Tallahassee Couple Incorporates Pup and Pieces of Home in Wedding
By Rebecca Padgett
Photography by Darla Winn Photography
Courtney Napolitano loves three things: her husband Stephen, her dog Puff — and Tallahassee. While Stephen was a given, Courtney also wanted to incorporate her other two loves into the couple’s Tampa wedding.
“It was important to us to pick Tallahassee vendors because we have been blessed with such amazing friendships and special connections from this community,” she said.
Courtney and Stephen both attended Florida State University and met in South Florida during a spring break trip. In the spirit of love at first sight, Stephen called dibs on Courtney, which infuriated her at the time. But he still pursued her, and Courtney quickly found out that Stephen was genuine and a nice guy. The couple decided to go out on a date once back in Tallahassee, and from there, they were inseparable.
“Anyone I know who went to FSU will say that it was the most fun and incredible college experience they could’ve possibly had,” Courtney said. “That was definitely true for Stephen and I. When we met, it was his second year in college and my first year, so we got to experience most of it together. We went to games, spent our days by the pool with our best friends, and made lifelong friendships and memories that we cherish to this day.”
After graduation, the couple decided to stay in Tallahassee and begin careers. Courtney is the manager of Soleil 7 Hair Salon’s Lafayette location. Located in Tallahassee, Soleil 7 Hair Salon and Soleil 7 SalonSpa are owned and operated by her parents, Joe and Stephanie Borras. Stephen manages GNC Live Well in Tallahassee.
While the couple had their hearts set on a Tampa venue, they wanted to incorporate Northwest Florida vendors since so much of their lives have revolved around the region.
The hair and makeup for Courtney and the 11 women in her bridal party was an obvious choice. Her mother, her aunt Vickie and her sister Corie took their expertise to Tampa, glamming the women to walk down the aisle.
Through photoshoots with Soleil 7, Courtney had become acquainted with Tallahassee photographer, Darla Winn’s work.
“Her talent, uniqueness and passion for her craft stood out, so she was a no brainer for us when selecting vendors,” she said. “Stephen and I loved working with her because she allowed us to be ourselves while also giving us directions in order to get the most gorgeous shots.”
The weekend of their wedding, the cautions surrounding COVID-19 began to increase. As a result, their videographer had to cancel. At the last minute, her photographer, Darla Winn, was able to secure a videographer to bring along.
The star of the show and the photos was their fur child, Puff. Dressed to the nines in a puppy tuxedo, Puff brought the rings down the aisle with an escort from Courtney’s brother, Chase, and her best friend and bridesmaid, Devin.
The Napolitanos hired a pet-care service to ensure Puff was well taken care of and well-behaved throughout the day. Fairytale Petcare took care of the necessities — such as making sure he was fed, watered and walked — but they went above and beyond by squeaking toys to direct his attention to the photographer, introducing him to guests at cocktail hour and then tucking Puff into bed when he was tuckered out from the party.
While 25 guests had to cancel at the last minute due to COVID-19 precautions, they still had the time of their lives during their dreamed-about day.
“The outpouring of love and joy from our families and friends meant the absolute world to us, and we will never forget it,” said Napolitano. “Looking back, the chaos just made us more grateful for the wedding, our parents who made it all possible and our friends and family who cried, laughed, and danced with us on that day.”