Photography by Heather Donlan
The Crown family is so tight that when Barbara and Bob Crown sold their communications business and moved to Naples 10 years ago, their grown children moved their hearts with them.
Even though they grew up in Pittsburgh, the Crown sisters found that many visits through the years made Naples feel like home. When older sister Jennifer decided to get married in December 2007, she chose Naples.
It was the same in March 2010 for her sister, Cristina, who also was living up North and heard the call of the sea. She had met her groom, Quincy Jones, a friend of her brother’s, at her sister’s wedding. “My sister’s wedding was unbelievable,” she says. “It was such a great weekend. I decided we had to get married in Naples.”
Both sisters, who talk by phone several times a day, had a four-day wedding festival, and both relied on someone they call the area’s best wedding planner—their mother.
“My mom is such a good event planner,” Cristina says. “I’ve helped her with charity events. She’s such a people person, and everyone loves my mom.”
The weddings were very different, however. Jennifer’s wedding was smaller, with about 175 guests and a Tommy Bahama-esque, relaxed yet elegant, beach feel. Cristina’s wedding was glitz and sparkle for 400 guests. “Each wedding was tailored to each one,” Barbara says. “I used many of the same vendors, but they were very different.”
Since Jennifer lives in Pittsburgh, and she and her mother have similar tastes, she let her mother make many of the decisions and do a lot of the planning. “The whole thing was a surprise for me. My mom picked out everything for us,” she says. “From what she was telling me to what happened was wonderful.”
Barbara says she saw her role in both weddings as creating as many special memories for each daughter as possible. “We spent a lot of time making sure it was everything they had dreamed of,” she says. “I wanted them to have memories that will last throughout their lives.”
Jennifer’s wedding started with a welcome party around the pool at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort. Since Jennifer’s birthday was a couple of days before, the party also was a birthday celebration, with her name spelled out in lights at the pool, balloons, food and a band. The rehearsal dinner was at Riverwalk Restaurant, with some guests arriving by boat. The next day, the wedding was on the beach, and an after-party was at the nightclub Sway Lounge with cigar rollers and a photo booth.
Her mother added details like a Mojito bar and a slide show. “She did it,” Jennifer says. “I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding planner. Every detail was unbelievable.”
When it was Cristina’s turn, she knew she wanted the same multiday format, but she found that the Naples Grande Beach Resort suited her desire for a black-tie event with a fun, South Beach feel. Because Cristina says she had a vision from the moment Quincy proposed during a family trip to Little Palm Island, her mother sent bridal magazines with pages folded over and paint color samples.
“From the time I got engaged, I knew in my head what I wanted,” Cristina says. “I watched ‘Platinum Weddings.’ My favorite color is pink, so I wanted pink flowers and rhinestones, even for the save-the-date cards. Rhinestones on the invitation, on the menu. I had a vision, and it definitely came together.”
The weekend started on Thursday with a welcome party, which also was a birthday party for Cristina, who, like her sister, planned her wedding near her birthday. The party started at the Naples Grande with trolleys to Blue Martini. On Friday they held a bridal shower luncheon, and a pool party with her brother playing DJ. The rehearsal dinner was at the Strip House, with every table decorated with personal items related to Cristina and Quincy. A white-themed party and fireworks on the beach followed the dinner.
The Saturday wedding took place on the beach beneath a floral arch. The reception was held in the ballroom, followed by “Club Jones” opening in the transformed hotel lounge. Although Barbara saw to every detail and had the experience of planning one wedding already, she says she was nervous right up until the bridesmaids walked down the aisle at Cristina’s wedding. “My husband and I want to have it again, just to go as guests,” she says...
For the complete story of Cristina and Quincy's wedding, please pick up a copy of Weddings Illustrated's Fall/Winter 2010 issue here.