By Britney Grover
Ali Sirota is no stranger to the equestrian community, but the horse world was completely new to Jeremy Kelman when he met her. Though her parents had owned a house in Wellington when she was a baby, it wasn’t until a vacation in St. Martin at 8 years old that Ali was finally ready to get on a horse. “So I started riding literally right then, in St. Martin, and never looked back. I’ve been riding now for 26 years and I worked really hard to make my love of horses part of my career,” said Ali.
Ali started Sirota Public Relations five years ago, and began by making an effort to acquire equine-related clients. With offices in both New York, where Ali grew up, and Palm Beach, Ali could work and still ride in the adult amateur hunters — a course that arguably set her up to marry Jeremy. But before she fell head-over-heels in love, Ali fell decisively heels first mid-ride at the Winter Equestrian Festival on March 2, 2014. She fractured the talus bone in her left foot, the connecting point between foot and lower leg. While she escaped needing surgery, she had to keep weight off her foot for 12 weeks — no riding allowed.
“Jeremy and I started talking in the beginning of May in 2014, and I was just recovering from breaking my foot. I actually paid more attention to him than I would have otherwise,” Ali admitted. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, Jeremy had no experience with horses whatsoever. He studied finance at Colorado State University, and wound up in South Florida regularly on business. Though he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship, Ali swept him off his feet — including a left foot also broken 9 months prior to meeting Ali.
“Our first date was May 22, 2014, and he proposed on May 22, 2015,” Ali recalled. As Jeremy tells it, Ali’s response to his proposal was “How’s June 18th at The Breakers?” “That’s not true,” Ali argued, “I waited a few hours!” But it was true that by the time Jeremy proposed, Ali had already booked a date at the venue she had dreamed of being married at since she was a little girl.
“I just think that The Breakers is such a unique venue. It kind of takes you back to the Great Gatsby era, the way it’s decorated and the feel. I always wanted a black-tie wedding, so I knew it was going to have to be in a ballroom, and The Breakers ballrooms have character.” Ali’s wedding dreams came true at The Breakers on June 18, 2016, complete with a gown she loved. “I tried on about 50 dresses over two days, which was insane,” she said. The final place she went was Mark Ingram Atelier in New York during an Anne Barge trunk show.
Ready to purchase a different dress, Ali’s mother found a tulle gown with a sheer back and hand-beaded details hiding behind other dresses. “My mom said she knew from the second she took it off the rack that it was ‘the’ dress,” said Ali. “There was no doubt once I put it on that it was my dress. I had so much fun in it, that every day of the honeymoon I would say to Jeremy, ‘I want to wear my dress again!’ I’m obsessed with my dress.”
Cobalt blue not only highlighted the event’s décor, but peeked out from beneath the nine layers of tulle in Ali’s dress. “I always wanted my ‘something blue’ to be my shoes,” she said. “Jimmy Choos have always been fairly comfortable for me, so I did custom-made heels in the cobalt blue. I also had them put ‘A heart J’ on the bottom of them in gold.” The striking color even made a surprise appearance at the reception. When Jeremy’s formal shoes pressed on the pins remnant of his broken foot, he had to switch to the shoes he wore at the rehearsal: cobalt blue Converse.
Star guests at the wedding included Alvin, a 6-year-old miniature schnauzer. “Alvin is pretty much our fur baby, and he was my number one man way before Jeremy came into the picture,” said Ali, “So he needed to be in the wedding.” Strong proponents of Alvin’s appearance in the procession were Ali’s new step-children, 9-year-old Lylah and 7-year-old Eli, who walked Alvin down the aisle.
“It was really important to me to include the kids in the wedding, because we were becoming a family; it wasn’t just about Jeremy and me,” said Ali. “So, I wrote vows for the kids.” Every ear strained to hear Ali’s words as she spoke to Lylah and Eli — by the time the ceremony arrived, laryngitis had stolen Ali’s voice. “I think that was the only reason I didn’t cry, that I was ecstatic I could actually say my vows, even if they weren’t loud.” Jeremy barely made it through his own vows. “He teared up when he saw me walking with my dad, but then I did my vows to the kids and my vows to him before he said his vows for me, and he said, ‘I was in trouble the second you started saying vows to the kids.’”
Officially a family, Ali, Jeremy, Lylah, and Eli spent the night dancing and celebrating. “I would say that my favorite wedding moment was at the end of the night,” said Ali. “It was really down to us and our closest friends on the dance floor for the last couple of songs, and it was so much fun.” Eli fell asleep before the night was over, but Ali and Lylah had a special stepmother-daughter moment. “The kids’ song and mine has always been Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off,’ so I made sure that the band played it, and Lylah and I rocked out.”
As the Kelmans settle in to married life, Jeremy is growing more and more accustomed to the role horses will always play in Ali’s life. “Jeremy was a phenomenal horse show boyfriend and fiancé, and now a great horse show husband. He comes to my horse shows whenever he can, and on the weekends when we have the kids, they come with us as well.” Though breaking her foot might have slowed Ali down enough to fall in love, it could never keep her from getting back to the ring — with a few extra fans on the sidelines.
Photos by Christian Oth Studio