Mike Galati’s longstanding crush on now-wife Caroline dates all the way back to high school in 2007—and it took a whopping 10 years for the feelings to become mutual! “It wasn’t reciprocated until July of 2017, when I confessed I had a crush on him,” says the bride, who had kept close ties with her spouse throughout college and beyond. “We went on a trip to see if we could take the plunge from friends to dating and it was no looking back after that.”
Fast forward to August 2018, when another trip—this time to Italy!—proved just as fateful. While visiting the historic Villa Balbiano in Lake Como, Mike suggested that they snap a photo together. Once he had Caroline close, he dropped down on one knee to propose...and accidentally skipped the whole popping the question part. “He put the ring on my finger and hugged me—but he forgot to ask me if I’d marry him," Caroline recalls with a laugh.
After Mike fixed his slip-up and officially asked, the couple started thinking of their wedding and knew just the place fort their March 16, 2019 ceremony: Anna Maria Island in Florida, as place that holds major sentiment to both Caroline and Mike. “Mike grew up on Anna Maria Island, and I spent most of my time out there when we were in high school,” says the bride. “My dad passed away when I was 21, and we spread his ashes off the beach of Anna Maria. We loved the fact that both of our families had so much precious history on the island.” Keeping things even closer to heart, the pair also turned to Mike’s family’s boat dealership, Galati Yacht Sale, as their marina reception venue and asked the bride's mother, who has five years of wedding experience, to plan the big day.
Keep reading to see this elegant tropical wedding, as captured by Everence Photography.
As part of the overall vibe, Caroline fell in love with the all-white look for everything from the bridesmaids' dresses and robes to the flower arrangements.
For her own white look, the bride stunned in an Atelier Pronovias off-the-shoulder gown, which she found on Instagram before dress shopping. “I had exactly what I wanted in mind so when I finally tried it on I had that ‘ahhh’ moment,” she says. Caroline topped off the timeless look with her mother’s pearl bracelet and her grandmother’s pearl earrings as her "something old" and "something borrowed," along with Stuart Weitzman nude heels.
The bridal party sported high-neck ivory gowns and pearl accessories to match the bride’s. Staying true to theme, the ‘maids also carried a blend of white blooms that complemented Caroline’s rose-infused bouquet.
An abundance of ferns and palms decorated Roser Memorial Community Church for the ceremony, where Caroline’s brother-in-law gave her away. But, the special service had no shortage of sweet remembrances for her late father. “Our pastor was a long time family friend who knew my dad very well,” explains the bride. “It was important to me he acknowledge my dad in our ceremony and he did so beautifully. There was not a dry eye in the room!”
And, speaking of crying, Caroline recalls her favorite moment of the wedding—seeing Mike’s face as she walked down the aisle. “He was fighting back tears so hard his lips were quivering!” she says. “I smiled the whole way down.”
Another fond memory happened unexpectedly while shooting some solo couple’s photos along the bay—a dolphin swam incredibly close to the sea wall and surprised the newlyweds, which Caroline explains rarely happens. “We had to guess it was a loved one saying ‘hi,’” she says. After, the newlyweds took a trolley to their reception venue: Mike's family marina!
“Our reception was uniquely ours, from the food to the decor,” adds Caroline of the tented party, where her love for rattan and wicker made itself known and nodded to the chic island style.
Tables were set with white pillar candles and arrangements of palms, then surrounded by bamboo folding chairs. The newlyweds sat in statement chairs, which made for special photographs.
Caroline and Mike took their own turn sashaying to “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. The mothers of the bride and groom also joined their respective children for a joint dance to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye.
For dinner, the couple successfully personalized the menu to appeal to both Caroline’s gluten-free diet and Mike’s large Italian side of the family. Guests were treated to an assortment of traditional Italian dishes, prime rib, branzino, and potatoes with bacon.
A flamingo cake topper and a few flowers accented the simple white cake, which was filled with a coconut key lime flavor.
At the end of the wedding, Mike and Caroline made their grand exit in true nautical style—by boat, naturally, which also alluded to the groom’s family’s line of work.
Looking back, the bride offers one piece of advice to fellow to-be-weds planning their own big days: don’t get bogged down with the nitty gritty details. “Remember—it is a party celebrating your love!” she says. “There are so many moving pieces, but ultimately it’s about two people joining lives and celebrating this union.”
Ceremony Venue: Roser Memorial Community Church
Reception Venue: Galati Marina
Day-Of Coordination, Floral Design, & Event Design: Botanica International Design Studio
Bride’s Dress: Atelier Pronovias
Bride’s Veil: Calvet Couture Sarasota
Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
Makeup: Morgan Mazza Hair
Bridesmaids’ Dresses & Mother of the Bride Dress: BHLDN
Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Suitsupply
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Mavilo Wholesalers
Guest Book: Etsy
Reception Music: The After Party Experience
Catering: Innovative Dining
Cake: Hometown Desserts
Rentals: Over the Top Rental Linens, Style House Rentals, U.S. Tent Rental, Affairs in the Air, A Chair Affair
Transportation: Siesta Trolley
Accommodations: Waterline Resort and Marina
Videography: Voilà Cinematic
Photography: Everence Photography