Sophisticated and Simple Wedding in Hilton Head
May 29, 2014
Al FrescoRusticBeach Weddings
When the backdrop to your wedding is the Atlantic Ocean, you can keep the decor simple. Case in point: this sophisticated oceanfront wedding that opted for a semi-circle seating arrangement and incorporated small, intricate details like the quilted motif in the bride's beautiful Amsale gown. The duo from Concept-A Photography captured some beautiful images from the glorious seaside event. Take a look at the full gallery here.
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From the Bride... Sean and I both grew up 10 minutes away from each other in Ohio but met and fell in love while we were both living in Southern California. Our mutual friend who introduced us also officiated our ceremony. He knew and loved us both separately before we met and later together as a couple. It meant a great deal to us that he performed our ceremony and he nailed it!

As we were living in California and all of our family is scattered around the East coast, we compromised on having the wedding in Hilton Head Island, SC. I lived in Hilton Head for 8 years before I moved to California and still consider that area my second home. It also helped having so many close friends in the area to help me facilitate the wedding planning from 2,500 miles away. Sean and I are simple, active and outdoorsy people. When we started planning the wedding, we agreed that we wanted the event to be all about the people and less about the traditions. After all, neither one of us are very traditional. We wanted the day to feel like a family gathering with the focus on celebrating our love for each other and our friends and family. We wanted to remember the day, enjoy the moments and avoid all the extras that prevent the bride and groom from really engaging with each other and their guests.

The venue was simple, rustic and perfect! The Dunes House in Palmetto Dunes is essentially a large wooden deck right on the beach. Our décor was also very simple, with burlap table clothes and ivory lace runners handmade by my incredible mother. The centerpieces were made of big ivory flowers with greenery set in white washed wooden boxes of various sizes surrounded by gold votives. It was gorgeous and with such soft and earthy colors, the set scene blended perfectly into the beautiful beach just steps from the tables.

We were going for a vintage look for the wedding party. The boys wore grey suspenders and a black tie, Sean wore the same with the addition of a vest. The girls wore a 20’s style cocktail dress from Nordstrom. I wore an Amsale gown with a feather and pearl embellishment and a birdcage veil. The look turned out exactly how I envisioned across the board!

We skipped all of the traditional wedding “stuff”. My father and two brothers gave speeches, we had pies instead of cake (made by one of the bridesmaids- chef Angela Touhey), the bouquets were placed in mason jars and became part of the table settings, our friend officiated the ceremony, we danced when we felt like it and we laughed the night away.

On the morning of the wedding, it was a cold 45 degrees and raining (not what you want when you have planned an outdoor wedding in the South). We spent all day watching the radar and hoping for the best. The ceremony was planned to start at 4:30pm and the weather report said the rain would pass by noon.

At 1 o’clock it was still raining…

At 2 o’clock it was still raining…

Luckily around 2:30pm it cleared up a bit, which allowed Sean and I to take our “first look” pictures around the Palmetto Dunes Plantation. Our photographers, Rich and Megan could not have been more amazing! When it started raining again at 3 o’clock we could no longer use the natural beauty of Hilton Head to stage the scene of our photos. So, Rich and Megan moved us to the large, beautiful house my parents rented one block from the venue. The unique and creative photos they were able to stage inside the house amazed me. Our wedding party photo was taken in a living room with everyone seated or standing arranged around couches and tables and it turned out perfect! I cannot rave about Rich and Megan enough! They absolutely made the day! They were kind, discrete, creative, flexible and so unique.

Back to the rain… It was still raining at 4 o’clock when guests were to be seated in a semi circle on the beach. I called the wedding planner, Carrie, who I can also not rave enough about, and we decided that we were just going to party in the rain. We had a small guest list, 80 people, all of whom are very dear to us. We knew no one would mind. Carrie found 7 heaters to put out on the deck to help keep everyone warm and the show went on. Our wedding party began to walk down the aisle and the weather started to clear. As Etta James’ “At Last” started to play and my dad and I walked our first step down to the beach, the cloud cleared, the sun came out brighter than ever and I swear it warmed up 20 degrees in an instant. Our guests cheered at this unbelievable stroke of luck. Someone we love up above graced us with this little gift and kept the rain away for the rest of the evening. The day was perfect! My mother looked more beautiful than I have ever seen her before and my dad did not stop smiling all night. Because we did not take time for all of the wedding traditions, Sean and I had plenty of time to really enjoy the day.