Bridal Sign Up

Kristin & Chapman

From start to finish, the two-part wedding of a race car driver and his new novelist bride kept guests on their toes.

The couple posed in front of the Cal-a-Vie Health Spa’s vast gardens.

The 400-year-old chapel at Cal-a-Vie imported from Dijon, France.

The flower girl wore a lace family heirloom once worn by the bride.

Rosemary and lavender adorned serveware

The groom’s cufflinks

The bride’s engagement ring was designed from a sketch by Chapman; and created by Levinson Jewelers in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The bride and groom

The groomsmen boutonnieres combined lavender, rosemary and roses.

The romance of Kristin Snyder and Chapman Ducote has all the elements of a fairy tale. There’s even a horse. Make that horsepower! Ducote is a trophy-winning professional race car driver in the American Le Mans series. Snyder—an attorney by day and author by night—wrote her first novel, Naked Paddock, about a fictional romp through the adrenaline-fueled world of motorsports.

The couple’s once-upon-a-time began at a party on a mutual friend’s yacht in Miami Beach. After they bumped into each other, Ducote followed Snyder around then talked his way into a date. Though Snyder’s friends warned her against dating the debonair adrenaline junkie, Ducote’s charm won her over. Ducote, in turn, was drawn to Snyder’s accomplishments as an estate planner. Two years later, he surprised her with a proposal that echoed the story of her parents’ engagement: on a walk through the park, he dropped to the ground and popped the question with a leaf in place of a ring. She joyfully accepted. But that wasn’t the end. Moments later, she spotted a picnic spread and Ducote again went down on bended knee, this time sealing the deal with a ring he had designed. 

They wanted to celebrate their union with a small assembly of their families, but they were also eager to share their joy with friends. The solution: The ceremony would take place over a long weekend, encouraging the families to get to know each other. A few weeks later, they’d host a wedding reception for friends. 

Finding the right spot for the intimate gathering was challenging. Then, Ducote’s brother David suggested Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista. One look at the sweeping lavender fields, manicured rose gardens and historic French chapel, and the couple knew they’d found the perfect spot.

The Cal-a-Vie wedding weekend started off with golf and tennis tournaments, yoga, meditation and spa treatments to encourage bonding. By the time the Saturday night wedding rolled around, it had truly become a celebration not only of the union of Ducote and Snyder–who danced to “At Last” by Etta James– but of their two families as well. A poignant candle-lighting ceremony acknowledged the longevity of their parents’ marriages, while Ducote promised their own marriage would never have a dull moment when, during the reception, he spontaneously joined the band as an impromptu drummer.

A few weeks later, the newlyweds fled to Aspen for a celebration with friends at Ducote’s parents’ estate. They also led Aspen’s Independence Day parade in a Ford GT-40 decorated with a “Just Married” sign, before racing off into the sunset.