Love Comes Home
Studying abroad can lead to many exciting discoveries, but the last thing Amanda Coleman expected to find in Sydney, Australia, was her future husband, Ben Madonia. “We met in 2005 while studying abroad,” Amanda explains. “Our colleges back in the U.S. were only 20 minutes apart — who knew we’d have to travel to the other side of the world to find the person we were meant to spend a lifetime with?”
The college sweethearts decided to stay together after they came back home, and after a few years of dating, Ben, a Captain in the U.S. Army, surprised Amanda, who works in nonprofit fundraising, with a birthday dinner and boat ride at Opryland Hotel. Ben had arranged a private boat for his proposal, which happened underneath a waterfall. Ben gets bonus points for arranging a photographer in advance, capturing the moment forever. Of course, she said yes! After a long engagement, these lovebirds finally tied the knot.
The Wedding Location: The Riverwood Mansion in Nashville
The Ring: A 1.8 carat princess cut diamond turned on its side, accented with more diamonds in a platinum band. “Its definitely unique — I absolutely love it!”
Word that best describes Amanda as a bride: “Organized. I had over two years to plan because after we got engaged, Ben was deployed to Afghanistan.”
The Flowers: Green hydrangeas and roses with a mix of purple roses by Hillary Robson-Yeager at Brocade Designs.
The Dress: A halter-top gown with pickups and a lilac sash by DaVinci Bridal. Amanda accented the dress with a large rhinestone broach.
The Cake: Gigi’s Cupcakes in three flavors: Italian Wedding Crème, Southern Comfort, and Red Velvet. Gigi’s also created a top tier red velvet cake.
The best thing on the menu: The fried green tomatoes by A Catered Affair, which stole the show among the many treats in the southern buffet spread.
The photographer: Donald Yeager Photography. “Don was amazing. He was incredibly patient, especially with someone like me, who is so particular.”
The wedding party: Seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen wore eggplant. Amanda gave her bridesmaids the opportunity to pick out their own dresses to reflect their individual style.
A moment she’ll never forget: “Walking down the aisle toward Ben on my Dad’s arm and seeing everyone’s smiles and tears as I passed, and feeling so elated and beautiful and excited about the next chapter of our lives.”
Any advice for Nashville brides? “Make a pact with yourself that once the wedding festivities begin, you will let it all go and enjoy your moment … it goes by quickly.”
Photo by Donald Yeager Photography
Nikki Ringenberg does not like needles. As in seriously doesn’t like them — so intensely, she explains, that when she got pregnant last year, she decided to deliver naturally.
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