I definitely got him back.

Boyce Avenue’s cover of “Faithfully” by Journey

My advice would be to not stress anything and enjoy YOUR day! You spend countless hours worrying about how much money has been spent, how many times the table arrangements need to be redone, what the perfect hairstyle is, or vendor to book. But on that day, I wasn’t thinking about how my dress looked or who did or didn’t show up for our special day. I paid no attention to where the photographer was, or to what the flower centerpieces looked like, or if my hair and makeup was perfectly in place. Enjoy every minute because it flies by.

We spent our honeymoon in Aruba. We indulged in dinners beachside, rented RZR’s and drove around the island, and spent plenty of time relaxing. My groom even played golf one day while I spent the day at the spa. We are already looking into going back for our anniversary.

the details



Reception Location

The Addison Park


Kirchhof Photography


TJ Shovlin

Bride’s Shoes

Betsey Johnson

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