Zac and Brianna Potter’s Palm Beach Love Story

The island’s most romantic locales played a starring role in this couple’s love story

Zac and Brianna Potter (née Mahler) exchanged vows at Pan’s Garden on Palm Beach. The only attendees were Brianna’s mother, Lynette Bryan (left), Zac’s sister, Heather Potter (right), and their dog, Wolfgang.

Although not originally from Palm Beach, Zac and Brianna Potter found love in their adopted hometown. Sitting together in Sant Ambroeus—sipping matching cappuccinos—they describe their first date, which took place around the corner at the Palm Beach Grill. They giggle as they recall their second date, when they shared a bottle of wine from Amici Market before cozying up in a corner booth at Café L’Europe. They reminisce about their intimate December wedding ceremony held at Pan’s Garden. They reflect upon their twilight walks, when Brianna will meet Zac halfway between his office in downtown West Palm Beach and their home on the island, their German shepherd, Wolfgang, in tow.

“It’s such a beautiful way to appreciate where we live,” says Brianna, who moved from Alaska in 2010. Zac also hails from the Pacific Northwest and relocated to Palm Beach in 2011, but the two didn’t start dating until June 2013. Regardless of the time it took to find one another, their connection was immediate.

“We ended up really hitting it off on our first date,” says Zac, a partner at the law firm Fisher Potter Hodas. “We closed down the restaurant.”
“They were turning lights off around us,” adds Brianna. “I called my friend on the way home and said, ‘I love this man. This is my man.’ I haven’t met anybody else [who has] as good and golden of a heart as Zac does, and that became apparent to me on our first meeting.”

“There was just that electricity that happens when you fall for somebody,” explains Zac as he looks lovingly into Brianna’s blue eyes. “Really from the second date on, we were—”
“Inseparable,” she finishes.

Chatting with the recently minted Mr. and Mrs. Potter, you get the sense that these two are still in the throes of infatuation, that they’re imprisoned to that almost painful need to be near one another. Brianna credits this energy to her frequent trips to France, first to study the language and then to pursue a culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu. “When we’re back together, it’s all fresh and brand new again and so exciting because distance makes the heart grow fonder.”

Zac was actually the one who encouraged Brianna to pursue cooking, even though she was a novice—to say the least. “I could barely boil spaghetti,” she says, laughing. “I didn’t like cooking because I was so bad at it.”

“The first program was funny for her because she’s thinking that I convinced her to do something she was wildly unqualified for,” Zac continues. “Her lab partner was a chef from Cipriani in New York.”

“Here I am learning how to use a knife for the first time, and he’s lapping me,” adds Brianna. “But I fell in love with it.”

“From my perspective, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Zac.
Cooking, in fact, has become a pillar of their relationship. Brianna whips up a three-egg, French-style omelet for Zac each morning and often makes lunch for his entire office. In the evening, they discuss the details of their day with one another while Brianna prepares dinner and Zac acts as sampler extraordinaire. “She’s gone to a level where I try to not ruin things, so I stay out of it and entertain her as she cooks,” says Zac, who’s particularly fond of Brianna’s signature seven-hour sauce paired with beef Wellington or chicken and root vegetables. “One of the ways to keep things romantic is spending meals together, right?”

Despite this love of all things fine dining, the couple’s first meal as husband and wife was airport food. Some context: After Zac popped the question in the South of France in June 2018, they began to plan their wedding for December 2019. But as the holiday season rolled around and with a trip to France on the horizon, Brianna and Zac felt they simply couldn’t wait to tie the knot.

“We had been together for so long, I wanted to be able to call her my wife,” Zac explains. “Anything less than that just felt weird coming out of my mouth. It didn’t represent where we were, and waiting another year for that didn’t—”
“Didn’t sit well,” says Brianna.

“We didn’t want to,” continues Zac. “The thought was, well, maybe we’ll do a little, intimate wedding about a year before what we were originally planning.”

On a Saturday in mid-December, Zac and Brianna made the decision to wed the following Friday. On Wednesday, Brianna purchased a lovely Dior dress and a birdcage veil from Saks Fifth Avenue. That same day, it dawned on Zac that Brianna’s mother needed to be at her daughter’s wedding. He covertly bought her a first-class, red-eye ticket from Alaska to South Florida. She arrived at the same time as Zac’s sister—the only other wedding guest—and Brianna wept with tears of joy when she went to greet her future sister-in-law and saw her mother, as well.

“I had been too busy to really think about how much I would miss my mom being there,” says Brianna, noting that she’s her mother’s only child. “It all hit in that moment.”
On the morning of Friday, December 21, Zac and Brianna exchanged vows at the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach’s Pan’s Garden in front of his sister, her mother, and their dog. Zac FaceTimed his mother in California, her stepfather in Alaska, and a few of their close friends, who electronically looked on as Zac and Brianna became husband and wife.

“It was like a combination of a small wedding with your family and eloping,” says Zac.
“It was everything we had dreamt of and wanted,” adds Brianna.
After the ceremony, the couple took photos in the garden and along Worth Avenue before heading to Miami for their overnight flight to Paris. During their chauffeured drive, the pair played Backgammon, a game Zac grew up with and that he’s since taught Brianna. They stayed in their wedding attire until they got on the plane, lending an elegant air to their airport dinner setting.

“Walking through the airport in a white dress with a bouquet and him in tux, there were so many congratulations and well-wishers,” Brianna recalls. “Every time I fly now, I want to wear a white dress and carry a bouquet.”

The next day, they checked in to the Four Seasons Hotel George V, which was decked out in holiday decor. (“I’m a huge Christmas nut, so for me it was heaven on Earth,” Brianna says.) That evening, they enjoyed a proper celebratory feast at Le Cinq, the hotel’s three-
Michelin-starred restaurant. After the New Year, Zac flew home and Brianna stayed on to finish her pastry courses, returning briefly over Valentine’s Day to show off her chocolate sculpture skills. And while France will always hold a special place in their hearts, they’re more than content to call Palm Beach home.

“Forever,” says Zac.
“Forever,” echoes Brianna. “We’ve really fallen in love.”
Indeed, they have. «

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