Emily Bunnage and Thomas Corey knew each other for years, as they had many mutual friends. They both went to The University of North Florida and even graduated on the same day. They would hang out, but always with many others around. But four years ago something clicked, and they realized there was a strong chemistry between them. Emily explained, “We started hanging out alone.” Emily said he treated her with the utmost respect. “I found myself wanting to be with him more and more and spend every day together. We fell in love pretty quick.” Thomas appreciated that Emily accepted him for who he was. “She lets me be my own man. She is also my best friend.” Among the things they had in common were a love for family and for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On Aug. 19, 2016, three days after Emily’s birthday, Thomas took her out to dinner, saying he wanted to celebrate her birthday again. Thomas then told Emily they should take a walk on the beach at sunset. On the way they stopped to get their rescue puppy to accompany them. As they strolled about a half a mile in the sand, Thomas led Emily to an area in the dunes where she discovered a bottle with a message in it. The message read “Emily Nicole Bunnage. will you marry me?” Thomas got on one knee. His sister was hiding in the dunes taking pictures to capture the romantic moment.
Emily and Thomas were married before 185 guests on Oct. 14 at St. John’s Cathedral in downtown Jacksonville. This was the third generation of Coreys to marry in this church, as both Thomas’s parents and grandparents also had their weddings there. They were all able to share in this special day together. The importance of family was a theme throughout the ceremony.
The reception followed at the Cummer Museum. Emily’s favorite memory was of their first dance to the song “From the Ground Up.” The lyrics begin with the words. “Grandma and Grandpa painted a picture of sixty-five years.” They chose the song not realizing that just days before the wedding, Thomas’s grandparents actually celebrated their 65th anniversary. Another moment Emily will always cherish is seeing her 88-year-old grandmother out on the dance floor. She made the trip all the way from Canada to be there, and sadly, passed away just three weeks later.
Thomas and Emily also treasured their last dance of the night to the song “Perfect.” All the guests were escorted out so the couple could be alone for that magical time. As the newlyweds exited the venue, they got into a vintage 1943 Rolls Royce while family and friends blew bubbles at them. Thomas called it the “coolest getaway car ever.” They rode through the city drinking champagne and soaking in all of the fabulous images of this most special night.
Thomas and Emily, both 27, are the owners of the New Spring Home and Patio store. Emily also recruits nurses for Baptist Health. They describe their first few months of marriage as a reinforcement of the bond they already had. They are thrilled to be building on what brought them together in the first place. As they describe it, their love of family and the Jacksonville Jaguars keeps getting stronger every day.
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