WHEN JO STUDLEY AND
BOB MAY FLEW OFF TO A
KEY WEST VACATION IN
EARLY 2013, NEITHER HAD
MARRIAGE. WELL, THAT?S
NOT ENTIRELY TRUE. AFTER
BOTH THUMBED THROUGH
THE IN-FLIGHT MAGAZINE
IN THEIR SEAT POCKETS,
THE TWO AGREED THAT THE
U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS IS THE
PLACE TO GET MARRIED.
About a year and a half later, that?s exactly where the two tied the knot and honeymooned.
?We?re both physicians practicing in Michigan,? Jo said. ?I am a pediatrician and Bob is an emergency room doctor. Over the years, both of us have made a lot of friends that are dotted all over the country. So when we decided to get married, we knew the Virgin Islands was not only the perfect place for us, but the perfect location for our guests. They weren?t just traveling to our wedding, they were also getting a vacation. We also liked that no passports were required.?
The couple first met at medical leadership meetings.
?I noticed his screensaver was a picture of his two beautiful girls,? Jo recalled. ?That told me he was a doting father, and that was very appealing. After that stolen glimpse, we started sitting next to each other at meetings and things just snowballed. It?s funny because we are actually quite different. I?m an avid runner and Bob is an enthusiastic fisherman. But I guess it?s true that opposites attract.?
By September 2013, things were getting serious. The couple took an autumn getaway to Petoskey, a coastal resort town on Lake Michigan. The town is famed for the Petoskey stone, a fossil colonial coral that covered Michigan some 350 million years ago.
?We went to the beach to look for the legendary Petoskey stones,? Joshared. ?Bob was searching by the water and called to me saying he had found one. When I got to him, he was down on his knee and holding an engagement ring. His proposal was written by his teenage daughter, Kennedy.?
?You never know what life is going to throw at you,? Bob said to Jo. ?There are so many good times and so many bad times. But if you are lucky, life will give you a miracle. You are my miracle.?
Jo and Bob started planning their Virgin Islands wedding right away. They set the date at Nov. 6, 2014. Thanks to the Internet, the pair was able to peruse venues and options. After some searching, Jo and Bob selected one of St. Croix?s premier resorts, the Palms at Pelican Cove, as the location for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception.
?They had great reviews, and general manager Marc Mullins was quick to answer all my emails,? Jo said.
?I have a thread of emails from Jo that would stretch from St. Croix to St. Thomas if you were to print them out,? Marc chuckled. ?But I never once minded my communication and correspondence with Jo. She was a delight to work with. She knew what she wanted and was very concerned that all of her guests were well taken care of.?
To be sure, letting Marc take care of things was the right move for Jo and Bob.
?Marc was incredibly responsive, attentive, and thorough,? Jo said.
Case in point: the elaborately elegant tablescape Marc replicated from a photo Jo sent to him, complete with white orchids spilling out of a tall, clear cylindrical vase, a mirrored center, and sea glass hearts in aqua, turquoise, teal, and other oceaninspired colors scattered on the table.
In front of 70 guests from all over the country, Jo and Bob said their ?I dos? in a blissful oceanside ceremony over which Minister Louise Leard presided. Jo dazzled in a beachy, lily white gown from Destinations Formal Wear in Frankenmuth, MI. Bob looked seriously smart in summer khakis and a white shirt. Bob?s daughters Kennedy and Charly, who walked Bob down the aisle, were striking in turquoise dresses. The flowers were provided by Beatrice Ramos of Wild Orchard Florists. Kelly Greer Photography was on hand to capture every fantastic moment.
On their seats at the ceremony, guests found fans with grade-school photos of the couple on one side; on the other side was the story of the ?oathing stone,? a Scottish legend said to strengthen wedding vows, which the couple held during the ceremony.
Jo and Bob?s guests were given Petoskey stones to hold in their hands during the wedding ceremony. The Petoskey stone Bob and Jo held during their vows was the same one Bob found on Jo?s family?s property. The Petoskey stones the guests cradled were later used in the fireplace hearth in Bob and Jo?s new home.
?They serve as a lasting reminder of our wedding guests and the special love we shared on that day and always,? Jo explained. ?Jo and Bob had a fantastic cocktail hour, with steel pan entertainment provided by Bill Bass before and after the beachside ceremony,? Marc said. ?High-octane DJ Don Juan Pogue, and local band favorite Guardians of Culture Moko Jumbies, kept guests up and dancing during the reception and into the night. Dinner was a traditional West Indies buffet in our Mahogany Dining Room. Jo and Bob wanted their guests to experience the tastes of the islands.?
The cake was a show-stopping creation by Jennifer Jordan. The sweet treat was adorned with four starfish to represent the new family of four. Looking back, Bob said he was most impressed by how smoothly everything went and how relaxed everyone was? even he and Jo.
?The guests and all the professionals involved certainly played a huge role in how well it all went,? Bob said.
Jo and Bob said they love looking back at the photos and seeing all the smiling faces. No doubt, those photos take on even more meaning when Jo and Bob look at them in front of their?Petoskey stone fireplace. – by Diane E. Alter