What began as a glance on a school bus in Wisconsin would culminate in one of Naples’ most spectacular weddings, a three-day event marked by pageantry and grace that ranged from Port Royal to The Ritz—both resorts, beach and golf.
“Tucker saw Brooke for the first time in fourth grade,” Ralph Stayer told 500 guests seated on the carpeted lawn of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in early March. “They rode the same bus, but they went to different schools, so Tucker didn’t find out who that cute girl was until Brooke changed schools in seventh grade. … What began as a friendship back in junior high has blossomed into a deep, abiding love, which is why we are here today—to witness the union of Tucker and Brooke.”
Stayer, owner of Johnsonville Sausage, officiated the ceremony (“he went online to get certified,” the bride recalls with a smile), and her mother, Shelly Stayer, walked her down the aisle. The intimacy of the nuptials offered a tranquil interlude to a long weekend filled with parties, performances, fireworks, and a surprise private show by Kenny Chesney. The country star is a favorite of the couple’s back in Wisconsin, where they and their friends gather at Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers, to watch him play.
Multiple festivities and a celebrity aside, Brooke Stayer Wagner and Tucker Reimer vowed from the start to focus on, well, their vows.
“When we started planning—from the flowers to the setup to the production of everything—it was always about the ceremony,” Brooke says. “We wanted everything to be really cool and interesting, but we viewed the ceremony as the most important part. A lot of people go to weddings, and the ceremony is only 10 or 15 minutes long. But we wanted that moment.”
That moment began after Tucker proposed in December 2018, four months after Brooke’s sister, Brittany Wagner Scalia, wed in Kohler, Wisconsin, which is near Johnsonville headquarters in Sheboygan Falls. The sisters’ late father, Larry Wagner, was remembered at both events, including a note of dedication on Brooke and Tucker’s ceremony card that listed 26 attendants, not counting the matron of honor and best man.
“It was always my dream to get married in the backyard of the house,” Brooke recalls, referring to her parents’ home in Port Royal, where the Stayers have lived for 11 years. “It’s so elegant there. But then we realized it wouldn’t feel that way with 500 people in the yard, so we thought about the mood we wanted to create, and it made us think about sitting on the patio [at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort] listening to Andrea Bocelli. It was so peaceful, and that gave us the idea to have the ceremony there.”
The Stayers teamed up with wedding planner Milda Vaivada of Soiree Celebrations in Miami; Matthew Huddleston of 50Fifty Creative Services in Naples; and Ritz special events and sales executives Sandra Pals (of the golf resort) and Patricia Murphy (of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, which is at the beach). Once the details were in place, it was time to design the invitation suite.
“Doing that was one of my favorite parts of the wedding,” Brooke says, describing a mailing that included a 9-inch-by-6-inch piece of printed acrylic nestled in felt and tucked in a three-part folder. “Every element had a reason. Blush was the color of my bridesmaids’ dresses, and the subtle leaves were because I wanted people to have a sense of Florida, but not by using seashells and palm trees. The suede on the outside of the folder came from the table linen.”
A rose gold–colored monogrammed magnet topped with the initials B and T sealed the deal, so to speak, with separate invitation cards announcing each event.
The wedding weekend opened with a “Welcome to Paradise!” party at Ritz beach—think steel drums, exotic birds, sand sculptures, and fireworks—and then guests were given VIP passes like you’d wear to go backstage at a rock concert.
“There were buckets of beer and deep-fried gator bites, which we decided to do instead of cheese curds,” Brooke says, referencing a signature Wisconsin snack. “We wanted the weekend to have something for everyone no matter where they were from, but with a Florida theme. I didn’t want appetizers on a fancy platter Friday night, so a lot of the food was set up in bird cages. It was really fun and creative, but that was just the beginning.”
Ralph made an announcement to round up the revelers, who were then put on buses bound for the Ritz’s golf property about 4 miles away. “Mom, Tucker, and I talked about the entertainment that night, and he and I mentioned Kenny Chesney but didn’t want to get our hopes up. But once it was confirmed, it became the best-kept secret ever! I’ve never kept a secret from my sister in my life, especially when wine was involved, but I didn’t tell her. Dan [Brittany’s husband] said it was the most proud of me he’s ever been.”
Brooke is animated when talking about cheese curds and sisterhood, but on her wedding day, as she exchanged vows in front of an arched backdrop reminiscent of ancient Rome, she epitomized elegance. Her veil lingered in the breeze above her 9-foot-train, part of a lace-adorned Vera Wang gown she and Shelly discovered at Ever After, a bridal salon in Miami. “I wanted something very traditional and grand for the ceremony, something I’d never wear to another black-tie event, just for my wedding day. At first I very much wanted a big Cinderella-type ballgown because I was marrying my Prince Charming, but in the wedding industry, ballgowns can be very poofy and have so much tulle that you can’t see your toes. We found this at the last shop we went to, and I loved the lace because it was so traditional.”
What wasn’t traditional, however, was Shelly’s black Alexander McQueen pantsuit, which she wore to walk her daughter down the aisle. (She later changed into a strapless Carolina Herrera gown with custom, pull-on sleeves. Both outfits came from Marissa Collections in Naples.)
“Obviously, my mom is very important to me, and I wanted her to be a significant part of the ceremony,” Brooke says. “She’s been through everything with Tucker and me since we were teenagers. I remember her playing volleyball in the foyer with us, not worrying about the chandeliers. She didn’t want to take away anything from my dress, so we were thinking that since the dad usually wears a tux to walk the bride down the aisle, why not her? I loved it.
“When Tucker and I were talking about who we wanted to officiate the wedding, there was really no one who came to mind as far as a priest or pastor. But Ralph’s very passionate about his faith, and we couldn’t think of a better person—someone who’s spent as much time with both of us—than him. He asked us separately the one thing that we loved the most about each other, and he tied those things into life lessons about love.”
Soft laughter rippled through the guests as Ralph prefaced his remarks during the ceremony by saying: “No one ever remembers the content of a wedding sermon, but they do remember the length. As Shelly said to me this morning, ‘Brevity is the soul of wit.’” He offered guidance for the couple about patience, kindness, forgiveness, and attitude. “Every morning when you get up, choose to be happy, and great joy will follow. Life is too beautiful to be anything but happy.”
Then vows and rings were exchanged—hers by Greene & Co. and his by David Yurman, both from Provident Jewelry in Naples—and a reception followed in a nearby tent, resplendent with white flowers, lush greenery, and a touch of whimsy: A coffee bar called Starbrooke’s.
Notes Shelly: “Young couples today are more into experiences, like having a Starbrooke’s, than what color the flowers are or how the cake will be cut. It’s about creating an original, memorable experience.”
Dinner included sauteed Florida grouper, Cambozola-crusted filet of beef, a trio of wedding-cake options, and amusing remarks by matron of honor Brittany, who joked: “I thought what I had was the wedding of the century, but no.” The following day, on Sunday, guests gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, for a beachside brunch, which was far from a brief farewell. The final event was a full afternoon of casual seaside frolick, with beer, bathing suits, and booming dance tunes.
Brooke and Tucker, who both work for Johnsonville Sausage, will live in Mequon, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. But they plan to visit Naples often because they’re drawn to what the town represents, which is part of why they chose to get married on the Paradise Coast. “It thrills my heart to come here because we have so many great memories,” Brooke says. “We used to go to Fort Lauderdale to visit Tucker’s parents, but then we started coming here, too, and we love it. There’s an elegant European feel to downtown, but there’s also a very special warmth.”