Jacquie Baly and James Craig first dated five years ago – but the timing wasn’t exactly right.
Baly, a former vice president of the Greater Houston Partnership who now works in public relations – in addition to serving as an associate professor at the University of Houston and advising Texas Governor Greg Abbott on college initiatives – is the mother of two sons. In all fairness, taking care of her was her priority.
James, meanwhile, served as CEO of ISS – a company that specializes in the technical repair and maintenance of refineries with locations in Texas, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Canada. Attracted by Jacquie’s smile and intelligence, he enjoyed their brief, five-month relationship.
However, everything changed in 2019 when the two reunited on St. Croix Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Jacquie is from the island, and James’ company was actively involved in restarting a St. Croix refinery, a vital component of the island’s economic health.
James turned to Jacquie to talk about her homeland. She was happy to give an insider’s perspective. They met on the island and soon began dating again.
“I knew he was the one by 2020,” she says.
James agrees, noting that it was New Years’ 2020 when he realized he wanted to spend his life with Jacquie.
“I love their intelligence,” he says. “But most importantly, I love how caring she is.”
Six months later, on June 18, he suggested they give her a stunning 7-carat diamond ring over dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse.
“I was so surprised and so excited,” says Jacquie. “Of course I said yes.”
To celebrate their engagement, the couple headed to Key West for a week of sun and fun. The laid-back island vibe and wonderful views of the beach town cemented for each of them that they knew they were with the right partner, who shared a sense of adventure and a love of easy elegance.
They had no doubt they would have an island wedding too, and there was no question that it would be anywhere other than 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 sprawling five-star resort nestled against a crescent of white sand, surrounded by green lawns and anchored by an aquamarine sea. Jacquie’s sons witnessed the ceremony. Her oldest son, Raphael, is a senior at Trinity University and an MLB prospect. The youngest son, Alexandre, is a Junior Neuroscience Major at Harvard University.
The families spent seven days at the resort, including before and after the wedding.
“I’ll never forget Jacquie walking down 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 time to recite our vows, the winds howled and the beach waves crashed. It was like God telling us he agreed.”
ceremony: Buccaneer Beach at the Buccaneer Resort in St. Croix
wedding dress: Mac Duggal
Wedding dinner: Duggan’s Reef
Event planner: Ashlie Nichole Reed
Photographer: Meredith Zimmerman