Weddings are all in a day’s work for the planners, officiants, venues, and caterers who come together to make every bride and groom’s big day an unforgettable event. But every now and then, those in the wedding industry encounter a couple whose warmth and joy is truly inspiring, and by the end of the day, those working the wedding have smiled as much as the couple themselves.
For Juliette Ebanks of Five Star Events, that couple was Susan Cohen and Philip Kornblum, both in their 70s, who were married in an intimate Surfer’s Beach sunset ceremony on April 21, 2016.
“Everyone was so in love with this couple,” says Juliette. “They were so warm and friendly, and the love between the two of them shone out.”
By the time they decided to tie the knot, Susan and Philip had been together for more than two decades.
“We were very satisfied to just be life partners,” says Susan. “Then last November, he looked at me out of the blue while we were sitting on the couch, and he says, ‘I want you to be my wife.’ And I looked at him and said, ‘I want you to be my husband.’”
With five children and four grandchildren—plus one on the way—between them, the couple decided to opt for a simple elopement. The idea to get married on the beach started with a friend who’s owned a vacation home at Grand Cayman’s Villas of the Galleon for many years. After booking their stay there, the property’s manager put Susan and Philip in touch with Juliette to help them coordinate their simple ceremony.
“The morning of the wedding, we got picked up by our photographer, Chad Munro from Picture This Studios, and we took some photos along the way,” says Susan. “When we got to the beach, we were surprised because not only was a steel drum player who’d volunteered his time playing our song—‘All of Me’ by John Legend—but they had everything I’d initially said no to. I had a beautiful floral bouquet, a wreath of flowers on my neck, and they had champagne and cake for us, which was all a surprise.”
Juliette took the initiative to reach out to some of the vendors in her circle after she realized what a special couple she had on her hands.
“I was blown away that everyone also fell in love with this couple’s story and jumped in selflessly to gift their services,” says Juliette. “All the fabulous vendors I work with came on board and the Cake Studio donated a cake, the Flower Del donated a free bouquet and floral lei for the bride, and Olujimi La Pierre dropped everything he was doing at the 11th hour to come and surprise the couple by playing their song. We also gifted some decor and a bottle of champagne. It was truly wonderful.”
Susan and Philip stayed in Cayman after the wedding, enjoying their beautiful beachfront accommodations, snorkeling the crystal clear waters, dining out at island restaurants, and treating themselves to spa services. Susan says they were truly captivated by the warmth of the island’s people, and they plan to return annually to celebrate their anniversary.
“I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life—a lot of them very good—but our time in Cayman was the best of all of them,” she says. “Our wedding was a really special day.”
Juliette Ebanks, Five Star Events
Olujimi La Pierre
Chad Munro, Picture This Studios