Sarah Shelley and Ryan Knapp first met when she sat next to him on his boat—a mutual friend had invited Sarah and a friend for a little cruise. They discovered they both lived in downtown Charleston, so after he dropped everyone off at Shem Creek, they rode alone back across the harbor. The next night, they went on their first date to Rue de Jean.
After six years together, Ryan and Sarah were once again on a boat, but this time they were in St. Barths and Ryan was down on one knee. “Sara Smiles” by Hall and Oates—the song that soundtracked their first kiss—played on. “He had a photographer on the bridge dressed in a crew uniform capture the whole thing,” Sarah recalls. “I think he was more nervous to drop the ring in the ocean than he was to propose.” Sarah’s engagement ring features her birthstone, a sapphire, and was custom-designed by Oscar Heyman, who also designed the Apollo 16 medallion that was awarded to Sarah’s cousin, astronaut Charles Duke Jr.
As Mallorca is the place where the two really fell in love with each other, the pair knew they wanted to bring their loved ones to Spain for their wedding. To help plan every part of their multi-day destination celebration, they hired The Drifter, who found private residences for each key event.
“Luckily two of my best friends who came to Mallorca are in fashion and helped me with everything!” Sarah says of sourcing her bridal wardrobe. Ali Lewis Passink, senior stylist at Moda Operandi, helped style the bride for all of her wedding adjacent events, while Stacy Smallwood, owner of Hampden, helped her pick out the ceremony dress.
The family welcome dinner on Tuesday kicked off the week with a five-course meal on the veranda, overlooking Port Soller. “We went with a more romantic and classic look to match the hundreds of orchid stems that night, choosing a two-piece Carolina Herrara set and pink stone earrings paired with light pink Bottega Veneta kitten heels and a white wicker Serpui clutch and Oliver Peoples x Khaite sunglasses,” Sarah shares.
The next day, the couple and their guests went out on the water for a boat day. Ali envisioned “Brigitte Bardot meets vintage Dior” and suggested a Magda Butrym bikini with a matching skirt for the hours-long outing.
That night, the bride-to-be donned a ruffle linen Zimmermann dress with a Cult Gaia shell bag, Aerin sandals, Brinker + Eliza pearl earrings, and Celine sunglasses. Sarah comments, “The perfect outfit for dancing and eventually jumping in the pool to cool off.”
For the wedding ceremony, the bride knew she didn’t want to wear a traditional dress but had no specific idea of what she was looking for. At Bergdorf Goodman, a look from Cucculelli Shaheen’s Constellation collection stood out to Sarah, and she knew it was “the one.” “Constellations” by Jack Johnson and Eddie Vedder is her and Ryan’s song, so that was also a sign toward choosing this particular dress. And on the day-of, Larry Raspanti of Whittemore House put Jennifer Behr Supernova Bobby Pins in her hair, and Carolina Torstensson gave Sarah a soft bridal beauty look.
Together with Jimmy’s in New York, Sarah customized her wedding dress with a star map from their wedding day at 10:00 p.m. in Mallorca and the couple’s birthdays—totaling 960 hours of hand-embroidery. “The dress really inspired the whole celestial aesthetic of the wedding night,” the bride explains. Ryan even gifted Sarah custom Briony Raymond Constellation diamond earrings, and Sarah gave him Marlo Laz zodiac cuff links. The bride’s last look of the night was by Paco Rabanne.
On July 21, 2023, the couple’s 62 loved ones gathered in the citrus grove at a private villa in Soller with the Tramadean Mountains in the background. They found their assigned seats via hand-painted tambourines by Hatch Cove Designs.
Then, Sarah walked down the aisle with her father to “Constellations”—the song that Ryan played for her on the guitar more than six years prior and what inspired her dress and the wedding’s theme. “I told my dad right before we walked down the aisle that I wasn’t nervous at all, and he said it was because I was doing the right thing,” Sarah recalls. “We both cried—there weren’t many dry eyes.”
Ryan’s older brother, Todd, officiated the service beneath a floral arch by Bombillas y Flores, and the couple recited their own vows. “I went first because I thought Ryan’s were going to make me cry, but it was the opposite!” Sarah exclaims. “After our kiss(es), we walked out to ‘Sara Smiles’—our first kiss and proposal song—while guests shook their tambourines. It was perfect.”
The reception continued the celestial theme with hundreds of candles, a tarot card reader, and fireworks. Chef Michael Zentner of The Drifter worked backwards from Ryan’s early request to serve burgers late on the wedding night and crafted small plates of snapper with a display of tuna and fresh vegetables. “The iberico ham was a stand out, with Chef Michael slicing pieces off for each guest,” Sarah remembers. “We love adding a performative piece to events through food, and this was it!”
After dancing with a 10-piece band from Panela Productions, espresso martini shooters and The Drifter’s famous cheeseburger sliders prepared everyone for the after-party in the olive press room, which was transformed into a night club. Sarah concludes, “In true Spanish wedding fashion, the party continued into the olive press room with a DJ and saxophonist until after 3:00 a.m!”