Not many people can say they fell in love at The White House, but for Kendell Coletti and Andrew Mountain that’s exactly how it happened. After working together on several events during the George W. Bush administration, the couple realized their relationship had turned romantic. A few years later, Andrew drove Kendell from North Carolina back to the capitol to propose on a balcony overlooking their favorite city. The couple hoped to plan in only six months a grand celebration that would include over 200 family and friends. “Since both Andrew and I have lived in multiple cities, we knew that our wedding was going to be a destination wedding for most of our [loved ones],” explains Kendell.

With that in mind, the couple decided on the Florida town of Naples to make it “a mini vacation of sorts,” says Andrew. Kendell took the advice of friends and enjoyed the planning process right from the start. “I reminded myself not to get stressed over the little things and have fun with it since you only do this once,” says the bride. Kendell admits her parents were heavily involved in the celebration plans and she often turned to her mother for advice before making final decisions. “[My mom] was always better at seeing the bigger picture, so when I was unsure of something I would ask her and always trusted her judgment,” shares the bride. Kendell and Andrew chose vendors based primarily on the level of service they provided. “The decision-making factor was exemplary service because with bad service the whole wedding would have been impacted,” agrees the couple. The couple envisioned an event that was elegant, yet in perfect balance with the natural environment. To achieve this, the bride selected a color palette that offered a variety of organic and pale-hued tones. “I wanted the colors to blend into the landscape that surrounded us,” describes Kendell of the beach setting.

The church ceremony was decorated with understated décor that included large floral arrangements at the altar. Programs were cleverly created on paper fans and added a touch of whimsy to the traditional nuptials. “The program, while a small detail of the wedding, was one of my favorite things,” reveals Kendell. The bride, accompanied by her father, walked down the aisle wearing a delicate lace gown that was complemented with a verdant bouquet of romantic ivory peonies. Bridesmaids looked sweet dressed in soft pink satin dresses while holding nosegays of roses. At the reception, guests found their seats by way of place cards embellished with seashells. The room was classic in interior design, which made the décor all the more striking. Beautiful floral arrangements affixed to hanging chandeliers created a stunning overhead view, and a custom dance floor boasted the couple’s monogram. Mixtures of roses, peonies, hydrangeas, orchids, and ranunculus blossoms graced tables in magnificent large centerpieces that included a variety of seashells, sea stars, and candlelight.

Personalized menus that included an individual guest’s name above a small starfish were placed at the appropriate seats. The sit-down dinner service included Caesar salad with filet mignon, as well as a large selection of fresh seafood for appetizers. A gorgeous wedding cake with layers of both vanilla and lemon filled with a sweet buttercream frosting were served alongside the groom’s favorite dessert, chocolate mousse. Of course, the night wouldn’t have been complete without a nod to the national monument where it all began. “We had an ice sculpture in the form of The White House,” says Kendell. “It made for a great photo-op for guests.” Of the many special memories of the day, there was one that particularly stuck out to the bride. “Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Andrew beaming at the end of it with loved ones surrounding us… I want to bottle up the joy that was in that moment,” confides Kendell. For Andrew, he was most proud of the way he and Kendell made sure to spend time with each loved one in attendance. “[Your guests] are there because they’re important in your life, so it’s important to show it,” the couple asserts. And that they did.