“I hadn’t had a crush or gone on more than a third date with anyone since launching my business in 2013,” Christina Bryant, the founder of the popular homeware brand St. Frank, admits. “By January of 2019, I decided it was time to prioritize my love life in addition to my career.” In true type A fashion, Christina gave herself a few action items on that front, one of which included writing a very frank email to a group of her girlfriends: “I’m asking if you’ll wrack your brains for just one potentially fun guy for me to meet…” she wrote. “If you like him, I’ll give it a shot.’
One year and zero luck later, Christina decided it was time to bring in the big guns. “I put a similar ask into my mother’s church prayer request form to the tune of, ‘Can you please pray I find a husband? I haven’t been kissed in years. SOS.’ A few days later, I received a text that the church was praying for my request,” she remembers. “A few hours after that, my friend Carter Kahle, recipient of my January 2019 email, introduced me to my husband.”
Back then, Christina was living in New York City, and Thomas—her now-husband—was in Houston. Carter made the connection that Christina and Thomas would both be in Palm Beach visiting family over Martin Luther King weekend and helped orchestrate a blind lunch date on January 20, 2020. “He was cute!” Christina recalls thinking. “We kept in light touch and went on a second date on March 6th while I was in Houston attending the rodeo with friends from college. There, I finally got that long-awaited kiss—woohoo!”
And then the pandemic hit. Christina went to Palm Beach to quarantine with her mother. She and Thomas were catching up on the phone when he suggested that he make the two-day drive to Florida so they could date in person. “This seemed pretty crazy, mid-April when the world was shut down, and we had spent a total of two meals together face to face, but I agreed,” Christina says. “After three weeks of family-supervised dates, Thomas asked me to return to Houston with him.” From there, they spent time with his family, road-tripped through national parks, drove up to St. Louis so that he could meet her family, and then made their way back to Christina’s home in New York.
On August 30, 2020, Thomas proposed to Christina on a weekend trip to Maine. “We were hiking through the woods on Deer Isle and reached a beach where a sandbar connected the mainland to Barred Island, accessible only a few hours a day at low tide,” Christina says. “After walking across the sandbar, Thomas remarked on the importance of timing in life, as the world shutting down during a global pandemic had given us the opportunity to get to know one another and fall in love,” Christina remembers. “He then got down on one knee to propose, and I said, ‘Yes!’”
Christina and Thomas wanted a short engagement, so they set the date for February, when they would marry with only immediate family in attendance. Palm Beach would play host since both Thomas’s parents and Christina’s mother were going to be there anyway. “In addition to being common ground for our families, Palm Beach holds a special place for us as the location where we first met and the site of our early quarantine dating days when we started to fall in love,” Christina notes.
The couple called upon wedding planner Augusta Cole for help and set out to embrace their small wedding size and celebrate the occasion to the fullest. The wedding date—February 20, 2021—was 13 months to the day after Christina and Thomas’s blind date. Despite having never met each other, their families connected quickly. The entire party was made up of 15 adults (including Christina and Thomas) and eight children under eight years old. The goal, from the beginning, was to make sure the environment felt intimate, like the party size—as if you were attending a festive dinner at home, with personal touches and a retro feel.
The finicky Florida weather put its best foot forward for a dry, crisp evening. “The only real stress in planning came from the pandemic,” Christina says. “We were incredibly grateful and relieved when our entire family made it to Florida and passed two rounds of COVID-19 tests, and the weather held up to support a weekend of outdoor events.” The couple was married in a private garden by the mother of the bride’s pastor, whose church had prayed for Christina and Thomas’s initial connection. The bride wore an off-the-shoulder silhouette by Carolina Herrera that she paired with a Carolina Herrera veil worn madonna-style, plus vintage diamond and sapphire chandelier earrings for a look that was total understated elegance.
The bride’s brother walked her down the aisle, and the couple’s three other siblings performed readings during the ceremony. “It was windy, and I felt fairly overwhelmed by the moment and the elements accentuated that,” Christina says. “As a result, I took my veil off mid-ceremony, so that I could be more present. For me, the ceremony was a bit of a blur, but I remember just holding Thomas’s hands and looking into his face to settle my emotions. I felt very calm saying our vows and immediately lighter as we walked out together, husband and wife.”
After the service, the newlyweds stole away briefly for a few photos and entered the cocktail reception for their first dance. “Everyone was on the dance floor with us by the end of the song, especially the kids,” Christina says. “It was happy chaos!”
At the end of cocktails, the couple’s dog, Nonna, made a cameo and escorted the children home. The dancing continued throughout dinner and afterwards under a canopy of rattan lanterns surrounded by bougainvillea. “It was truly magical!” Christina remembers. “We walked out of the party and to The Brazilian Court Hotel with our families escorted by a guitarist performing Ritchie Valens ‘We Belong Together’—our song.”
Custom cocktail and cake table linens and upholstered cushion covers for the Chiavari dinner chairs were all created using fabric from Christina’s line St. Frank. The dinner table was covered in a light blue linen tablecloth layered with remnant Oscar de la Renta lace, and a centerpiece of lush florals punctuated with fruit, echoing the border of the wedding invitation. Each place-card listed the guest’s name as well as icons personal to their character—lipstick and kiss marks for Christina’s makeup-loving mother, Barbara “Barbie” Bryant, for example. A traditional five-course Italian meal was served on Christina’s personal wedding china, a pattern called Dammouse by Haviland. Following dinner, the band played 50s and 60s music exclusively, and the whole family was encouraged to take part in dancing.