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Natural Connection

Southern sensibilities and distinct Atlanta accents prevail at this stunning Seaside wedding.

Morgan Henzlik & Blake Cohen, May 19, 2012

WaterColor’s Cheryl Walton helped orchestrate lounge seating for cocktail hour.

Bella Floral’s rainbow of petals mark the aisle.

A bright bouquet by Bella Floral

Bake My Day’s cheerful cake

For Morgan Henzlik and Blake Cohen, it was love at first conversation. Though the two Atlantans had grown up in similar circles—Cohen, a real estate portfolio manager at ING, went to The Lovett School, Henzlik, owner of Morgan Kylee., went to Westminster—they never crossed paths until a mutual friend, artist Sally Benedict, introduced the two at Five Paces Inn. “I felt like I had known him forever,” Henzlik confides of that first enchanted meeting. “We were inseparable from there on out.”

After three years of dating, Cohen popped the question while vacationing with Henzlik in Grayton, Fla.—a cherished spot for Henzlik since childhood. The couple returned to the Emerald Coast the following spring and were wed at Seaside’s breathtaking WaterColor Inn & Resort. Mirroring the distinct personalities of both bride and groom, the May nuptials blossomed in the details—all meticulously planned by the bride, her mother, Andrea, and WaterColor’s wedding and events coordinator, Cheryl Walton. “I’m not a super traditional person,” says Henzlik. “We knew we wanted to do it completely differently from what we had experienced at other weddings. I went into it not being too worried about the etiquette or things that stress me out.”

Idyllic weather conditions prevailed for the duration of the offbeat Bali-meets-boho-chic nuptials. One hundred and fifty guests lingered lakeside as the wedding party emerged—led by a gospel choir singing “Hallelujah” (a total surprise!). The aisle, decked with delicate ombré petals punctuated the picture-perfect event as the bridal party made way down the aisle to Ray Charles’ “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Bridesmaids wore white A.L.C. dresses (from Morgan Kylee.) while groomsmen donned Southern-inspired duds styled by Sid Mashburn. But it was the bride that shined brightest in a figure-flattering gown custom-designed by Katie Ermilio.

Following the ceremony, guests mingled waterside, noshing on seafood and sipping on wine before walking to the reception, held alfresco at the picturesque amphitheater. “There was a lot of white coming in from the lounge areas, table linens and bridesmaid dresses, so we warmed up the space with lots of color from the flowers and various wood containers and other elements including tree stump end tables,” says Bella Flora’s Melanie Jordan. The florist accented the food tables with rustic bamboo arches; drawing guests’ attention to the savory cuisine like truffle mac and cheese, crispy flatbreads, pulled-pork sandwiches and Mexican-style sweet corn, all catered by the resort.

The newlyweds twirled around the room to The Black Keys’ cover of Buddy Holly’s “Dearest”—a moment that stands out in Walton’s mind. “They were so connected. It was beautiful.” The merriment continued as guests posed with props in the on-site photo booth, and Motown band Anita kept the crowd dancing late into the night.