Wedding Planner Genina Ramirez's Southern Celebration

Genina and John

Photographed by: Donna von Bruening PhotographersLocation: Savannah, Georgia, United States

John Lowman knew that his girlfriend Genina Ramirez had a hunch that he’d be proposing soon, so he slyly devised a plan that was sure to keep her guessing. John spent an entire day treating Genina to the most romantic spots in their Georgia town of Savannah, but much to Genina’s chagrin, there was still no proposal. “After five hours of this, I was beginning to get frustrated, and later spent the entire car ride home brooding,” she says. Upon returning to their shared apartment, Genina walked in to find an engagement ring sitting on their dining room table. “I turned around to look at John, and there he was, smiling from ear to ear and down on one knee!” recalls the bride. “I was so shocked and surprised!”

Because Genina works as an event planner, she knew immediately where she wanted the festivities to take place and precisely which vendors she wanted to contract. “Everyone I chose was someone I had worked with before and had a stellar reputation for excellent service,” she explains. “I can honestly say that I was completely relaxed on my wedding day knowing that I had a great group of professionals taking care of everything.”

The theme of the wedding was largely based on the city of Savannah, and boasted the historic town’s old-fashioned ambiance and natural beauty that is a favorite of the bride. “John and I really wanted our wedding to reflect the city in which we met and fell in love,” explains Genina. Located near Moon River of the famous song, the 200-year-old Whitefield Chapel at Bethesda Home for Boys was the perfect venue to host the 26 loved ones who were invited to witness and celebrate the couple’s marriage vows.

Genina dazzled as she made her way down the brick aisle of the sanctuary while wearing a couture strapless gown created especially for her. “My wonderful father, Carlos Ramirez of Liancarlo, did a beautiful job designing my dress,” the bride enthuses. Her long, dark hair cascaded in waves down her back, and she carried a lovely bouquet of anemones and garden roses. “I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world,” says John of the moment he saw his bride. “As she walked down the aisle, I felt a surge of overwhelming joy.” Graceful arrangements of creamy chrysanthemums decorated the ends of rustic wooden pews while sunlight glistened through the sanctuary’s beautiful stained-glass windows throughout the service.

For the reception, the groom wanted a setting that complemented the couple’s approach to life: “Simple, relaxed, and intimate.” An esteemed Southern restaurant housed in an historical 18th-century building provided the ideal atmosphere courtesy of its warm ambiance, comfortable size, and delicious entrees of classic Southern comfort food. Golden chairs with cushions in a rich shade of chocolate surrounded petite round tables covered in pretty taupe linens delicately patterned in damask. Tall arrangements of white garden roses, hydrangeas, and ranunculus blossoms served as centerpieces, and gilded chargers accented each place setting at the sit-down dinner.

Two stacked layers of hazelnut and dark-chocolate crumb composed the couple’s wedding cake. Iced in white-chocolate fondant and dotted with a fresh purple pattern, the lovely dessert was finished with a topper of creamy ranunculus blooms. “I believe that everyone should have their cake and eat it, too,” exclaims Genina, “and so they did!” Everyone went home with a packaged cupcake sealed with a personalized label etched with the words “Love is Sweet.”

Genina’s most treasured component of the day was the box that gathered cards containing guests’ good wishes in lieu of a traditional guest book. “Our loved ones wrote their hopes and dreams for us on the stationery,” explains the bride, “and then the cards were placed in an heirloom wooden box that had been given to me by my mother when I was younger.” The sentiments on the cards will always remind the couple of the real reason for their special day: “I tell my brides all the time that no matter what unforeseen complication occurs, their wedding day will be perfect because they will be marrying the man of their dreams,” says Genina. Not that this bride and groom had any complications to worry about. “The wedding was warm, intimate, relaxed, and full of laughter,” says the groom. “In fact, I think we spent the entire wedding laughing.”

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