Three couples share their wedding day – Cuza + Galan, Baum + Greenberg & Phillips + Nemecek
CUZA + GALAN
For high school sweethearts Kalynne and Gabriel, their dream wedding at The Oaks Country Club was the perfect beginning to the end of an enduring and endearing courtship that certainly stood the test of time.
But let’s start at the real beginning. This beautiful couple met while both attended Cardinal Mooney High School. Kalynne, who graduated in 2007, is the daughter of Fernando and Kristi Cuza, and Gabriel, who graduated in 2006, is the son of Pedro and Maria Galan.
Evidently this was no puppy love, as their relationship continued strong during their college years and beyond. Both of them attended Florida State University and graduated in 2011 – Gabriel with a major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and Kalynne with a major in Accounting.
They then both moved to Miami to pursue their postgraduate education. Kalynne graduated from University of Miami in 2012 with a Masters in Accounting, and Gabriel graduated from Barry University with a Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine in 2015.
Today, Kalynne is Certified Public Accountant, having previously worked for KPMG, a big four accounting firm. She currently works for Carnival Corporation in the Global Accounting Department located in Miami. After 4 years of Podiatry school, Gabriel is now a second year Resident Physician at West Regional Medical Center in Plantation, where he specializes in foot and ankle surgery.
Gabriel and Kalynne got engaged at Kalynne’s parents’ vacation home in the Dominican Republic. He proposed to Kalynne on the beach with the help of a very cute local monkey that sat on her shoulder as Gabriel got down on one knee.
Fast forward to their Great Gatsby-themed wedding at The Oaks Country Club orchestrated by planner extraordinaire Maria Brady. Everything, including the art-deco invitations and stunning gold sequin bridesmaid dresses, was inspired by the glamour of that time period.
The cocktail reception was reminiscent of a speakeasy with live ragtime jazz piano. The signature drink was sparkling rose champagne served in flutes rimmed with edible 23K gold flakes.
The spectacular dinner reception in the ballroom had dimmed lights, opulent florals, lots of candlelight and sparkle, and a mix of tables either donned with gold sequin linens or made of antique mirror, which all added to the glamour.
At the end of the evening, guests set off “wish lanterns.” The lanterns made everything even more magical as everyone made a wish and sent them off into the sky! The bride and groom left their special night in an authentic 1931 Model A Ford.
Kaylnne and Gabriel are now busy planning and saving for their dream honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand, which they hope to take this time next year.
BAUM + GREENBERG
This adorable couple found each other the modern way, but once they did, everything else about their courtship and wedding was traditional and endearing.
Born in Sarasota, Michael is the son of Steve and Sue Greenberg. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University. Sharing his attorney father’s love of the law, he then attended law school at Villanova University. Michael currently works as a Family Law attorney at the law office of Philip J. Schipani in Sarasota.
Kaitlyn, born in St. Louis, MO, is the daughter of Ron and Jane Baum. She received her bachelor’s of science in nursing from Saint Louis University and will graduate from USF this summer with a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner. Kaitlyn currently works as a registered nurse at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
Now for the fun part. Michael and Kaitlyn met on an online dating site – the modern way. Michael had been living and working in Philadelphia and had recently moved back to Sarasota. Kaitlyn had just decided to quit her job as a travel nurse and settle in Sarasota. Fate would take over.
“It was Michael’s contagious smile that initially caught my eye and I had to connect with him,” said Kaitlyn. “We began talking every day until we finally met in person about two weeks later. His funny and energetic personality were addictive to be around. I felt a connection to him early on and knew he was the one. Michael was always trying to make sure our next date was planned before the current date was finished.”
“In order to get me to go on a second date with him, Michael challenged me to a game of basketball. He set the stakes though, so no matter if he won or lost, the result involved me going somewhere with him. I found his creativity endearing and cute, and I was already excited to go anywhere with him. He was persistent, and we quickly became inseparable, always laughing together and making each other smile.” A traditional and endearing courtship for sure!
Being a sentimental gal, Kaitlyn had always loved her grandmother’s wedding dress, but she was too tall to wear it. Her mother was able to remake her grandmother’s gown, and also used the lace from her own wedding gown to make the sleeves. For Kaitlyn, it was such a special opportunity to honor both her mother and grandmother, and she wore the dress during her reception. For her ceremony, she designed the wedding gown of her dreams.
Michael and Kaitlyn had a special rehearsal dinner at Cafe L’Europe on St. Armands, and their ceremony and reception at IMG Academy Golf & Country Club where a great time was had by all. The couple had a giant Jenga game as their guest book, so, according to Kaitlyn, “Each time we play the game in the future, we get to enjoy fun memories.”
The couple honeymooned in Rome, Florence and Paris. Since neither had ever been out of the country, they were excited to explore new places together and, as Kaitlyn adorably shared, “Stuff our faces with pizza, pasta, and wine!”
PHILLIPS + NEMECEK
The love story of this couple started with long distance texting and ended happily ever after, but not before it took an adorable journey.
The year was 2013 and town matchmaker Ana Molinari decided that her friend Rechelle was a match for Michael, a customer at her Palm Avenue salon. Unbeknownst to Michael, Ana called Rechelle so they could meet. It wasn’t the love connection Ana hoped for, but a good friendship was forged. In fact, Michael, being the consummate gentleman, invited Ana and Rechelle to his birthday party a few weeks later.
But that night, Ana and Rechelle already had their next plan in motion – Rechelle’s sister Nicci would be a good match for Michael! There was only one problem. Nicci lived in California. So, acting like two schoolgirls, Ana and Rechelle called and sent text messages to Nicci telling her about Michael, how handsome he is, and to look him up on Facebook.
Fast-forward a couple weeks. Nicci and Rechelle were on the phone talking like they did most every night. Nicci asked Rechelle if she and Ana were going to Michael’s birthday party. Rechelle said she didn’t think so and Nicci asked her why not. Rechelle told her that she would only go if Nicci would come as well.
So Nicci decided to ask Michael to be a Facebook friend in hopes of bringing her out to the party. He accepted her friend request and curiosity took over. That night they texted back and forth for hours. After that, they started talking on the phone for hours every day.
The day before Halloween 2013, Nicci came to Sarasota to finally meet Michael in person and visit both her mom and sister. She never left.
Nicci shared, a bit embarrassingly, that the series finale of the television show “Gossip Girl” inspired the vision for their wedding. In this series, the couple was married in the living room of their best friend’s New York City townhome, in front of their closest friends and family. After watching that scene, Nicci and Michael knew exactly what they wanted for their wedding – an intimate and warm affair yet absolutely magical. And it was!
Nicci shared, “Every aspect of our wedding, from our flowers to our bartender, were personally selected to represent our vision and the people who were invited to celebrate our special day with us. It was a true labor of love.”
With only 40 very special guests, the couple decided to forego a wedding planner. They leaned heavily on friends, family and other connections in town to make their day perfect.
“Luckily for us,” said Nicci, Liebe Gamble, the owner of June Simmons Jewelry, was by our side the entire journey. Her expertise, talent and creativity turned our wedding from a well-decorated intimate ceremony, to a lavish experience witnessed only by our closest and most dear.”
Nicci, born in Albuquerque, grew up in California and attended the University of Arizona. Her parents are Andrew Phillips and Kathryn Jill Phillips, and her stepmother is Susan Phillips. She is now the general manager of two June Simmons Jewelry stores.
Michael was born in Venice and attended USF for both his undergrad and MBA. His parents are Kimberly and Todd Nemecek. Michael is a financial analyst at Densply.