With restrictions still in place due to coronavirus and protests erupting around the world against police brutality and racial injustice, the team at SIGNATURE BRIDE was busy putting the finishing touches on its first virtual Love Conquers All Wedding & Honeymoon Giveaway for one special couple.
After the editorial team heard from couples who were forced to cancel or postpone their 2020 weddings and feeling their angst of social distancing, we quickly produced articles and videos with actionable expert advice and tips, but we knew we could do more. That’s when the Love Conquers All Wedding & Honeymoon Giveaway, a virtual wedding and honeymoon giveaway worth $10,000 was born.
Receiving submissions from couples nationwide, SIGNATURE BRIDE, in partnership with WebWed Mobile, announced the winning couple: Stuart Pieters and Joycelyn Herndon of Bushkill, Pennsylvania. The lucky couple virtually tied the knot on May 30, 2020.
Their love story began with what they thought was a chance meeting. The native New Yorkers, hospice nursing assistant Joycelyn and bus driver Stuart, had both relocated to Pennsylvania and were working for the same company, but they didn’t know each other. They didn’t meet until July 2013, when Joycelyn ran into a friend from her hometown, the sister of the groom. It was fireworks the moment Joycelyn and Stuart locked eyes. A few hours later, Stuart reached out to Joycelyn on Facebook, and they’ve been inseparable ever since.
When things started to get serious, Joycelyn, then a mother of two, set boundaries. “I told Stuart that I was a package deal. Without hesitation, Stuart stepped up to] the plate, and I’m grateful for him,” she says. “Stuart is a true gentleman and excellent father. He’s everything I never knew we needed.”
Seven years and two children of their own later, the couple decided that 2020 was the year to formalize their union. Unfortunately, their wedding plans were thwarted because of the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While initially disheartened, Joycelyn was optimistic when she came across the SIGNATURE BRIDE’s Wedding Giveaway Instagram announcement and decided to enter. “COVID-19 has taught us that love does conquer all. Being home together has changed the dynamic of our family in a good way; it’s made us closer,” she says.
With two weeks to pull everything together, a stellar team of creatives fashioned an experience that was comparable to a traditional event. Bringing the vision to life was lead designer and celebrity event planner Slomique Hawrylo of Carpe Diem Events in Los Angeles. “I wanted Joycelyn and Stuart to experience everything they would have, had their wedding not been canceled—a sense of normalcy in a world that was far from normal,” Hawrylo explains. “I wanted to keep the format of a traditional wedding while incorporating the details of their favorite things, such as color, food, floral, and their children.”
The color palette was inspired by the couple’s favorite colors: white, navy, and gold. Hawrylo added a marbling effect—a fitting take on the “something blue” element. However, the lucky couple had no idea what the décor was until the ceremony got underway.
Joining the couple were their four children and parents. JC Banks, the cofounder of WebWed Mobile and an ordained minister, married the couple while friends and family looked on via WebWed Mobile’s private platform.
Helping to bring the vision to life from the local level was Sarah Petryk, owner of Allium Floral Design. “We worked directly with Slomique,” she says. “She was amazing at setting some broad and thoughtful design parameters and letting us get to work, adding what we were able to source in the tight timeframe and adjusting the original vision as needed.”
The couple’s deck, with lush green forest behind, was transformed into a romantic candlelit venue, with candles provided by Candles 4 Less. Mother and daughter violinists, from Deb & Nia Violin, played in the background while the couple said their vows under a beautiful, delicate bamboo and orchid arch designed by Petryk. Additional touches of gold were also added.
After a champagne toast with family and friends, the couple enjoyed a romantic dinner for two catered by The Frogtown Chophouse. The tablescape featured navy blue velvet linen and napkins, gold leaf chargers and accent plates, high and low tapers, glassware, and gold flatware, all provided by Stephanie’s Linens & More.
Beautiful hexagon marble place cards were designed by HelloPosh. The centerpiece of the table was the wedding cake designed by master pastry chef Cristina Vazquez of Petal Dust Cakery. Touches of marble with gold leaf accents and glittering sugar blooms were superbly incorporated into the three-tiered showstopper. The symbolism: Marble is a sturdy material and gold represents optimism and wealth.
“We didn’t see anything until the day of the wedding,” says Herndon. “We were thoroughly blown away by what the SIGNATURE BRIDE team did for us. Everything was so beautiful; Slomique really brought forth what we envisioned for our wedding day.”
“Instead of designing a wedding that was guest-driven, we designed an entire wedding that was love-driven and resembled a blockbuster love story worthy of an Oscar! Our goal was to ensure the reason they fell in love was present throughout the day,” added Hawrylo.