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DeAnna Pappas and Stephen Stagliano 

Miniature haystacks hold table numbers. 

A display of doughnut holes is marked by a sign that reads “Love Is Sweet”. 

A cake by Fantasy Frostings. 

An Alfred Angelo-clad bridesmaid shows her bride-inspired boots. 

The couple’s custom invitation suite created by Meant To Be Sent. 

The Real Thing

DeAnna Pappas and Stephen Stagliano, October 22, 2011

DeAnna Pappas and Stephen Stagliano might have met through a glitzy, reality television connection, but their decidedly Southern, Serenbe wedding celebrated the authentic spirit of this down-to-earth duo.

“I will always be a Southern girl at heart, and I wanted a true Southern wedding,” explains DeAnna Pappas of her decision to wed Stephen Stagliano at The Inn at Serenbe. The Georgia native shared her public quest for romance with the world on the reality show The Bachelorette, yet chose Serenbe’s intimate setting for her wedding after the pair were introduced by the groom’s twin brother, Bachelor Pad winner Michael Stagliano, in 2009. Pappas recounts how it was love at first sight upon seeing Serenbe: “We fell in love with the rustic elegance at Serenbe—the old barns, the horses, the open fields. It was the one and only venue we looked at in Georgia!”

Dating largely out of the spotlight before getting engaged in May 2011, the couple re-emerged as husband and wife on Oct. 22, 2011.Surrounded by family and friends—including the couple’s cupid and best man, Michael—only two hearts competed for attention that day, and both were spoken for.

Drama played out in the details. Combining elegance and rustic flair, the wedding riffed on tradition as envisioned by Pappas and executed by wedding planner Wendy Parker, of Wendy Parker Events, and Event Planner Keller Blincoe, of Gloriosa Catering. The ethereal ceremony site, already a field of dreams, needed little sprucing, so floral designer Heath Alan Ray, creative director and owner of Jackson Durham Events, took cues from the surrounding landscape to create glorious arrangements from local product. “DeAnna gave us little direction other than she wanted us to be aware of the setting,” he relays. “She wanted the wedding to be Southern and down-home, and let us run with that idea.”

Inspired by the natural beauty of Serenbe, Ray used hydrangeas, roses and local marigolds, and plucked wild maple vine and oak from the outskirts of the property to fashion the showstopping ceremonial archway. On her way to the altar, serenaded by a guitar-strumming Stephen singing Train’s “Marry Me,” Pappas toted a bouquet of rust calla lilies. Tucked discreetly inside was a single red rose, which she set on a seat that had been left empty in memory of her late mother. “It gave me chills and was a tearjerker for sure,” remembers Parker. Pappas’ playful spirit glowed in an Alfred Angelo gown and custom veil, with cowboy boots peeking out underneath.

At the reception, haystacks bearing guests’ names led to miniaturized versions propping up table numbers and a candy display proffered take-home burlap bags featuring “Love Is Sweet” tags. The menu also nodded South, with mac and cheese with white truffle sauce, and “Wedding Cake Martinis” and “Georgia Peach” cocktails. “We added the fried chicken and fried green tomatoes from Gloriosa and our Southern wedding was complete!” Pappas says.

Of the very special event, Pappas adds, “Serenbe represented me and my Georgia roots. Our wedding day was by far the best day of my life. Everything was gorgeous and the day went off without a hitch! I am proud and honored to be Mrs. Stagliano!”