Saphire Couple: Nilza and Chris Grassa

We recently had the pleasure of hosting the wedding celebration of Nilza and Chris Grassa in The Grand Ballroom at The Villa on May 21st, 2011. From the food and details to the décor and entertainment, it could not have been more of a unique atmosphere for a spring wedding here at The Villa.

It was very important to Nilza to incorporate some aspects of her culture into the menu and details of her wedding day. Her Portuguese background allowed for us to display one of our more unique stations: ‘Chourico a Bombeiro’. From the popo seco and flaming chourico on the porcelain pigs, to the little personal touches Nilza added with props from her family home, the station was in one word – stunning! Executive Chef Emmanuel Dubois executed the flaming chourico flawlessly, carving it right in front of the guests for them to take. As soon as the father of the bride saw this he said,”e isso que eu amo” – this is what I love! This was by far the biggest hit of the cocktail hour. In addition to the amazing food stations, guests enjoyed our signature sangria served from a carved ice bowl infused with frozen fruits. To add to the already lively atmosphere provided by Nilza and Chris’ family and friends, the Amarals invited Portuguese guitarists to play live during the cocktail hour.

AMWStudios-Nilza Flowers

Nilza and Chris kept the palette very simple in the cocktail lounge. They chose romance crushed taffeta linens in a pale tone and accented the room with purple ambient lighting. Nilza chose a tall centerpiece to adorn her place card table, complete with bundled hydrangeas and tall branches reaching the ceiling of the lounge. Hanging from each branch were small, framed versions of their engagement photos that guests could enjoy as they searched for their names. For their guest book, a homemade scrapbook filled with photos of the bride and groom’s life together for guests to peruse through and jot down their wishes and advice to the newlyweds.


When it was time, the large doors separating the lounge from the Grand Ballroom slid apart and disappeared into the walls revealing a dramatic scene and setting a tone for the next phase of the celebration. Nilza and Chris dressed their tables with bridal satin linens in a royal purple hue. The linens were accented by a mix of plush white hydrangeas, bright orange gerber daises and full garden roses that jumped off each table. At each setting lay a silver beaded glass charger with Nilza’s brilliant orange menu card tucked neatly into the tuxedo fold of the napkin. At the center of the room, a sunset orange sweetheart table sat with two empty seats waiting for the newly weds to join their guests. The entire room was transformed as burnt orange uplighting streamed up the walls to create the party atmosphere that was so important to both Nilza and Chris.


Fast forward through a very romantic first dance and memorable toasts by the bride’s cousins and groom’s brother. Guests enjoyed two of the chef’s signature dishes, pan seared salmon with Asian pears and grilled filet mignon with a truffle demi-glaze. Just when the guests thought the food would stop coming, Nilza and Chris wowed their guests with passing ice cream lollipops paired with their cake for dessert. After much dancing and celebration, a late night slider and fries station was presented to keep their guests appetites at bay deep into the evening. When dinner was over, the house lights dimmed and the DJ’s music took over the evening, kicking it up a notch. The dance floor didn’t empty until the last note of the last dance had played.


It was a pleasure to have worked with such a wonderful couple. We wish both Nilza and Chris the warmest of wishes as they begin their new lives together as husband and wife!

By: Katelyn Hill
All photo credit: AMW Studios 

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