Before the venue had been booked or the date had been confirmed, Mich knew one thing for certain: she would wear pink for her daughter Emily’s wedding. And that’s saying a lot.
“My mom wears black 90% of the time,” Emily says. “And I wear pink 90% of the time. So when she told me she was planning to wear hot pink, I was thrilled! Her dress was perfection—the perfect combination of both her style and mine. The chic silhouette was so her, mixed with the giant bow which was very me. I was obsessed.”
Mich found that perfect dress, a hot pink cape-sleeve one-shoulder crepe sheath by Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon, at Neiman Marcus in Chicago, where Emily lives with her new husband Patrick. The column style worked well for Mich's petite frame, but like most dresses this 4-foot-10 mom tries, it required shortening. A lot of shortening. In fact, there was enough material leftover to create a big shoulder bow as an ode to the bride.
"Emily has been about all things feminine since I can remember," Mich explains. "Scallops, bows, eyelet—she was my first born, and a female, and I was a crazy, obsessed mom. I put her in bows and scalloped eyelet bonnets from the day she was born, and it never stopped!"
Determined to go pink from head to toe, Mich searched for hot pink shoes to match the dress and found two pair: pointed toe heels for the ceremony; slides for the reception. (Pro tip: comfortable shoes for the dance floor can still look chic and match your dress!).
Emily and Patrick's destination wedding took place at their favorite retreat: Gasparilla Island, a narrow little stretch of pristine, sandy beach off Boca Grande, along the coast of southwest Florida. The crown jewel at the tip of the island is the Gasparilla Island Inn & Club, a classic resort with stately white columns and porch swings. It’s a place where golf carts are the primary mode of transportation and jackets are still required for dinner in the dining room.
The ceremony was held at the resort’s beach club in an A-Frame event space overlooking the ocean, with woven lanterns dangling from the exposed white beams. Emily walked down the aisle on the arm of her mother Mich and her sister Allison, who carried the newest member of this tight-knit girl gang, her 5-month-old Lila.
“I’ve always envisioned both my mom and sister walking me down the aisle,” Emily says. “It’s been the three of us my entire life and I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. The day my sister told me she was having a baby girl, I knew I wanted to include her as well and that I wanted her to wear a mini version of my dress. It was one of the most special moments of my life.”
Adds Mich, “I cried when Emily initially talked about wanting the three of us to walk down the aisle as a family. It was a very meaningful gesture that spoke to our life without words. Walking towards Patrick and Allison’s husband Adam (who officiated the ceremony), arm in arm with my daughters and granddaughter, looking at the two phenomenal life partners my daughters chose, was the proudest moment of my life.”
Following the heartfelt ceremony, guests spilled out on the pool deck with the beach in view for a sunset dinner and dancing.
The invitation called for “beach cocktail” attire, and Mich wasn’t the only one to channel Emily’s love of bright color. “I know I’m biased, but I had the best-dressed wedding guests!” says Emily, who hoped her friends and relatives would avoid black, but couldn’t bring herself to express that on the invitation. “I just kept telling my mom and friends leading up to the wedding that I hoped there would be very few guests in black, and our guests exceeded my expectations.”
“All we wanted was our family and friends to experience the magic of Boca Grande,” Emily reflects. “I still can’t believe 120 guests traveled to Florida for our wedding. We will be forever grateful. The entire wedding weekend was perfect. I will never get over it!”
| Photography by Cornelia Zaiss