As Despina Viniotis prepared herself to walk down the aisle, she gazed over the beautiful wedding gown that her mother had chosen for her. The gift was especially sentimental because the bride’s mother had been very ill the year leading up to the wedding. “I was so happy that my mom was strong enough and able to be [at the celebration],” shares Despina. The bride’s dreamy bouquet, lush with an abundance of ivory roses and peonies, paired perfectly with the delicate tulle tiers that adorned the mermaid skirt of her dress. Bridesmaids outfitted in elegant lilac gowns in an assortment of styles all carried sweet bouquets of creamy roses dotted with celery-hued hydrangeas for a touch of color.
Despina and her fiancé, Simon Curtis, had selected Duke Chapel for their nuptials because its stunning neo-Gothic architecture would add a distinct beauty to their big day. Handsome columns down the length of the sanctuary led to a gorgeous limestone altar that featured magnificent stained-glass windows as well as religious symbols crafted from hand-carved oak. Tall black vases held pale roses and hydrangeas that decorated alternating pews. The reverend that married the parents of the groom officiated the tender nuptials for the couple. “Both of our parents have been married nearly 30 years and we wanted to honor them in a big way,” explains Despina. The original Greek stefana headpieces used in the wedding of the bride’s parents were also incorporated into Despina and Simon’s Presbyterian ceremony.
The officiant explained during the service that the couple had filled a Lucite box with special tokens that represented their relationship in some way. A bottle of Pinot noir from the year they met had been placed in the box, as well as cards and notes they’d written each other over the years. “The minister explained that if the marriage was ever in jeopardy, we could break open the box, pour a glass of wine, and be reminded of the reasons why we first fell in love,” explains Despina of the unique gesture. A sophisticated blend of ivory and white served as the primary color palette in the ballroom where the reception took place. “I wanted a unique modern elegance with only slight pops of color and dazzling crystal detailing,” explains Despina of her wedding-day vision. Beautiful filigreed wrought-iron banisters led guests down a staircase to the reception area, where dynamic lavender lighting highlighted the room and added extra sparkle to the crystal chandeliers overhead.
Large centerpieces of snowy roses, lilies, and peonies decorated tabletops aglow with soft candlelight. Crystal goblets and glassware joined pretty Lucite chargers on crushed-velvet linens where each place setting offered hand-wrapped Greek candies as favors. Loved ones enjoyed a dinner of marinated petite filet mignon, seared jumbo shrimp over Italian risotto, and julienne vegetables, followed by wedding cake for dessert. Clear cylinders filled with white orchids divided the top three tiers of the cake, while teardrop accents and bands of Swarovski crystals added bling. “It was a beautiful focal point of the wedding,” Despina describes. “I loved it.”
During the emotional father-daughter dance, Despina and her dad shared a few moments alone before including the bride’s sisters and mother. “Despina was the first daughter to get married, and with her mom having been ill the year preceding the wedding, it was special to see everyone celebrating together,” remembers Simon. The groom explains that he really tried to take in the fact that so many of their friends and family were there with them at one time, realizing it’s not often one gets to experience that in a single day. “I just loved seeing everyone,” he says. “Our wedding day was extraordinary.”