Laura Ball and Russell Ortelt Jr.’s relationship had charitable beginnings. They didn’t know each other, but after mutual friends lost everything in a house fire, and they each planned a fundraiser to help, a third mutual friend suggested they team up. “We helped with each other’s fundraisers and when they were finished, Russ asked me on a date,” Laura says. “The rest is history!”
Russ proposed at his birthday party on May 3, 2014 — a party Laura planned. “All of our friends and family were invited,” Laura says. “The surprise was really on me when Russ proposed in front of everyone!”
They planned a Sept. 19, 2015 afternoon wedding at South County Museum in Narragansett, with dinner and dancing following at The Charlestown Rathskeller. “We chose South County because it’s where I grew up,” Laura says. “We chose South County Museum because of its rustic, romantic feel. It is a perfect spot for a wedding ceremony and formal photos.” They chose the former speakeasy as a reception site because Laura grew up going there. “The back area is perfect for events, providing an excellent space, lots of activities, a beautiful venue and great food. The chef is so much fun to work with, and really made the whole experience one of a kind.”
Their theme for the day was “fun,” Laura says, and used the colors navy, white and light pink. Laura chose a white, strapless faille ball gown with a sweetheart neckline, sweep train and empire waist. “It was simple, beautiful and had pockets,” she says. The men wore gray suits with navy ties, while the bridesmaids wore navy blue lace dresses in different styles.
After a dinner of braised, boneless short ribs with scallion polenta and roasted Statler chicken with sweet corn and tarragon salsa and mashed potatoes, guests were treated to dessert — vanilla bean cake layered with fresh strawberries and topped with mascarpone whipped cream and decorated with dahlias — made by their friend and baker, Liz Gledhill. The couple danced their first dance as Mr. and Mrs. to Safety Suit’s “Won’t Stop.” In lieu of favors, the couple made a donation to Gloria Gemma Foundation for breast cancer research. “The day was perfect,” the bride says, adding with a laugh. “If anything went wrong, no one told me!”
After a honeymoon at Lake George in New York, they make their home in West Warwick.