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By Riki Altman-Yee | Photo: Rebecca Davidson Photography | January 11, 2017
Faux mustaches, pirate ships and stingray encounters all played a role in the wedding of two spectacularly silly soulmates.
The story of how attorney Sophie Benbow and real estate agent Stefan Prior met at a speed-dating event is enough to make anyone grin. Stefan recalls, “I had a black eye and Sophie was dressed as a shark—love at first sight, right?” Seven years later, during a vacation at The Surf Lodge in Montauk, N.Y., he proposed.
Apparently making up for lost time, they planned to say I do’s eight short months later. “We would have done it sooner if we could,” Sophie says, who’s also a lifestyle blogger at lusticlife.com. “But we had to give enough time to U.K. family and friends to book flights to our beloved Caribbean home.” To help guests navigate their trip to and around Grand Cayman, the couple created a website and planned beach parties, a brunch and a boat trip to Stingray City.
The big day started with the groom bent over in laughter during the “first look.” Stefan recalls, “Sophie, being the joker she is, decided to turn up wearing a mustache face mask.” The wedding ceremony, however, was earnest and traditional, held in a church constructed during the 1920s by Capt. Rayal Bodden, a naval architect, with a roof that resembles a ship’s hull turned upside down.
Afterward, Trolley Roger, a tourist vehicle resembling the famous Jolly Roger pirate ship, took the bridal party to Grand Old House, a waterfront restaurant, for the reception. The venue’s on-site planner, Livia Kwong, helped the couple’s dream of a “simple, classic, tireless, sophisticated” event come alive with black-and-white striped decor with a touch of blush and tropical details. Celebrations Weddings and Events provided furniture rentals and also coordinated with David Austin Roses to gift flower arrangements.
“We tried to do as many things ourselves without totally exhausting or overdoing it,” Sophie says. “It was a tricky balance to find, but it meant that the details were so much more personal.” Her mother made place cards and sewed table runners, while the couple created a photograph display board and scuba artwork guest book.
On the menu were local ceviche, blue cheese-crusted steak and mushroom risotto, followed by Stefan’s favorite dessert, sticky toffee pudding, along with double chocolate brownies and mango mousse cake. A three-tiered wedding confection offered guests their choice of vanilla cake made with Baileys Irish Cream, pure chocolate cake or the local favorite: rum cake. Stefan adds, “There was a rum bar, an all-you-can-drink open bar and endless dancing to make sure it was an unforgettable Caribbean night under the stars.”
When the party ended, guests departed with jars of pepper jelly, a Caribbean tradition, made by the bride and her mother, while the newlyweds drove away in a vintage Mercedes-Benz. Their honeymoon lasted 16 days, with stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles bookending a Hawaiian excursion that took them to Oahu, Kauai and Maui.
Though the couple beams throughout their wedding video, Stefan laments not everything went swimmingly while they tied the knot: “Try planning a wedding on a small Caribbean island without any mishaps!” But Sophie says they welcomed the challenge: “The stress of all this drama made us focus on why we were getting married and what really mattered: celebrating that we’d found each other and that we were ready to commit to each other forever more, despite the hiccups!”
Ceremony Elmslie Memorial United Church
Reception Grand Old House
Bridal Gown Suzanne Neville, La Vie En Blanc
Bride’s Hair Natalie Martin, Rock Gorgeous
Makeup Stephanie Ford, Stephanie Ford Makeup
Groom’s Tux Moss Bros.
Bridesmaids’ Dresses Dessy, Weddington Way
Bridesmaids’ Jewelry Cabinet Jewellery
Invitations & Programs Smitten on Paper
Furniture Rental Celebrations Weddings and Events
Florals David Austin Roses
Entertainment Glenroy Murray
Videographer Jason Banawa, Picture This Studios
Photographer Rebecca Davidson Photography