When Michael Humenansky joined Amanda Middlebrooks on a family trip to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas, she was certain he was going to propose. “It’s one of my favorite places, and it was Michael’s first trip there,” says Amanda. "I couldn’t wait to explore the islands together!" But the trip came and went, and Michael hopped on a plane to Chicago while Amanda headed to Palm Beach with her family. As soon as they got home, Amanda’s mom said she wanted to head to their favorite beach to go snorkeling.
“I was surprised, since we’d just spent a week snorkeling in the Bahamas, but I put on my suit anyway,” Amanda remembers. “I was starving, so I insisted we stop for sandwiches first!” After getting lunch, Amanda’s mom said she’d forgotten something and headed back to the car, while Amanda sat down to eat. “All of a sudden, Michael appeared," she says. "I was so surprised, I threw my sandwich in the air!” He grabbed her hand and led her down to the beach, where he’d set up a picnic with champagne (and another sandwich, thankfully!).
That’s when he got down on one knee.
The bride is from Palm Beach County, and since Michael popped the question there, it was an easy choice to get married there too. “The club where we got married has a vibe of barefoot glamour that I really love,” says Amanda. Thankfully, Amanda's mother is as good at planning weddings as she is proposals, so she and her best friend teamed up with the couple to create a black-tie celebration that embodied the ease of old Florida. Photographed by Patricia Lyons, this April 29, 2017, wedding is the perfect balance of palm trees and elegant simplicity.
“I loved the idea of our guests spending the day on the beach, then getting dolled up for the big event that night,” says Amanda.
The bride’s gown embodied the formal yet relaxed atmosphere of the wedding. She chose a silk Oscar de la Renta gown with a cowl back, which she paired with nude Stuart Weitzman sandals. “My cousin, Cori Stahl, is the owner and designer of Love Veils,” she says. “She created a French Chantilly-lace veil that complemented the simplicity of my dress and really made me feel like a bride!”
Amanda's finishing touch was a bouquet of fragrant lilies of the valley, a surprise from her mother’s best friend.
One of Amanda’s favorite parts of the planning process was working with Jenna Rainey of Mon Voir. “She created a custom crest and all of the artwork for our invitations,” says the bride of the floral watercolor design.
Michael wore a Hugo Boss tuxedo, complete with a lily of the valley boutonniere to match Amanda's bouquet. “We loved getting to slip down to the beach for photos,” says Amanda. “Our photographer, Patricia Lyons, has such amazing energy and is a joy to be around. And we loved having a little time to laugh together!”
Amanda’s cousin’s children served as the flower girl and ring bearer. “Dylan’s dress has so much significance," she says. "It was hand-made by my mother’s best friend’s mother years ago—and it fit Dylan perfectly!” A crown of silk flowers topped off the lace frock, while the ring bearer made his entrance holding a moss pillow.
Amanda’s father walked her down the aisle inside the club’s ballroom. Candles in hurricane vases lined the aisle, while a garland of white hydrangeas and ferns added a certain softness to the space.
One of the couple’s close friends officiated and spoke to the bride and groom separately beforehand to personalize his remarks. “I was a little teary when my father and I made it to the altar, so Guy asked me under his breath if I’d prefer chicken or beef," Amanda remembers. "I started to laugh, and the tears were gone!”
“One of my favorite moments was walking down the aisle with Michael after the ceremony,” says the bride. “We were radiating happiness. I’ll never forget how special it was to see all of our family and friends smiling back at us!”
At dinner, guests were seated at long tables topped with white linens and candlelit centerpieces of white hydrangeas, peonies, ranunculus, and freesias.
The locally sourced menu featured lump crab with avocado and mango, petite filet mignon and sautéed halibut, and a treat from the couple. “Michael and I always order something extra for the table, so we had baskets of fries for the guests to share!” says Amanda.
The bride let her hair down for the first dance, to “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You” by UB40. “I’m shy in front of large groups, as is my dad, so we combined the father-daughter and mother-son dances,” she adds.
A 10-piece band had the patio dance floor full all night, playing lots of Motown and ‘70s hits. Instead of a traditional cake, the couple gave their guests one more taste of Florida with slices of key-lime pie and plates of coconut macaroons. Amanda changed into a white minidress and floral-print heels once the party really got under way.
“Planning a wedding means making a lot of decisions,” says the bride. “Michael and I can sometimes take a while to decide, so the process meant getting comfortable making decisions—and not second-guessing ourselves!”
Day-of Coordinator: Lauren Daversa Events || Bride's Dress: Oscar de la Renta || Bride's Veil: Love Veils || Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Hair & Makeup: Jennifer Cruz Beauty Group || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Floral Design: Everett Simon || Paper Products: Mon Voir || Entertainment: Heatwave || Photography: Patricia Lyons Photography