This South Carolina bride has given us quite the holiday gift. She, along with Allison Reisz Photography, has given us the gift of a gorgeous, preppy, beach wedding to feast our eyes on all afternoon. The wedding is a fantastic fête with J.Crew fashion, navy and coral deets, and a gorgeous couple tying the knot on a beach. When you’re ready, we’ll be waiting for you in the gallery of images with even more!

Shortly before our three year anniversary, Todd and I started talking about spending our lives together. I knew he was “The One” and was certainly excited about the idea of an engagement and planning a wedding. However in all our conversations, I never imagined a proposal to be in the near future. When friends would ask me when I thought we would get engaged, I would perpetually say, “Maybe in 6-8 months,” never thinking about the date actually getting any closer. I’m not someone who is easily caught off guard, but in this case Todd was 100% committed to his proposal being a complete surprise to me. He definitely succeeded.

He used my friends to gain insight into what type of ring setting I might like, and he bought the ring and planned the whole proposal in two weeks while I was out of the country travelling for work. My co-worker teased me on our flight home that he might be waiting for me with a ring at the airport. Ironically he was at the airport, with the ring, but without any plan to propose! He carried the ring around with him everywhere for the next week, afraid that if he left it anywhere at home I might find it. The following Saturday, still jet-lagged and exhausted, I woke up early and was surprised to see that Todd was already awake and staring at me. Although I wasn’t yet fully awake or alert, I’ll never forget the first words out of Todd’s mouth or my response. Todd asked, “Will you be with me forever?” and instead of thinking it was such a sweet thing to say or realizing it was actually THE proposal, I responded in the most sassy way possible – I wagged my ring finger at him as if to say, “Where’s the ring that goes with that question??” When a beautiful diamond ring popped up hovering just over my wagging finger I was so shocked and surprised I don’t think I ever actually remembered to say, “Yes!” I just shook my head, kissed him, and jumped out of bed… the celebration couldn’t wait – the champagne was poured before 7am!

Todd and I spent our first vacation together at Todd’s family’s home on Hilton Head Island, so naturally it seemed like the perfect place to gather our closest friends and family for an intimate destination wedding. When thinking about details for the day, Style Me Pretty was one of my main sources for inspiration and ideas – I actually pieced together an inspiration board (primarily with images found on SMP!) to help us focus our overall aesthetic for the day. Todd and I wanted the vibe of the day to balance vintage, romantic and pretty with clean, nautical and preppy details with a decidedly casual feeling overall. To achieve this through color, we loved the juxtaposition of the soft pink coral accents off of the cleaner, saturated navy. We tried to weave this contrast through all of the details — bouquets of romantic coral roses, dahlias, and green mini-hydrangeas were played off of preppy grosgrain ribbon wraps, etc. We carried preppy grosgrain detail throughout ceremony and reception décor – everywhere from tying each pair of flip flop favors with a grosgrain ribbon to decorating the scoops for the candy buffet with grosgrain bows!

Our reception and ceremony locations within the Palmetto Dunes resort could not have been more perfect for achieving our desired look and feel. The reception took place in the backyard of a large rental home over looking the lagoon, but was close enough to the beach that we could have the seaside ceremony we wanted. Guests were greeted at the beach with a refreshing drink table and flip flops for everyone. Curly willow branches and candles lined the aisle and simple arrangements of curly willow and orchids marked the altar space without obstructing the beautiful view of the ocean beyond. Although the ceremony was short and sweet, we made it meaningful with a reading by my sister, the Matron of Honor, and a vocal performance by one of the bridesmaids of one of our favorite songs – Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” Guests were able to walk back to the house for the cocktail hour while Todd and I stayed behind to capture sunset photos.

We wanted to keep the cocktail hour and the reception décor simple and casual since it was taking place outdoors in a naturally beautiful environment, but knew that our evening reception would need some source of light. The use of café string lights and Japanese lanterns had been on our list of “must-haves” from the beginning, but I never imagined it to execute as beautifully as it looked the evening of the wedding. The best part? The lights were a total DIY project! My mother helped find the reasonably priced lights and lanterns online, and my father, brother, brother-in-law and Todd worked together to engineer and assemble the whole thing! Functionality aside, the lights gave the whole evening a wow-factor and looked incredible in the photos! The use of varying sizes and shades of coral in the lanterns gave dimension to the lighting without looking busy or becoming distracting. After dinner, guests danced the night away on the pool patio under the glow of the lights!

The one moment that stands out to me was our “first look” shots with Allison and Rich. I think everyone could tell that Todd and I were pretty nervous throughout the day as we were getting ready. Having the “first look” photo session in advance of the ceremony was perfect because it created a setting where our initial reaction to seeing each other could be intimate and emotional. I love the photos on the dock that are part of this “first look session.” I also love the drama of the sunset photos, the pure joy and happiness captured in the “first dance” photos, and the sweetness and innocence of the photos of my ring bearer – especially of him with me at the beach after the ceremony.

When it came time for booking vendors, my first priority was photography. We met with several photographers, but after meeting Allison (Allison Reisz Photography) we knew she was the one we wanted! Insane talent and ridiculously beautiful photography aside, Allison was so down to earth and easy to chat with – we knew we would be comfortable with her on the wedding day. Our photography turned out beautifully! Allison and her husband Rich captured all of the details and important moments perfectly – the photography looks so good that I can’t even believe it is Todd and I in the picture!

Wedding Gown: J.Crew / Bridesmaid’s Dresses: J.Crew / Groom’s suit: J.Crew / Bride’s Accessories (Earrings, Bracelet, Shoes, Wrap): J.Crew / Photographer: Allison Reisz Photography / Floral Designer: Flowers by Freshcuts / Event Coordinator: Amanda Rose Weddings / Invitation, Program and Stationary Designer: Serendipity Beyond Design / Cake: Sheri’s Edible Designs / Event Location & Catering Manager: Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort / Ceremony Acoustic Guitar: Christopher Paul, Hilton Head Entertainment / DJ: Gary Davis, Destination One Entertainment / Officant: Rev. Joe Wadas