“Things like this don’t happen to people like us.”
It was a day Bart and Rachel Naylor never dreamed would happen. St. Pete Beach sunshine and bright blue skies high above the gently rolling waves of the Gulf of Mexico set the stage. Raffia accessorized bamboo chairs were arranged to make a white sandy aisle leading to a rustic arbor complimented with tropical flowers and gauzy linen billowing in the breeze.
Beach goers stopped in their tracks to watch as the bride as she made her way to her groom at the alter to the sound of Bob Marley’s love ballad, One Love.
It was a vow renewal ceremony orchestrated by TradeWinds Island Resorts, who brought the couple back to their slice of paradise after what some may say, was a perfect alignment of the stars and sea several months before. In June of 2014, Bob Osmann, a St. Pete native, made an amazing discovery while enjoying one of his favorite past times. As he roamed the shoreline of St. Pete Beach near the popular destination resort with his metal detector, he happened upon a large men’s size 15 ring engraved with the names, “Bart & Rachel.”
Bob knew this was something special and since the ring was engraved with two unique names, there was probably a good chance he may be able reunite the ring and its owner. He immediately took a photo and sent it over to Austin Piazza, the owner of the popular social media account, “St. Pete Beach, Today.” Piazza reported that his post received over 15,000 shares within several hours!
Better yet, several news stations picked up the story including locally-based ABC Action News (thanks to reporter Ashley Glass). Additionally, two of America’s favorites, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan from Live! with Kelly and Michael, made an announcement asking viewers if they knew Bart & Rachel. Within 24 hours, Bart and Rachel Naylor were located in Indianapolis, Indiana after a friend of theirs spotted the post on social media.
The couple was contacted and excitedly shared their story behind the lost ring. Apparently, during their vacation to TradeWinds Island Resorts three years previously, Bart had the ring engraved by a jeweler located at John’s Pass as a sign of his undying love for Rachel. This came shortly after Rachel was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After a day on the beach, Bart’s heart sank when he told Rachel that he accidentally lost the ring… Several tough years followed, including hefty medical bills and on-going treatments.
Fast forward to three years later, the couple couldn’t think of a better surprise than to find out that Bart’s ring had been found! After hearing this incredible story, representatives at TradeWinds Island Resorts had another surprise up their sleeve; to bring the Naylors back to paradise for a weekend getaway and a complimentary vow renewal ceremony, complete with a very special Ring Bearer, Bob the Metal Detector Detective.
This started a wildfire of good faith gestures from nationally and locally recognized companies. Southwest Airlines graciously offered Bart and Rachel two airline tickets so they could travel to and from Tampa Bay. Additionally, RumFish Grill on St. Pete Beach donated a brunch reception for the couple and their parents including a beautiful cake and a champagne toast.
Furthermore, Lisa Mohyla of Exquisite Events offered her wedding planning services to pull the whole thing together. Through this, she gathered even more donations from these amazing local businesses:
Iza’s Flowers, Inc. - all flowers including bouquet & corsages
Island Bamboo Garden - ceremony arbor & chairs
Michelle Renee Hair and Make Up Studio - hair/makeup services
Iyrus Ent Night Life (DJ Brian Jalbert) – music for ceremony
Reverend Tom Greene (firstname.lastname@example.org) - volunteered his time to officiate the ceremony