Ruby Tesvich is not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Referring to the holiday as “Our Day,” her sweetheart Stephen Navarre Jr. had something life-changing in mind. He surprised Ruby with a picnic at Audubon Park. After setting the blanket down, Stephen proceeded to take the food out of the basket (“that he prepared on his own… he doesn’t cook,” adds Ruby). Stephen instructed her to check out their black Labrador Hank's new name tag. She took it in her hand and it read, "Will you marry my daddy?" When she turned, Stephen was on one knee. “Obviously, I cried and said yes!” she recounts.

Planning the wedding was a team effort. Heeding the advice to hire a planner, Ruby enlisted the services of her friend who is also an event planner. Her mother and sister were also on hand throughout the process. Sophisticated invitations in dark blue and bullion – fashioned by the bride’s sister, who is a graphic designer – hinted at the navy, gold, and blush palette of the celebration.

For the ceremony, friends and family gathered in an ornate historic Catholic church close to the couple’s hometown. Bridesmaids’ flowing navy frocks beautifully offset their bouquets of blush dahlias, peach ranunculus blossoms, as well as sherbet and white roses. “I gifted each [of them] a different burnished-gold necklace and earrings to add some glamour to their dresses,” says Ruby. Groomsmen donned grey suits accessorized with silken sapphire ties and pocket squares; amber ranunculus boutonnieres graced their lapels. A timid ring bearer in suspenders and a bow tie accompanying a flower girl in a vanilla dress with a lacy neckline concluded the processional.

Although the bride and groom had done a "first look," tears twinkled in Stephen’s eyes when he saw Ruby walk down the aisle. Escorted by her father, the bride was radiant in an off-the-shoulder, fit-and-flare lace gown with a chapel train. A veil was pinned to her coiffure, and she held a nosegay of white roses as well as peach and pink dahlias.

After the “I dos,” loved ones headed to an elegant nearby country club for the reception. “Since many of our guests were from out of town, we wanted to make it easier for them to get around,” explains the bride of their careful site selection. The stately structure reflected the style of the grand plantations of the area.

Sunlight streaming from the windows facing the veranda flooded the ballroom. Round tables were clad in textured golden linens – matching the hue of the bows adorning chairs with white covers. Centerpieces composed of ivory hydrangeas and snapdragons, punctuated by peach roses and blush dahlias, were showcased in high or low gilt vases. In addition to the prime rib carving station and pasta bar, attendees relished Southern favorites such as crawfish étouffée, gumbo, shrimp and grits, meat pies, and bananas foster.

The newlyweds’ “perfect” first dance to “Dancing Shoes” by Green River Ordinance brought happy tears to their eyes. Since Stephen and Ruby love to dance, they selected a band that played everything from country, to rap, to Motown. “The music at our wedding was a-mazing!” exclaims the bride. The couple also decided to honor Ruby’s father’s Croatian culture in the entertainment. “We really wanted to have some Croatian music because who doesn’t love to polka?!” she reasons.

For individuals planning their nuptials, Ruby stresses the importance of having a professional coordinate the details on the wedding day. “It’s important you enjoy the whole day – from beginning to end,” she notes.