Singer and Dynasty actress Elizabeth “Liz” Gillies met producer and composer Michael Corcoran years ago—but it took a while before they started dating. “I always had a crush on him,” Liz says. “But I played it cool.” They’d been dating for six years when they decided it was ultimately time to get married. Liz had been working in Atlanta for the past two years and traveling on the weekend to see Michael and their dogs in Los Angeles. “Once Dynasty got picked up for a third season, I not-so-subtly suggested that he relocate so that we could start a new chapter in Atlanta,” Liz admits. “Luckily, he agreed, and we bought a house together. He’s a California guy through and through, so it was a big deal for him to leave L.A. and move to the Southeast.”
The day after they closed on the house, Michael arrived in town, and they went over to go look at it again. “When we got there, he started leading me down to the backyard,” Liz remembers. “I had no idea what he was doing. All of a sudden he got down on one knee and proposed to me right there. I was totally surprised. It was a perfect proposal.”
“I had to travel with the ring in my pocket all day,” Michael says. “It was tripping me out to have it on me for so long. I was definitely relieved when I was finally able to propose, and she said yes.”
They set a date for April 25, 2020, which also happens to be their French bulldog Otis’s birthday. They planned to get married at the St. Regis in Atlanta, but eventually, like so many couples planning to get married this past spring, they had to move the wedding due to the pandemic. “Once we saw how dire the situation was, we knew we had to postpone,” Liz says. “It was a no-brainer for us. Aside from the obvious travel and crowd restrictions, it didn’t feel right to be celebrating in such a big way when there was so much going on in the world. It would have been in poor taste to burden people by asking them to risk their lives to come to our wedding. There were more important things to focus on. Our wedding could wait.”
“It really focused everything down to what matters in life,” Michael adds. “A big, extravagant experience in the middle of a pandemic didn’t make any sense.”
They still managed to commemorate their original date with a mini celebration among a small group of family and friends who had been quarantining together. And then, they set a new wedding date for August 8, 2020. “Initially, we planned on postponing a year,” Liz explains. “Then, as time went on, we decided a big wedding was no longer something that made sense for us. The virus really put things into perspective. That being said, we did want to get married as long as it could be done in a safe and intimate setting with a group that we trusted.”
In July, Liz and Michael started searching for outdoor venues on the East Coast that offered micro weddings so their families could drive to the location. “I’ve been a bit of an extremist during this whole quarantine thing and hadn’t left the house for over four months at the time, so safety was my top priority,” Liz explains. She called and emailed a few different venues and eventually landed on the Inn at Fernbrook Farms—a quaint, Colonial-era farm in the middle of New Jersey. “It looked so picturesque,” she says. “And since my family lives there, I had them drive over and vet it. They called me after the tour and told me how perfect it was.” Liz and Michael ultimately made the decision to have the ceremony there, with 10 guests total, and the whole thing was planned in under a month.
They weren’t comfortable flying, so they drove up with their dogs in a giant, Class A RV. “We’d never driven one before, so the whole thing was a bit insane, but Michael did a great job,” Liz says. “We got tested before we left and quarantined with my family for two weeks before the wedding. With everything going on, it felt so nice to be in my childhood home with nothing to do but relax leading up to the big day. We cooked and took the dogs for long walks and really just enjoyed each other’s company. It felt good to slow down. Overall, we were very fortunate to be able to safely spend this time with family. It was incredibly special.”
As for selecting a dress, Liz was a bit wedding-gowned out. “I had worn so many spectacular wedding gowns over the course of three years on Dynasty that I always said that I would wear black on my wedding day,” she jokes. “But as I got older, I realized my taste is actually very classic and simple, so that’s what I was looking for.” She wanted a nice, clean silhouette with a bit of a vintage feel and ultimately landed on a one-of-a-kind satin dress with a cape from Britt Wood Designs in Atlanta. “I adored the cape, but once I put the Oscar de la Renta veil on—that’s what sold it for me,” Liz says. “It was so 1960s.” She finished off the look with blue jewels and satin slip-on Jimmy Choos.
The wedding day was a family affair. Everyone arrived at the inn a few hours before the ceremony and got ready in their respective rooms. At first, Liz and Michael thought they would tell their guests they could dress informally, but then they decided, why not? Their mothers wore the gowns they’d bought to wear to the wedding back in April; the men wore their suits. The bride did her own hair and makeup as well as her mother’s and grandmother’s.
The ceremony took place in the garden at 7:30 p.m. The couple’s dogs wore floral collars by Twisted Willow Flowers, and their oldest, Bubba, served as the ring bearer. “My mom and nephew walked Bubba down the aisle,” Michael says. “I’ve had him for 16 years and was glad he made it to the wedding.”
In the weeks leading up to the ceremony, Liz’s father had gotten ordained and wrote a thoughtful, loving ceremony for the couple. “He walked me down the aisle, then quickly switched roles to marry us,” Liz says. “It was very sweet! My brother also gave a beautiful reading, which meant a lot to me. On top of that, I had the great privilege of having both my grandmothers there. Although there weren’t many of us, we were surrounded by family. It was everything I could’ve asked for.”
“It has been such a long road for us, and at times [it] felt like a total impossibility that it was hard to believe we’d actually gotten to that moment where it was really happening,” Liz says. “Once we were exchanging vows, it hit me that my dad was marrying us and our loved ones were there, and I think I turned to Michael and mouthed, ‘Oh, my God, we actually did it.’ We were so happy.”
A reception followed. The entertaining challenge was making the large, tented outdoor space feel warm and inviting without having a big group to fill it. The couple worked closely with the general manager at the inn, Teri Lands, to pull it off. They decided on one long farm table, rather than separate tables, to bring everything together. It was rustic, classic, and understated with lots of soft pinks, greens, and natural textures.
After the farm-to-table dinner, everyone danced to music performed by Pat and Sean Kelly, two brothers who play acoustic guitar and percussion. “Not only did they share our taste in music and play all the songs we loved, but they also executed them with the right balance of originality and respect for the original,” Liz says. “They provided the perfect soundtrack to our wedding.”
Once the reception was over, the women changed into cute pj’s and the guys smoked cigars and drank scotch while everyone hung out by the fire and ate s’mores. “As painful as it is to push off something that you’ve spent so much time planning and looking forward to, I do believe it’s the right—and only—decision,” Liz says. “I’m very happy with the way ours turned out. I don’t think I would’ve had it any other way. At the end of the day, it’s about you and the person you love. The rest doesn’t matter.”
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Michael Corcoran, Elizabeth Gillies, Dynasty
World news – US – Actress Elizabeth Gillies Drove an RV to Her Wedding at a Charming Farm in New Jersey