Caroline Stoy and Christopher DeMario first met in October 2002 after a high school football game, but their first officially date wasn't until the next spring when the pair attended the prom together. The high school sweethearts dated for over a decade before Chris popped the question on April 16, 2014. "We had gone ring shopping so I had anticipated an engagement for a few months," the bride remembers. "On a Wednesday after work, I walked into our apartment and was greeted with champagne, flowers, and a ring! It was a complete surprise."
The pair spent a year planning their destination nuptials in Captiva Island, Florida. "Ever since I was two I've been vacationing on the island and my very first memories involve trips there," Caroline says. "It is my family's paradise and home away from home." On April 25, 2015, Caroline and Chris said "I do" before 105 guests in a beach-inspired bash planned by Kelly McWilliams. Keep reading to see all of Hunter Ryan Photo's shots of the big day!
At just 5'2", Caroline wanted a dress that wouldn't overwhelm her petite frame. She fell in love with the idea of an illusion neckline, and her gorgeous silk georgette gown from Reem Acra fit the bill. The delicate ruched band, scalloped beading, and sheer neckline offered everything Caroline had wanted and then some. "I felt like the best version of myself," she remembers.
She completed her look with pear-shaped white topaz stud earrings that Chris gifted her on the morning of the wedding, a silk veil, and a hand-tied bouquet of garden roses, peonies, hydrangeas, vendela roses, lisianthus, and dusty miller.
The day before the wedding, Caroline gifted her seven bridesmaids floral robes to wear as the group got ready. After hair and makeup was over, the bride's attendants traded in their knee-length robes for floor-length silk chiffon gowns from J.Crew in soft peach. "I let them choose whatever style they liked the best and would be the most comfortable in," the bride says.
Caroline's sister, who served as maid-of-honor, carried a smaller version of the bride's bouquet while the rest of the bridesmaids toted arrangements of baby's breath.
Chris wore a navy Hugo Boss suit and matching tie. On the morning of the wedding, the groom gifted his groomsmen with monogrammed wooden cigar boxes that included a grey linen tie to wear with their navy suits, a personalized koozie, and celebratory cigar.
"After I finished getting ready, I had a first look with my dad on a beautiful patio overlooking the lawn," Caroline remembers. "After that, I walked down a long white dock overlooking the ocean to have my first look with Chris. He was waiting at the end of the dock, facing out to the ocean so he couldn't see me. I lightly tapped him on the shoulder, and the next moment was pure bliss. It was so nice to have a moment with him." Since the couple got the anticipation of seeing each other out of the way early, Caroline remembers feeling relaxed and totally together when she walked down the aisle.
Caroline and Chris exchanged vows at Captiva Chapel by the Sea, a tiny 113-year-old chapel that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. "It's steps from the beach and surrounded by seagrapde, gumbo limo, and palm trees," the bride says of the little white chapel. "It is so unique and quaint." The interior is decorated with beachy turquoise pews, so the couple didn't want to take away from the chic simplicity. They decorated the exterior with clear vases topped with flowers and added only gold candles inside.
The couple exchanged traditional vows, but kept the ceremony short and sweet. "It only lasted 17 minutes, which was perfect given the 85 degree day and a chapel with only fans!" After their nuptials, the couple exited the church while guests waved colorful streamers.
The party moved to the King's Crown Lawn at South Seas Island Resort where guests were treated to an outdoor reception. Guests found their seating assignments on a calligraphed chalkboard before settling in for dinner at long tables draped in white linens.
Each table was topped with a white lace runner and decorated with a variety of vases in different sizes. Centerpieces includes mixes of stock, hydrangea, and garden roses, and gold candlesticks.
The couple started their reception with a first dance to Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" before guests sat down for a decadent dinner that included a Burrata salad, mushroom risotto, Florida grouper, and grilled ribeye. For dessert, the couple served an assortment of Italian cookies and a two-tiered vanilla wedding cake.
Caroline and Chris, who enjoyed a "mini-moon" in Miami, have a great piece of advice for future brides and grooms: "Don't look at the forecast too far in advance of the wedding day!" the bride says. The couple stressed over a forecast that predicted showers, but in the end, their wedding day weather was beautiful.
Ceremony Venue: Captiva Chapel by the Sea || Reception Venue & Catering: South Seas Island Resort || Wedding Planner: Kelly McWilliams of Weddings by Socialites || Bride's Wedding Dress: Reem Acra || Veil: Malis-Henderson || Earrings: Suzanne Kalan || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Spa at Tween Waters Inn || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Mother of the Bride Dress: Eliza J || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss; Bonobos; Allen Edmonds; Shinola || Groomsmen's Ties: The Tie Bar || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Steve Quick Jeweler || Florist: Libby's Flowers || Invitations & Paper Goods: Nico & Lala || Guestbook: Sugar Paper for J.Crew || Music: Danny Morgan Entertainment || DJ: Stereophonic DJs || Cake: Publix Bakery || Rentals: Island Events || Glow Wands: Promotional Party Sticks || Bridesmaid's Robes: Silk and More || Groomsmen's Cigar Boxes: Bloomin Bridal || Photographer: Hunter Ryan Photo
Want to see more Florida weddings? Then check out another southern bash in the video below!