“Fun” was the word that first came to mind for Sarah Keeter and Jason Fontana when they imagined what their wedding day would entail. “That’s why we chose to have a New Year’s Eve wedding… who doesn’t love a good New Year’s party?” explains the bride. The couple planned for a traditional ceremony with a very non-traditional reception to follow.

After scouting a few locations, Sarah knew she had landed upon the right reception venue as soon as she saw it. “You just know when it’s right,” she says. Because the space encompassed such classic opulence, the bride and her wedding consultant came up with the idea of “Old Hollywood” as inspiration for the celebration. Jason admits to having a knack for creativity and took the lead on the save-the-date cards and invitations. “I may have gone a little overboard, but I was happy to hear [guests] say that it was the best invitation they ever received,” says the groom.

Known for the magnificent paintings on its ceiling and walls as well as its location in Little Italy, Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church was the site of the couple’s ceremony. A custom aisle runner accented in gold swept the center of the sanctuary, while vanilla roses bunched with garlands of orchids dotted the fabric that swagged the pews. Holiday displays added color and light: crimson roses and poinsettia plants splashed the neutral altar with red, and two angel-topped Christmas trees twinkled brightly on either side of the bride and groom. Shimmering programs assembled with ribbon lent an additional touch of gold, and allowed guests to follow every phase of the nuptial mass.

The bride carried a delicate round bouquet comprised of gardenias and white orchids mixed with peach and ivory roses. Crystal embellishments scattered among the flowers picked up the delicate beading on the bodice of Sarah’s ethereal strapless gown. Bridesmaids in champagne sheaths with smart ebony accents carried lush bouquets of roses before a flower girl clad in white. The ceremony was personalized with a reading of love letters that Sarah and Jason had written to each other. “We plan to read them to each other at our anniversary,” shares Sarah. “I think it’s important to incorporate some things into your wedding that you can keep forever.”

The celebration that followed was three-fold: cocktails in one room; a grand, sit-down dinner in a second ballroom; and a New Year’s countdown back in the first event space. During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed appetizer stations as well as passed hor d’eourves while sipping Champagne dispensed from a personalized ice luge. For the formal dinner, the second ballroom was awash in gold. Silky table linens harmonized with gilt chiavari chairs and place settings edged in gold. Roses, orchids, gardenias, and lilies burst from crystal vases filled with sparkling beads. The room’s classic chandeliers inspired an elegant theme that tied together elements from the menu cards and dance floor. An on-site artist composed a painting of the couple’s first dance as it unfolded. The couple chose to have a Venetian table – an Italian tradition – that offered a large selection of desserts in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. “Plus, Jason and I love dessert and we wanted a variety of sweets,” confides Sarah. A new lighting design gave the first ballroom a new look and feel for the New Year’s party, where guests took pictures in a photo booth and rang in 2010 with party favors and dancing. “I think everyone really had a good time because it was a wedding that went into a really fun countdown party!” asserts the bride.

Throughout it all, the bride and groom concentrated their efforts on producing a fun and memorable evening for themselves and their loved ones. “If you focus on making it a great party, you and your guests will have a blast,” advises the groom. “It goes by so fast and it is all those little moments that you will remember forever.”