Stony Brook University sweethearts Tara and Frank settled into an 11th floor apartment with views of the ocean after graduation. Tara doesn't offer this tidbit to induce jealousy—it's important to the couple's engagement story.
"It was an early, cold Saturday morning in February," she recalls, and Frank beckoned the soon-to-be bride to come outside "because he had something to show me. When I stepped out, written in huge letters in the sand below us was, 'Will you marry me?' I turned around and there was Frank, on one knee."
"We wanted to get married with our feet in the sand," Tara explains, "because that is how Frank proposed." Fourteen months after Frank popped the question, Jamaican resort Half Moon accommodated the couple's 80 guests and offered a sandy respite with "panoramic views of the ocean," Tara says.
Sea shells played a large part in the couple's wedding decor and complemented their chosen color palette of soft hues and bright whites. "We brought our own vases and candles from New York," Tara says.
Tara's nails were painted a pale pink for the big day. Her square-cut engagement ring was set in white gold.
Photos: M&A Photography
The bride bought her Badgley Mischka bridal gown at Kleinfeld, home of the popular reality TV series Say Yes To The Dress. The strapless dress featured a sweetheart neckline and ruffled bodice.
Tara chose gold open-toed Jimmy Choo strappy sandals to go with her gown.
Yellow and aqua accents throughout the couple's wedding—even in the bride's garter—brought out "the color of the beautiful water," Tara says.
Eight bridesmaids wore pale yellow dresses by Jim Hjelm that featured neckline ruffles and empire waists
Groomsmen wore yellow pocket squares tucked into their soft gray vests, and sported casual aqua-hued boating shoes.
The couple's nieces and nephew served as their flower girls and ring bearer. The girls' white dresses, from David's Bridal, mimicked the bride's own ruffled assemble.
Photos: M&A Photography
Tara carried an all-white, long-stemmed Calla lily bouquet.
The traditional bouquet came with a twist: It was tied with raffia and pinned with pearls.
Frank's white Calla lily boutonniere was also tied with raffia.
Tara and Frank exchanged vows beneath a bamboo arbor dripping with white flowers and nestled into the soft sand.
Palm leaves and ferns added a pop of color to the otherwise all-white arbor, which was draped in shear fabric.
The ring bearer descended the aisle just before the bride, carrying a soft burlap pillow and a heart-shaped wood sign that read Here Comes The Bride.
As Frank spotted his bride walk down the sand, a boyish grin stretched across his face.
With 60 years of marriage under their belts, the bride's grandparents offered wisdom for the newlyweds during the ceremony.
A steel drum band welcomed guests as they left the beach and headed to the resort's terrace for the couple's cocktail hour.
The couple "wanted a weathered, beachy, nautical feel" to their reception, Tara says. Escort cards were nestled in sand between tiny sea shells.
Atop each white and blue menu card sat a starfish, a perfect complement to the couple's surf-and-turf dinner.
"The entire week was so special, with many memories," the bride recalls. "That was one of the reasons we wanted a destination wedding. Close family and friends together for a week—what more could you ask for?"
Ceremony Venue: Half Moon || Reception Venue: Half Moon || Bride's Wedding Dress: Badgley Mischka || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Groom's Tux: J. Crew || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjelm || Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Nordstrom || Flower Girl Dress: David's Bridal || Caterer: Half Moon || Stationery: Purple Ink Press || Photography: M&A Photography