Jacquie Baly and James Craig first dated five years ago — but the timing wasn't quite right.
Baly, a former Greater Houston Partnership vice president who now works in public and media relations — in addition to serving as adjunct professor at the University of Houston and advising Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on higher education initiatives — is mother to two sons. Her priority, frankly, was taking care of them.
James, meanwhile, was busy as the CEO of ISS — a company specializing in the technical repair and maintenance of refineries with locations in Texas, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Canada. Attracted to Jacquie's smile and intelligence, he enjoyed their brief, five-month relationship.
However, everything changed in 2019, when the two reconnected on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Jacquie hails from the island and James' company was actively engaged with a St. Croix refinery’s re-start, a crucial component to the island’s economic health.
James reached out to Jacquie to talk about her native land; she was happy to give an insider's perspective. They met on the island and began dating again shortly after.
"By 2020 I knew he was the one," she says.
James agrees, noting it was New Year's Day 2020 when he realized he wanted to spend his life with Jacquie.
"I love her intelligence," he says. "But most importantly, I love how caring she is."
Six months later, on June 18, he proposed, presenting her with a stunning, seven-carat diamond ring over dinner at Mastro's Steakhouse.
"I was so surprised and so thrilled," Jacquie says. "Of course, I said yes."
To celebrate their engagement, the couple took off to Key West, for a week of sun and fun. The beach town's easy island vibe and gorgeous views cemented for each of them that they knew they were with the right partner, someone who shared a sense of adventure and a love of easy elegance.
They had no doubt they would have an island wedding as well, and it was unquestionable that it would be anywhere but St. Croix, given its importance as Jacquie's home and the place where they rekindled their love affair.
They got married on the beach at The Buccaneer, a sweeping, five-star resort that hugs a crescent of white sand, surrounded by green lawns and anchored by an aquamarine sea. Jacquie’s sons were witnesses for the ceremony. Her eldest son, Raphael is a senior at Trinity University and MLB prospect; youngest son Alexandre is a junior neuroscience major at Harvard University.
The families spent seven days on the resort, including time before and after the wedding.
"I'll never forget watching Jacquie walk up the beach to join me at the altar," says James, who admits it was his favorite memory of their wedding day.
The ceremony took place in December, in the middle of the season known as "the December winds."
"Last year, they were much stronger than usual," explains Jacquie. "When it came to reciting our vows, the winds howled and beach waves crashed. It was as if God was telling us he approved."
Ceremony: The Buccaneer Beach at The Buccaneer Resort in St. Croix
Bride’s Dress: Mac Duggal
Wedding Dinner: Duggan’s Reef
Event Planner: Ashlie Nichole Reed
Photographer: Meredith Zimmerman