He kept asking for three years, and finally she said, “Yes!” To a date, that is. The couple spent the afternoon in the small town of Abbeville, South Carolina near their college. “After that, we were inseparable. I told him we’d be married one day, and he laughed it off, but he never disagreed,” shares bride Casey Knight.
The couple spent the next few months traveling around the Carolinas together. Omar Melendez grew up in Puerto Rico, and soon he was eager to take Casey back to meet his family. After this trip, he knew he didn’t want to be apart from her, and he relocated to Amelia Island, where Casey grew up.
Just a few months later, the couple took a ski trip with Casey’s family to North Carolina, where it didn’t snow a single time they were there! So instead of skiing, they toured vineyards, went sightseeing, and got engaged! “At one scenic look-out, I was taking a picture, and when I turned around, Omar was behind me on one knee!” She finally said, “I do,” at The Ocean Club of Amelia.
“I am an event planner and worked at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. I’d been planning my wedding day since I could walk,” laughs Casey. The couple chose The Ocean Club of Amelia as their venue because it perfectly fit their vision of an intimate, “beachy” wedding, yet with traditional class, and it had the ideal ambiance to marry their two cultures.
“We mixed the two cultures—Amelia Island and Puerto Rican—in everything: food, music, decorations.” The couple decided on a celebration that really fit the theme of their event, with a sunset ceremony on the beach followed by a cocktail reception.
The black-and-white ceremony was gorgeous on Amelia Island’s beautiful beach, with a bursting green leaf aisle and floral design provided by Let Destiny Design. The bride’s father constructed the altar pieces, and her friend, Jennifer Strozensky, painted them. “We strived to make everything family-oriented, since it was really about two becoming one.” The Melendez’s Gold Retriever, Molly, even served as the ring bearer!
Catering by Rick Laughlin served a Puerto Rican-inspired menu of churrasco and chimichurri, chips, salsa, guacamole, and a queso fountain. Guests adored sipping tropical margaritas, mojitos, sangria, and Coronas from their “Casey and Omar” custom cups, as DJ Jason Garcia set the mood. Golden pineapple centerpieces highlighted the tables, and everyone was especially fond of the wedding cake, an almond pound cake with raspberry compote filling and whipped coconut icing, that the bride’s grandmother, Ruby NeeSmith, baked and topped with her very own cake topper from the 1950’s.
Most of the guests were not from a beach town, and spending time on the sand was everyone’s favorite part of the wedding weekend. Guests enjoyed their stays near the beach at Amelia Hotel at the Beach, Hampton Inn Sadler Road, and the Residence Inn Amelia Island. Family and friends gathered for the rehearsal dinner at Arte Pizza, Omar’s favorite restaurant on the island. The couple made sure to “shop local” for the bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, including Lily & Laura bracelets, skinny ties, and soap from Lemongrass on Centre Street.
For Casey and Omar, all of their wedding wishes came true as the two of them became one on this special day. They recently relocated to Virginia, where Omar will attend medical school and Casey will pursue her dream of planning events and helping other brides celebrate their own special days!