Sarah & Geoff
Updated: Nov 15
6.3.2023 | Shrine of the Immaculate Conception & The Biltmore Ballrooms
How We Met
We first heard from Sarah and Geoff in June of 2022 when Deanna, Sarah’s mom, reached out to us. In the email she said “I hope my email address looks familiar” and it sure did! In October of 2021, we helped with the wedding of Sarah’s sister and new brother-in-law, Megan and Jake. We were so excited to be hearing from this sweet family again and so excited to hear all about Sarah and Geoff’s special day! We met with Deanna, Sarah, and Geoff to give them a refresher on all things Marmaros and shortly after that call we had a June 2023 wedding on our calendar! We were headed to the stunning Biltmore Ballrooms and we could not have been more excited!
Our Story Sarah and Geoff's story began in March of 2020 with a bang - their first date had to be delayed a week after Geoff got into a fender bender on his way back from a work trip. Today, Sarah and Geoff fondly celebrate this date as their "crash-iversary." Their second first date went far smoother, and by the end of the evening, Geoff knew Sarah was the one for him. Thank goodness for her that he appreciates nerds who can turn scenes from The Lord of the Rings films into lessons on medieval literary devices! For her part, Sarah was falling for this charming, intelligent guy. Sarah's plan for their next date were derailed when Georgia's COVID lockdown sent her home to quarantine with her family in Augusta. Over the next three months, Sarah and Geoff continued to text, FaceTime, and enjoy movie dates over Zoom. In fact, it was after one of these nights that Sarah knew she had truly found her match. As they shared thoughts on the production of Shakespeare's The Tempest that they'd just watched, Sarah realized she "would not wish any companion in the world" but Geoff.
Despite being virtual, Sarah and Geoff's romance flourished in those early days. Once Sarah returned to Atlanta after quarantine, the two enjoyed hiking trails, experimenting with gluten-free recipes, visiting museums, and sharing their favorite books. After COVID protocols were lifted, Sarah and Geoff were able to travel together. As they went on adventures like an underwater astronaut experience in Alabama, touring monasteries in Greece, and exploring lava tubes in Hawai'i, two years quickly flew by.
By late 2021, Sarah and Geoff were talking seriously about their future, and Geoff began to plan a perfect proposal. Intentional and thoughtful as always, he saw their upcoming trip to him beautiful home state of California as the golden opportunity for the big question. After spending a wonderful day at Monterey Bay Aquarium (Sarah loves aquariums!), they strolled down to Lovers Point. In the very spot where Sarah's parents became engaged, Geoff asked Sarah to marry him. Overwhelmed with joy, Sarah promptly collapsed onto the nearest rock. She gathered herself after a few moments, and Geoff got his "yes, of course!" from his new fiancée. The couple called their families to share the happy news and set off down the Pacific Coast Highway, basking in their love and the light of the sun setting beyond the ocean.
However, Geoff's plan was not through! The next morning, they arrived in Santa Barbara and took a walk down by the harbor breakwater, found a bench, and settled in to enjoy the peace of the hushed, cloudy morning. As they sat, Geoff quietly worked the ring off Sarah's finger, got down on one knee, and proposed again! Of course, Sarah said yes (much more quickly this time!), and Geoff then explained that this was where his parents became engaged. Once more, Sarah was deeply touched by her betrothed's sense of love and family. Ring safely back on Sarah's finger, the two continued on to the historic Santa Barbara Mission, where they enjoyed the beautiful rose garden and a growing excitement for their wedding day and beyond.
Down to Business
Our first meeting with Sarah and Geoff was in person at a coffee shop in Atlanta. It was so lovely getting to have a chance to meet one another in person and start to really discuss the overall vision for the big day! After that first meeting, we started to have virtual meetings where we would thoroughly go over all of the details like vendors, timelines, and decor. By April, we all headed to the STUNNING Biltmore Ballrooms where we met with the Biltmore staff and the team with Bold Catering & Design. During this final walkthrough, we could really start to see Sarah and Geoff’s vision coming together - it was so exciting! The next time we would all see one another in person would be rehearsal day at the Shrine of Immaculate Conception the day before wedding day. On that Friday, we practiced the ceremony and once everyone felt comfortable with the order of things we sent the group on their way to enjoy their dinner. Everyone was so excited for the next day because it was finally Sarah and Geoff’s wedding day!
The Big Day
Wedding day started bright and early for the ladies who were getting their hair done by Brittany Ansley and their makeup done by Megan Inderrieden at the Epicurean. Across the hall from the ladies, the guys were also spending some quality time together getting ready for the big day. Once everyone was wrapping up the getting ready process, Savanna Sturkie, their photographer, and Armance Films, their videographer, arrived to start capturing some detail photos and getting ready photos. Sarah stepped into her stunning dress from Bridal House of Charleston. Next, Atlantic Limo arrived at the Epicurean to pick up the wedding party and take everyone to the church. We met the wedding party at The Shrine of Immaculate Conception and got busy setting up everything that Sarah and Geoff had brought in like memory shadow boxes for the loved ones who were no longer with them. This was such a sweet and personal way to include those loved ones on their big day because the shadow boxes were filled with sentimental items that reminded them of that person. Once Sarah and Geoff entered the church, we set them up to have their first touch with one another. We love when couples who choose not to do a first look decide to do a first touch because this allows them to connect and get those pre-ceremony jitters out of the way without spoiling the surprise of seeing one another. Savanna knocked out as many photos as possible prior to the ceremony, but we also made sure to give the family and wedding party a chance to sit down, grab some water, and cool off.
The processional for the ceremony began right at 2:30 and concluded with Sarah being escorted down the aisle by both of her parents. Fr. Joe Wagner led such a Christ-centered wedding mass. It was so special to see Sarah and Geoff become man and wife surrounded by all of their loved ones. Towards the end of the ceremony, their marriage was sealed with a kiss and they were officially married!! Guests made their way over to the Biltmore Ballrooms to enjoy cocktail hour and the family stayed behind to wrap up the last of the family photos. Once the family and wedding party arrived at the Biltmore, we had to utilize the gorgeous greenery space for a few photos before heading inside to cocktail hour and joining the guests. Radial Entertainment filled the space of the cocktail hour with an incredible four-piece ensemble.
We encouraged everyone to find their seats so that we could kick off the reception with the introduction of the parents, wedding party, and last but most importantly the new Mr. and Mrs. Geoff and Sarah Bernd!! Everyone took their seats while Sarah and Geoff shared in their first dance together - it truly looked like we were watching a prince and princess in a royal dance together! After their first dance, Sarah and Geoff took the mic to thank their guests for coming to support them on their big day. Bold Catering started serving dinner right after hearing a blessing from Sarah’s grandfather, Don. Everyone LOVED the tasty food that Bold provided! Naturally, after dinner it was time for some sweet treats! Sarah and Geoff cut their stunning cake from Confection Perfection and then headed back to their table to hear toasts from some of their loved ones. Sarah is a lover of Shakespeare, so it was so special when her dad whipped out a Shakespearian hat before reading out his incredibly well-written toast! The final formality before the dance floor opened up was the sweet and heartwarming parent dances. Once the dance floor opened up, this group was ready to party and Radial Entertainment was creating the perfect party atmosphere! Alas, all parties must come to an end, but Sarah and Geoff’s wedding didn’t end without something spectacular. The newlyweds ran through tossed petals and cheers from their loved ones before they hopped in the dreamiest vintage car from Atlantic Limo and drove off to their happily ever after!
It is always a special moment when a bride gets to see her wedding day vision come to life. Sarah and her mom had worked so hard on all the plans to ensure that Sarah’s vision of the Biltmore Ballrooms happened on wedding day. Although it wasn’t part of the plan, once the room was all set up and all of the formal photos had wrapped up, we pulled both Sarah and her mom to have a chance to see the reception space before guests filled the room. They each saw it at different times, but they both had the same reaction - instant tears of joy. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing! What was in front of them was more incredible than they had imagined - Bold Design truly did an incredible job. This was such a special unplanned moment because you could feel the joy of wedding day just radiating off the two of them!
Marmaros did a wonderful job for my sister's vow renewal in Atlanta in October 2021, so I knew exactly whom to contact when my now-husband and I got engaged last summer. They did not disappoint! Mallory was an absolute delight to work with as we planned our June 2023 wedding. She listened to all of our hopes for the big day and made them happen. She was attentive in coordinating details with the various vendors and venues, and we appreciated her calm approach. Thanks in large part to Mallory and the Marmaros team, our wedding was all we'd dreamed of!
Happily Ever After
We LOVED having a chance to work with this sweet family again! Sarah and Geoff made their day so personal to them and it was a pleasure to be a part of their special day. We wish nothing but the best to the new Mr. & Mrs. Bernd!
All Hands on Deck
Hotel: Epicurean Hotel
Ceremony Venue: Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Venue: The Biltmore Ballrooms
Photographer: Savanna Sturkie Photo
Videographer: Armance Films
Hair: Brittany Ansley
Makeup: Megan Inderrieden
Catering & Florals: Bold
DJ: Radial Entertainment
Bakery: Confection Perfection
Officiant: Father Joe Wagner
Getaway Car & Shuttle: Atlantic Limo
Dress Shop: Bridal House of Charleston
Dress Alterations: Dottie Hawk
Bridesmaids Dress Shop: Bella Bridesmaids