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There are countless ways to honor loved ones at your wedding, and choosing a meaningful venue is one of my favorites. It’s truly a beautiful thing to start your marriage in a place that holds sweet memories or history, and inviting your guests to experience that place too makes it all the more special! That’s exactly why Sarah and Adam chose Bald Head Island for their wedding–Sarah’s grandparents were active members of the BHI community since its development, and Sarah has countless memories of vacations and croquet games (a passion of her grandparents!) on the island. When she and Adam realized how many of their guests would have to travel to be a part of their big day, they decided to choose a place everyone would enjoy as a vacation spot. Bald Head Island was a natural fit, and I’m sure their touching ceremony and celebration added yet another layer of meaning to this special place for both them and their families!

Thanks so much to Rachel Red Photography for sharing this lovely day with us!

My mother flew from Virginia to Houston so that we could look for my dress. We blocked off two full days and booked appointments at salons all over town. Day one, we struck out, and our first appointment on day two went about the same way. I picked out and tried on several dresses, but never fell in love with one. I figured that this was going to be a repeat of the previous day, but then, the sales associate asked if she could pull a gown for me to try. When she brought it over, I was definitely skeptical, but once I saw myself in the dress, I fell in love! It was exactly what I wanted, but didn’t know how to ask for. I bought the dress immediately and couldn’t have been happier with it.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment from our wedding would definitely be when Adam and I saw each other for the first time. Without a doubt! I’m getting all teary-eyed just thinking about it. The look on Adam’s face was absolutely priceless. I could see and feel how much he loved me. It was the perfect way to start off our ceremony and reminded me how lucky I am to have him in my life. I’m so glad that we waited until that moment to see each other and I know that he feels the same way.

We decided not to write our own vows. As much as we love the intimacy of them, there is something about traditional vows that really spoke to us. We wanted to speak the same words that have been spoken for generations and have marked the start of so many amazing love stories. While we didn’t customize our vows, we did sit down with our officiant to discuss the ceremony. We wanted to make sure that it was an expression of our relationship. The instant we met our officiant, Kevin, it felt like we had known him for years. He did such a fantastic job infusing our personalities into the ceremony while still keeping everything classic.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Both of our families have roots in the South, but many have moved away over the years. We wanted to make sure that they were able to experience all of the best aspects of the South while they were down here. We welcomed our guests with tote bags stuffed with koozies, water, and island maps so they would be island-ready. We even included mini flashlights because it gets unbelievably dark on Bald Head Island. We wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous September weather and the fabulous setting by hosting our wedding outside. It was a bit risky considering we were on an island during hurricane season, but we’re from the South and a little weather doesn’t scare us. We did commit a pretty bad sin though–we got married on a football weekend. In our defense, we waited until Sunday afternoon, so we didn’t miss the game. Our rehearsal dinner had barbecue with all the fixin’s, homemade pimento cheese, and SEC football. Go Gamecocks! At the wedding itself, we served spicy shrimp and grits and provided rocking chairs for our guests to sit back and relax on.

There were so many different reasons why we chose to get married on Bald Head Island. Our families are scattered all across the country, and there are even members deployed overseas. We knew that people would have to travel to attend our wedding, no matter where we held it, so we wanted to host the wedding somewhere that everyone would truly enjoy. Beautiful beaches, Southern charm, and a laid back atmosphere…does it get any better? My grandparents built a home on Bald Head Island when it was first being developed, and my family and I have so many amazing memories on the island. Unfortunately, my grandparents are no longer with us, so this was one way for me to have them there and make them a part of my wedding day. We specifically chose the Bald Head Island Club for our wedding as another way to include my grandparents. They were club members for a very long time and were very active in the BHI community. They also happened to LOVE playing croquet and would travel around the country to do so. They brought that love with them to the island and played a huge role in having the croquet green added to the club. So, while we aren’t croquet players by any stretch of the imagination, we took a quick break from the wedding to play a couple of strokes. It was only a few minutes, but it really allowed us to slow down, appreciate the moment, and honor two amazing people.

Describe your wedding flowers. I absolutely loved our wedding flowers!! I wanted something soft, feminine, and romantic. The ladies at Kickstand Events did a fantastic job. They used garden roses, ranunculus, stock, hydrangea, spray roses, roses, and dusty miller in shades of peach, blush, coral, ivory, white, and gray. I really wanted the colors used in the florals to complement the beachy color palette, and they definitely did!

Our wedding cake was DELICIOUS! I am a huge cake fan. I don’t have a sweet tooth–I have an entire mouth full of sweet teeth. This was one of the wedding details that I was most excited about. I have always loved the look of big, traditional wedding cakes, but I usually hate the white cakes inside. Like my mother always says, “If it’s not chocolate, why bother?” I too subscribe to this philosophy on life. Fortunately for me, Adam doesn’t like sweets, so he let me have full control over the cake, and I couldn’t have been happier! One Belle Bakery did a fantastic job bringing everything together. They had the cutest cake names, and I’m a sucker for things like that. The top layers were a variation of their “Hey Y’all-mond” (an almond cake with chocolate fudge), the third tier was the “Lord Have Mercy” (a chocolate-chocolate chip cake with chocolate fudge), and the bottom tier was my own creation, “Orange you Sweet” (a chocolate cake with mandarin orange custard). The cake looked just as good as it tasted, and the team at One Belle Bakery got the cake from the mainland onto the ferry, then onto the island and set up at the club with no issues. I was incredibly worried that something would happen to my cake, and it didn’t! Thank goodness!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Adam: Sarah and I met about nine years ago in Richmond, Virginia through mutual friends. It didn’t take long for me to realize that she was “the” girl. We continued to hang out throughout that summer, and every chance I could, I would invite her to wherever I was. Unfortunately, we were both headed off to different college towns after the summer. There really wasn’t any communication over the next four years, but then we both returned to Richmond to start our “adult” lives. I had started working at an IT company and she started working at a jeweler. One day, I got a call from one of my clients who needed someone there ASAP to take care of an IT problem. I got there and, lo and behold, I saw Sarah. I immediately lit up inside and didn’t know what to do, so I froze. After that second, I knew that I was not going to let her go again. I asked her out to dinner and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Adam: We had decided to move to Houston for a job that Sarah couldn’t pass up, but before we left, we wanted to have a going away party. I had spent weeks prior to this trying to find the perfect ring and figure out how to propose to the love of my life before we left all of our friends and family. I decided that there was no better way than with all our friends and family in one place at the party. That night, people had started to gather, and eventually, I got everyone outside for goodbyes and speeches. After everyone had finished saying their words, it was my turn. I started to thank everyone for coming and saying that we would miss them. As I was wrapping up, I told everyone I had a story to tell. Sarah had no idea what was about to happen. I began to tell the story of the song I heard in the car when I was thinking about our future together, and as I ended the story, I looked at Sarah and dropped to one knee. She stumbled backwards as tears started to fill her eyes. I finally got the chance to get the girl I had always known I wanted…and she said yes!
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 50
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It is so hard for me to pick out a favorite detail from the wedding because I loved absolutely everything. If I had to pick one, it would be the bracelet that I wore. It says “Love you always” and was custom made for me using my stepmother’s handwriting. She passed away when I was 14 years old. She was an absolutely incredible woman and I miss her every day. I couldn’t imagine my wedding without her, so my dad and I had this bracelet made. Every time that I looked down, I was reminded that she was there with me and always would be. I haven’t taken it off since my wedding, and certainly don’t plan to any time soon.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried not to skimp on anything, but to make the most of our wedding budget, we reused the bridesmaids’ bouquets as floral decorations on the cake table and sweetheart table. We also split costs and extras with another bride who was getting married on the island. Sharing is caring, right?
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re getting settled into life as a married couple. Now that our wedding planning is done, we can finally have a life and get settled into our new house! That has been on the back burner for months, so we’re really looking forward to making it feel like home.

Photographer: Rachel Red Photography / Planner, Florist, and Paper Products: Kickstand Events / Venue and Caterer: Bald Head Island Club / Wedding Cake: One Belle Bakery / DJ: Active Entertainment / Violinist: Maura Kropke / Bride’s Gown: “Style #504” by Martina Liana / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Brickhouse Bridal / Bridal Jewelry: Hearts on Fire / Bridal Jewelry Store: Thomas Markle Jewelers / Handwriting Bracelet: Anastasia Savenko / Hair Stylist: Larry Davis / Makeup Artist: Wisp Salon & Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Menswear: Jos A. Bank

One Belle Bakery is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Donna Morgan is a delightful SW sponsor!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Rachel Ashcraft reply

    Thank you so much for featuring Sarah and Adam’s wedding! It was the most gorgeous and sentimental day and I can’t imagine another couple more deserving of the spotlight. I appreciate you hard working ladies at Southern Weddings!!

  2. avatar Karen Miller reply

    With a bit of prejudice perhaps, as I am the mother of the groom, I want to say that this was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever attended. From the spectacular setting, and beautiful color scheme chosen by Sarah, to the incredible efficiency of the wedding planners and staff on the island, it was truly a dream wedding!!!! Thank you Rachel for capturing all of the splendor of this event in your beautiful photographs!

  3. avatar Lindsay reply

    I am obsessed with this wedding! Every details is gorgeous! And the proposal…. Precious!

  4. avatar The Great Escape | The Dandelion Patch reply

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While they have so many great moments to remember from their wedding day at the beautiful Castleton Farms, for Mary and Dom, the moment when their eyes met as she walked down the aisle takes the cake! It was filled with so much joy and happiness that they know they’ll never forget. Planning a wedding and honeymoon around Dom’s hockey schedule was no easy task, but together, they focused on what was most important to them as a couple and showed their guests the sweet Southern hospitality of Mary’s home state of Tennessee. As for Mary’s sage advice for those planning a wedding? “Don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” Yes, ma’am!!

Big hugs to Jennie Andrews for sharing this dreamy day with us!

I loved my dress! A few days after the proposal, I went out with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law to do some dress shopping (they were staying with me for a few days after the big surprise engagement dinner). They were only in New York for a short time, so we made tons of appointments and were ready to hit up every store in NYC. Of course, the first shop we went to, a cute little boutique called L’Fay Bridal, had some of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen! THE dress was about the fifth one I tried on, and once I put it on, I could not stop smiling. We all knew it was the one, but did not want to pick a dress quite that quickly. After leaving the shop, I called Dom and told him I thought I had found the dress. He was happy to hear it and told me to go for it! The next day, I went in and bought it.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to save some money in every category along the way, skipping letterpress on the invites, buying bridesmaid dresses during major sales at J. Crew, and things of that nature. Most significantly, we worked with our florist to reuse as many of the arrangements as we could. Flowers from the rehearsal dinner were used at the cocktail hour the next day, and flowers from the ceremony were brought up onto the deck of the barn to decorate the bar. Also, we did our rehearsal dinner at Castleton Farms, since we were able to pay for a weekend package. Not paying for a new venue for that dinner was a big cost saver.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string trio play classics like Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and “Trumpet Voluntary” for the ceremony. We wanted those sweet and traditional melodies to set the tone for the day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Christian wedding and said the traditional vows.

There are so many great moments that we remember so vividly about the whole day, but by far, the most memorable moment for us was when I was walking down the aisle. Dom didn’t want to see me too early when I was far away, so he was facing Pastor Wood until I entered the doors and was ready to come down the aisle. When he turned, our eyes met, and we both just exploded with joy and happiness!

We chose Castleton Farms for our ceremony and reception for a few different reasons. First, I am from Tennessee and wanted to have the wedding in my home state! Second, Castleton Farms was stunning. It was every dream wedding Pinterest board come true, and after one quick visit (in the winter, even!), we were beyond interested. We met with the venue coordinator, Darla Walker, and were so impressed by her that we booked that very day! I think I called her around 9 P.M. to book it because I was so set on having that venue and was worried that someone else might take our date! Fitting in a wedding and honeymoon around a hockey player’s schedule is quite a feat!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the wedding reception in a barn. The night before the wedding, all the girls and I slept over at the venue in the big, Southern mansion they have on property. It was amazing! We had a lemonade tent with all kinds of lemonade for the guests during the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour was more of a game hour, complete with lawn games like croquet, blongo ball, and corn hole–all good, Southern games! We knew it would be hot and people would need to fan themselves a bit to keep from overheating, so we made our ceremony programs fans. We also had barbecue as an entree option at the dinner.

We had a three-layer white wedding cake with fresh flowers on it. We also had some delicious cupcakes (about four different flavors and colors) and little jars of heart-shaped apple pies. The apple pie was supposed to go with the moonshine bar, but they were out on display and got eaten pretty quickly–long before the moonshine came out!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. One of my friends from college played tennis with Dom during the summers. Once we had been introduced, Dom invited me to come and see a game some time (he plays for the New York Rangers). After the first game I went to, I was waiting for him to come out after the game to head to dinner with me and a few friends. When he walked around the corner, my heart jumped. I quickly began to see that I was not the only one with a little crush, since I seemed to be getting a bit more attention than his other guests at the games–and kept getting the invite back. Also, he was playing incredibly well any time I was at a game! It didn’t take long for us to begin dating. We were out to dinner after one of his games when we made it official. We love going back to that restaurant and thinking about that special time.
Tell us all about the proposal! Dom proposed in Central Park! Central Park is a special place for us. We spent a number of different occasions there while we were dating–having picnics, taking walks, going ice skating, and riding bikes. Last December, we were trying to decide if we should stay in New York for Christmas or go home to be with our families. We finally decided to stay in the city, even though we would really miss our families. On Christmas Eve, we spent the day doing all things Christmas-y and just enjoying the day together. Later in the day, Dom suggested we go ice skating. As you may guess, skating with a hockey player is quite a fun experience!! After skating, he suggested we go out to dinner so that I would not have to worry about cooking anything. He called The Boathouse restaurant to see if we could get reservations, and lo and behold, they had some availability. We got dressed up and started walking to dinner. The Boathouse is in the middle of Central Park, so you have to walk through the park to get there. The only things around were the horse-drawn carriages going by every now and then. Somewhere along the walk, words of love were exchanged and a ring was given. We like to keep the details of it between the two of us! :) After getting engaged, we continued our walk to the restaurant, stopping to hug and kiss and laugh every few steps. To my surprise, when we arrived at the restaurant, out popped my parents, Dom’s parents, and my brother and sister-in-law!!! Dom had flown everyone up for a surprise engagement dinner! It turned out that it would be a family-filled Christmas after all, with even more reasons to celebrate.
When did y’all get married? July 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? There were about 140 people at the wedding. We felt so loved that so many friends made the trip to Tennessee to be there.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! To be honest, I did not think that through! I did, however, have something borrowed and blue. When Dom and I were first dating, I started wearing one of his blue flannel shirts because I needed a light jacket and didn’t have one, so he let me borrow it. He told me I looked better in it than he did, so I wore it a bunch and loved it! I wore that button-down all day while I was getting ready for the wedding. It was a little reminder of the start of all the love–not to mention, it was perfect for the job and cute!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t forget the whole reason you are planning this event: to unite yourself with the love of your life! Trust me, you won’t even get to see most of the things you spent months planning. You will be so busy gazing at your husband and taking in all the smiles and hugs from your friends and family, that all those details that seemed so crucial will go largely unnoticed by you and your fiancé. Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are back to work now and are also having fun redecorating Dom’s old place. We both want to have a family and are excited to get started on that in the near future! Also, we love working out together, so Dom spent the summer teaching me to play tennis! We are looking forward to playing together throughout life.

Photographer: Jennie Andrews / Videographer: Alex Widmer / Venue and Coordination: Castleton Farms / Florist: Samuel Franklin / Cake Baker: Cheryl McMillan / Caterer: All Occasion Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental / Band: Emerald Empire Band / Paper Products: The Happy Envelope / Bride’s Gown: Berta Bridal / Bridal Salon and Veil: L’Fay Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Bangs and Blush / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose by J. Crew / Menswear: J. Crew / Transportation: Chariots of Hire / Cupcakes: Scrumps Cupcakes / Invitation Calligraphy: Alice Sword

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dimity reply

    Oh, what a beautiful piece of advice from Mary! “Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” I will carry this with me as I plan our special day. Thank you for sharing xo

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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