On the last day of her girls trip in Miami, Rio Shepherd had been invited to spend some time on her friend’s boat. As fate would have it, David Shamula quickly caught her eye. “His striking blue eyes and smiling personality drew me to him,” remembers Rio. 

After exchanging Instagram handles and each other’s numbers, Rio returned to Los Angeles while Dave went back to New Jersey. Despite the distance between them, the undeniable connection between the two made it clear that what they had was special. They spent time traveling across the country monthly to be together. It wasn’t long until Dave knew he wanted to pop the big question. 

Knowing that they would be spending the summer together with Dave’s family on the East Coast, he planned a surprise proposal at his parents’ house. Thinking she would be walking into David’s mother’s birthday party, Rio was surprised as she stepped foot into a room filled with rose petals, cakes, Champagne bottles, and pictures of her and Dave, as well as candles and her beloved down on one knee. 

Being that this was the first wedding in their families, the couple knew that leaning on the advice of their loved ones would help bring their big day to life. Knowing that they wanted to plan a destination wedding, selecting the right location was paramount. 

“I was looking for a spot that felt both private and exclusive, but still chic and down-to-earth,” explains the bride. Moved by the warm and welcoming essence of Greece, as well as the bride’s parents’ own experience on the island, the couple decided that Paros would be the perfect place to say their "I dos."

“For our wedding, I envisioned blending my love for vibrant and contemporary aesthetics with those classic Greek-island vibes.”

Wanting to stay true to the couple’s personalities, their wedding planner designed the day to incorporate the pair's colorful and playful disposition, as well as their Jewish background. “Ever since I can remember, I've been drawn to styles that break the mold,” shares Rio. “For our wedding, I envisioned blending my love for vibrant and contemporary aesthetics with those classic Greek-island vibes.” 

The couple’s nearest and dearest took their seats for the heartfelt ceremony vibrantly decorated with pastel blooms and lush greenery. Rio was stunning in a silk pleated Alex Perry gown as she walked down the aisle to her friend singing renditions of “Hallelujah” and “Boi Kallah,” a traditional Jewish song. 

Following the vow exchange, an alfresco cocktail hour set the tone for the party to come. Tablescapes were lively, featuring colors to match the ceremony décor, and guests enjoyed savory bites, such as salted donuts with spicy cheese mousse and pepper chutney and bruschetta with fava spread and caramelized onions, before savoring a delicious sit-down dinner. 

“Dave had this dream song he had always said he would use to walk into something important,” shares the bride. “As we walked into our wedding reception it was blaring, and Dave and I ran up and just started dancing, which turned into a full-on impromptu dance!” Thrilled that everyone danced the night away, the celebration was everything the couple envisioned and more. “I wouldn’t change a thing,” beams the bride. “It was the best day of my life.”