After returning from their first vacation together, Andonios Constantatos dropped Nicole Bautz off to get ready before they attended a wedding together that evening. “In that moment, I didn’t want to say goodbye – even just for a few hours,” remembers Andonios. “I told my best friend, ‘I don’t know what it is about this girl, but I’m going to marry her.’” Since Nicole’s father had passed away, he asked her brother for his blessing and proposed after dating just six months.
Planning a wedding during the pandemic, Nicole and Andonios were forced to make a difficult decision: postpone their celebration or keep the same wedding date with a limited guest count. Choosing to wed on the originally planned day, the pair had to cut their list from 300 to 50 attendees. “I was devastated,” confirms the bride. “I was concerned about the wellbeing of our friends, family, and vendors too. I can’t thank them all enough for their hard work, talent, and commitment to making our day extraordinary.”
A traditional church ceremony was held where they were baptized and where both of their parents were married, and a classic reception took place on the North Shore of Long Island, where most of their loved ones live. Nicole’s dream of an “elegant, black-tie affair filled with tradition, Old-World romance, and opulence,” came true, and family and cultural traditions were included throughout. “When you are Greek, everyone is involved! It was just like the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” smiles the bride.
She was stunning in a low-back gown with intricate embroidery from Bridal Reflections as she was escorted down the aisle by her brother. “I was honored that he, in essence, filled my father’s shoes,” she notes. The service was filled with Greek customs, including the crowning, sipping wine from “The Common Cup,” and the “Dance of Isaiah” – their first walk as husband and wife. Outside the church, friends and family were treated to a special surprise. “We wanted the celebration to continue from the ceremony to the reception, so we had a gelato cart for our guests to enjoy,” muses the bride.
“Having our family and closest friends all in one place was so amazing… We are so grateful we were able to spend so much time with everyone we love during a pandemic.”
Before cocktail hour even began, attendees were greeted with Champagne, signature cocktails, and Greek tunes. Live bouzouki music then entertained loved ones before they made their way into the ballroom. Round tables were decorated with lush arrangements of vanilla-toned hydrangeas, roses, and orchids atop towering trumpet vases cascading with crystals and tea-light candles housed in glass orbs. Most impressive, however, was the couple’s jaw-dropping sweetheart table enveloped in hundreds of florals.
During their first dance, Nicole experienced a rush of emotion. “After so much deliberation during the pandemic, I felt proud and happy to celebrate with the people who rooted us on through all of the ups and downs,” she smiles. Her groom adds: “Even though we didn’t have the large wedding we initially imagined, the energy on the dance floor was uplifting, happy, and joyous.”
A three-piece Greek band honored their roots, while a 10-piece live band played a mix of ‘90s favorites, dance music, rock, classic disco, and oldies to keep the dance floor full. As the night ended, friends and family were sent off with traditional Greek koufeta – five candy-coated almonds – to symbolize the sweetness of the newlyweds’ life ahead.
Though their day didn’t turn out as they had initially planned, “Every moment was magical and truly ‘us,’” affirms the groom. “Having our family and closest friends all in one place was so amazing… We are so grateful we were able to spend so much time with everyone we love during a pandemic.”