Introduced in New York City by a mutual friend, Florentina’s striking looks weren’t the only thing that caught the attention of hotelier Nathan Sharma. “She was beautiful, but she was also very intelligent,” Nathan tells of his first impression of his model bride. “Her love for travel intrigued me.”
For their wedding, the couple desired a location where everyone could stay together the entire time, as the celebratory festivities commenced on Thursday and concluded on Sunday. A locale for their big day was quickly determined: “Palmetto Bluff is 30 minutes from Nathan’s hometown of Hilton Head and it was always a significant place for the two of us, since we went there the week we first met,” explains Florentina. Adds Nathan, “The Lowcountry, with its intertwining waterways, spectacular oak trees, and amazing wildlife is very unique, and Palmetto Bluff really encapsulates that. The area amazed people, especially those coming from abroad.”
Florentina and Nathan also rapidly discovered how involved event planning can be, so they hired a professional – Kelli Corn – to help them make decisions and tend to all of the details, including handling 65 guests arriving from Germany. The couple strongly encourages other brides and grooms to hire a wedding planner – “A good one!” affirms Nathan, who feels it is money well spent.
The church quite literally overflowed with love as friends and family sat to witness the marriage of Florentina and Nathan. Guests had come from near and far to celebrate their union, so much so that the hired trio of musicians were forced to assemble outside of the chapel because they could not fit. “Nonetheless, it was beautiful to see them set up there, playing softly, as people walked up,” remembers the groom. Attendees who were unable to sit in the pews of the sanctuary were made comfortable in outdoor seating and were offered glasses of chilled Champagne.
Nathan’s childhood nanny officiated the touching nuptials, where the couple wrote their own vows and also included special readings in both English and German. A Southern gospel choir signaled the conclusion of the service; the delightful beat of “Oh Happy Day” brought everyone to their feet, dancing as they exited. Rather than the traditional rice or confetti send-off, Florentina and Nathan opted to use lavender. “Every time I smell lavender now, it reminds me of the moment,” the bride shares.
The reception décor was timeless and elegant, much like the personal style of the newlyweds. Nathan reflects that he will never forget when Florentina entered the chapel. “It was as if time had stopped and I actually lost my breath… she was stunning,” he describes. Florentina was resplendent in a sophisticated long-sleeve lace gown; though it had a large frothy skirt, it didn’t keep the bride from enjoying the special day to the fullest. Since Nathan is in the hospitality industry, he prides himself on hosting extraordinary parties. Focused on the “big picture” for the day, the groom arranged for a delectable dinner menu and complementing cocktails, hired The Heather Hayes Experience (daughter of famed soul singer Isaac Hayes) for the reception, and later a DJ, who played until the wee hours of the morning.
The reception itself was held inside a spacious tent draped in ivory chiffon and lined with 50,000 twinkling fairy lights. Dazzling crystal chandeliers decorated with magnolia garlands were suspended overhead, while wine barrels served as planters in the corners of the room. A custom plank wood floor was laid out across the space; a hand-painted monogram designated the spot for dancing.
Guest tables, surrounded by X-back farm-style chairs, were cloaked in vanilla textured linens, whilst the wedding party was seated at a mahogany farm table perfectly set with personalized linen napkins. Romantic floral centerpieces showcased mixed greens and magnolia leaves, peonies in burgundy and white, and touches of blush hellebores and parrot tulips.
Additional exceptional moments occurred throughout the evening with sentimental toasts and musical performances by the father of the bride and Florentina’s cousins, respectively. Nathan reflects: “It was great seeing all the people that didn’t know each other before that day collectively dancing, singing, smiling, and drinking together.” The bride agrees, admitting she took a minute to pause and take it all in: “It was truly the happiest feeling of my life.”