Anthony Kokal’s cousin Jennifer had a friend from college who she thought would be perfect for him. One fall night in 2014, she arranged for a group outing to a sports bar in Cleveland to watch a basketball game. That’s when Shannon Lynch finally met her friend Jennifer’s cousin who she had heard so much about. The pair seemed naturally drawn to each other, but as the night went on, Shannon worried that Anthony was more interested in her sister Cali. “In reality, I knew that if Cali liked me, then Shannon would hear good things when she asked her sister what she thought about me…it worked,” he reveals. They were both smitten, and at the end of the night, Shannon texted her pal Jennifer – “Your cousin is perfect.”
Just about three years later, the couple traveled to the Lynch vacation home in Naples, Florida with Shannon’s family for her mother’s birthday. As her sister took pictures on the back dock, which was the last thing their father built before he passed earlier that year, Anthony got down on one knee and proposed. “Does my mother know you are doing this?” Shannon exclaimed – and she did after sharing dinner with her daughter’s beau. He also went the extra mile to get yet another blessing. “I actually went to Mr. Lynch's gravesite to have a shot of his beloved Canadian Club and ask him for his daughter’s hand in marriage,” Anthony shares. “Although he couldn’t answer, I knew in my heart I had his blessing.”
Loved ones were not surprised that the Ohio-based couple chose to marry in Florida, due to the engagement and the family of the bride’s connection to the “Sunshine State.” However, the duo was able to surprise everyone by selecting a location in Palm Beach, which is on the opposite coast of the state from Naples. After spending a week researching and interviewing wedding planners in the area, Shannon knew that Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties was the right person for the job. “I was super impressed with her organizational skills and wedding timelines, charts, and spreadsheets that would make planning for the next 10 months seamless,” the bride confirms. Unlike some grooms, Anthony was fully involved in the process. “Shannon had an amazing vision and drive to make the wedding perfect, and I made sure to help support the decisions and give my input,” he clarifies. The bride jokes, “It helped that it was in Palm Beach during winter in Cleveland.”
A traditional color palette of white and gold was embraced to complement the regal vibe of the venue. Guests were handed glasses of Champagne as they entered, before being escorted around a pool with a floating floral “K” until they reached the clear acrylic tent where the vow exchange would be held. As Shannon’s late father was unable to walk her down the aisle, she wanted to use the processional to honor her family as a unit and represent their close bond. She started down the long staircase by herself and was met by her mother, who walked her to the start of the aisle. The brother and sister of the bride then walked from their place at the altar to meet the rest of their family. Her sister took her mother by the hand and escorted her to her seat, while Shannon and her brother walked the rest of the way down the aisle. To keep her father close to her heart, a picture of the two of them was attached to her bouquet, and his name was taken from the inside of one of his blue suit jackets and sewn into the wedding dress as the bride’s “something blue.” Later, during the reception, singers from the wedding band sang an a capella medley of three songs that Shannon and her dad had always enjoyed in lieu of a father-daughter dance. “It was a lovely tribute,” the bride remembers.
After Shannon and Anthony were pronounced husband and wife and everyone enjoyed the opulent cocktail hour, attendees walked under a lush floral arch to enter the ballroom. Long tables were adorned with six-foot-tall candelabra covered in roses and hydrangeas, while serpentine tables were adorned with candles and more roses. “To go along with the ceremony, there were only white flowers, which was a great accent to the already beautifully existing gold and white ballroom,” Shannon illustrates. One of the groom’s favorite moments was when he and his new wife – now sporting an ostrich feather overskirt – were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Kokal to the tune of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” They originally planned to do a choreographed dance, but decided it wasn’t their style. “Shannon and I just felt the moment and reacted from there,” he muses. “It was the most perfect dance, and I truly could not have planned it any better.” The same proved true for the whole wedding weekend, as neither of the newlyweds would have changed a thing.