An Elegant Spring Wedding at Figure Eight Yacht Club in Wilmington, North Carolina

rn Genevieve Villari (28 and VP of communications) and Ward McGroarty (30 and a graduate student) planned a sophisticated seaside affair at the Figure Eight Island Yacht Club in Wilmington, North Carolina, with a color palette of neutrals and elegant arrangements of soft, textured florals. “I am one who believes that simplicity is beautiful, and beauty is in the subtle details,” says Genevieve. “With our wedding being at the beach in springtime, I wanted it to feel as light and elegant as possible. I am a big fan of neutrals and wanted my wedding to convey my personal style.” 

The pair tied the knot at the Basilica Shrine of St. Mary in downtown Wilmington, followed by a tented reception at the Figure Eight Yacht Club. To achieve the timeless feel they were after, the couple filled the open-air space with textured linens, tall and short arrangements of soft, ivory blooms, glam gilded cutlery and warm candlelight. Within this classic, formal scene, Genevieve and Ward found ways to show a little of their fun-loving personalities. Instead of a traditional sit-down dinner, the couple opted for serving stations and surprised guests with a late-night hot dog cart from Trolley Stop Hot Dogs. Pork tenderloin from Genevieve’s family farm and wines from her cousin’s vineyards were served during dinner. Afterward, the Rhythm Nation Band got the newlyweds and their guests out on the dance floor. 

A tip for the taking from Genevieve: “Listen to your gut when planning. Don’t let people talk you out of what you know you want for your wedding—it’s your day! People were telling me I was too opinionated and that I should just sit back and trust others to do this or that, or help me make decisions. While that is true sometimes, the things I did do that for are the only things that I would have changed about my wedding day.” —Libby MacCarthy