There’s certain symmetry in the fact that John Blankemeier proposed to the girl that caught his heart in high school, Biana Veksler, on a windy and rainy day at Central Park during a trip to New York City. Wind and rain, as it would turn out, were included in the weather forecast on their big day.
The bride and groom searched for a unique location that provided the feeling of a destination wedding, but was close to their home and within a reasonable driving distance for friends and family who resided in the Southern Florida area. “When I toured Bella Collina, I felt like I was in Italy and instantly knew that [the site would be] our venue,” recalls Biana. Influenced by the atmospheric setting, a Tuscan theme centered on white florals and blush and gold accents was conceived for the elegant celebration.
Though a late summer storm was looming, the intimate atrium where the sunset vow exchange took place was full of warmth. Honoring Biana’s Jewish faith, it was important for the couple to be married in a traditional ceremony. A chuppah draped in ivory fabric was adorned with an array of vanilla blooms, green amaranthus, and foliage, as well as a gilt chandelier with crystal drops. The space was filled with the sounds of a violinist playing Jewish compositions during the prelude and recessional.
Bridesmaids clad in flowy blush gowns with ruching details added a hint of color. Biana was lovely in a Romona Keveža gown with a lace bodice, beaded belt, and tulle skirt. Chandelier earrings peeked from beneath her blonde curls crowned with a braid. Her charming groom, attired in a classic black tuxedo, offered gentle support as her eyes welled up when she recited her personal declarations.
After the blessing of the challah and enjoying a sit-down dinner at tables decorated with golden candelabra, topped with mint and white hydrangeas, ivory roses, and green amaranthus, the revelry commenced. “My husband is the person everyone goes to when looking for new music and playlists, so we had to make sure to find a band that was up to par with his standards,” shares the bride of the process of selecting the entertainment for their reception. “Everyone had a great time jamming out to the music performed by our wonderful band.” To keep the good times rolling, loved ones received keepsake CDs – donning custom labels – containing a variety of songs compiled by John.
Following their midnight sparkler exit, the newlyweds set off to Mediterranean environs for their honeymoon: the island of Santorini in Greece and Rome, Italy.