They say that the kids you befriend in college are the people you’ll have in your bridal party one day; for Gabrielle Reynolds and Wesley Jones, they also happened to find their future spouse amongst their freshman class. “We lived on the same floor in the same dorm, made the same friends, and shared a class or two,” shares Gabrielle. “I knew he would be someone special in my life the moment I met him, though we didn’t date until years later!”
When Wesley decided to propose, he selected a much grander setting than the dormitory where they’d first locked eyes. “We took a trip to Switzerland in the fall of 2013. On our first full day there, we took a hike in the mountains above Interlaken – a beautiful town nestled between lakes and the towering Swiss Alps,” Gabrielle recalls. “We reached a hidden lake [and] Wes insisted we hike a bit further to get a view of our lake from above, encouraging me to walk up to a viewing point while he lagged behind.” While snapping photos, Gabrielle heard her boyfriend calling out her name, and when she turned to him, she discovered him on bended knee. “That day was the best of my life – until the wedding of course!”
With the help of Viva Bella Events, the bride and groom crafted a fête that perfectly matched the vision they had in their heads. Gabrielle desired a day inspired by a “Secret Garden” concept, which coordinated with the alfresco Cincinnati venue. When the big day finally arrived, Gabrielle’s 15 bridesmaids – all attired in unique dresses of varying styles and pastel hues – helped her into a modified A-line Monique Lhuillier ceremony gown before the couple’s “first look.” After seeing one another in their wedding ensembles for the first time, the pair seized the opportunity to pose for some beautiful snapshots in the open-air space.
When guests were settled in their seats, the bride floated through the garden feeling light as a feather. “Walking down the aisle and locking eyes with Wes in front of our family and friends was magical,” gushes Gabrielle. “There just aren’t other words to describe that feeling of nervous excitement. It was perfection.” All at once, she reached her beloved, who stood in front of a lush, cascading arbor featuring dripping foliage and bright springtime blossoms. “We really wanted to create a focal point for our ceremony [in the floral arrangements],” tells Gabrielle. “[Our florist] had an incredible vision and brought it to life flawlessly.” The duo exchanged vows in front of their loved ones surrounded by the natural beauty of their fairy-tale location.
Following the service, attendees traversed the grounds to a tented reception space bedecked simply to enhance the organic splendor of the area. Revelers discovered escort cards attached to golden keys – following the “Secret Garden” design of the event – with delicate pink ribbon tied to each. They found their seats at wooden tables of varying shapes adorned with lace runners underneath leafy green garlands featuring blush and lavender roses spanning the length of the table. Centerpieces included the same verdure in the table runners – with added perennials in similar shades – in cascading clusters set in clear, tall vases. Low candles gave the room an understated, romantic feel.
The newlyweds performed their first dance at the start of the celebration. Immediately following, Gabrielle promptly changed into a second frock that featured a high neckline and a full tulle skirt perfect for movement just in time for a spin around the dance floor with her beaming father. The end of this dance signified the start of the lively soirée as friends and family got up to sway to the live entertainment. “Our band rocked it during the reception, and I think my favorite moment was getting onstage with my husband and belting out a Journey song,” says the bride. “The entire crowd was singing along and really getting into it. Such fun!”
In the end, Gabrielle recommends future brides avoid sweating the small stuff. “Every decision seems like a big one during wedding planning, and it is easy to get caught in the minutia,” she explains. “My advice would be to remember that your biggest decision has already been made – you have decided to spend your life with someone. All the other things aren’t worth stressing over.”