- October 28, 2015
A lot of people make friends through philanthropy. But if you're lucky, your volunteerism can also introduce you to the love of your life. Kelly Martella and Michael Calamaras met in 2012, while volunteering on the Van Wezel Foundation Gala committee. The two had actually worked in the same downtown Sarasota building the whole time, but it wasn't until their time on the committee that their paths crossed.
In April 2015, the couple traveled to New York City to celebrate their two-year anniversary. On Friday, April 24, they took the subway to Dumbo, because they wanted to walk the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan — something neither of them had done before. While they were walking in the park near the water, Michael got down on one knee and proposed right there, with a perfect view of the bridge in the background. It was a complete surprise for Kelly. To top it off, Michael hired photographers to capture the entire thing. Following the special moment, the photographers followed them around Brooklyn — where both of their families are from — for an impromptu engagement shoot.
The couple was married at St. Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota. Following the ceremony, the couple and their wedding party met at Ringling for photos, then joined their guests at Michael's On East for an elegant reception. The couple wanted the reception to be a huge party, and knew the two most crucial things were great food and great music. Musician Clint Wiley kept the party going all night.
Besides food, the bride wanted the dance floor to be the main focus of the reception. The checkered dance floor was surrounded by the guests' tables, as well as the feasting table that hosted the entire 24-person wedding party. The tables were classic with a modern vibe, and the color scheme for the reception included gold, champagne and blush colors. They wanted a neutral color scheme for the reception, so they chose golds, champagne and blush. Candelabras lined the tables to create more of an intimate feel for the 200-guest wedding.
Favorite moment of the night
While eating dinner, the couple realized they had everyone they loved in one room. "We were in awe, sitting back and realizing we were surrounded by all of our closest friends and family — something we may not ever get to experience again," says Kelly.