After a romantic proposal during a horseback ride on a beach in Costa Rica, Floridians Mehgan Silcox and Reese Rollings started planning their beach-themed wedding. All the elements -- from the stationery to the aisle markers -- perfectly conveyed the tropics.
Mehgan Silcox, 26
Reese Rollings, 29
After exchanging vows on a Captiva Island beach, the couple and their guests headed to the 'Tween Waters Inn for a quintessentially Florida celebration.
SAND & SEA
The couple began with their wedding invitations: custom-designed multilayered cards in azalea and orange that resembled the blazing sun -- appropriate for the sunset ceremony. Other beach-themed elements: Table assignments were printed on sand dollars, and floral centerpieces were arranged inside conch shells. Even the wedding cake -- a key lime cream-filled confection -- featured a cascade of sugared seashells and starfish.
The weekend of the wedding, guests were greeted at their hotels with beach pails filled with suntan lotion, bottled water, and large sugar cookies decorated like crabs. A fishing tournament kicked off the festivities, just before the luau-style barbecue rehearsal dinner complete with a steel band and roasted hog. The next day, the high school sweethearts (who first met when she was in third grade and he was in her brother's sixth-grade class) prepared for the beach wedding.
PIECES OF THE BEACHES
Following instructions on the invitations, guests gathered at the Old Captiva House where they were offered cocktails and then escorted to the beach. Meanwhile, Mehgan, dressed in a strapless sheath of white alencon lace and a tiara featuring small seashells, coral, and pearls (and now a necklace she wears all the time), anxiously awaited her walk down the aisle. The bridesmaids walked first, wearing burnt-orange and magenta dresses in varying styles, Colin Stuart shell-adorned sandals, and three-strand pearl necklaces decorated with a silver starfish (a gift from the bride). They carried flowers in large nautilus shells; the ring bearers followed, carrying the wedding bands in tiny cowrie shells. The aisle was marked by large conch shells and banana leaves, and chairs were decorated with colorful ribbons blowing in the breeze. As friends and family kept cool, fanning themselves with large straw fans (artfully crafted with the programs attached to the handles), the couple exchanged vows in a personalized ceremony performed by the groom's longtime family minister.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres on the patio of the inn. Later, they were ushered inside to tables named after local barrier islands. "The inn itself was a riot of color," says Mehgan, describing the magenta napkins, burnt-orange chair bows, and tropical-style centerpieces. Dinner featured a buffet of Florida fare: avocado and pawpaw salad, blue crab salad, seafood jambalaya, curried pork loin, coconut-battered shrimp, and more. Of the local fare, Mehgan's mom exclaims, "It was all exquisitely delicious!"
FORM A LINE
Mehgan and Reese stepped out for their first dance to "It's Your Love" by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. But perhaps a moment even more touching: As the bride danced with her father, she glanced over her shoulder to see all four of her brothers -- waiting in line to cut in. Mehgan and Reese danced all night until they quietly slipped away to spend the night at South Seas Resort.
-- Allison Micarelli
Photography © Barbara Banks
For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see the right-hand column of this page.