Real Weddings

BY Staff

Tara and Keith

A traditional church wedding is a special and beautiful occasion — but it’s not for everyone. Tara Barbaria’s “extreme” marriage to Keith Avant defied all convention. After she fell in love with flying Tara fantasized about arriving at her wedding in a helicopter but never in her wildest dreams did she expect it to happen. Two years after Tara’s engagement to Keith in 2005 the couple went cross-country for a seven-day adventure at Nimmo Bay a helicopter fishing and wilderness resort in British Columbia with the intention of getting married. They waited for the perfect day and on July 31 2007 they were flown in helicopters to the top of Mount Waddington Glacier. There they were married against a rugged breathtaking backdrop. “Our wedding was a very spiritual experience ” says Keith. “I’ve never felt so connected.” Tara and Keith spent the week fishing sightseeing and exploring caves and waterfalls before returning home as newlyweds. Keith a licensed nursing home administrator runs several facilities in the area. The adventurous couple enjoys boating around Wrightsville Beach and being outdoors. Hannah Bunn

BRIDE’S FULL NAME: Suzanne Tara Barbaria GROOM’S FULL NAME: Keith Lowell Avant WEDDING DATE: July 31 2007 CEREMONY SITE: Mount Waddington Glacier RECEPTION SITE: Nimmo Bay Heliventure Resort PHOTOGRAPHY: Jelena Lepesie ( VIDEOGRAPHY: Fraser Murray OFFICIANT: Terry Eissfeldt / Ted Fisher GOWN & GLOVES: Eden Bridal Cameo Bridal Swansboro JEWELRY: Perry’s Emporium Reeds Jeweler’s HAIR: Hair Color Experts NAILS: QT Nails Salon MAKEUP: Belk at Mayfaire FORMALWEAR: Cape Fear Formal Wear CATERING: Nimmo Bay CAKE: Nimmo Bay MUSIC: Craig Murray owner of Nimmo Bay TRANSPORTATION: Prestige Limo HONEYMOON: Nimmo Bay Helicopter Fishing and Wilderness Adventures

Amy and Angelo

The magic began in New York City when Amy Stephenson was introduced to Angelo Tsirbas for the first time. Though Angelo moved back to his home in Los Angeles the couple stayed in love throughout their two-year long-distance relationship; so much so that Amy decided to move to Los Angeles as well.

A year later over an Italian dinner Angelo proposed. The couple was married five months later at Winnabow’s Orton Plantation and Gardens where Amy had always dreamed of getting married. The wedding’s color theme was the robin’s-egg blue of the Plantation’s chapel. “You can’t recreate the chapel for a movie ” Amy says. The Vera Wang gown and cuisine brought the Old South to the wedding much to the delight of their many out-of-town and international guests.

The couple toured the South of France London and the Greek island Santorini for two and a half weeks before returning to Los Angeles where they both reside. — Kristen Nieto

BRIDE’S FULL NAME: Amy Hope Stephenson GROOM’S FULL NAME: Dr. Angelo Tsirbas WEDDING DATE: September 22 2007 CEREMONY SITE: Luola’s Chapel at Orton Plantation Winnabow N.C. RECEPTION SITE: Orton Plantation Winnabow NC REHEARSAL DINNER SITE: Bellamy Mansion PHOTOGRAPHY: Bella Rose Photography VIDEOGRAPHY: Life Stage Videography WEDDING PLANNER: A Carolina Wedding OFFICIANT: The Rev. Jimmy Privette GOWN: Vera Wang VEIL: Custom design by A Finishing Touch at A Carolina Wedding HAIR: Joseph Zell and Company MAKEUP: Joseph Zell and Company BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: J. Crew INVITATIONS: Crane through Embry Papers Los Angeles FLOWERS: A Beautiful Event CATERING: Lewis Bordeau Enterprises CAKE: Nancy Hearne MUSIC: Liquid Pleasure TRANSPORTATION: Wilmington Trolleys Springbrook Farms (horse & carriage) vintage Bentley for bride and groom (Mr. Terry Smith) Prestige Limousine ACCOMMODATIONS: The Blockade Runner RENTALS/TENT DESIGN: Lewis Bordeau Enterprises Raleigh N.C. HONEYMOON: French Riviera

Anna and Anthony

Anna Hodges and Anthony Dale Romanus didn’t let distance stall their five-year relationship. Through weekend visits and daily phone calls the couple stayed madly in love. Then one day while visiting Wilmington for a soccer match Dale proposed to Anna and the couple became engaged on their way to the post-game dinner.

They held their wedding ceremony at the beach and their reception at the Hanover Seaside Club where Anna has been visiting since childhood. Most of Anna’s bridesmaids were cousins and her uncle and father played spoons and sang during the reception. “Having all that family support ” says Anna “was my favorite memory of the wedding.”

The couple honeymooned in Orlando where they swam with the dolphins at Discovery Cove. They currently live with their dog Sunshine in Rocky Mount where Anna does sales and marketing for medical equipment and Dale works for his family’s copy control business High Tech Accessories Inc.— Kristen Nieto

BRIDE’S FULL NAME: Anna Michelle Hodges GROOM’S FULL NAME: Anthony Dale Romanus WEDDING DATE: May 19 2007 CEREMONY SITE: The Hanover Seaside Club beachfront RECEPTION SITE: The Hanover Seaside Club REHEARSAL DINNER SITE: Bluewater—An American Grill PHOTOGRAPHY: Jeff Poole Photography OFFICIANTS: The Rev. Alicia Gonzalez and Rev. Christopher Furr GOWN: David’s Bridal VEIL: David’s Bridal mother-in-law added pearls and crystals JEWELRY: Pearls that have been gifts from the groom over the years HAIR: Joy Roberts BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Elegant Brides FORMALWEAR: After Hours Formalwear INVITATIONS: Mindy & Angie’s Fine Paper FLOWERS: Lynn Johnson CATERING: The Hanover Seaside Club CAKE: Sweet T’s Cakes MUSIC: String Quartet lead by Phil Singleton and The Big Fat Gap TRANSPORTATION: “The Horse” owned by Les Edwards

Melissa and Andrew

After a three-year on-again off-again relationship with Melissa Bucci Andrew Fallis decided to make it on-again for good. On May 26 2006 the day of her graduation he planned to propose during a sunny outdoor picnic. It quickly turned into an indoor picnic when the rain started but nevertheless Andrew proposed over a picnic lunch on the carpet and Melissa happily accepted.

After a year and a half engagement the couple wed during an outdoor ceremony on the Porters Neck Golf Course and celebrated with family members at the indoor reception. “The whole day ” says Melissa “everything went absolutely perfect!”

The newlyweds spent a week honeymooning at Turks and Caicos where they went snorkeling sailing horseback riding and just relaxed. They currently live in Wilmington with their cat Zoe. Melissa is the director of catering at the Shell Island Resort on Wrightsville Beach and Andrew works for Swain and Associates a local commercial development and management company.

BRIDE’S FULL NAME: Melissa Sue Bucci GROOM’S FULL NAME: S. Andrew Fallis WEDDING DATE: October 6 2007 CEREMONY SITE: Porters Neck Plantation RECEPTION SITE: Porters Neck Country Club REHEARSAL DINNER SITE: Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum PHOTOGRAPHY: Ray Baca with Baca Photography VIDEOGRAPHY: DJ Professionals & Video WEDDING PLANNER: Melissa Sue Bucci OFFICIANT: Dr. Michael G. Queen GOWN & Veil: Allure Bridals Bridal Mart Burlington N.C. SHOES: JEWELRY: HAIR & Makeup: Nikki Mills at Salon Beyond Basics BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Jim Hjelm Occasions—Bridal Mart BRIDESMAIDS’ JEWELRY: Vanity at Mayfaire FORMALWEAR: Cape Fear Formal Wear INVITATIONS: Exclusively Weddings FLOWERS: Wendy Wright — A Beautiful Event CATERING: Porters Neck Country Club CAKE: Nancy Hearne MUSIC: Jason Tatum Active Entertainment; cocktail hour music: Steel Pans TRANSPORTATION: Classic Limousine ACCOMMODATIONS: Shell Island Oceanfront Suites Hilton Wilmington Riverside; Graystone Inn (wedding night accommodations) HONEYMOON: Turks and Caicos

Janie and Timothy

Not every girl gets to live the dream of marrying her high school sweetheart but Janie McGregor did. The storybook romance became a reality when Janie married Timothy McAuliffe on June 16 2007 in front of 130 guests as the clouds parted revealing a perfect blue sky at the Arboretum Gardens. The day before the wedding was “girls’ day ” a special memory for Janie. After a bridal brunch at The Oceanic hosted by her grandmother and aunt Janie’s mother took her and her bridesmaids to the Harbour Club Day Spa for an afternoon of pampering and relaxation before the big day. For the environmentally friendly “Seaside Elegance” themed wedding all of the programs were decorated with real seashells collected from Wrightsville Beach. The reception menus also adorned with shells featured eco-friendly seafood. After the wedding all of the shells were returned to the sand and Janie and Tim hit the beach in Cozumel for their honeymoon. The couple lives in Wilmington while Janie earns her master’s degree in marine biology at UNCW and Tim works for Preferred Alternatives and pursues his teaching license.

BRIDE’S FULL NAME: Janie Ann McGregor GROOM’S FULL NAME: Timothy Michael McAuliffe WEDDING DATE: June 16 2007 CEREMONY SITE: The Arboretum Gardens RECEPTION SITE: Louise Wells Cameron Art Museum REHEARSAL DINNER SITE: Halyburton Park Events Center PHOTOGRAPHY: Dan Bailey Photography VIDEOGRAPHY: Liam Video and Graphics WEDDING PLANNER: Laurie Kent with Neat Niche OFFICIANT: The Rev. Martin Stubbs GOWN: Dimitra’s Bridal and Evening Couture Chicago VEIL: Fountaine Bridals and Formals SHOES: My Glass Slipper JEWELRY: Bloomingdales and family pieces HAIR: Harbour Club Day Spa: Sara Harrel MAKEUP: Harbour Club Day Spa: Isla O’Donnell BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Bridal Boutique FORMALWEAR: Cape Fear Formal Wear INVITATIONS: The Fisherman’s Wife FLOWERS: Kim Fisher Designs CATERING: Atlantic Quest CAKE: Cakes by the Norwoods MUSIC: Shoresound Productions FAVORS: Welcome baskets: sand pails filled with beach themed favors TRANSPORTATION: Platinum Limousine HONEYMOON: Cozumel Palace Resort in Cozumel Mexico