Inspired by nature, this South Carolina couple (who met at a beekeeping class!) crafted a day that reflects family, all that love and of course the natural beauty of Windjammer Park. Now do you want to hear something even more inspiring? They did it in nine short weeks. From bees to happily ever after captured by Beauty for Ashes Photography, this is as sweet as it gets. And you can see even more right here.


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OutdoorPark

From the bride…My husband and I met during a beekeeping class in South Carolina.  He is a full time farmer/woodworker and I prefer to do everything myself (like raise my own bees for local honey).  Learning new things and using our own time and care to create things is a large commonality for us.  When he proposed at the end of August and we decided on an October wedding (only 9 weeks to plan) we knew we would be limited in what we could do ourselves but we were determined not to allow the short amount of time to control our wedding.  My husband is always most comfortable when he is in nature and since Windjammer Park has been my favorite place since I was a little girl, we decided to be married on the same beach where I was baptized.  We were also grateful and excited when a friend offered to allow us to use his private airplane hangar for the reception!  It has a huge open door that allows the venue to feel airy yet still protected from the weather…not to mention my bridesmaids had a great time taking pictures with the planes!

It was most important to me that guests felt comfortable and that they knew a little more about us after being at the event.  I decided on a vintage gown for my ceremony dress mostly because our plan for inclement weather was to get married in the rain.  Therefore I could not risk an expensive gown. I found the gown in perfect condition in my local thrift store and purchased for $85.  My husband’s aunt altered the dress bodice and it was absolutely perfect. My husband and I took up shag dancing recently and it has really been a blessing in our relationship.  We have a lot of fun together dancing and it has taught us a lot about each other so it was very important to me to have a good dancing dress for the reception.  I made both of the flower girl dresses and headbands for our nieces, which I mostly accomplished during the drive to Myrtle Beach where we take shag dance lessons. I didn’t realize how poofy the dresses would be in the passenger seat but it was a lot of fun figuring out how to make them!

The ceremony was my favorite part of the day even though I was very nervous in front of 100 of our friends and family. Barefoot, six of my friends joined our musician, singing “Down to the River to Pray” a cappella while family and bridesmaids took their places.   Escorted by my dad, I came down to traditional keys.  My husband’s sister served us communion during our musician singing “If you Say Go” by Amy Nobles. This gave us time to feel alone, intimate, breathe and thank God for the moment. We recited the vows we had each written, the preacher introduced us and we proceeded out to “All I want is You” by Barry Louis Polisar, “If I were a flower growing wild and free all I’d want is you to be my sweet honey bee…” Our entire ceremony was 12 minutes long.  It was perfect.  

We did get a little behind on the day of itinerary. He had told me the day before that he would blow the leaves off the beach before the ceremony.  You can imagine my bridesmaid’s delight as she called me to tell me my groom was up front, full suit with a leaf blower on his back and the guests were already arriving! One DIY I do not recommend but those are the fun memories that guests love and you laugh at later! We wanted to do as many things as we could ourselves and use things we already had in order to keep the reception intimate and authentically us.  Since my husband preserves a lot of what he grows we have no shortage of mason jars.  We used them as glasses, candleholders and vases. We used my grandmother’s typewriter as our guestbook and the first quilt I ever made as the backdrop in the photo booth.  We collected china from thrift stores and purchased vintage hankies on eBay (much cheaper than renting china or napkins).  My husband’s tree branch candleholders were my favorite detail, which we used as a centerpiece along with flower vases. He also chose and chopped some of my favorite firewood to use at the entrance of the hangar (he’ll later use it to heat our house this winter).  Since the hangar generally houses a plane and is not a wedding venue, we also covered walls and tools with thrift store sheets and my husband hung lights from the 50ft rafters (the ladder he created to reach is another DIY project I would not recommend)! 

Advice to future brides: Practice marriage in your wedding planning.  Marriage is servant love, putting the other first.  Planning a wedding is great practice.  Did I really need a 2-week honeymoon? No, we had a wonderful 5 days in Aruba and my husband appreciated being able to return to work.  Was hanging lights 50ft high easy? No but my husband knew I would love it.  We both compromised but for the other.  We practiced marriage in our planning, it wasn’t about what I pictured before I met him.  It wasn’t about the fact that he didn’t care about a wedding.  He cared because I cared.  I let things go because they didn’t matter to him.  Planning comes with stress, the stakes are high because it is important and expensive, and it’s easy to lose patience, forget what matters.  Take advantage of engagement as your practice round, your marriage will be better for it; what else is a wedding meant to accomplish but to enhance your marriage?

Photographer: Beauty for Ashes Photography  | Venue Ceremony: Windjammer Park | Reception: Private Airplane Hangar Bryant Field, Rock Hill, SC | Pies and Pudding: DIY | Cheescake: Publix | Pig Roast: Joe Sutton of Indian Land, all sides made by the groom | Florist: Harris Teeter | Officiant: Pastor Larry Caddell of Praise Cathedral | Ceremony Musician: Meredith Tolentino joined by 6 of my closest friends | Wedding Dress: Pawsibilities | Reception: BHLDN | Rings: Bride’s Grandmother | Reception:Vintage | Bride’s Shoes: Discount salsa shoes.com, with H’s added from Etsy | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Anthropologie | Groom’s suit: Jos. A Bank | Groom’s shoes: Bass | Stationery: Designed by Jenny Moates