Survivor's Stephenie LaGrossa Gets Married
FRIDAY JULY 07, 2006 10:00PM EST
Survivor: Palau and Guatemala castaway Stephenie LaGrossa wed her longtime boyfriend, high-school history teacher Michael Ward, 33, on Friday in Seaside Heights, N.J., the Jersey Shore town where they first met.
The wedding had a beach theme, with the motto "Life's a Beach" printed on fans, drink stirrers and candles. "We're huge beach people," LaGrossa, 26, tells PEOPLE. "He loves to surf. I love the beach. We wanted to definitely have something on the beach."
Guests included Palau winner Tom Westman and Guatemala champ Danni Boatwright.
LaGrossa, a former pharmaceutical sales rep who now models and makes TV and personal appearances, grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and now lives in Toms River, N.J.
She was a fan favorite on 2005's Survivor: Palau, in which she outlasted every one of her Ulong tribemates and even fended for herself in their desolate camp. But when she joined the competing Koror tribe, she was voted off the island.
Later that year, she competed again on Survivor: Guatemala, a reunion show in which she went up against other competitors from previous seasons. She made it to the final two, but ultimately lost the $1 million prize to Boatwright, a Kansas beauty queen.
While on Palau, she received a romantic – and funny – letter from Ward. "My boyfriend kissed his letter with, I think, eye shadow he found at my house, because it was orange!" she told PEOPLE. "He wrote, 'Here's a kiss from me to you with your own lipstick – or at least I think it's lipstick.' I was laughing so hard!"