Bill Griffin and late Carla Griffin
Dr. Dan and Sherry Watts
HOW THEY MET: Danny and Fondren first met at Florida State University, where they both attended college. They began their relationship as friends and remained that way for several years. Fondren transferred to Florida Atlantic University as Danny graduated, and Danny accepted a job in Switzerland for nearly two years. Just after he returned, the two coincidentally arrived at the same Gasparilla party in Tampa; and the rest, as they say, is history.
BACKGROUND: Both Fondren and Danny grew up on Siesta Key. Danny graduated from high school at St. Stephens Episcopal School, in Bradenton; Fondren attended and graduated from the Out-of-Door Academy.
INTERESTS: Their interests consist of spending time with each other and their two dogs, Toby and Chloe. They love cooking at home, entertaining friends and family, going to the movies, mountain biking, traveling and exploring new cities and places together.
THE PROPOSAL: The life-changing moment happened Feb. 25 — four years (and nine days) after their first official date. It was a Friday night, and Fondren and Danny were having dinner at one of their favorite south Tampa restaurants, Ocean Prime.
THE WEDDING: The wedding and reception took place at Clift Hotel, a historic hotel just steps from Union Square, in San Francisco
“The Clift has a beautiful space located on their top floor that they call the Spanish Suite,” Fondren says. “It has two areas, one with an oak-paneled room set with a beautiful fireplace that offered the perfect location for the ceremony and then our dinner, while the other room is an enclosed terrace draped in white with skyline views. This was where we held our cocktail reception and dancing.”
The wedding parties entered as Fondren stood back with her father, until David Gray’s “This Year’s Love” began to play from a three-piece classical ensemble.
“It is a song everyone should hear,” Fondren says. “It is a deeply moving piece, even without the words, and once we heard the first notes begin to play, we knew it was our cue to enter.”
The groomsmen and bridesmaids flanked the walls of the room, leaving just Danny and Fondren standing together at the center of the room with the officiant. Once they became husband and wife, they exited to an instrumental version of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.”
THE RECEPTION: “Our reception, much like our ceremony, was extremely magical and special,” Fondren says. “The Spanish Suite is adorned with large chandeliers and draped in a lush, muted aubergine color, creating a very dramatic and romantic space even without the addition of florals and extra decor. Two of the main design themes in our wedding were ombre (a gradient of colors) and chevron (a zig-zag print used in Missoni). We were able to incorporate these two elements in both our flowers and our cake.”
Guests enjoyed seared scallops, halibut and filet mignon for their entrees while listening to music from the 1950s by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald. The evening carried on with laughter provided by friends and family members who stood up to give speeches about moments they shared with both Danny and Fondren.
BRIDE-AND-GROOM’S FIRST DANCE: “We didn’t have an official “first dance” per-se,” Fondren says.
“After dinner and the cake-cutting, we moved back to the terrace, which became enveloped in a purple cloud of light for a night of dancing. To get everyone in the right mood, the music began with ‘California Love’ by TuPac, followed by a mix of music from the ’80s, ’90s and current hits from today.
“Our wedding favors were sunglasses that had ‘Fondren and Danny Watts — August 10th, 2012’ printed on the side of them, and went quite well with Corey Hart’s hit, ‘I Wear My Sunglasses at Night,’” Fondren says.
HONEYMOON: After their wedding, the couple wanted to stay in the area. They rented a car and drove to Napa Valley for three nights, followed by two nights relaxing down on the coast, in Half Moon Bay, before flying back home.
FUN FACTS: Everyone in the wedding party was allowed to choose his or her own tuxedo or gown. Danny’s gifts to his groomsmen were silver pocket squares and silver bow ties, which, after weeks of practice, he had to tie on each gentleman himself. Fondren’s gifts to her bridesmaids were personalized hangers molded from copper wire.
“My bouquet was adorned with a rosary that my parents had given to me many years ago,” Fondren says. “It was from the Vatican, and had been blessed by Pope John Paul II. My sister, Keily, also helped me fasten a locket that my mother had given me when I was a little girl. It held a photo of my mom and me together in it. The combination of these two treasures reminded me that God and my Mom were and will always be present in our lives.”
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