Robin Roberts and Amber Laign’s ethereal, eco-conscious celebrity wedding
In a world where celebrity weddings often boast extravagant budgets and opulent displays of wealth, the marriage of Good Morning America’s co-anchor Robin Roberts and Amber Laign stood as a testament to the power of love and thoughtfulness. Roberts and Laign married at their Farmington, Connecticut, home on September 8, 2023, in an intimate ceremony. Their wedding, a celebration of their love, was a harmonious blend of elegance, simplicity and heartwarming surprises. I had the privilege of speaking with their wedding planner, JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions, who offered an inside look at the couple’s ethereal, eco-conscious celebrity wedding.
Roberts and Laign embarked on their wedding planning journey early in the year after announcing their engagement in January. Gregoli reached out to the celebrity couple to offer her wedding planning services since Roberts had interviewed Gregoli on Good Morning America about the planner’s charity, the Frontline Sewing Angels project, an endeavor to provide personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This connection laid the foundation for a trusted partnership in crafting a celebrity wedding with meaning. “Robin helped me out and so many other people, so I wanted to give back to her,” says Gregoli.
During their initial meeting over the phone, the brides-to-be met with Gregoli. “They were pretty trusting,” she says. “Soon after I met in person with her wife, Amber, and the keywords that came into play with her were words like ethereal and garden. From there, I knew which direction to take as far as the vendors were concerned,” assembling a team capable of carrying out the couple’s vision.
Though Gregoli worked more frequently with Laign, she says that the couple made all the major decisions together, including the all-important wedding cake, which featured alternating layers of chocolate and red velvet, “an homage to the south,” she says. Roberts was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, and grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi.
One of the most striking aspects of Roberts and Laign’s wedding planning was their commitment to sustainability and thoughtfulness. They opted for eco-friendly, plantable invitations crafted from recycled paper, a reflection of Laign’s dedication to natural wellness, a major element of Plant Juice Oils, an essential oil and women’s wellness company that she co-founded. Flowers from their wedding ceremony were repurposed for their wedding reception. Their wedding was a testament to their conscious choices, with an emphasis on minimalism and sustainable materials.
The wedding ceremony itself was a poignant expression of their love and values. Set against the backdrop of their own backyard, the ceremony was a simple yet ethereal affair. Gregoli and her team brought in two indigenous oak trees for the outdoor altar, which they covered in Spanish moss. Dressed in custom Badgley Mischka wedding gowns, he brides married in front of Roberts’ late mother’s prayer bench, while their guests sat on wooden benches. Roberts’ childhood minister performed the ceremony, one of her sisters did prayer readings, and her other sister sang during the ceremony.
“Robin’s family all played key roles,” says Gregoli, “which I think was beautiful. It was probably one of those beautiful ceremonies I have seen in a very long time. It was so thoughtful and prayerful. She’s a special lady. She really is.
“Robin really did not want it to be like, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna throw this party with, you know, a ton of flash,’” says Gregoli. “No, it was very much, ‘I want a beautiful party, a great party, but I don’t need to go overboard.’ And she’s very thoughtful in that process. Robin and Amber were both so thoughtful.”
Laign and Roberts’ wedding was a delightful departure from the typical lavish weddings often associated with high-profile couples. The couple opted for an intimate ceremony with close friends and family, reserving the grand celebration for a larger reception with more than 200 guests. This unique approach allowed them precious moments of solitude between the ceremony and reception, a rare opportunity for reflection in the midst of a bustling wedding day.
Their choice to forgo extravagant displays of opulence in favor of thoughtfulness and purpose was also evident in their choice of vendors. Their wedding planner carefully curated a team of vendors who not only shared their vision but also embodied qualities of hard work and dedication. The celebrity couple’s emphasis on supporting female-owned businesses was evident throughout the planning process.
Roberts and Laign’s wedding team wasn’t all women, but Gregoli says she was intentional in her selection process. “Obviously, I wanted to be sure that the vendors were LGBTQ+ inclusive. That they honor and work with the LGBTQ+ community. I also wanted the team to be people who are hardworking people.”
Though the wedding took place in Roberts and Laign’s backyard, their reception was held down the road at Farmington Gardens. The reception’s aesthetic was Midsummer Night’s Dream, an idea from Laign, who wanted it to feel like they were in a magical forest. With its moody and romantic ambiance, the room was adorned with dark lighting and a moss-covered backdrop. The theme of “Love Wins”’ resonated throughout the celebration, reminding everyone of the enduring power of love and unity.
Roberts and Laign entered their wedding reception to an instrumental version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” played by renowned electric violinist, Caroline Campbell. “It was epic,” says Gregoli. “I’ve never been to a wedding with this much love. And I’ve been to a lot of weddings, let me tell you. Those people genuinely loved Robin and Amber. I’ve never seen anything like it, on that level. I get goosebumps now thinking about it. The love in that room was palpable. You could feel it in your heart. And their theme was love wins, right? I mean, everything! We had cute little discs made for the drinks and a photo booth that both had ‘love wins.’ Because it took a long time for them to get to the altar. But they also wanted to make a statement like, ‘Hey, we overcame all these obstacles as well as what’s going on in this world. You know, society. And, you know, love did win and you can really feel that love and I think that’s why they played ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ because it was so evident.”
Roberts and Laign shared the video of their wedding ceremony at their reception so all the guests could witness their love and commitment to each other. Gregoli said everyone was crying while watching it. “How could you not? I was crying when she was saying her vows to her because of their love. What I really thought was so interesting is that they were so thoughtful to each other. I don’t see that in heterosexual weddings … ever. They were so thoughtful to each other. Everything they did really showed how much they care about each other.”
One of the most sentimental and thoughtful things from Laign was the message she had sewn into her dress: “Yes to dinner every time,” a nod to how many times Laign had said no to the blind dates her and Roberts’ friends kept trying to set them up on.
On Robin’s side, she had told Amber the entire time they were planning their wedding that they would not be doing a first dance because she said she couldn’t dance, which was the perfect set up for her to surprise her new wife with a flash mob dance to the upbeat gospel-influenced house song “Jerusalema,” a song by South African DJ and record producer, Master KG featuring South African vocalist Nomcebo. The song choice—and its eponymous dance—feels intentional, as with everything Robin does. “Jerusalema” was written by Nomcebo Nkwanyana, who goes by Nomcebo Zikode professionally, who, according to the New York Times, drew on her own intense pain when she wrote it. The lyrics, which are sung in isiZulu, a South African language, include the phrases, “Jerusalem is my home. Guard me. Walk with me. Do not leave me here.”
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Roberts is outspoken about her Christian faith, which undoubtedly helped carry them throughout the serious health issues they’ve faced over the course of their 18-year partnership, including breast cancer for both Roberts and Laign, and a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome for Roberts.
It wasn’t the only special dance performance though. Roberts’ siblings surprised her and her new wife by dancing to Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It” before giving their toast to the newlyweds.
Gregoli says the couple was adorable the way they planned small surprises for each other for the wedding. “They’re like, ‘Oh, don’t you tell her that.’ It was cute. Every meeting I heard, ‘Don’t tell her this. Don’t tell her that.’ They were just always thinking of each other, which I thought was great. More people should be like that in this world. We’d have a much better world.”
Toward the end of the night, Roberts and Laign threw their bouquets at the same time, a fun idea for a lesbian wedding. And instead of gathering only single women for the bouquet toss, the two brides invited all single people to try to catch their bouquets, an inclusive moment that touched their wedding planner’s heart.
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Planner: Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli
Floral design and event decor: Jen Gould Events
Ceremony photographer: Chris J. Evans
Reception photographer: 4 Eyes Photography
Photobooth: Total Entertainment
Wedding gowns: Badgley Mischka
DJ: DJ Valentina
Reception venue: Farmington Gardens
Flooring: Bombshell Graphics
Lighting: Frost Productions
Ceremony catering: Marcia Selden Catering
Gelato and prosecco: Dolce and Gelato Catering
Cake: Vincenzo Salvatore Cakes
Violinist: Caroline Campbell