featured image - bonnie and john

A Southern Soiree in Savannah


July 28, 2023
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Dana Cubbage Weddings

Bonnie and John’s love story began in Manhattan in 2010, where they crossed paths at their first professional jobs. Little did they know that this chance encounter would lead to a beautiful journey culminating in their destination wedding in Savannah, Georgia in 2022. They took their time, letting their love grow, and finally decided to tie the knot in a place that held special significance for Bonnie.

“I grew up in the South, and I always envisioned a wedding closer to home, but to bring a ton of northerners to my hometown didn’t feel like the right fit either,” Bonnie shared. 

The couple wanted an outdoor wedding with spacious grounds and a spring vibe, something challenging to achieve in the bustling city of Manhattan. After much research, Bonnie stumbled upon the Ford Field and River Club in Richmond Hill, Georgia, just 20 minutes outside of Savannah. It checked all the boxes – the perfect blend of elegance, Southern charm, and ideal April weather. 

“The landscape had very manicured and brilliant green lawns, along with towering, broad Spanish Moss trees that added a lot of character,” Bonnie says. “This allowed me to stray away from the atypical white and green weddings as the lawns provided the beautiful green accents and opened the door for me to use other colors in my design: lots of neutral tones, ivory, soft gold, but with pops of striking black as well.”

The reception tent was a highlight of the decor, meticulously designed with draped curtains, a 10-foot-tall painted black water fountain, and pampas tree tabletops. The atmosphere exuded luxury and comfort, exactly what Bonnie and John envisioned for their special day.

The couple’s ceremony struck a perfect balance between tradition and personalization. Although not a traditional Catholic ceremony, they chose a priest with a Catholic background who incorporated several meaningful traditions. The vows and readings reflected their deep commitment to each other, making the ceremony an intimate and touching experience. A first look before the ceremony helped calm their nerves, a decision they highly recommend to other couples.

Planning a destination wedding from afar can be daunting, but Bonnie and John had an incredible support system that made the process smooth. Their wedding planner, Kelli Corn, played a crucial role, providing valuable guidance and keeping the process on track. Bonnie’s sister-in-law, Kim Cheney, owner of August Floral Design, added her expertise to the mix, ensuring the floral arrangements were nothing short of spectacular. 

“Also, our photographer Dana Cubbage sent this amazing catalog with tons of advice and suggestions which I read through probably 10x!”

To further prepare for their big day, Bonnie and John made two pre-wedding visits to the venue. This gave them confidence in the layout, design, and flow of the wedding day. They also had the opportunity to partake in a food and wine tasting, ensuring that their guests would enjoy a delightful culinary experience.

The couple’s advice for future brides and grooms planning a destination wedding is to pay special attention to the music and ensure it reflects their personalities. Bonnie and John had live music, including a Frank Sinatra trio band for the cocktail hour and a Beatles tribute band alongside a DJ for the reception. The couple invested time and effort in curating their music selections, which paid off with a night filled with dancing and celebration.

Ultimately, Bonnie and John’s Savannah destination wedding exceeded their expectations, and they wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was a day filled with love, joy, and memories to last a lifetime. As Bonnie advises, “Make sure your wedding feels like you and your spouse, then it will feel natural, and you’ll feel super excited about sharing it with your guests on the day of.”

Vendors: Photographer: Dana Cubbage Weddings; Wedding Planner: Kelli Corn Weddings & Events; Ceremony/Reception Site: The Ford Field & River Club; Florist: August Floral Design; Stationery: Lollipop Letterpress; Cake: Minette Rushing; Hair & Makeup: Southern Belle by Marie Noel; Gown Designer: Wona Concept; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Ralph Lauren; Wedding Party Attire: Revelry; Videography: Austin Collins Media; Lighting & Drapery: ies Productions; Rentals: Amazing Event Rentals

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