Written by Cynthia Ellingsen | Photography by Romero Photography
Stevi and Sam first met in 2008. A native of Birmingham, England, Sam played soccer for University of the Cumberlands with one of Stevi’s friends, who made a point of introducing them. Stevi and Sam were happy to meet but didn’t stay in touch. In 2012, they were reintroduced. They remembered their first meeting and, from that point on, were inseparable.
It took only a year for Sam to propose. His family was in town from England and they met up with Sam and Stevi in Fort Myers, Florida for a family vacation. On June 4, 2013 Sam told Stevi he wanted to take a family photo at the beach during sunset, and everyone gathered at the edge of the shore. As he walked Stevi to her spot on the beach, he showed her a heart in the sand where he had written the words, Will You Marry Me? He dropped to one knee and pulled out a box with the ring. Sam’s dad took a photograph as Sam proposed, forever capturing the moment.
Six months later, Sam and Stevi were married at the nearby Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, FL. The wedding took place on the terrace in front of waterfalls, the natural beauty of the setting providing the perfect décor, along with a crystal, candle lit chandelier, turquoise tulle along the aisles and vibrant hydrangeas. The Old English Sheepdog belonging to the couple served as one of the groomsmen and was walked down the aisle.
There were several sentimental touches in the ceremony, including a handmade arch constructed by the Stevi’s father and Sam, and a sand unity ceremony. The couple’s niece and nephew served as the flower girl and ring bearer. The bride wore her aunt’s garter, in honor of the fact that her aunt has been married the longest in the family, over fifty years.
The reception sparkled with votive candles and turquoise lighting that complemented the color scheme. Playful touches included a DJ who not only played great music, but organized fun games to keep guests of all ages entertained, as well as a photo booth and candy bar.
Dinner included a Caesar salad with Parmesan cheese croutons, chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and spinach or short ribs with dressed potatoes and sautéed vegetables. The cake was also elegant, with fresh flowers and a monogram. Both the bride and groom picked the flavors, with the groom choosing white cake with strawberries and whipped cream for his section and the bride selecting white cake with chocolate chips and chocolate mousse for hers. The top of the cake was red velvet and cream cheese icing, selected by both the bride and groom, with a piece set aside for their one-year anniversary.
The couple’s favorite moment was the “first look”, a moment they took to be together before the wedding. They loved the opportunity to see one another for the first time and share a private moment on their special day.
Venue & Cakes: Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Bonita Springs, FL | Wedding Photography: Romero Photography | Florist: Vern Devine | Bridal Gown: Allure Bridal from One Devine Day | Bridal Party Attire: One Devine Day | Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Black Tie Tuxedo