A bad day at the office led coworkers Jennifer and Peter Glekas, both 37, to commiserate over a couple beers — which "led to dinner, dates and eventually getting married!" Jennifer says. But first came the proposal.
On a gorgeous day in June, the couple strapped a picnic basket filled with delicious delicacies and a bottle of champagne to the back of Peter's 1976 convertible and cruised along the South Carolina coast to Edisto Beach. They had their fill of the food, then strolled by the water until they discovered a nest of turtles. There, "Peter surprised me by dropping to one knee!" Jennifer recalls.
Less than five months later, on October 26th, 2013, the couple celebrated their love in Healdsburg, California, in an outdoor ceremony and reception inspired by The Godfather. Yes, you read that right! "Oddly enough, I'd always hoped that my wedding would look and feel like the wedding scene from The Godfather — minus the mafia and seedy mayhem!" Jennifer explains. "I longed for an outdoor wedding with long tables covered with delicious food and an overflow of laughing, dancing, friends, and family. I hoped that our wedding would make people believe in love again."
Take a peek their beautiful big day through the gorgeous images captured by Christina McNeill!
Jennifer had just three months to find the perfect dress. "I did zero research in advance, hoping instead to find it hanging on a rack," she admits. She fell for a silk Martina Liana trumpet gown that had the smallest snags, driving down its price. "It was outstanding!" says Jennifer, who had just enough time for a fitting before the wedding.
Peter seized the chance to re-wear a tuxedo he'd purchased for his brother's wedding on his own wedding day.
Jennifer got the last pair of Kate Spade's chartreuse-hued heels in the store. "They just happened to be my size, and just the color I wanted!" she says. To the underside of her gown, Jennifer pinned her favorite photo of her late grandmother. "It was my good luck charm," she says.
Peter paired his tux with a brand new bow tie he purchased on Etsy. A single magenta rose served as his boutonniere.
Layers of raw-edged silk on Jennifer's dress mimicked the couple's rustic-chic wedding concept, the bride says. "It was the perfect look for a garden wedding!" She carried a full bouquet of magenta ranunculus, blush dahlias, and lavender roses wrapped in an electric teal ribbon.
Jennifer's maid of honor, dressed in a navy silk Ann Taylor dress layered with pleated, sheer chiffon, carried a smaller version of the bride's vibrant bouquet. "My only instruction was that she choose a dress she'd wear again," says the bride.
Jennifer's niece and nephew walked the aisle as the couple's flower girl and ring bearer, wearing clothes they selected for the occasion. "Though we hoped they might suddenly break out in song or dance down the aisle, they kept right on task and wowed the crowd with their adorableness," Jennifer says.
"My intent was to plan a rustic, chic wedding that included beautiful flowers and simple décor," the bride explains. At Barndiva, a family-owned venue in the heart of California's picturesque Sonoma County, the couple could host a ceremony in a garden courtyard and welcome guests to a reception in the property's studio — a garden canopied by soaring vines and illuminated steel arches.
Elegant iron chairs lined an outdoor courtyard that provided a naturally beautiful backdrop for the couple's ceremony. Pops of the couple's color palette — navy, teal, chartreuse, pink, and purple — were scattered throughout the space, including luscious floral arrangements hung from the rustic wooden and wire gate that served as the altar.
The bride descended the aisle on her father's arm, while her stepfather strummed tunes on an acoustic guitar. "He played a song he'd written for my mother. It could not have been more perfect," Jennifer says.
After the couple exchanged vows in front of their 75 guests, Jennifer's stepfather played a song he'd written for her when she was a young girl as the couple made their way back up the aisle.
After the ceremony, Jennifer, Peter and their guests headed to the reception, where they sipped French 75s and a fresh herb Barndiva Garden Smash.
Guests sat at four massive farm tables at the reception, decorated with many items handmade by the bride. "We created everything but the flowers!" Jennifer says, ticking off place cards, table numbers, and seating charts as things on her DIY-list.
Burlap runners, tied with chartreuse and navy ribbons, stretched across the long tables, which were topped with wild arrangements of lavender and pink roses, buttercream dahlias, sweet peas, and eucalyptus.
Peter and Jennifer honored Peter's Greek heritage with their favors: Kraft boxes filled with koufeta, or Jordan almonds, and handmade komboloi, or worry beads, wrapped in silk and tied with string. "We made sure to include a note explaining the worry beads' significance," the bride says.
Table numbers were displayed in antique wooden frames the couple scavenged just two days before the wedding. "They were only $8!" the bride brags. With the help of her mother and sister-in-law, the bride polished the old wood and slipped her premade table numbers inside. "The end result was simple and chic!"
As the sun set, the garden's string lights and rustic chandeliers cast a soft glow over a fresh dinner of heirloom tomato salad, roasted leg of lamb, and pan-fried sea bass with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. "The highlight was the quail egg, crispy prosciutto and tomato butter 'BLT' passed during cocktail hour," remembers Jennifer. "Definitely a favorite!"
The couple's cake was a chocolate lover's delight. Layers of chocolate cake were filled with chocolate mousse, frosted with chocolate glaze, and garnished with fresh raspberries. Later in the evening, guests indulged in miniature desserts, such as strawberry shortcakes, dark chocolate mousse tulips, mandarin cheesecake, and passion fruit-lemon bars.
Jennifer and Peter left the reception in a 1938 Buick Country Sedan, rented for the couple by the father of the bride. "My husband is a car nut, so he really appreciated the gesture," Jennifer says. "The uniqueness of the car, like a beautiful little room on wheels, made for the perfect ending to our personal, magical day."
Reflecting on their big day, Jennifer offers this advice to brides-to-be: "Make the most of your own and your friends' and families' talents. It's amazing what you can do with a little creativity, a happy heart, and a short timeline!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Barndiva || Bride's Wedding Dress: Martina Liana || Shoes: Kate Spade || Hair & Makeup: Brush || Maid of Honor's Dress: Ann Taylor || Groom's Bow Tie: APRIL LOOK || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Coast Diamond || Florist: Dragonfly Floral || Invitations: Dodeline Design || Music: Ceremony - Jess Boggs, Reception - Honey B and the Pollinators || Catering & Cake: Barndiva || Favors: Made by the bride and family || Photography: Christina McNeill