Stephanie Hillier and Luke Ballard met at a college football game, after which Luke sent her a cheeky message asking, “When are you going to buy me a cup of coffee?” Stephanie replied, “I’m sorry, but I only drink tea.” The next day, she received a beautiful vase of flowers with a card that said, “A cup of tea?” That sweet little gesture from Luke led to their first date, and they instantly clicked.
On Christmas Eve, they were having their annual “re-gift exchange” party, where everyone brings a gift that they received but never opened or used. Luke picked a gift and started to pull the contents out of the bag, including hair dye, dog toys, and then a box. He got down on one knee and proposed, making for a romantic yet funny engagement. Stephanie says, “I decided last minute to make the party an Ugly Sweater party, so all of our photos were taken in our light up Christmas sweaters!”
“WE WANTED TO SHARE OUR FAVORITE PLACE WITH ALL OF OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS AND FAMILY”
The couple spent almost a year a half planning the wedding of their dreams. They decided to have a destination wedding on Necker Island. “We wanted to share our favorite place with all of our closest friends and family,” says Stephanie. “So we had events every day for four days–it was like planning four weddings.”
Despite the hectic wedding planning schedule, Luke and Stephanie’s big day was completely stress-free, and everything came together to create the perfect beach wedding. There was a momentary bout of rain, which delayed the ceremony for 20 minutes, but guests were given ponchos and umbrellas until the sun came back out and the bride could make her appearance.
The wedding reception had a tropical, exotic ambiance, playing off Necker Island’s Balinese theme. There were brightly colored flowers mixed with candles, and lights on the trees that grow through the main house on the island. As the bride describes, “We had dinner and speeches, then went up to the roof to watch fireworks. When we came back down, the entire room was transformed into a dancefloor with beautiful lights.” All generations of music was played, and guests enjoyed dancing through the entire evening.
After the reception, the bride and groom drove off in a golf cart to explore the island alone and look at the stars, and they spent the whole night laughing and talking about the day’s events.
Location: Necker Island, B.V.I; Planner: Jessica Kraft, Virginia Beach, VA; Photography: Fred Marcus Studios, New York, NY; Floral Design: Bella Blooms, Tortola, B.V.I; Stationery: RSVP Stationery, Virginia Beach, VA; Wedding Dress: Peter Langner; Bridal Salon: Kleinfeld Bridal, New York, NY