How did you two meet or how did you propose?: John and I met in August 2009 at the Manhattan Yacht Club on the floating clubhouse in New York City where we live. We had friends in common and ended up having the same favorite restaurant, an obscure place in Union Square, which is what started us talking and deciding we should go some time since we both love it and knew the owners. I thought we were going as friends and did not realize until the end of that first date, which came 3 weeks after our first meeting, that it was in fact a date. We dated for 5 more years before becoming engaged. To celebrate our 5 year anniversary of dating, John planned a surprise long weekend in one of our favorite spots - the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. I didn't know where we were going until we started to drive. He reserved the Library room at the iconic Geneva on the Lake mansion. We arrived Friday and had a wonderful evening complete with champagne and a fire in the fireplace in our room. Geneva on the Lake is very special as it only has a handful of rooms and was built in the style of the Italian renaissance with vast, maze-like grounds surrounding its position about the water. On that Saturday, September 20, 2014, John surprised me after breakfast with a wine tour. Our private driver arrived and we visited a number of our favorite wineries, the Finger Lakes are known for their amazing wines! This was the actual date of our 5 year anniversary and after a 7 hour wine tour I thought that was the surprise. I knew we had dinner plans so we dressed for dinner and then went for a walk around the grounds of the estate. We found a secluded little swing to sit on, and John had brought a book he had made about the last 5 years - The Story of Duberstacia, the Best Story Ever Told - he sat down and started to read it to me, the second to last page was the proposal (you can also view the full book on our website www.duberstacia.com). He had a professional photographer hiding in the bushes and she captured every moment, along with a photo session following the proposal. It was incredibly special and still the best day of my life - even more so then the wedding day - because it was so intimate and such a surprise.
How did you find your venue? Were you happy with it?: We chose Sedona so it would be easy for the grooms elderly grandparents to attend as they live in Phoenix. As we are both big sailors and on the East Coast, our dream wedding did not involve the desert but we thought it the right thing to do for family. I visited Sedona along with my sister-in-law and we looked at 7 venues - I chose Agave as it was the only venue I saw that had both a beautiful indoor and outdoor space, and it was a blank canvas so with the right investment in decor, we could make it absolutely what we envisioned. It was also the only location which did not require we end our party at 9PM and move it inside.
Describe the theme or color scheme of your wedding, and what you chose for your table setting at the reception: The theme was simple elegance, we wanted our guests to feel transported and spoiled, so all the table names were named after boats we had sailed or islands we had sailed to, and we had everything very personalized down to the mints in the bathroom. We choose high centerpieces so guests could see through the table, and overflowing variations of white lilies. I did not want any roses as I think they are too generic, so we chose beautiful arrangements of lilies along with textured tablecloths so every thing was hand chosen to be perfect for the ambiance. I also wanted a lot of candle lighting so each centerpiece was accompanied by three varying heights of white floating votive candles. Our colors were Navy and Silver with neither being too predominate in any of the decor other then in the attire of the bridal party and on the foil pressed table cards, menus, programs and name cards.
What piece of advice would you give other couples planning their big day?: Advice for other brides is invest in a very good wedding planner, even if you are very involved, as I was and secured all the vendors, you need someone who can bring your vision to life and be a support for you outside of family and friends. The wedding planner was the best investment we made (and the most affordable).