Photographed by Rebecca Kiger Fotografia
One couple celebrates their nuptials in the city where they fell in love.
Written by Shay Maunz
[dropcap]R[/dropcap]ebecca Saracco and Shane DeVincent knew each other for years before they started dating—or at least they knew of one another. They ran in overlapping circles during college, Shane was friends with a few of Becky’s sorority sisters, and they saw each other around every once in awhile. But they didn’t really connect until they’d both finished their undergraduate degrees at West Virginia University, and Becky started law school there. Then, in the summer of 2011, they both went to the same wedding and were seated at the same table. “That’s when we kind of reconnected,” Becky says. By the end of the night, Shane had even worked up the courage to ask her to dance. And after that one romantic evening together, laughing and dancing into the night, did the couple know they were meant to be?
Well, actually, no. Not at all. “After that, we didn’t really see each other for a while,” Becky says. She was busy with law school and hardly had time to date—she didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about that guy she danced with at that wedding way back when. Shane, on the other hand, couldn’t stop thinking about it. Practically as soon as that wedding was over he started pestering a mutual friend, asking her to set him up with Becky. The friend refused. Over and over again, she refused. “She knew how obsessive I was with school and stuff, and thought that I probably wouldn’t give him the time of day,” Becky says. “She didn’t even tell me that he was pestering her, so I had no idea what was going on.”
Finally, months later, the friend found herself owing Shane a favor, so she called up Becky and asked if she’d consider going out with him. “I remembered how much fun he was at that wedding, so I didn’t hesitate at all,” Becky says. They went out to dinner, then back to Becky’s place, where he helped her review flashcards for an up-coming final. They’ve been together ever since.
He wanted her family to be involved, so he waited for a big family beach vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina—but then, he had to figure out how to get away from the family for a few private moments alone with Becky. So Shane came up with an excuse—an admittedly lame excuse—to get her to ride alone with him in the car to a big group dinner. “He came up to me before dinner and said, ‘I have an emergency. We need to run an errand,’” Becky laughs. “And I’m looking at him, like, what can your emergency be?” But she went along with it, and didn’t suspect a thing—until he turned the car away from the restaurant, and directly toward the beach. “Then I knew what was going on,” she says. But she was still charmed by the proposal, under a lighted trellis, atop sand dunes, overlooking the ocean.
Becky’s father is in the Navy and was due to be deployed in 2014, so they decided to have the wedding before he left. They were also determined not to schedule it during football season, to avoid interfering with a game. In the end, they settled on early August, which meant they had around 11 months to pull the whole thing off.
For help, Becky enlisted her two sisters. They were a wedding planning dream team: One’s an event planner by career choice; the other is design-oriented and crafty. Together, the three compiled many unique, handmade touches to give the wedding personality. They decided, for example, to make all the invitations and programs themselves. “At the start that was extremely overwhelming to me,” Becky says. “I’m just not crafty like that,” But they scheduled a weekend getaway together, just the three of them, and spent the entire time hanging out and making invitations. “And once it was done, I was really happen with them,” Becky says. “It really wasn’t so terrible.”
The couple decided to have the wedding in Morgantown—where Shane grew up, where they both went to school, and where they met—at Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church. For the reception, they turned to the Waterfront Place Hotel, which they liked because it could comfortably accommodate all their out-of-town guests. “The whole thing just felt like a big celebration from the time everybody arrived on Friday to when they left Sunday morning,” Becky says. Plus, the reception hall, while grand, is largely a blank slate and Becky and Shane were free to decorate it however they liked.
And for decor, Becky turned to linens. “I really wanted beautiful linens,” she says. “I chose the linens before we chose the dresses or any of the other colors.” She went with a smorgasbord of textiles in champagne, rose, and gold. The most striking were tablecloths covered in nude sequins that lined the head table and surrounded the wedding cake. “I think those linens just gave the reception a completely different feel,” she says. “The first time we walked in before the reception my breath was taken away. It was just really warm and rich and gorgeous.” On top of all that bold fabric, they placed even bolder flowers—a request from the groom. “I really liked the golds and blushes, and he liked that but thought it was kind of blah—that we needed a pop of color,” Becky says. “So we agreed that for the reception we’d have that bright pop of pink.”
The wedding itself, in that big, grand, beautiful Catholic church, was relatively formal. But at the reception, all the guests let their hair down. It turns out that having friends in common comes in handy—not just when a couple is getting set up on their first date, but also when it comes time to party the night away at their wedding. “It was just the most fun, everyone was dancing the whole night,” Becky says. “We just kept looking at each other and saying, ‘I can’t believe everyone is here for us to celebrate.’”