Photography by Jordan Beckham


A Hometown Football Star Turned NFL Pro Scores a Touchdown with this Whimsical Tropical Wedding in the Cayman Islands

By Julia Nauer | Photography Courtesy Jordan Beckham

Before Shawntae Spencer, cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, began making big plays in the NFL, he was at home in Pittsburgh making a big play for his future wife’s heart.
Shawntae, who started at quarterback for Woodland Hills High School before playing cornerback for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, met his wife, Shayla Edmonds, during their senior year of college. Befitting of their Pittsburgh roots, the couple met through mutual friends at a local Eat‘n Park restaurant.

Fast forward a few years, when Spencer took Edmonds by surprise, popping the question on Mother’s Day in 2007. The May holiday was also Shayla’s first celebration as a mother, having given birth to the couple’s first child, Taelor. “I have always wanted to give her the wedding she wanted,” Shawntae says, and so, after researching several locations, the couple chose to hold their ceremony in the Cayman Islands this past June. The Spencers currently split their time between their homes in Santa Clara, Ca., and Plum Borough in Pittsburgh. —Julia Nauer

The Facts

Shayla and Shawntae planned a dream-like destination wedding. Take a cue from their Caribbean-inspired choices when planning your perfect Pittsburgh nuptials.

The Destination

The two Pittsburgh natives whisked 70 of their closest friends and family members to the Caribbean for a fun-filled wedding weekend. Shayla and Shawntae wed at a private location on Grand Cayman Island on the gorgeous white sands of Seven Mile Beach. In lieu of lighting a traditional unity candle and using the shore as their inspiration, the couple simultaneously poured sand into a vase to symbolize the fusion of their two families. Make travel plans through Pittsburgh International Airport.

The Dresses

The bride wore a silk chiffon Sophia Tolli halter gown adorned with lace and intricate beading. Her six bridesmaids donned cerulean dresses with sweetheart necklines. The Bridal Beginning carries Sophia Tolli gowns like Shayla’s, and Alfred Angelo stocks sheaths for every bridesmaid’s body type and style. The Bridal Beginning, 450 Cochran Road, Mt. Lebanon, 412.343.6677. Alfred Angelo, 4041 William Penn Hwy. Monroeville. 412.373.2818. 7204 McKnight Road, North Hills. 412.366.2014.

The Reception

The newlyweds celebrated their nuptials with a reception at the Westin Casuarina Resort and Spa, where the bride and groom stepped out onto the dance floor for their first dance together to “You,” by Jesse Powell. Celebrate here at The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh. Organize the decorations details with All Occasions Party Rental, which provides products to plan for every aspect, from floor lights to flatware. The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, 1000 Penn Ave., Downtown. 412.281.3700. All Occasions Party Rental, 2740 Smallman St. 412.471.2100. 72 Wilson Road, Eighty Four. 724.745.1500.

The 49er

The former Rankin resident and Pitt Panther counts his best Pittsburgh football memory as winning the WPIAL AAAA championship during his senior year of high school. As starting cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, the 2004 second-round draft pick has recorded impressive stats as a professional athlete, including a total of 247 tackles and six interceptions.Cheer on current Pitt Football players at Heinz Field, 412.648.PITT.

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