"It was the beginning of their freshman year of college and neither Emily Holt or Stuart Ashmun were looking to be in a relationship. That all changed when the two met at a get-together hosted by a mutual friend. "We were both debating on whether to go out that night or not but were convinced by friends that we should," Stuart shares of the fortuitous meeting. "We spent the entire night getting to know one another and it was clear we were instantly drawn to each other." Emily confirms. It wasn't long before Stuart realized she was The One and the two were inseparable from almost the very beginning, but their relationship continued to strengthen over the course of many years before Stuart found the perfect moment to pop the question. Embracing tradition, Stuart without hesitation requested dinner with Emily's father, asking for his blessing in his daughter's hand in marriage - which was gladly granted."
After carefully working with a jeweler to create the perfect custom, delicate ring that fit his sweetheart’s taste, Stuart was ready. On the rooftop of Emily’s favorite restaurant, he simply got down on one knee and asked her to marry him – unable to recite the long speech he had prepared. “After reading the speech he had planned, I completely understood as it was way too sweet to ever say out loud without crying," Emily clarifies. "But this of course, didn't prevent my tears,” she laughs. They then went back inside the restaurant to enjoy dinner. Following their meal, the staff requested the newly affianced couple head back to the rooftop for a private dessert. “As the doors opened, truly to my complete surprise, I saw all of our best friends and family waiting, arms open wide,” the bride remembers. "This was such a special way to spend the rest of the evening and is a memory I will always hold dear," she says.
From the start, Emily and Stuart knew they wanted a destination wedding. The groom grew up visiting Harbour Island in the Bahamas with his family, and after seeing one photo of the tropical locale, Emily knew it was where they should tie the knot. The famous little pink chapel on the island was the perfect spot for the ceremony, while a boutique hotel provided the charming space for the alfresco reception under the stars. Once they began planning, they realized the pros and cons that come with organizing nuptials abroad. Thankfully, the team at DFW Events was able to help with the logistics.
When the special day arrived, the bride had a relaxing morning slowly getting ready with her bridesmaids. After doing her own makeup, her mom and sister helped her into the exquisite bridal gown. For a touch of family history, Emily wore her grandmother’s garter, which was crafted by her great-grandmother. “I was incredibly honored as my mother also wore it down the aisle on her big day,” she affirms. The look of the bridesmaids was kept simple – they donned loose white dresses and carried bouquets of baby’s breath.
With her hair in soft waves and partially tied back to secure her veil, Emily was a vision in her strapless A-line gown. The champagne lining allowed the floral appliqués to stand out, and a custom off-the-shoulder tulle overlay added for the ceremony completed the soft, romantic style. “As soon as she walked in the church, the light from outside flooded around her in an ethereal halo,” gushes the groom. Inspired by their faith, the couple chose to have a traditional ceremony. “Having time to respect the gravity and magic of that moment is something that will stay with us our entire lives,” Stuart reflects. Following the vow exchange, a Bahamian marching band followed the newlyweds out of the church in celebration, leading their guests to the reception site shortly before the glorious sunset.
“Overall, my dream was to create a sense of understated grandeur - found in the balance of classic, sophisticated details with a touch of whimsy,” illustrates the bride. A white, tented structure covered a collection of tables in the same shade, paired with contrasting dark-wood chairs. “We opted for nearly all greenery and palms at the reception – conveying the vibrant nature and vintage glamour of the island,” Emily elaborates. Revelers danced to the tunes of a DJ beneath a unique display of oversized paper floral lanterns, which added to the ethereal quality the couple wanted for their day.
At the end of the night, the bride changed into a boho-chic lace dress, and the newlyweds set off in a decorated truck on the beach to start their married life. Emily reflects, “This moment is by far my most sentimental and lasting memory.”