Professional tennis player Sloane Stephens and soccer player Jozy Altidore have known each other since they were middle schoolers growing up in Florida. Sloane’s family had moved to Fort Lauderdale when she was ten years old so she could pursue a career in tennis. There, she and Jozy first crossed paths in the hallways of Boca Prep—she was in fifth grade and he was in seventh. Sloane moved away later that year, but they kept tabs on each other through social media and watched each other’s careers progress. The two weren’t in direct communication again until 2016, when they ran into each other at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. “I was doing a media scrum in the hallway during a US Mens National team camp,” Jozy remembers. “Sloane was there training for Fed Cup in Hawaii. Sloane turned the corner while having a loud conversation on FaceTime. We locked eyes and started talking during the scrum. We exchanged contacts and went to dinner after my game versus Iceland. The rest was history.”
Four years into their relationship, Jozy proposed in April of 2019. “We went to church in L.A. and then I made up an excuse telling Sloane that I wanted to check out a painting at an art gallery that I saw on Instagram and was thinking of buying,” Jozy remembers. “When we got to the gallery, it was filled with her family and friends and instead of paintings, the gallery was decorated with massive canvases of photos from our relationship and all the people who have played a role in Sloane’s life up to this point. It was really cool that all the people in the photos were surrounding us when I popped the question.”
“Looking back, I definitely should have known something was up!” Sloane admits. “Jozy was acting nervous, and he’s definitely not an art gallery kind of guy, but when we walked in and I saw everyone, I was completely blown away! It was so surreal when he got down on one knee.”
The wedding was planned for January 1, 2022 at the St. Regis in Bal Harbour. “I really liked the symbolism of starting a new year completely fresh with a new beginning—plus I fly to Australia to start my season soon so this is what needed to happen!” Sloane says.
“The date will make our anniversary easy to remember!” Jozy jokes. “Since we both grew up in South Florida, Miami was the perfect place to bring our families together, and January is the best time of year to be there.”
Of course, the pandemic added an element of difficulty to the planning process. “If anything, it made us accelerate our wedding plans,” Sloane says. “Our training and season schedules are so intense that planning a wedding seemed like a logistical nightmare, but the pandemic really shifted everything for us. The last two years have been incredibly tough for everyone, including my family with the loss of my grandparents and close family friends due to COVID-19, and it reminded us how nothing is guaranteed, so we have to celebrate and cherish the time we have together. Everyone attending the wedding was fully vaccinated and was tested multiple times, and we did our best to adapt to the times and make a safe environment.”
“I promised Sloane’s late grandfather that we would get married before our house renovation was complete, and it really was important for me to honor that promise and commitment to him,” Jozy says. “Our house will be done early next year, so I was feeling the pressure!”
The couple decided to really go for it right around the U.S. Open in August, so they were definitely operating within a condensed wedding planning timeline. They worked with Sara Lowell of Sara Renee Events to pull everything together. “Everyone rallied to make it happen though!” Sloane says. “Since Jozy and I are always traveling for our jobs, we leaned heavily on Zola to keep track of everything from the registry to RSVPs. It was so convenient for us to log in and know where everything was.”
“To be honest I can’t take much credit here. I just wanted the day and the time leading up to our wedding to be what Sloane always wanted,” Jozy says. “I’m so happy everything came together so smoothly and see the joy it brought her and all of our loved ones.”
The weekend included a tennis tournament, crawfish boil, and wine tasting. There was also a gifting suite where guests could “shop” products from their favorite brands and sponsors. “I know Sloane is the tennis player in the family so everyone was expecting great things from her at our tournament, but I trained and was ready,” Jozy says. “I also really enjoyed the wine tasting. One of our friends organized it, and each wine was from a year and a place that is significant to our careers and relationship.”
For her bridal moment, Sloane wore a custom Galia Lahav couture dress with shoes by Amina Muaddi and a crystal headpiece by Maria Elena. From the start, the bride’s goal was to create a look that felt regal. She’s done many a red carpet in the past and wanted to feel very distinctly like a bride on her wedding day rather than just glammed up. Since the ceremony was at 3:30 p.m. in the Florida sunshine, and there was a mirrored aisle and altar, Sloane knew she wanted to sparkle. An abundance of crystals and sequins was practically a pre-requisite.
Her somethings old were the handkerchiefs wrapped around her orchid and peony bouquet: they belonged to the two grandparents she lost to COVID-19. They died within a week of each other right before the Australian Open. Sloane was incredibly close to them, and it was important to her that she feel them with her on her wedding day.
For his part, Jozy opted for a Dior tuxedo and Christian Louboutin shoes. Meanwhile, his seven-year-old son Cameron was in head to toe Dolce & Gabbana.
The creative brief emphasized white and silver and the entire setting felt otherworldly. “The ceremony was more emotional than I could’ve imagined,” Jozy says. “I thought I was prepared, but I was completely blown away by the feeling of love. Seeing my bride walk down the aisle, surrounded by our families, is a feeling I’ll never forget.”
After the outdoor ceremony, guests moved into the St. Regis for the reception. DJ Rock With U got everyone up and dancing. At this point, the bride changed into a more streamlined, strapless Galia Lahav ready-to-wear dress. “We threw the best party I’ve ever been to and I want to do it all again next weekend,” Jozy jokes. “Our wedding brought so many different people from our lives together, and it was just incredible to party together and dance like everyone had known each other forever. And to look out on the dance floor and reflect on the fact that they were all there for us and our love…that’s a feeling we’ll never forget.”
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