2017-07-27 / Personalities

Mr. and Mrs. Zac Tortorella renew wedding vows July 7 in Washington

Mr. and Mrs. Zac Tortorella Mr. and Mrs. Zac Tortorella A Victorian wedding celebration for Melissa and Zac Tortorella of Peoria, Illinois, was held Friday, July 7, at six o’clock in the evening at RedBrick Manor, the home of the bridegroom’s parents, Julia and Frosty Smith, on Water Street in Washington. Jennifer Laughlin Stevenson of Cedar Falls, Iowa, served as the officiant.

The celebration was a renewal of vows as the couple was officially married last year and did not have the opportunity to have their wedding in Washington.

The bride, the former Melissa Lyn Winchell, is the daughter of Deanna and Greg Bledsoe of Elmwood, Illinois, and Dave Winchell and Lorri England of Huntington, Indiana.

The bridegroom is the grandson of Beretta and Jim Byram of Bradenton, Florida.

A host of thespians from Libby Foster’s Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School drama class mingled with family and friends from Georgia, Florida, New York, and Illinois as they observed the lace, pearls, and rosebud experience of days gone by. Clad in period attire, coordinated by Theresa Davis, the group greeted guests at The Fitzpatrick Hotel and at curbside, creating a snapshot in time.

A violinist played gentle classics from the likes of Beethoven, Pachelbel, and Handel. A scrolled, wood easel with an event announcement sign, decorated with balloons and ribbon, and fans presented to spectators to ward off the heat of an early evening dinner time ceremony, welcomed the guests. Wearing a delicate pale pink with lace overlay, high neck period dress, Vivian Johnson looked every bit a sojourner from the 1890’s as her presence foreshadowed the unfolding event.

The Tiffany blue theme with accent colors of coral, pewter, silver, champagne, blush, and ivory infused the venue with visual delight. An intricate swag of Tiffany blue rosettes, designed by Joe Barnett, adorned the balcony of the front porch where the service occurred. Gail Hill expertly executed roses galore using the full color scheme spectrum for the tables, wedding party, special invitees, and the cake. Walt Brown, a new resident to Washington, gave the trumpet fanfare in royal brilliance at the completion of the service, dedicated to the memory of the bridegroom’s grandmother, “Bud,” on what would have been her 95th birthday.

The wedding party included best man, Chad Reader of Peoria, Illinois, and groomsmen, Jake Burge of Rochester, N.Y., Patrick Garrett of Bartonville, Illinois, and Joe Reddick of Glenn Fall, N.Y.; also, the bride’s aunt who served as matron of honor, Jaime Phillips of Ellenton, Florida, and bridal attendants, Taylor Phillips of Bradenton, Florida, and Ashley Garner of Parrish, Florida, cousins of the bride.

Before the couple embarked on a surprise horse drawn carriage ride, the bride ceremoniously received from a silver tray an antiqued Battenburg lace parasol from Naziyah Jackson, clad modestly in ivory and black, while the bridegroom’s top hat, protected by a leather antique topper case, and cobra head cane arrived with a flourish from Bobby Heard clad in a stylish vest and tie and Matthew Latty in a tuxedo.

Exalting the bride and groom’s temporary departure, Flavius Zahran commanded attention providing the attendees with instructions for “frosty libations” and a stroll from front porch to back courtyard.


Upon return of the carriage ride of the bride and bridegroom and following the toast to the happy couple from the best man, in royal fashion the dapper Jacob Davis in striking formal garb, announced visitors from the balcony overseeing the yard as they prepared for formal seating in the Main Hall of the Carriage House. Prominently outfitted in a turquoise blue skirt and crisp white blouse, Nailah Jones announced the name of every person upon entering and actors escorted them to their tables using period language, actions, and accents.

Fulfilling the needs of those feasting in the Main Hall, Deijah Spence wore a pink and white floral-patterned top on a field of black, defined with an intricately embroidered pale pink cummerbund and a fashionable black shirt, while Arkayla Merriweather donned a maize, voluminous skirted costume with chocolate accents.

Washington native Ruby Smith Gomillion crafted the three-tiered confection with marble, lemon filled, and raspberry-filled cake layers.

After dark, five hundred candle lights graced the grounds of RedBrick Manor allowing those who chose to amble at their leisure amidst the lingering music and sounds of a Georgia summer night. Others assisting the hosts in addition to Mrs. Foster and Mrs. Davis were Debbie Bennett, wedding planner; Phyllis Norman, Cody Norman, Felicia Glaze, Delphine and Gene Acree, Zena Zahran, and Iris Jones.

Return to top