I want everyday to look like this wedding. It’s the perfect combination of modern and classic with a splash of freshness. I suppose if Salt Harbor Designs followed me around to make sure the day looked effortlessly gorgeous, I spent my day at Bald Head Island Club and I had Joey + Jessica there to capture every moment – that could be possible. Lucky for this adorable bride and groom, that was exactly the case. Believe me when I say (and when do I lead you astray?) you will want to spend a good part of your day in this gallery.

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We live in New York City, but our families are scattered between Georgia and North Carolina.  We selected Bald Head Island, North Carolina because our families live nearby, but the area is relatively accessible from New York by a short, direct flight into Wilmington.  And it is gorgeous.  We wanted a traditional wedding followed by a formal dinner reception – just timeless and simple.  Nothing too coordinated or gimmicky, and we never developed an overarching theme or wedding colors or anything like that.  We got married at the Bald Head village chapel, which is nestled among trees dripping with Spanish moss and surrounded by huge hydrangea bushes.  We hardly decorated the church at all, except for a few pew markers.  I wore a strapless trumpet gown detailed with lace panels, a traditional long veil with duster, and carried an all-white bouquet.  Rob, the groomsmen, and our fathers wore tuxedos.  The bridesmaids wore navy cocktail dresses.

The reception was at the Bald Head Island golf club, which has a spacious outdoor terrace facing towards the ocean. We put the bar, the band, and the dance floor all on the terrace, and the event designer decorated the space with lanterns, couches, and cocktail tables to create an intimate atmosphere.  Hydrangea flower arrangements and centerpieces referenced the Carolinas.  Escort cards and tables names injected something of New York into the event.  These appropriated subway graphics and were indexed to neighborhoods, buildings, and places in NYC that are meaningful to us, such as our engagement spot (Bayard Building) or professional connections (Wall Street, Morningside Heights).  Escort cards became metro cards and tables destinations.

Instead of going with a conventional wedding band or DJ, we hired Atlanta-based band Banks & Shane.  I grew up listening to them play southern rock covers, like Georgia on My Mind or Brown Eyed Girl, and having them there was like being transported back to my childhood.  Everyone from my hometown recognized them immediately and the music appealed to almost all ages.  Instead of making song lists or choreographing dances, I just let them do their thing: crack hilarious jokes between singing great songs.  I was a little nervous that eschewing the typical organizational role that a DJ provides, like making announcements about first dances, cake cutting, and speeches, would result in confusion and disorder.  But in the end, the unscripted, spontaneous quality of the band was one of the best aspects of the reception.  We avoided cheesy, predictable announcements and songs and just had a blast.  It was definitely one of our better decisions!  In hiring the other vendors, it was surprisingly difficult to find artists who could balance subtle, classic styling with a sense of modernity and freshness.  So we spent a lot of time researching and interviewing photographers, florists, and event designers in order to find creative people whose artistic visions resonated with ours.  DIY projects are not our strength, and so we wanted a team of people we could trust to handle the details for us.  For brides comfortable delegating, this strategy really paid off for us.  It was such a relief not to have to worry about candles, linens, menus, programs, centerpieces, photo albums, or whatever, especially in the days leading up to the wedding.

With that said, the one wedding detail that was very important for me was to bring my late mother’s spirit into the wedding.  She passed away four years ago, and I wanted to honor her memory in a way that felt uplifting and emphasized her presence, not her absence.  I have a brother and sister who were both in the wedding, so I had the florist incorporate gardenias, my mom’s favorite flower, into our bouquets and boutonnière.  Gardenias are very fragrant so we could smell them all night.  I wore her blue aquamarine ring, carried her vintage purse, and we printed a dedication to her in the program.  Probably the most special way that I honored my mother’s memory was to have lace from her wedding gown made into handkerchiefs, which I gave to my brother and sister before the ceremony (and kept one for myself).  These were useful when tears started flowing, but more meaningful is that they can be saved and hopefully passed down to our own children one day.

Photography: Joey + Jessica / Reception & Catering: Bald Head Island Club / Floral & Event Design: Salt Harbor Designs / Gown: Jenny Lee, from Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Rings: De Beers / Hair: done by friend / Makeup: Sister applied, MAC Cosmetics / Event coordinator (day of): Lindsey Cheek / Band: Banks & Shane / Cake: Crumb de la Crumb

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