GSS Featured Wedding :: Courtney & Justin’s Intimate St. Simon’s Island Wedding :: Donna Von Bruening Photography

Today’s fabulous featured wedding comes from Donna of Donna Von Bruening Photography, a Savannah, Georgia based wedding photographer.  We have featured Donna’s fabulous work previously- Remember Abby & Derek’s Beautiful Savannah Wedding?  Also, Donna has come on board as one of our featured vendors and sponsors!  So please join us in giving Donna a BIG warm welcome to GSS!  Donna has been so sweet and accommodating to GSS and we have truly enjoyed working with her on this feature. 

Courtney and Justin were married on November 27, 2010 at Villa de Suenos, St. Simons Island, Georgia.  Courtney was kind enough to answer a few questions for us: 


How did you and Justin meet?   Justin and I met at the Trustees Theatrein Savannah while working backstage on a production of “Singin in the Rain.”  I was doing costumes, and he was part of the tech crew.  We had be noticing each other for the entire run of the show, but didn’t talk until the last show during the final song “You were meant for me.”  When he spoke to me, there was a genuine tone in his voice that I had never heard before.  I could tell this was going to be special.  When I went back to the makeup/costume room to write down my phone number for him, I couldn’t find a pen or proper piece of paper ANYWHERE!  I ended up having to use a scrap of an ATM receipt and eyeliner.  About a year ago, Justin showed me that he had preserved that scrap of paper for 7 years in a ziploc bag.  Too sweet :)


How long have you been together?   I always say that you have to use the quadratic equation to come up with the actual amount of time we’ve been together!!  It’s a little complicated, but we have known each other for 8 years.  I was 19 when we met, and both of us had some growing up to do.  We had an innocent, little 4 month romance, and then didn’t see each other again for about a year and a half.  We started spending time together again, but I insisted that we remain just friends.  For about 6 months, he played along, and was just my friend.  I cherish that time so much.  What a beautiful foundation of friendship we built for our second, and real romance.  We graduated 2 years later, and parted ways again for about 6 months.  We reunited and have been together since.  I’m grateful for the path we took.  Justin is a good man, and truly believes in marriage.  He was worth the wait!


How did Justin propose?  It was very simple.  We went for a walk, and he stopped to read a quote from Shakespeare that is engraved on a wall of the Trustee’s Theatre.  After that he got on his knee, and just spoke from his heart for about 5 minutes.  It was an incredibly earnest and humble moment. 


What sold you on your wedding venue?   The Villa was breathtaking and had so much character.  When I saw it, I was instantly inspired.  Justin grew up in Miami, so the Spanish style of the house was very nostalgic for him.  I, on the other hand, had a vision of a family centered, spiritual, and intimate wedding.  A home was the perfect place to accomplish that vision.  The entire wedding was planned in 8 weeks. The Villa just happened to be available the week of Thanksgiving.  It was perfect!  We celebrated Thanksgiving there together, Friday we enjoyed the beach and watched some football, and Saturday we had the wedding.  We only had about 50 people, mostly family and a few close friends.  The ceremony, dinner, and merriment all took place at the Villa.   


Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one”?  I’m the manager of BleuBelle Bridal in Savannah, so, of course I got my dress there. :)  While I had helped so many girls find “the one,” the idea of doing it myself was a bit intimidating.  For me finding “the one” (the dress) is like when you find you “the one”  (your mate)…. I just didn’t feel the need to look anymore.  It made me feel beautiful, and I felt like me in it.  


What song did you dance to for your first dance?  We had 2 first dances.  The first was James Brown “This is a Man’s World,” and the second was a recreation of the twist that Uma Thurman and John Travolta do in “Pulp Fiction.”


What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”?

Something old:  my Grandmother’s wedding band.
Something new:  my gown
Something borrowed: my Mom’s 30th anniversary diamond earrings
Something Blue:  a blue monogram with the wedding date stitched inside my dress
I also had a six pence for my shoe.  Not many people do that anymore, but I had the six pence that my Mom wore in her shoe for her wedding.
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a six pence for her shoe.”


How did you choose your wedding color palette?  I love neutrals.  I’ve never been into bright colors.  It was a November wedding and the last thing I wanted to do was typical fall colors.  So I went with my gut and stayed with neutrals.   There was no specific moment where I was like “my colors are going to be navy, gray, and white.”  It just kinda happened.  I wanted it all to blend, but I didn’t want it to look contrived.  So I ended up with monochromatic blues, Navy being the predominant shade of blue, gray, white, and a few green accents.


Do you have any advice for brides that are in the planning process?

Be creative.  Be reasonable. Break some rules.

Stick to what you like.  If you’ve never liked the color “papaya” before, don’t use it for your wedding just because you saw a pretty magazine wedding with that color.  Represent YOUR personal style, because you’ll be looking at the photos for a long time.  Even beyond your “papaya” phase…

Only bring a few people that support you, love you, and respect you to your bridal gown appointment.  Too many opinions can cause unnecessary stress and even tears.

Lastly, don’t let ANYTHING steal your joy on your wedding day.  Something, be it big or small, will go wrong.  DO NOT let it steal your joy. 


What was your favorite part of your big day?  The ceremony and the exchange of vows.  Spiritually entering into the covenant of marriage is a supernatural event.  Nothing can compare to the profound nature of that life-long commitment.


Venue: Villa de Suenos, St. Simons Island, GA

Dress:  Romona Keveza

Cake:  Rice Krispie treat cake.  I made it myself the night before the wedding with a few helpers!  Justin and I aren’t big on desserts, but we both LOVE Rice Krispie Treats!  Everybody loved it!  We also had seasonal pies… pumpkin, pecan, apple.  They were a huge hit!  And it was an inexpensive alternative to the traditional fondant cake. 

Floral:  Christopher Confero

Linens:  Kate Watson, Beachview Tent Rentals

Catering:  Private Chef:  Colin Knox

DJ/Band:  DJ Terry Thurston (he’s a longtime friend of ours)

Videographer:  Justin has a film degree and films weddings on a regular basis, so he set up the tri-pod and his professional HD Camera, and hit record :)  

Invitations/Wedding Stationery:  I designed and printed them myself.  Art school finally paid off :)

Event Planner: Caroline Coleman of “The Kitchen Witches” catering, and owner of BleuBelle Bridal, Heather Burge, executed the logistics of the day.

Event Designer:  Christopher Confero

Thank you so much, Donna, for sharing this amazing wedding with us!  Please stop by her website and show her some love!  And thank you, Courtney, for taking your time to answer our questions!  We wish you and Justin a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!!  May every day be better than the last!

If you have an engagement, wedding, day after, or anniversary session that you would like featured- Please send it to us at  We HEART submissions!

Pin It

Speak Your Mind