Photography by Tom Munoz
A total stranger could turn out to be the love of your life. Although that was not what Courtney Conway was thinking when she walked in to The Place in the West Village in New York to meet her blind date, Ryan Walsh. Ryan had called her two weeks after she moved from Miami to New York at the suggestion of the pair’s best friends, who were dating each other.
“Literally, I walked in and had no idea what he even looked like,” Courtney says. “We ended up shutting down the restaurant. We were the last people to leave.”
Courtney and Ryan had been dating for a year and four months when they took a trip to Cabo San Lucas. On their first night at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, the couple shared a private dinner on the beach, and Ryan asked her to be his wife. “It was a nice proposal,” she says, smiling.
Although they live in New York, when it came to planning their dream wedding, the couple wanted something a bit more tropical. Courtney, who is from Lighthouse Point, had lived in Miami for two years after college, and the couple had traveled down for their anniversary. “We definitely wanted to do a destination wedding in Florida,” she says, “and we knew Miami was fun and our guests would like to go there.”
While looking at locations and venues in the area, they decided they did not want a traditional hotel wedding, because they noticed that, while it is your wedding day, the hotel is full of other guests. “We wanted something a little more private and intimate,” Courtney says. “As soon as we walked into Vizcaya [Museum and Gardens], we knew. It was perfect.”
The couple liked the fact that you rented out the whole venue, making the big day truly special. “It’s nice to have the privacy,” she says. “It’s so romantic; a little haven in the middle of a major city.”
The photographer also was an easy decision. She turned to high school friend Tomas Muñoz of Muñoz Photography in Fort Lauderdale. Muñoz traveled to New York to take engagement photos throughout the city as well. His talent paid off, as Courtney and Ryan’s wedding album was awarded second place at the Professional Photographers of America’s 2010 Grand Imaging Awards.
If finding the venue and the photographer was easy, finding a gown was a little harder. “I looked for four or five months, everywhere in New York,” Courtney says. “I decided to go to Kleinfeld [Bridal] because they have such a big selection and they’re known for their tailoring.” While looking with her mom and Ryan’s mom, she fell in love with a Lazaro gown. “It’s really intricate, and there’s a lot of detailing in it.”
For their classically elegant March 6, 2010, wedding, Courtney chose simple jewelry to accent her gown, just earrings and a right-hand cocktail ring that had been left to her by her grandmother. As an added touch, she carried a special rosary with her bouquet as a reflection of her and Ryan’s strong Catholic faith. She bought the rosary at the oldest cathedral in the United States on their first post-engagement trip to New Orleans. “It’s a gorgeous Swarovski crystal rosary,” Courtney says. “We’re actually having it framed for our house. All my friends said it looked like I had a string of diamonds hanging [with my bouquet], it was so sparkly.”
The ceremony took place at sunset. “Our pastor was so eloquent. He did such a beautiful ceremony,” Courtney says. They had singers beforehand, who sang “Ave Maria” and “The Prayer.” “Just having everyone there, the ceremony was so intimate. It was amazing,” she adds.
The big hit of the reception was the combined gift from their parents—a documentary-type movie created by Lifefilm. “Our friends joke that it was our True Hollywood Story,” Courtney says, laughing as her voice chokes up at the memory. The film crew traveled all over the country to interview friends and relatives of the newly married couple, and the resulting film was played on two big screens after the wedding toasts. Everyone got a copy to take home.
Because they were married outside at Vizcaya, the couple was unable to have a Catholic ceremony. Since their faith is so important to them, the couple wanted to have a church ceremony when they returned to New York. Because Courtney and Ryan’s parents had all been married 30 years, they all got together at St. Ignatius in Manhattan and renewed their vows together over Mother’s Day weekend.
The travel-loving couple honeymooned in Dubai and the Maldives, but have since visited Anguilla and Napa for their anniversary. They live in Gramercy Park, New York.