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Lake Lanier Islands Wedding from Amy Arrington Photography

I get a little too excited when I see a wedding from Amy Arrington, and I’ll tell you why. Her images always tell a gorgeous story, one where even the simplest moments stand out. Her ability to capture a day in that way always leaves me chomping at the bit to get her work on the pages of SMP as soon as I possibly can. The only problem is, it’s basically impossible to choose my favorite images from a wedding as gorgeous as this one, so be sure to check them all out in the full gallery of gorgeous.

From the Bride… From the dreaming stages, my husband and I knew we wanted each piece of our wedding on the lake to be uniquely meaningful. From highlighting our families by placing them on the platform with us, surprising our guests with a show from the Groom’s improv troupe, entertaining the kids with lawn games, creating a family-style table setting, we attempted to create an environment that emphasized what we felt were the key elements of any marriage. The wedding ceremony for us was a celebration of family, community, and faith.

From the beginning, we wanted to maintain a hands-on approach in the design and development of the ceremony and the celebration to follow. We personally created concept sketches, collected each vintage centerpiece, assembled flower arrangements instead of going with a floral boutique, and even built many of the ceremony’s decorative elements. I designed the save the date, the program and other graphic elements, and worked with the lovely Anya’s bridal to personalize my ruched satin and soft organza ruffle wedding gown, deciding to add some sassyness and contrast to it by angling its straight fit and flare silhouette and adding a bridal trim I found on Etsy.

We chose a rustic door as the ceremony centerpiece. This kept our family, community and faith in the forefront because we wanted our new home to have an open-door-policy for all three. My husband, using a painting technique his father taught him, painted and weathered the door with our mint accent color and adorned it with a cross made out of a door handle which we found at an antique store. It only felt natural to include outdoor elements in the design as well, so we created an earthy display for our desserts by having a table top made of planed and varnished sections of tree trunks with wooden barrels for legs. We used salvaged twigs in our DIY flower arrangements, and placed flowers in each bridesmaid’s hairstyle. We kept things fun for our friends and family with the Mongoose Improv show, silly photo booth, gelato and cappucinos, sweet table loaded with delicate desserts created by my aunt and her company Trudle’s Catering, and metallic hand rolled streamers for our send-off. The atmosphere was fun and festive- a perfect blend of the sanctity of the occasion and the camaraderie of those who witnessed it.

We wanted our day to be a unique reflection of our individual personalities and our tastes as a couple as well as to give us the opportunity to highlight and give back to those who have helped make us who we are. This was an opportunity we cherished and, in the end, we think that’s exactly what we got.

Photography: Amy Arrington Photography | Venue + Catering: Lake Lanier Islands Resort (Legacy Pointe) | Videographer: J & J Digital Media | Wedding Dress: Anya Bridal | Bridesmaids Dresses: Affordable Bridal | Groomsmen’s Attire: Charme Bridal | Bouquets + Boutonnières: Design House of Flowers | Decor + Floral Arrangements: DIY | Entertainment: Mongoose Improv | Cake: The Baking Grounds | Gelato: Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates | Sweet Table: Trudle’s Catering

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DIY Destination Wedding at the R.J. Reynolds Mansion from Virgil Bunao

Virgil Bunao can do no wrong in my book. The second I see his name alongside a wedding, I get more excited than I care to admit. And it’s because of weddings like this one. Weddings that started with the sweetest of love stories, and then topped off with a fête filled with heart all captured so beautifully I could cry. It’s image after image of pure lovely, and it’s all waiting for you right here.

From the Bride… We met on a spring day in 2008 thanks to Duncan, a dog who decided to have an adventure and escape his yard. He went to the park where he found Allie and her dog Bowman. Allie called the number on his tag, Bernard picked up his dog and later that night asked for a date. Not straying far from the theme of adventure, 2 years later Bernard proposed at the summit of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

We share a love for the coast and exploring unique, obscure islands. Allie is a graduate of Clemson and since college she has always wanted an intimate southern wedding. Sapelo, a barrier island in the Emerald Isles, with it’s pristine beaches, towering oak trees, Spanish moss and 19th century R.J. Reynolds mansion was the perfect place to host our wedding. Because our families and friends were coming from all over the U.S, and Bernard’s immediate family from Belgium, we envisioned a place where we could celebrate and be together for an entire weekend. The island proved to have some logistical challenges. It is accessible by ferry only twice a day and is undeveloped with no stores or hotels, however this was a draw for us – we had the place to ourselves! Our families filled the mansion to capacity while the rest of our guests stayed in nearby Hogg Hammock – one of the last remaining Geechee communities in the U.S.
Our wedding took place on April 22nd – Earth Day.

We wanted a DIY wedding that reflected our love for the outdoors, each other and family. Together we crafted almost everything for the big day: summer evenings were spent making blueberry lemon and peach lavender jams, our fingers were stained for days after making welcome bags, hours were spent picking out our font for stationery and even more hours photo-shopping and printing! Props to the groom who even sewed all the table runners and napkins from a piece of linen fabric we liked. Allie’s mom took the role of wedding planner, complete with color-coded folders and her trusty binder. The woman knows how to antique! She tirelessly searched for the gorgeous milk glass and depression glass dishes that decked out our desert bar. Having a DIY wedding made the planning and decision making enjoyable – it was a crash course on a lifetime of compromise and communication.

We wanted the style and feel of our wedding to be simple and natural with a southern twist. The Mansion was the perfect backdrop – the grounds are gorgeous featuring a lagoon pool, old oaks draped with Spanish moss and a patio ornamented with period tiles. The design, architecture and history created the ambiance – all we had to do was add the personalized details. One of the favorites was our take on the “guest book” that Bernard painted using watercolors. We wanted to dress up the mansion’s living room since it was attached to the patio where our reception took place. Three generations of family wedding photos, topiaries and moss-covered monograms added the personal touch we were looking for.

We decided to say our vows in the morning, in front of the pool, under the moss covered oaks and couldn’t have had better luck when it came to avoiding an imminent storm. Guests were seated to an instrumental version of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Dream A Little Dream of Me”. Allie walked down the aisle to her brother singing and playing guitar to Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” for which he had modified the lyrics for the occasion. The intimate ceremony was officiated by Allie’s campus minister and long time friend, Tim Willis. The reception included fried chicken and other traditional southern sides such as green beans, squash casserole and corn bread. Bellini’s were served for the toasts in honor of Georgia’s peaches and the family’s Italian heritage. Sweet tea was sipped from mason jars. The dessert table included cookies and chocolates hand delivered from Belgium by the Bernard’s parents as well as several cakes, candies and peach cobbler. Guests spent the afternoon playing games on the lawn, hiking the nature trail or combing nearby Nanny Goat Beach for sand dollars. The celebration was capped with a birthday hoedown for the bride in the Mansion’s third floor Circus Room, lasting late into the night.

Our inspiration and goal was all about the intent of creating an intimate island escape weekend for everyone. We wanted to keep it unique to us but at the same time create something everyone could enjoy. In an attempt to stay unique and true to us we made a promise to each other that any idea we found, we would put our own spin on it. One of our favorites was the idea of a directional sign. We wanted to recognize how far everyone traveled to be with us on our wedding day so we made a post that had every state guests traveled from, including the distance in miles from Sapelo Island. We got a lot of compliments on how special it was that we made everything ourselves, and even more “thank-you’s” for such a fun, laid back weekend. That was the best gift we could have received!

Looking back on the weekend, it’s hard to choose a favorite moment. For Allie, walking down the aisle was pretty amazing. She remembers the amount of love and happiness she felt walking toward Bernard while seeing everyone who was there to support and celebrate their new life together. We really enjoyed the toasts as well – it was touching to hear how much thought and love went into the wishes that our guests had for us. Finally, our rehearsal dinner was a great time-we invited everyone who was already on the island for the wedding to the Nanny Goat Beach pavilion and had a traditional low country boil under the stars. Upon returning to the mansion we danced, bowled and played pool in the pirate-themed basement.

Wedding Photography: Virgil Bunao | Wedding Venue + Catering: R.J. Reynolds Mansion | Floral Design: Doodle Bugs Florist | Wedding Cakes: Addy B’s Cakes | Wedding Dress: Galina Signature | Brides Shoes: Kate Spade | Hair + Make-up: Eternity Salon and Day Spa | Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein | Officiant: Tim Willis | Music: Brandon Slavinski

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Tybee Island Wedding Chapel Destination Wedding from Amy Arrington

Tybee Island weddings are insanely beautiful; the kind of insanely beautiful that would compel you to travel from Alaska to Georgia just to hold your “I Do’s” against its sandy beaches, endless blue waters and breathtaking scenery.  In other words, it was the perfect destination locale for these two sweeties who craved an intimate, elegant, joy-filled celebration with their closest friends and family.  See every last gorgeous moment captured amazingly by Amy Arrington in the full gallery.

From the bride… This was a destination wedding for everybody involved, for us included. Neither of us had been to Tybee Island before, and all of the planning was done through email; lots of email! I chose the chapel for its beauty and simplicity. It was a blank canvas we could do whatever we wanted with, or nothing at all. Coming all the way from Alaska, I wanted to keep it simple. My mom made our cutting cake, and we tied the bouquets ourselves the day before. Decorations were kept to a minimum, to highlight the simple elegance of the chapel. We chose the colors aqua, mint, peach and coral, and my dress and accessories to create a modern vintage feel to the day. It was a beautiful, intimate, joy-filled celebration! I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

My favorite memory of the day was our first look, walking up to Sean on the boardwalk and tapping him on the shoulder. The look on his face when he saw me in my dress for the first time. The accumulation of months of planning and stress just fell away. The rest of the day flew by, but it felt as if time had slowed during that moment.

Our wedding was a week-long vacation for our family and closest friends. Family played a big role in our celebration. My brother performed the ceremony, and Sean’s sister read a passage from the children’s book, “I Like You.” My niece was an adorable flower girl, she was on the dance floor the whole night.

Our guestbook was the hardest item to choose. We shopped the day before the wedding to find something that was really us, and the whale was perfect! We met while working as deckhands on a whale watch tour boat in Sean’s hometown of Seward.

Wedding Photography: Amy Arrington Photography | Wedding Venue: Tybee Island Wedding Chapel | Day of Coordinator: Raven with Everlasting Occasions | Catering: Savannah Event Catering | Cakes: Mother of the Bride + Fresh Market | Flowers: Sam’s Club | DJ: All About You Entertainment | Hair + Makeup: Beyond Beautiful by Heather  | Wedding Dress: Alfred AngeloModern Vintage Collection | Shoes: Mojo Moxy | Groomsmen’s Attire: Calvin Klein