This is such a beautiful love story. Did you know Sloane Stephens and Jozy Altidore have known each other since their middle school days in South Florida?
The talented tennis star and her stellar soccer player got mmarried earlier this week, on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2022 at. the St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami Beach.
Ironically this match is almost two decades in the making! Stephens and Altidore have actually known each other since their middle school days at Boca Prep in South Florida, where she attended fifth grade while he was in seventh. Stephens moved away but the two randomly reunited in 2016 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
“I was doing a media scrum in the hallway during a US Mens National team camp,” Altidore told VOGUE. “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.”
Wow. See how fate intervened y’all? In April 2019 Jozy popped the question in the most romantic way.
“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 couple chose their New Years Day wedding in Bal Harbour for a number of reasons.
“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.”
Sloane lost two of her grandparents to COVID-19, they died within a week of each other right before the Australian Open, and the pandemic definitely played into how the couple pushed forward with their big day. The couple required all guests to be fully vaccinated and self-test at home with Lucira PCR tests provided by NURX before arriving in Florida. Guests were also PCR tested on the morning of the wedding.
“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,” Sloane said. “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’s weekend included a tennis tournament, crawfish boil, beach picnic and wine tasting, as well as 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 their big day Stephens, 28, wore a custom beaded Galia Lahav couture gown with a Maria Elena crystal headpiece, Amina Muaddi shoes and Peter Marco diamonds. Schacle Powell gave her an elegant updo and her bridal makeup was done by Tia Codrington. She also paid homage to her grandparents through her “something old,” handkerchiefs that belonged to her late loved ones were wrapped around her orchid and peony bouquet.
Altidore wore a Dior tux and Christian Louboutin shoes, while his seven-year-old son Cameron was dressed in Dolce & Gabbana. Jozy also sported a fresh cut from his wedding day barber Christopher Bailey.
“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.”
Following the couple’s outdoor wedding ceremony, guests moved inside the St. Regis for the reception where everyone danced to music played by DJ Rock With U. Sloane also changed into her reception gown, a 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.”