Photos by Creation Studios
Amanda Druce and Mike Spinner first met while in college at the University of Arizona (the alma mater of her parents, Cheryl and Richard Druce) when she was a freshman and he a sophomore. They became friends…which turned into a close friendship…which turned into love for these college sweethearts. In August, the couple tied the knot at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis – just as Amanda’s maternal grandparents had done over 70 years ago.
Although Amanda and her parents live up North, the couple was drawn to the Blues City charm. “My mother and sisters, Renelle (Leslie Ballin), Patti (Bill Weiss) and Benita Blachman (Jerry Kelly) grew up in Memphis,” she says. “Most of the family still lives here. My brother, Evan, and I spent six weeks each summer going to camp at the JCC and Lausanne.” As a couple, she and Mike often visited the River City together for holidays and family occasions, making it a second home to them. “We had talked about Memphis so much with our friends, we thought it would be fun for them to come and see what we are always bragging about,” she explains. “We love the Southern charm, and since our family is so close and we have such warm memories, it just felt right!”
From the charming, down-home Memphis feel to the ethereal ceremony, the entire evening was unforgettable. “The ceremony was held in The Peabody’s Venetian room, and the reception in the Continental ballroom,” says Amanda. “Both are so beautiful and hold so much history, we didn’t have to do much as far as décor … we decorated with beautiful white flowers, pops of gold and candles. The evening felt magical and romantic, everything I had dreamed about.
“Our 140 guests danced all night long to great music from our band, Party Planet,” adds Amanda. “We barely had time to eat, because Mike and I didn’t leave the dance floor ourselves! But what we did get to eat was delicious, including the gluten-free wedding cake upon special request.”
Amanda’s grandparents, Marty and Rosalee Blachman, were married at The Peabody way back in 1946. “Although neither of them is still living,” she says, “having the wedding there felt as if they were celebrating with us.”
“The Perfect Wedding is how I describe the wedding of Amanda and Mike,” says Janis Kiel, the couple’s wedding planner. “The perfect ingredients consisted of the perfect number of guests, the perfect band, the perfect relatives and the perfect bride and groom! If you add the beautiful Peabody with its gorgeous decor, elegant flair and delicious food, there’s not much that can go wrong.”
Many of the guests were out-of-towners from the Northeast, and they definitely felt Memphis’ Southern hospitality take over during the wedding festivities. “It was so special having all of our New York/New Jersey family and friends there to celebrate with us,” says Amanda. “It was a destination for most, but with a comforting, family feel.
“The chuppah was one of my favorite elements of the entire event,” she continues. “It exuded romance and took my breath away when I first saw it. The draped fabric dripping in flowers, lit by candlelight set the tone for the rest of the evening. The significance of the chuppah and standing underneath there with our parents and siblings was a moment I will never forget.”
“From the moment I met Amanda and Mike, I knew these two had been destined to be together,” says Janis. “Their humor and their feelings for each other were felt throughout the planning stages as they consulted and included each other on every detail. This was one of the most pleasant experiences I’ve had when working with a ‘long-distance’ bride. Everyone was on board to make this simcha just right for everyone – and we did!”
The bride and groom are now living happily in Brooklyn. Amanda is the Fashion Director for the plus-size fashion brand, Fashion to Figure, at its corporate office in Midtown Manhattan. Mike is the Director of Sports Performance at Metro PT in Garden City Long Island. “We are enjoying newlywed life,” says Amanda. “Although we dated for 10 years before finally getting married, we are excited about this new chapter in our life together.”