Tracy and Ryne may not be Southern by birth, but after attending a wedding in Savannah, these Chicagoans fell in love with the charm and culture of the South. When it came time to plan their wedding, Hilton Head ended up being the perfect place for the laid back, but elegant, vibe they were hoping for. August Event Design worked in Tracy’s dream color scheme (grey, gold, green, and white) through the florals, but other than that, Tracy and Ryne opted to keep their decor simple, letting the ocean views from the Omni Shorehouse shine. I’m willing to bet that a handful of guests fell in love with the South as a result of this gorgeous celebration, just like Tracy and Ryne had years before!
Thank you so much to Rach Loves Troy for sharing this gorgeous day with us!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My grandmother meant a great deal to me, so I knew I wanted her represented in our day. I used her vintage initialed pins in my bouquet as my something old. My something blue was my beautiful bridesmaids all wearing shades of blue, as well as the “just married” phrase I had embroidered with blue thread in Ryne’s suit jacket. My veil was my something borrowed and came from a great friend of mine.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did a first look and loved it! We knew we wanted to spend the most time we possibly could with our family and friends, and a first look allowed us to mingle in between the ceremony and the reception. We are also pretty non-traditional, so we were alright with breaking the rules! Seeing each other before the ceremony helped rid us of any anxiousness and allowed us to truly live in the moment while I walked down the aisle. Seeing Ryne’s eyes tear up and feeling the genuine happiness in that first look moment was one of our favorite parts of the entire day!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ryne and I both chose a reading for the ceremony. My sweet aunt read “Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of it’s Love” by Edmund O’Neil and our beloved brother-in-law read “Union” by Robert Fulghum. We were so happy to have them as a part of our ceremony!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we did piece together our favorite borrowed vows to create something uniquely our own. Our favorite line in our vows was “I believe in you, the person you will grow to be and the couple we will be together.” This line really resonated with what is most important to the two of us. We truly balance each other out and we are so excited to continue to grow together. It’s an adventure and we are just beginning!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We have close friends who were married in Savannah two years prior to our wedding and we fell in love with Southern culture. With that in mind, we headed to Charleston and Hilton Head to check out venues. Although we love Charleston, we realized we wanted a really laid back vibe that would allow for the most amount of quality time with our guests. Hilton Head offered everything we were looking for, and the Omni’s Shorehouse was exactly our style. We loved that it didn’t feel like we needed a ton of details, since it stood so beautifully on its own. Located just off the ocean, it was the dreamiest backdrop to our celebration. We are excited to now have Hilton Head as a special destination for our family for years to come!
Describe your wedding flowers. I was not the girl who planned her wedding day from the age of five, but just two days before Ryne proposed, I wrote a note in my phone that simply said: grey, gold, green, and white. Those were the colors I wanted at my wedding one day. Little did I know, planning a wedding was right around the corner! Flowers were extremely important to me, so it took a lot of research to find the person who meshed with my personality and style. When I found Kim Cheney, I was giddy! She and I not only hit it off right away, but she practically knew my vision better than I did! The flowers were all white with heavy greenery. Kim created bouquets and decor that were free-form and beautiful! My favorite accent was the greenery that hung above us during our ceremony and at our head table. It was modern and romantic at the same time.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My sweet father surprised me with a father-daughter dance unlike anything we had ever seen. For months, he secretly snuck away to go to a recording studio and record a custom song just for us. When it came time for our dance and his song played rather than the one we had chosen, I was in complete shock! My dad and I have always had a special bond, but this was above and beyond anything I could have imagined from him–it was beautiful and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Anyone who knows me knows that dessert is my favorite meal. We wanted our guests to have several options for dessert, so we decided to have an entire dessert table! We used a simple, yet beautiful, white cake for cutting, and the rest of the table was filled with cookies, whoopie pies, and more! Ryne has an affinity for rice krispie treats, so we surprised him with a two-tiered rice krispie cake! It was whimsical and delicious!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ryne and I met through a mutual friend. It took us a couple of interactions to realize there was more than just a friendly banter between us, but once we did, we were pretty inseparable. Ryne traveled every week for the first year of our relationship, so we really relied upon our communication and activity-filled weekends to lay down a foundation for our relationship. After dozens of postcards and hours of conversation, Ryne made the decision to leave his traveling job and move back to Chicago (I don’t like to say I had anything to do with this, but let’s be real!). After that, it was pretty clear we were meant to continue the fun for the rest of our lives.
Tell us all about the proposal! Ryne is the sweet, thoughtful one in our relationship. He had been planning our proposal for months and decided to execute his plan at the beginning of January. His uncle works for the city and has special access to the historical Chicago water tower. We had always planned to visit the water tower to see the unparalleled views of Michigan Avenue from its top windows, so I was unsuspecting when his uncle invited us to a “happy hour” there one Friday night. After some convincing, I followed Ryne up 15 flights of stairs, where he proposed in front of those amazing Chicago views with a champagne toast and roses. We went on to celebrate just the two of us while the second part of Ryne’s plan fell into place. He had all of our family and close friends waiting to surprise us at the next stop! I was in complete shock and blissfully happy!
When did y’all get married? May 14th, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. It would be cliché to say I bought the first dress I ever pinned, but it’s true! I knew I wanted something simple and sleek, yet dramatic. The dress I landed on had very simple lines with no embellishment, but the long train added that level of drama I was looking for. The process of finding the dress was quick and painless. My mom, two sisters, and I went out just one day and to just three boutiques. I waited to try on the dress I pinned until the end of that day and knew it was the one!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Although we are not Southern born or raised, we have a love for Southern culture. We wanted to make sure we gave a nod to the warm and welcoming feeling we get whenever we travel to the South, so we used pineapple decor as a sign of hospitality at our welcome party! When it came to our signature cocktail, we included Southern sweet tea as a main component, and our guests loved them.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? You learn a lot about each other through the wedding planning process. I learned I am more high strung than I ever want to admit and that Ryne will forever be supportive of me. We already knew we could get through anything together, but it’s nice to be reassured in tough situations.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There was a bride getting married at our venue the Monday following our wedding, so we tried to find ways to share items and split the costs. Our lighting company was nice enough to extend their pickup so we could do just that!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are house hunting in Chicago! We are excited to find a house that we will make a home together. We are also excited for a bit of travel over the next year!
Photographer: Rach Loves Troy | Planner: Leah McCarthy | Venue and Caterer: The Shorehouse at The Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort | Florist: August Floral Design | Cake Baker: Downtown Catering Company | Lighting: Amazing Event Rentals | DJ: Lucas The DJ | Calligraphy: Allie Hasson Calligraphy | Paper Products: Minted and Leveret Paperie | Bride’s Gown: “Dakota” by Nicole Miller | Hair Stylist: Bride’s Side Beauty | Makeup Artist: Bonnie Jean Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Schutz | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Adrianna Papell, Joanna August, and Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank