A nautical couple ties a traditional knot

Scott DeMarco and Kara O'Reilly on the beach

Scott DeMarco and Kara O'Reilly on the beach in front of Gurney's Inn in Montauk on their wedding day. (March 30, 2013) (Credit: Ken Hild Photography)

Perhaps it was destiny that the wedding of Lt. Cmdr. Scott DeMarco and Kara O'Reilly would take place overlooking the water, the place where they had met, trained and fallen in love.

On March 30, the nautical couple exchanged wedding vows at Gurney's Inn, a Montauk resort, spa and conference center, before both a sea of ocean blue and Navy white. Among the couple's 175 friends and family in attendance (including about 100 swimmers from around the country) were eight members of the U.S. Navy's Sea, Air, Land teams, commonly known as SEALs, the principal special operations force.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the ones we invited couldn't make it, because of all their various commitments throughout the world," said Kara, 28, who is from Melville. "But some of them did make it. And they were all dressed in their whites. They looked so handsome."

Following the couple's first kiss as husband and wife, the SEALs performed an arch of swords (or sabers) ceremony, an old English and American custom that gives a symbolic pledge of loyalty to the newly married couple -- who pass beneath the arch -- from their Navy family.

"That was a wedding to remember," said retired East Hampton Town Justice James R. Ketcham, who officiated at the ceremony. "All the Navy SEALs in their white officer uniforms -- incredible, big men over 6 feet tall. They were all giants, like they all came out of the same mold."

A World War II veteran, Ketcham, 87, who also married Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger back in 1993 ("It's not my fault they're not married anymore," he said), waived his usual officiating fee for the DeMarcos -- the least he could do, he said, for a member of the nation's armed forces.

Scott, 31, of Great Neck, has been a SEAL for about seven years, Kara said. He wanted to enlist in the military, in part, because a close friend of theirs -- who swam and lifeguarded with them and served as one of Kara's bridesmaids -- lost her father, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, on 9/11. "Plus, it's the most masculine thing anyone can do," Kara added with a laugh.

The couple met in the late 1990s -- Kara was 13, Scott 16 -- when they were both swimmers at the Long Island Aquatic Club at Eisenhower Park's Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow. They trained together and started dating a couple of years later, both of them spending several years as Jones Beach lifeguards. "We've always had a love for the ocean," Kara said.

Although they majored in economics at different colleges -- Kara went to Harvard University, while Scott enrolled in the University of Virginia -- "we had so many mutual friends through swimming and lifeguarding," Kara said, "and he maintained a relationship with my dad. It was sort of inevitable that we would get back together."

After graduation, Kara moved to Manhattan, where she worked for Bank of America for two years, while Scott relocated to San Diego to train as a member of the Special Forces.

Around Thanksgiving 2008, they stumbled into each other at a party, and the sparks flew once again. "We had dated other people and realized that we just were meant to be," Kara said.

A month after getting engaged in December 2011 in Las Vegas, Scott deployed to Afghanistan for nine months.

"He'll be deploying regularly," Kara said. "He is active duty." The couple now makes their home in Virginia Beach, where Scott is based out of Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek; Kara attends Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, and is considering a career in emergency medicine or trauma surgery.

Because of their busy schedules, the couple has yet to take a honeymoon and hopes to squeeze one in this fall. However, they did spend a "mini moon" on Long Island in July, hitting some of their favorite spots, including Fire Island, the North Fork and Jones Beach, where lots of their friends still work.

"Usually, when we come we'll go straight to Manhattan and party with our friends," Kara said, "but this time around, we just wanted to relax on Long Island, which is the best place to be in the summer."

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