There’s no question that KT Merry‘s captures of this slice of Southern lovin’ will steal up a good portion of your afternoon. Simply put, it’s wedding gold. But if you want to elevate that spark, direct your eyes toward the Bride’s eloquent story below. Paired with this incredible gallery, she’ll make you feel as if you were one of the lucky guests at this perfectly intimate soiree, tagging along for the sweet journey.
From The Bride…James’ and my love story began our sophomore year of college. We became best friends as we lived in the same dorm and shared a love of music. Throughout the next several years we would travel together to music festivals and on weekend trips with our friends and I went to see James’ band play almost every weekend each summer. While I was insistent on not ruining our friendship with a relationship, it was my father who gave me the best advice. “Looks will fade but conversation and friendship never will.” He married my mother, his best friend, 44 years ago and he loves her more and more every day. Finally, a few years after college I took my father’s wise advice and James and I began dating. Two and a half years later, James got down on one knee on a pink sand beach on Harbour Island, Bahamas and asked me to marry him.
We were married in an intimate destination wedding at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC on Friday, May 16th, 2014. Our wedding weekend began with a welcome dinner hosted by my parents at their beach house on Hilton Head Island. Catered by the Bluffton Oyster Company, our guests enjoyed fresh oysters on the half shell, roasted oysters, fresh fish tacos, and a classic lowcountry boil.
The weather forecast was calling for rain the night of the welcome dinner but we remained optimistic as the sun periodically peeked out. However, by the time hors d’oeuvres were being passed and oysters were being shucked, the downpour started. Even in spite of the forecast, the amount of torrential rain that poured down surprised everyone. We had made a last minute decision to move the tents from the beach side of the house to the more protected front yard but even that didn’t stop the rain from soaking everyone. Everyone huddled around the bar and oyster tables with their mason jars of peach sangria and raspberry rum iced tea and laughed together over the drenching rain. Towards the end of the night when the rain finally began to let up our guests moved to the deck overlooking the pool while cigars were passed out and James and his old band-mates played music.
The morning of the wedding we awoke to the most spectacular day. Our weather misfortune the night before brought us the most perfect weather for our wedding day. I got ready in my parent’s beach house where I’ve spent every summer since I was born. While my bridesmaids and I had our hair and makeup done, James and his friends went golfing.
Our ceremony was held at the Waterside Chapel at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff overlooking the May River. My father came to meet me in the tiny post office across from the chapel to walk me down the aisle. I was overwhelmed with emotion from the moment he appeared at the door. As we walked down the cobblestone street to the chapel families in golf carts drove by yelling wishes of congratulations and little girls on bikes rode past telling me how pretty they thought my dress was. It was an incredibly surreal moment as I walked with my father through this magical little town to marry my best friend.
Once James and I were pronounced husband and wife the chapel doors opened to the Voices of El Shaddai, a large Gullah gospel choir, singing “Oh Happy Day.” The choir led all of the guests over to a beautiful lawn on the bank of the river for an extended cocktail hour. The choir immediately got all of the guests up singing and dancing with them as waiters passed our signature cocktails, ‘peaches and bourbon’ and ‘el matrimonio clandestino.’ Waiters passed southern inspired hors d’oeuvres including she-crab soup shooters, white cheddar rosemary mac and cheese bites, spicy tuna sushi, shrimp cocktail, grilled beef salad on endive, and mini andouille sausage corndogs. After the cocktail hour guests were escorted into the grand ballroom in the Inn for the reception.
We decorated the ballroom simply for the reception, focusing on the surrounding natural beauty of the venue. We had two long tables with white linens and grey table runners. The table runners on each table were monogrammed at the ends in white with our monogram that was used on our invitations. Urban Poppy designed simple but stunning all white centerpieces that were interspersed with mercury glass votives and small bud vases with big blooms. The incredibly talented Laura Condouris of Trial by Cupcakes did all of the calligraphy, which included music and literary quotes on grey paper with white ink that we placed around the reception.
Surrounding the ballroom was a large veranda on which we had a lounge area and the bar with our monogram embroidered on the fabric in the center inlay. James and I shared our first dance to Ray Lamontagne’s “Can I Stay,” followed by an incredible welcome speech by my father. Our seventy-seven guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, which included grilled local grouper and filet mignon. For dessert we served homemade warm beignets in baskets on the tables and our wedding cake in two flavors, white cake torted with lemon and coconut and white cake torted with fresh raspberry filling and white chocolate mousse. Groovetown played through the four-hour reception and kept everyone up and dancing.
Once the reception was over, guests were invited to stay for cigars, s’mores, and other late night snacks by three bonfires, where we had set up another bar as well as a table with sliders, mini pimento grilled cheese, and French fries. Guests roasted marshmallows and sipped on cocktails as James and his friends once more broke out their guitars. The night finally wound down around 2:30am when the last shuttle ferried our remaining guests back to their respective hotels.
The day after the wedding our guests were invited back to the Inn at Palmetto Bluff for a casual farewell brunch and a relaxing day by the pool. Some guests joined us on a kayak trip down the May River while others sipped cocktails poolside. The weekend concluded with a casual BBQ at one of the beautiful village homes we had rented at Palmetto Bluff.
Our wedding weekend was even better than we dreamed it could be. We were surrounded with love from our closest friends and family as we celebrated the most incredible and unforgettable day of our lives. We are so thankful to our families for helping to make the day possible and to our guests who traveled from near and far to celebrate with us. We are also so appreciative to all of our fantastic vendors who helped to make the day so perfect, especially the incomparable KT Merry who was able to capture our wedding day with pictures that we’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Photography: KT Merry Photography | Videography: IMint Media | Cake: Tier Luxury Cakes | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Rory Beca | Hair And Makeup: Agata Helena | Calligraphy: Trial By Cupcakes | Band: Groovetown | Groom's Attire: Burberry | Bride's Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Ceremony + Reception Location: Montage Beverly Hills | Ceremony Musicians: Hilton Head Entertainment | Choir: Voices Of El Shaddai | Day Of Paperie: Loveleigh Invitations | Floral: Urban Poppy | Groom's Shoes: Hugo Boss | Groom's Tie: Celine | Invitation And Save The Date: Stephanie Pryor Designs | Man Of Honor's Dresses: Reformation | Matchboxes And Monogrammed Napkins: Gracious Bridal