Even though her team did not make it to the Super Bowl in 2009, Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader Krystle Campbell and friends headed to Tampa for the festivities anyway. In a random encounter at a party, the women met a group of men who were also from Philadelphia. Krystle hit it off with one of them and they talked all evening. At the end of the night, Ryan Howard, first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, asked for her number.
“He was in Florida and I was teaching second grade in Philadelphia, so our schedules did not mesh,” explains Krystle, “but we kept in touch by phone and text for months.” When Ryan came back up north, they began dating.
“WHEN WE WERE STANDING THERE FACING EACH OTHER, IT FELT LIKE IT WAS JUST US IN THIS TOGETHER.”
Spending time with Ryan meant Krystle was flying from city to city to be with him. On one trip to Florida, he asked her to dinner at a new restaurant to thank her for her efforts. She was puzzled by the route he was taking and thoroughly surprised when they arrived at the oceanfront lot where he planned to build a home one day. She spied a tent surrounded by tiki torches, rose petals everywhere, music from a playlist Ryan created, and a table with dinner for two. “He said that I meant the world to him, and wanted to start a life together. Then he dropped to one knee and proposed,” remembers Krystle, who answered, “Yes.”
While vacationing in Maui, the couple fell in love with the island and began planning their destination wedding right then. They decided if guests had to travel, it should be away from their daily routines in a place where everyone could enjoy each other.
The late afternoon ceremony and cocktail hour at The Sugarman Estate overlooking the water, was accompanied by a string quartet and framed by the sun slipping down the horizon. The couple mixed traditional vows with their own words on love and marriage, creating a memorable moment. “When we were standing there facing each other, it felt like it was just us in this together,” says Krystle.
For her reception, the bride knew she wanted a “magical experience,” and got that at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. “Floating chandeliers” lit the oceanfront lawn, hundreds of little lights twinkled in the night, and orchids and white roses softened the dinner décor. Surrounded by the people who were special in their lives, the couple was serenaded by R&B singer-songwriter Brian McKnight.
After dinner, guests moved to the ballroom. “We did our mother/daughter and father/son dance, and then Ryan said he had one last surprise for me,” says Krystle, “and he asked me to dance.” The song that began to play was the story of Krystle and Ryan from the beginning. He had written the words for her and then had them professionally produced and recorded. A late night nod to their hometown, in the form of mini Philly cheesesteaks passed around by the waiters, helped wrap up the night.
The couple flew to Bora Bora for their honeymoon at the Four Seasons where they stayed in a bungalow. Water sports kept them busy kayaking, jet skiing, snorkeling, paddleboarding and swimming with sharks and stingrays. “One of the best things we ever did,” says Krystle, “was to leave our cell phones behind, so we could concentrate on each other without distractions.”
Ceremony Location: Sugarman Estate Makena, Maui, HI; Reception Location, Caterer, Cake and Event Planner: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea Wailea, Maui, HI; Floral Design: Asa Flowers Wailuku, Maui, HI; Rentals and Lighting: Pacific Isle Rentals Wailuku, Maui, HI; Wedding Dress: Pnina Tornai exclusively at Kleinfeld, New York, NY; Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin; Bride’s Jewelry: Baron & Leeds, Hawaii; Groom’s Tuxedo: Giorgio Armani and Domenico Giovanni; Entertainment: Brian McKnight and DJ Premier