Sometimes, love finds a way even in the busiest of circumstances. Dr. Emily Spataro and Dr. Nedim Durakovic met during their residency program at Washington University. Although it was a hectic time in their lives, Emily says the pair’s chemistry was readily apparent, and they began dating soon afterward.

“I ended up doing a fellowship at Stanford University, and Nedim came to visit,” she says. “We took a trip to the B.R. Cohn Winery in Sonoma, and he proposed to me there.” The location was so special to the couple that they decided on a destination wedding there.

The picturesque vineyard setting was ideal for an outdoor ceremony, and the two exchanged vows in front of family and friends who traveled to be with them. “Walking down the aisle was memorable with such an amazing backdrop and flowers all around,” Emily remembers. “The weather was just beautiful, and the vineyards were really full and lush that time of year.” She and Nedim penned their own vows, and a close friend officiated the ceremony. The reception was held outside as well, with cocktails and a sit-down dinner at tables set among the grapevines.

Emily included a pomegranate design on their wedding stationery, napkins and other paper items. “Nedim is Bosnian, and the pomegranate is a symbol from his country,” she explains. “It was very special for him and his family, many of whom came from Europe to attend the wedding.”

The reception featured California wines, cheeses and fruits, as well as beers from St. Louis. “We wanted to include some nice touches from home,” Emily says. Instrumental music provided a festive atmosphere for guests to mix and mingle, and later, everyone danced to tunes spun by a DJ.

During the weekend, the two families enjoyed relaxing together and visiting other area wineries. All of the guests were invited to a Friday evening reception, and there was a special brunch at the hotel the day after the ceremony. “It was a wonderful wine country wedding all the way around,” Emily says. “We also held a party in St. Louis for friends who couldn’t make it.”

She and Nedim celebrated with a 10-day honeymoon along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. They spent a couple of days sightseeing in Rome, hiked and enjoyed boat tours. “We loved exploring all of the little towns,” Emily says. “We went up in the mountains and had beautiful views of the coast.” They live in Ladue, and both are on staff in the otolaryngology department at Wash. U. Nedim is a neurotologist who performs ear and skull surgery, and Emily is a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

ceremony & reception |B.R. Cohn Winery, Sonoma, California
gown |Amy Kuschel Bridal
florist | Vanda Floral Design
music | Skyline Trio, AMS Entertainment
photos | Nicole Quiroz

wedding party
maid of honor | Katherine Spataro
bridesmaids | Selma Carlson, Jasmina Suko
best man | Sagar Patel
groomsmen | Blake Carlson, Andy Spataro
bride’s parents | Peter & Elizabeth Spataro of St. Louis
groom’s parents | Muhamed & Azra Durakovic of Minneapolis