In 1998, Chad Keller met Kelly Cozzens in a bar where she worked while attending the University of New Orleans. After a few years of dating, they began talking about getting married, and one evening Chad made Kelly a ring from a soda-can top and a twist tie. The official engagement a few months later, in June 2001, was just as spontaneous. The bride-to-be came across a sweepstakes entry form in an issue of Martha Stewart Weddings for a wedding in Puerto Rico planned by the editors. And, as luck would have it, they won.
Kelly chose an embroidered and beaded Reem Acra satin gown with sheer sleeves; Martha designed the bride's bouquet using white cattleya orchids, and affixed a four-leaf-clover charm to the chiffon ribbon for good luck.
Hues as refreshing as an island breeze -- pink, pear, and white -- make up the color scheme for the afternoon ceremony. The invitations were designed in those colors; the thick cotton paper has pink enamel edging, and the envelopes were hand-lined in green glassine. A graceful orchid design created by the calligrapher adorns the invitation and becomes a motif for the entire wedding. Pink and deep-brown letterpress printing adds richness to the invitations.
Three kioskos, modeled after the food stands that dot the island of Puerto Rico, were set up and labeled with what they offered -- "bebidas" (drinks), "bunuelos" (fried pastries), and "arroz pegao" (hors d'oeuvres made with crispy rice). Here, two of Chad's cousins stop by the pink-and-white drink kiosk.
A palette of neutral colors and dark greens paints a sophisticated scene for the reception, held in one of the hotel's restaurants. As the centerpieces, long mahogany boxes have openings for floating candles, which are surrounded by soft moss and roasted coffee beans (the latter a major Puerto Rican crop). Orchids curve over the boxes, adding height to the display, and split coconuts act as vases for single blooms. A table runner woven from cane extends beneath the centerpiece, and linen covers the table and chairs.
It's a Southern tradition to bake ribbon-tied charms within the layers of the wedding cake for bridesmaids to pull out. In this variation, an assortment of sterling-silver charms was slipped beneath these miniature cakes; a ring charm means you'll be marrying soon.
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