Jennifer Marie Bensley & James Emerson Lindsay
Despite their busy lives, destiny didn’t give up on James and Jennifer. James from Mobile met Jennifer from Birmingham through an online dating service in February. Between the four hour distance and demanding schedules, they exchanged a few casual text messages to no avail.
At the Gulf Shores Hangout Music Festival a few months later, an energetic girl, with a “smile that could make sunshine in the shade” as James remembers, caught his eye. They talked for a few minutes, exchanged names and as James walked away, he realized it was the Jennifer from Birmingham. Out of 35,000 people, they ended up rubbing elbows in the sunshine, wind and salty air of that fateful day. As they describe it, they fit like that last piece of a jigsaw puzzle – it wasn’t made to go anywhere else.
That serendipitous day led to a year of romance and love. James and Jennifer spent her birthday, which also happened to be New Year’s Eve, in Hilton Head with Jennifer’s family. At the stroke of midnight, James proposed to Jennifer and they rang in the New Year as a happily engaged couple.
On June 29, 2014, the destined couple planned a romantic destination wedding on the beautiful waters of Destin on the SOLARIS yacht. SunQuest Cruises’s wedding planner Kristi Adkinson worked closely with the bride and groom to create an elegant family affair with a Southern rustic charm. It was all hands on deck as Kristi and the SOLARIS team immersed all three decks of the 125-foot yacht with romantic splashes of blush pink, white and gray. White peonies, stargazer lilies, football mums and hydrangeas from Florals by the Sea adorned the spacious decks as well.
The ladies prepared for the big day in the SOLARIS private bridal suite with the bridesmaids wearing blush pink dresses. Jennifer wore an Anna Maier custom couture gown, with delicate French floral lace and a scalloped-edge grazing collar bone draped over the Duchess pink satin fluted gown. Diamond and pearl earrings that James gave her for their first Christmas together was Jennifer’s “something old”, a diamond necklace James gave her the morning of their wedding day was her “something new”, a silk flower hair piece worn by her mother when she married Jennifer’s father was her “something borrowed” and eyeliner was her “something blue.”
Guests embarked on a memorable day of love as they ascended the yacht’s open-air sky deck for the Destin wedding. As the SOLARIS cruised the sparkling waters, adorable ring bearers commenced down the aisle with signs that read “I’m available” and “Last Chance to Run James.” Jennifer walked down the sky deck’s aisle with her father on a carpet of blush pink rose petals to meet James and their officiant, Captain Matt.
After saying “I Do” on the bridal platform overlooking the majestic views, the married couple and their guests celebrated into the night on the yacht with an unforgettable reception. The couple sat in their personalized chairs, “Country Boy” and “City Girl.” Coastal cuisines prepared on-board by the SOLARIS chefs were served as well as cocktails from the full-service bar. Guests toasted to the sunset on the sky deck as Jennifer and James shared a kiss behind the breathtaking backdrop. For dessert, everyone enjoyed a decadent, three-tiered cake by Kim’s Cakes. The groom’s cake was a “fish in the ocean” theme for James’s love for fishing and the water. Treasured moments were captured by Alena Bakutis Photography and Pure 7 Studios Videography.
Guests danced the night away to live entertainment by SOLARIS house DJ, David Hall, on the second deck and David Chastang, the couple’s favorite entertainer from Mobile, on the main deck. Another hit of the reception in Destin was a photo booth where loved ones captured fun memories to put in a scrapbook for Jennifer and James.
After Jennifer threw her bouquet to all the single ladies on the sky deck, Jennifer and James ended the night with a bang as a fireworks show specially arranged by SOLARIS wedding planner Kristi illuminated the sky above them. The happy couple exited through an aisle of sparklers as they escaped to Bora Bora for their honeymoon. Today, Jennifer and James reside in Mobile, Alabama.
THE BIG DAY:
Ceremony: June 29, 2014
Aboard the Solaris, Destin, FL
Bride’s vision: Elegant family affair with a southern rustic charm
Colors: Gray, white, blush pink
Bouquets: White peonies
Flowers: White stargazer lilies, white football mums, white hydrangeas
Bridesmaids dresses: blush pink
Groomsmen: Gray suits, minus jackets (except groom), pink ties
Grooms’ Cake: Fish in the ocean…James loves to go fishing and anything that has to do with water
Store: The White Room, Vestavia, AL
Designer: Anna Maier
Style: Ulla Maija 3906 Marsailles soft white lace over pink satin, custom couture gown. Delicate French floral recrafted Louis XIV style with scalloped edge grazing collar bone over duchess satin fluted gown.
Something old: Diamond and pearl earrings James gave me our first Christmas together
Something new: Diamond necklace James gave me the morning of our wedding day
Something borrowed: Silk flower hair piece worn by my mother when she married my father
Something blue: Eyeliner
Store: Men’s Warehouse, Mobile, AL
BEHIND THE SCENES:
Wedding planner/coordinator: Kristi Jenkins Adkinson, SunQuest Cruises
Photographer(s): Alena Bakutis, Alena Bakutis Photography
Videographer: Alan LeBlanc, Pure 7 Studios
Caterer: Solaris chefs
Invitations: Cricket Printing
Florist: Florals by the Sea
Cakes: Kim’s Cakes
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Solaris
Bride’s Hairstyle: Sarah Bensley
Entertainment for reception: David Chastang
HAPPILY EVER AFTER:
Honeymoon: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Bride and groom will reside in Mobile, AL