The European-inspired celebration combined Old-World elegance with opulent touches.
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bride and groom in garden

Bianca L'Oreal Berardi Gonzalez and Franco Gonzalez went to Playa del Carmen, Mexico—separately—in July 2017 to celebrate the wedding of their friends. As Bianca, who lived in New York City at the time, stood outside the church on the steamy summer day, a smiling stranger handed her a glass of Champagne to cool off. Relieved, she uttered, "I love you"—foreshadowing the months and years to come.

The pair dated for a little over a year, and Franco, who was Miami based, intended to propose on a Christmas trip to visit Bianca's family. During the trip, however, Bianca's mother, Momma Rose, fell ill. Franco debated whether her should stay the course with the proposal, as it became apparent that the situation was grave. Ultimately, he decided to move forward, knowing how much it would mean to Bianca's mother to see her daughter engaged and happy.

Instead of an elaborate New York proposal, Franco asked Bianca to spend forever together while in her bedroom. They kept their engagement quiet among the family in those first days, but went to the hospital to share the news with Bianca's mother in her final hours. "The gesture and what it represented was so much more important than the execution," says Bianca. "His proposal at that time told me that he would not shy away from the tough moments and that he would always be there for me."

When planning their big day, they decided to mirror the memories from one of their favorite trips to Spain (and their wishlist trip to Italy!) and bring Europe to Fort Meyers, Fla., where Bianca grew up. Their venue, La Casa Toscana, was transformed into a Mediterranean, Old World-inspired escape; the wedding, which was designed by Jacqui Resop & Kathie Resop of SBS Weddings & Events and took place on which took place on April 8, 2022, was predicated on a "European Olive" palette, and included lush, opulent florals, fruits, and greenery.

vintage wedding invitation suite

Vintage Touches

Invitations spoke to the Old-World European and olive theme and included Michelangelo-inspired envelope liners and green ink. A taupe velvet ribbon and vintage floral stamps tied the entire suite together.

bride in outdoor garden

Bridal Beauty

The minute Bianca tried on this wedding dress by Leah Da Gloria, which she found at Bridal Reflections in Manhattan, N.Y., she knew it was the one. "It was simple and regal at the same time. It was timeless. When I walked out and saw the smiles from my audience, I knew the long search was finally over," she says.

bride with bridesmaids in olive dresses

Thinking Green

Bianca's bridesmaids stepped into Amsale dresses meant to mirror the color palette. Each attendant carried an organic, free-flowing bouquet that echoed the bride's, but featured more color.

groom wearing boutonniere

Blooming Boutonnière

Franco selected monogrammed initial cuff links along with a boutonnière, which took cues from Bianca's bouquet and included a fresh olive branch and brown leather string.

groom with groomsmen in tuxedos

Timeless Tux

The groom donned a custom tuxedo and white dinner jacket by Joseph Abboud from Men's Wearhouse, paired with a front bib tuxedo shirt and a cap toe oxford. The groomsmen sported black tuxedos by Vera Wang from Men's Wearhouse, as well.

outdoor wedding setup with dome

A European Escape

"We were trying to create a European escape for our guests—an intimate setting that transported all of us to Old-World Europe. If we could not go to Europe, we wanted to bring Europe to us," says Franco.

Tom Trovato Event Floral & Design made the white gazebo, the backdrop for their ceremony, blend into its natural surroundings with cascading florals and hanging vines. Gold chivari chairs added a romantic vibe, and large urns with olive branches made guests feel as if they were walking in Tuscany.

flower girl walking down aisle

A Poignant Moment

Mikayla, Bianca's godchild and flower girl, tossed florals down the aisle during the ceremony—and created one of the bride's favorite big-day moments. That morning, Mikayla asked her a question: If she could have any special power, what it would be? Bianca chose teleportation, and Mikayla replied that she'd want the power to bring people back so she could have Aunt Rose and Uncle Michael (Bianca's parents) back.

"Every single woman in the room instantly got tears in their eyes," says Bianca. "Mikayla couldn't understand why we were sad, and we just explained that it was just a really beautiful thing to say."

bride and groom during ceremony

Meaningful Readings

Kacey Musgraves' "Rainbow" played as an ode to Bianca's parents as she made her way to the altar during the processional. During the ceremony, the couple opted for traditional vows, but chose each line to be personalized to their love story, and included several readings, one of which was Genesis 8, which tells the story of Noah's Ark.

In the story, the dove brings "a freshly plucked olive leaf" to show the the water has receded. Bianca and Franco loved not only this quote's tie to their olive theme, but also its symbolism: It spoke to all they and the world has been through and worked to overcome in the last few years.

wedding seating chart with bells

Wedding Bells

Luster Designs created exquisite printed items, including welcome bags, escort cards, place cards, and ceremony cards, for the pair's big day. She also coined the phrase for the top of the escort display: "Follow the Bells." The silver-and-gold bells were engraved in rose, a nod to Bianca's mother, Rose; they were a memento for guests to take home.

bride and groom arriving at reception

Simple and Regal

A kindhearted seamstress worked her magic and convinced Bianca to leave the classic, but glamorous drop sleeves on her stunning ivory silk mikado dress. She wore a voluminous overskirt for the ceremony, then took it off for the reception to reveal a flattering fit-and-flare style. She added a cape by Galia Lahav for extra flare.

colorful outdoor wedding reception

Dining Under the Stars

Luna C.E. Productions handled the reception's romantic lighting; votives on the tables added a twinkling ambience, while hanging chandeliers, placed throughout the trees and pergolas, and bistro lighting strung across the dance floor made guests feel as if they were dining and dancing beneath the stars.

wedding reception tablescape with colorful flowers

A Feast for the Eyes

Bianca had an eclectic vision for the tablescapes and chose to bring in complementing, but varied, colors that mimicked the organic florals. Details included mocha glassware, jade dinnerware, crystal Champagne glasses, and bone flatware.

Centerpieces included lush, overflowing displays of fresh foliage, like olive and jasmine leaves, florals including roses and ranunculus, delicately placed deep red grapes and Bosch pears, and walnut halves, which spilled onto the table runner.

bride and groom during first dance

Stand By Me

The couple swayed to countless songs in their living room trying to find their first dance song and were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options that felt true to them. They ultimately chose "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King, a classic that speaks of love and friendship; it embodied everything the couple has endured by each other's side.

wedding cake with peaches

Peaches and Cream

Whipped cream covered the couple's three-tiered cake, topped with cut and whole fresh peaches, a few roses, and olive greens. Franco and Bianca both loved this elegant rendition of peaches and cream; the confection tasted like warm weather and was the kind of dessert you would expect a grandmother, living in the European countryside, to make.

gelato cart at wedding

Gelato Cart

To channel the vibe of a quaint Italian cobblestone street and its charming street vendors, the couple hired a gelato cart by Sospiri. Flavors included Bianca's favorite, hazelnut, lavender—which was specially created for the matron of honor—and cookies and cream.

bride and groom in vintage car

Sources

Friday Ceremony Vendors

Ceremony Venue, Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord
Videography, iHeart Films
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Jacqui Resop & Kathie Resop of SBS Weddings & Events
Priest, Rev. Msgr. Stephen McNamara
Flowers, Tom Trovato Event Floral & Design
Invitations, Jenny Olsen of Studio Wren & Co.
Bride's Gown, Viero Bridal NYC
Veil, Vintage "Eve of Milady" 
Bride's Shoes, Sophia Webster
Groom's Suit, Ted Baker LONDON Endurance
Groom's Shoes, Magnanni 
Hair, Duality Artistry
Makeup, Dani Perez
Vintage Rolls Royce, Naples Transportation & Tours

Wedding Vendors

Photography, Kristin La Voie Photography
Ceremony and Reception Venue, La Casa Toscana
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Jacqui Resop & Kathie Resop of SBS Weddings & Events
Videography, D.S. Wedding Films
Floral Design, Tom Trovato Event Floral & Design
Invitations, Jenny Olsen of Studio Wren & Co.
Other Paper Products, Megan Miller of Luster Designs
Officiant, Father Noel Clarke
Bride's Gown, Bridal Reflections
Overskirt, Leah Da Gloria
Bridal Cape, Galia Lahav
Bridal Gloves, Sermoneta Gloves
Shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair, Duality Artistry
Makeup, Dani Perez
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Amsale
Groom's Attire, Men's Wearhouse
Groomsmen's Attire, Men's Wearhouse
Engagement Ring, Mayors Jewelers
Wedding Bands, Mayors Jewelers
Ceremony Music, The Vanderbilt Strings
Cocktail Hour and Reception Music, None Other Band 
Catering, Artichoke & Company
Cake, SassyCakes of Naples
Gelato Cart, Sospiri
Desserts, Aux Delices Artisan Bakery and Cafe
Linens, BBJ La Tavola
Tabletop Rentals, Treasury Rentals
Chair Rentals, Southern Chairs
Rentals, Party Time Rentals & Special Events; Luna C.E. Productions
Transportation, Dolphin Transportation

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