Love will find you where you least expect it… or so the saying goes. Jessica Cooley was not looking for love on the beach that day… she was hanging out with friends. So was Ryan Lane. But when these two met, it was like a country music song come to life: a beautiful blonde-haired girl, a tall, dark, and handsome boy meet on the beach, make a date, and fall in love…
Since they met on the beach, Ryan had a special beach proposal planned for Jessica. They flew to the Bahamas for a little vacation… Ryan with the ring in his luggage. Ryan’s family knew of his plans to propose but Jessica’s parents did not. Ryan wanted to propose on the first night, right as the sun was setting. He selected the perfect spot to pop the question and managed to get Jessica there without suspicion. They ordered a drink as Ryan waited for the perfect moment. The scene was set. Jessica was completely unaware that Ryan was about to propose and she spoiled the moment by telling Ryan she needed to find a restroom. Once there, she saw a shop she wanted to peek into… and another, and another… so the sunset and the moment were both gone. Ryan decided to try it again the following night… but when he realized his parents and Jessica’s parents were scheduled to attend a basketball game together later that night, he decided he needed to go ahead and propose before his parents could spill the beans. On their way to dinner, Ryan found a secluded spot under the stars and asked Jessica to be his wife. It wasn’t the sunset proposal he planned, but Jessica says Ryan’s sweet, impromptu proposal was even better once she found out about his first attempt.
Here’s their wedding story:
Jessica and Ryan wanted a small, intimate destination wedding for their family. They also planned a larger post-wedding reception and party for all of their friends and family back in Birmingham to celebrate their marriage on 11-11-11. They enlisted the help of family friend and renowned Birmingham wedding photographer Arden Ward of Arden Photography and wedding designer Christopher Confero to pull off the details of both events.
One of the first details Jessica wanted to tackle was the wedding gown. She found the perfect gown from California designer Monique Lhullier from Ivory & White in Crestline Village. The strapless, trumpet silhouette lace gown was accented by a sparkling beaded belt of crystals and rhinestones. A sheer, lace-trimmed fingertip length veil was the perfect accessory.
The couple and both families flew down to the Bahamas a few days before the ceremony to spend some quality time together before the wedding. One and Only Ocean Club is located in the Caribbean on Paradise Island, Bahamas… less than an hour from Miami by plane. An Old-World colonial style resort, One & Only Ocean Club is known for exemplary cuisine, legendary service, and stunningly romantic scenery so it is the perfect venue for a destination wedding.
The wedding was held in the Versailles Garden at the resort which is surrounded by glistening white columns and sculptures. A 12th-century Augustinian cloister crowns the terraced steps of the gardens which overlook the resort’s veranda and pool. Large urns of roses in various shades of pink flanked the ceremony site and rose petals lined the aisle. Jessica and Ryan said their vows just as the sun began to go down on the magnificent setting. After the ceremony, the couple and their families celebrated into the night. The long dinner table was draped in layers of pink linen in different hues and elegantly dressed with massive arrangements of roses. A wedding dinner menu created by the chef at the resort featured local dishes like crab cakes with guava marmalade and freshly caught red snapper. The two-tiered wedding cake was topped with a large script crystal “L” monogram.
Friends and family gathered at Ted’s Garage on the auspicious date of 11-11-11 for Jessica and Ryan’s Birmingham reception. Jessica wore her wedding gown for the first part of the evening and then changed into a shimmering silver beaded dress so she could join her guests on the dance floor. The party went on into the night as everyone danced and toasted the happy couple.
After a honeymoon trip, the couple is finally at home in Birmingham and getting ready for their first Christmas together as a married couple.