When friends of Michelle Wesley and Frank Licata set them up on a blind date after insisting they would be a perfect match, the pair had no idea it would be their last first date ever. “We instantly shared a remarkably strong chemistry that has grown from that night forward,” attests Frank. Michelle was also instantly smitten. “I was late, as usual,” she smiles, “but he was patient, answered my countless questions, and by the end of the night I found myself not wanting the date to finish.”
When the time was right, Frank asked his beloved’s father for his blessing before asking his lifelong friend to design a gorgeous fancy yellow diamond engagement ring – complete with each of their birthstones on the inside of the band to add a personal touch. Frank decided a family vacation to Aspen was the perfect time to pop the question. Following a day on the slopes and après-ski, the couple headed back to their accommodations to change. “Little did I know, two rooms over, Franchi had a room full of Sterling roses (my favorite), a string quartet, photographer, and a beautiful diamond waiting for me,” notes Michelle. Thinking she was meeting her parents for Champagne before dinner, she instead walked into a candlelit room as the quartet played “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. “I think I managed to spit out a ‘yes,’” smiles the bride. “It couldn’t have been more perfect for me.”
Though the couple resides in Ohio, they knew they wanted to go away for their wedding. “We imagined a weekend with friends and family rather than a day,” says the bride. They initially considered Miami; however, a visit to The Breakers in Palm Beach sealed their fate. “Once we walked through the doors, there was no question it was our spot,” adds Michelle, who designed the celebration with Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties. Prior to the fête, loved ones received tropical-print invitations created by Ceci New York to set the festive tone for the day. Upon arrival, guests were greeted with gift bags filled with Michelle and Frank’s favorite snacks, a mixed CD including songs by musicians they were unknowingly about to see perform, and Italian cookies to honor the groom’s heritage – a perfect beginning to a destination wedding weekend planned down to every detail.
Desiring a traditional ceremony, Michelle and Frank exchanged vows during a Catholic mass featuring carefully chosen songs and readings. “We wanted every detail of the day to be well-thought-out and meaningful,” she says. Inside programs with gold tassels, guests received tissues with a whimsical flamingo print to wipe away their tears of joy. Though most of the music was kept traditional, the bride, in a gorgeous Romona Keveža gown showcasing illusion details, walked down the aisle to the same tune that played during Frank’s proposal. “The entire ceremony was so moving and emotional… to feel all of the love from our family and friends is something I will never forget,” shares the groom, who donned a custom tuxedo. The newly married pair exited the church to “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles.
Following the touching service, loved ones were transported to The Breakers for a sunlit cocktail hour in the courtyard, which was decorated with ginger jars brimming with hot pink peonies, lilies, and bright green blooms. Guests found their table assignments emblazoned on blue-and-white hand-painted tiles arranged in frames of greenery dotted with ivory gardenias. Before entering the reception ballroom, attendees walked through a long hall with checkered flooring bordered by tall hedge walls adorned with the couple’s custom monogram as well as a wall of photos from their relationship illuminated with candlelight.
“Franchi and I like to think of ourselves as old souls and wanted our wedding to be just as fun and timeless as it was beautiful,” says the bride. Round tables featured one of two centerpiece designs: towering palm trees painted in a rose gold hue that seemed to emerge from the centers, or tall glass vases brimming with ivory blooms. Long, rectangular varieties showcased floral runners that draped gracefully over the ends of tables to the floor as well as crystal candelabra. Various chairs and textured linens helped to keep the space captivating despite the neutral palette, while colorful menu cards in the shapes of palm leaves continued the festive stationery. When it came time for dancing, loved ones made their way to a white dance floor displaying the couple’s monogram and celebrated beneath a sparkling ceiling of lights.
For the after-party, the bride surprised her guests by changing into a short fringe dress and both she and Frank wore high-top sneakers to fully enjoy the live performances by the rapper T-Pain and the band Third Eye Blind. “It was absolutely surreal!” says the groom. Once the festivities ended at 2:30 a.m., guests went back to their rooms to find a door hanger encouraging them to choose from a handpicked selection of the couple’s breakfast favorites. “We appreciated everyone who went out of their way to spend this special weekend, also Mother’s Day, with us and wanted to say thanks with a little breakfast in bed,” shares Michelle.
“I was honestly moved by the entire weekend,” notes the groom. “What surprised me the most was the feeling that I didn’t want it to end… It truly just kept getting better and better. No one wanted to blink for fear of missing what might be next.” His bride agrees, saying, “It was a beautiful night of old and new with lots of love, laughter, and fun to kick off our new life together.”