Elizabeth (Liz) and Darren Gillman brought their dream wedding to life on New Year’s Eve at the Intercontinental Hotel.
“Gator” Liz, originally from Tallahassee, then the University of Florida, is a global integration lead for Accenture. Born and raised in Atlanta, before attending the University of Georgia, Darren is a sales manager with Athena. Their favorite couple interests are “travel, trying new restaurants, any and all games, Liz watching Darren sleep, and Darren eating Liz’s leftovers.”
Liz and Darren were set up on a blind date in January 2020 by one of Liz’s best friends who was a co-worker of Darren’s. They had a few weeks of normalcy before the world changed in March 2020. Liz recalled, “Quarantining together gave us tons of uninterrupted quality time at the beginning of our relationship. It was evident to us that we wanted to spend our lives together.” Darren proposed in April 2022, on the BeltLine, followed by a huge surprise party, one that Darren spent months coordinating, with all of the family and best friends.
Fashion-wise, Liz wore two dresses. One was Anne’s (her mother-in-law’s) wedding gown from 37 years ago, which Liz wore for the ceremony. Her reception dress was by Allison Webb, coincidentally a UGA graduate, in nodding to Darren’s love for the Bulldogs. Darren’s tux had cuff links that Liz gave him and custom tuxedo shoes with a logo of the progressive rock band, Phish.
First dance was “Everlasting Love,” for which they spent months getting dance lessons and practicing with Dance With Me Buckhead on a choreographed dance routine.
Liz laughed and shared, “Announcing us to the reception room for our first dance, Darren accidentally stepped on my dress, breaking the bustle, and making it impossible to do the choreographed dance. We laughed it off and ended up winging it, which made for a great story! In addition to our dad/daughter and mother/son dances, we did a special dance with our grandparents – Liz’s grandfather and Darren’s grandmother.”
In tandem with New Year’s Eve, the décor was gold, silver, white and black. Flowers were white with greenery in a variety of champagne and creamy white flowers. The florals were loose and airy, with varying heights of seasonal flowers with white anemone with black center, white roses, white peonies, white veronica, lisianthus, snapdragons, and tulips. The couple wanted “elegant, old-world glamour yet fun vibe because it was New Years Eve after all! Jwilbur Smith and his team captured it perfectly – our ceremony was spiritual and meaningful, followed by an incredible cocktail hour and reception where we rang in the new year,” said Darren.
Temple Rabbi Lydia Medwin led Liz’s conversion for the past year, where they got to know her in preparation for married life. Liz said, “She began our ceremony singing Havdalah prayers, a meaningful way to usher in the new week and usher us into the next chapter of our lives.”
Treasured family heirlooms were incorporated into the ceremony. Liz’s engagement ring belonged to Darren’s paternal great-grandmother, Dorothy, for whom he was named. Liz’s aquamarine ring belonged to her maternal grandmother, Carol, and the gold wedding band Liz wore to exchange vows is the same ring Darren’s maternal grandmother, Arline, received during her wedding ceremony 75 years ago. The tallit woven into the chuppah belonged to Darren’s maternal grandfather, Milton Swartz.
The couple enjoyed a ‘mini-moon” in St. Lucia and will head to Israel in March and Europe in June.
Vendors included: Event planner, Terry Saxe, partnered with Brian Ettleman and Lisa Wetherald at The Intercontinetal; Jwilbur Smith (Event Scapes Atlanta), Laura Stone Photography, and Daneman Video Productions.
Recounting what they like about each other:
Darren: I love Liz’s zest for life, her smile, infectious positivity, spunky attitude, adventurous spirit, radiant energy and ability to be my ‘heat rock’. So smart, too!
Liz: Darren makes life so fun! I love how much he values family and what an incredible friend he is. I love how passionate he is about Georgia and live music. He is always the happiest person in the room, kind to all. It doesn’t hurt that he’s a creative cook!
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Elizabeth (Liz) and Darren Gillman
- New Year’s Eve
- Intercontinental Hotel
- University of Florida
- University of Georgia
- Allison Webb
- Dance With Me Buckhead
- Rabbi Lydia Medwin
- Terry Saxe
- Brian Ettleman and Lisa Wetherald
- Jwilbur Smith (Event Scapes Atlanta)
- Laura Stone Photography
- Daneman Video Productions