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I love it when a tradition starts with only the bride or groom’s family, but then a wedding turns it into something that all their loved ones can enjoy. For Colleen and Nicholas, that’s Kiawah Island. Though Nicholas’ family had been vacationing there for years, after bringing Colleen along while dating, it became the perfect place for these two to celebrate their marriage. It didn’t hurt that as soon as they drove up to the Ocean Course on a post-engagement vacation, they knew it was the exact place where they wanted to share their love of Kiawah Island and each other with their friends and family! A clear-top tent, an abundance of beautiful blooms by Fox Events, and plenty of sweet Southern sunshine later, and I’m sure all the guests in attendance will be itching to create their own traditions on the island, too!

Thanks to Tim Willoughby for capturing this beautiful day!

My dress was actually one of the first ones I tried on. I was so excited to try on wedding dresses, so my mom and I went to Saks right away, just for fun! We weren’t expecting that I would find my dress so quickly, but as soon as I put it on, I absolutely loved it. I went to a few other appointments just to make sure, but ended up coming back to the first one I loved!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We had a really hard time deciding if we wanted to do a first look, but we ended up doing one. We were so happy we did! It was really special to have our first moment together on our wedding day be for just the two of us (and our little yorkie, who made an appearance for some pictures). It gave us the opportunity to take a lot of our pictures before the reception so we could enjoy as much of the celebration as possible, and also made us much less nervous for the 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 had one of our close mutual friends officiate our wedding, which added a special and personal touch to the ceremony.

Nick has been going to Kiawah with his family since he was a kid, and we all went there together a couple of times when we started dating. We were there on vacation a few weeks after we got engaged and decided to look at some venues. As soon as we drove up to the Ocean Course, we knew that’s where we wanted to get married! It was so much fun to be able to share one of our favorite places with all of our friends and family for the weekend.

The one thing I knew I wanted at our wedding was tons of flowers! We went with a neutral palette of white and light pink with some pops of blue and lots of greens. Our wedding planner also did all of our flowers–she and her team did an amazing job! When Nick and I walked into our tent for the first time, we were so happy with how beautiful it looked.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? All the dancing. Our wedding band, ATL Groove Factory, was absolutely amazing and had everyone on the dance floor the entire night! For our after-party, a good friend of ours from NYC who is a DJ kept the dancing going. We had so much fun with everyone!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I both went to Cornell, but somehow never met, even though we have a ton of mutual friends. After college, we were both living in New York, and I went to a 4th of July party in the Hamptons that ended up being at a house Nick and his friends were renting that summer. After we spent the day together, Nick asked me to go out again the next day in the city. After that, we were pretty much inseparable!
Tell us all about the proposal! A couple of summers ago, we were spending a week out on the North Fork of Long Island. We made a nice dinner to have outside at sunset, but I noticed Nick wasn’t eating anything. He said he needed to go inside and grab some balsamic vinegar to add to the food, but instead, he came back outside, got down on one knee, and proposed!!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 190
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There are so many little details, but one of the best were the two big swings we had on the edge of the dance floor. They looked beautiful and everyone had so much fun on them! I also loved the chandeliers that we hung from the top of the tent.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did. My twin sister let me borrow the sapphire and diamond earrings she wore for her wedding day, and I wore blue satin shoes to take care of my something borrowed and something blue. My mother and my mother-in-law both provided pieces of lace from their wedding dresses that were wrapped around my bouquet as something old, and I wore a bracelet Nick gave me the morning of our wedding as something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The most difficult part of getting married on Kiawah Island was figuring out transportation for all the guests, since there wasn’t one main hotel where the majority of guests were staying. Somehow, our wedding planner and our families managed to figure out where everyone was staying and get everyone to the wedding on time.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planner, Lauren Fox. We knew planning our wedding in Kiawah from NYC would be a little more difficult, but Lauren made everything so much easier. I always say I would re-plan our wedding all over again because that’s how enjoyable Lauren made the whole process!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn, so we’re just enjoying married life in our new neighborhood. And we’re hoping to grow our family soon!

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner and Florist: Fox Events | Venue and Caterer: The Ocean Course | Wedding Cake Baker: Jim Smeal | Rentals: Snyder Events and Ooh! Events | Lighting: Technical Event Company | Band: ATL Groove Factory | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: “Cora” by Austin Scarlett | Bride’s Jewelry: Zoe Chicco | Hair Stylist: Charlotte Belk, Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale in Navy Blue | Menswear: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar elaine reply

    Where is her reception dress from?!? Amazing!

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When it comes to the many things that make a wedding Southern, the most obvious one is the geographical location, of course! Kara and Philip had that in the bag when they chose to tie the knot at Colleton River Plantation on Hilton Head Island. Though a Pennsylvania native, Kara grew up traveling to her family’s vacation home on the island, so to her, it is a place “that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty.” Kara and Philip worked with their planner, Embellished Events, to create an open-air party where no walls could block the beautiful views. I’m sure this day began a whole new chapter of joyful memories on Hilton Head for this sweet couple!

We’re sure happy Tim Will was there to capture this lovely day!

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were untamed and gorgeous! They had an English garden feel, and were full of peaches, sages, and pinks, grounded in soft whites and finished with ribbon I found during my travels to India. The ribbons were used in all the bouquets, garlands, and table arrangements. Branches on Hilton Head Island captured my vision so beautifully.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not; we chose to say the traditional vows instead. We felt these timeless words captured all we wanted to say.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had beautiful readings from the Bible. I particularly loved the Gospel reading from Mark, that included the verse, “They are no longer two but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Wow, those words have gravity!

On our wedding day, we surprised our guests with the sounds of local Gullah singers harmonizing with joy to “Oh Happy Day” as we departed the church. We also hand-dipped oyster shells in gold and embellished each with a pearl for our escort cards. Guests could take these home as a way to remember the place and the day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up traveling to my family’s vacation home on Hilton Head Island, so it has always been a place that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty to me.

We chose to avoid the cost of a tent, and with the suggestion of my planner, Jennifer Leiti, we chose to have an open-air party under café lighting. We were so happy we did because the environment was the reason I picked this location. There were no walls to block the beautiful, expansive views of the sunset over the river. Thankfully, despite some early morning rain, we were blessed with good weather that day.

My wedding cake was a simple, white, tiered cake with ruffled fondant and some pretty flowers in the colors of my bouquet placed up each tier. The best part was really what was inside–it was decadent! Each layer had a different filling. Minette Rushing from Savannah Custom Cakes is a baking genius!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college. We lived in the same dorm, and then in the same apartment building. Two years after college, only after a big separation, did we realize our friendship was actually love. This has been true ever since and will be for the rest of our lives!
Tell us all about the proposal! We first talked about getting married around a year or so ago while on a trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It was the first time Phil had ever been there, and I was overjoyed to be talking about our future marriage in this very special place. However, it was not until a very cold visit to Cape May, New Jersey that Phil decided to sneak a ring into my purse to be found at any time. We were sitting in a crowded bar and I was fishing around in my bag for something or other when I felt a little box…I think I knew what it was right away, and quickly looked up at Phil’s smiling face. I told him I wanted to move to our room for some privacy, where, conveniently, there was a bottle of champagne awaiting our arrival. Phil got down on one knee as I had always envisioned and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress in a shop called Elizabeth Johns Ardmore, Pennsylvania, right outside of my home city of Philadelphia. The dress was designed by Lela Rose and I felt it reflected me and my style, and it would complement the beautiful surroundings and climate of my Southern wedding.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not. Seeing my soon-to-be spouse for the first time at the end of the aisle is a beautiful tradition we wanted to experience.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My shoes had blue soles, I wore a delicate strand of pearls that were given to me as a baby, I borrowed my sister’s wedding garter, and everything else was new.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Communicate with each other early and often, and don’t lose sight of what is important.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We would love to move to a new home, plant some deeper roots there, and start a family.

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner: Embellished Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Gregory the Great | Reception Venue and Catering: Colleton River Plantation | Florist: Branches | Cake Baker: Savannah Custom Cakes | Rentals: Event Haus | Band: Fantastic Voyage Band | Gospel Choir: Voices of El Shaddai Ensemble | Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose | Hair and Makeup: Christine Stephens | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    For these two Southern California residents, the Greenfield Plantation provided the perfect “something different” that they were looking for! With the help of Donny’s sweet mama (a South Carolina native), Kirsten and Donny introduced their SoCal friends and family to the deep South, and of course, now they can’t wait to go back! They set out to create an elegant, formal, outdoor plantation wedding, complete with a Lowcountry feel, and boy, did they hit the nail on the head! If you aren’t already smitten with these two thanks to their lovely photos by Ray Kang, this peek into their vows is sure to do the trick: Donny said, “I wish I could turn back the clock. I’d find you sooner so I could love you longer.” Swoon!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I work for a marketing agency, and one of my clients at the time (Casablanca Bridal) was opening their flagship store in Newport Beach around the same time I got engaged. They were so happy for me and wanted me to come in to try on dresses. Since I had never done that before, I didn’t expect to find “the one” that day, but sure enough, I did. The designer and owner of the company was there and she was amazing. She customized my dress to be exactly what I wanted, and it was perfect!

    From Donny: Daytona Beach, Florida always had a piece of my heart, growing up in the motorcycle racing world. I had always followed Bike Week as a kid, and when I got the green light to start heading to the event at the young age of 21, I was ecstatic! While traveling to Daytona with some of my best friends, we came across this spunky 19-year-old local named Kirsten. Throughout the week of events, we all had an amazing time getting the run of the town from her. On the last night, Kirsten took a pair of my Oakley frog skins and failed to return them to me. Unfortunately, all great Daytona trips must come to an end, but as I flew back to So Cal, I knew I had an “in” with Kirsten to retrieve my glasses. Within the next few weeks, through my smooth talking over the phone and Skype, I somehow convinced her to fly out to California and head straight from the airport to Mammoth Mountain for an amazing snowboarding adventure. The future was ever so bright and we were full steam ahead, but the only thing holding us back was 2,500 miles of the United States between us. Ten months after meeting, Kirsten packed her car onto a transport currier and got on the plane to become an official West Coast resident.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We live in Southern California, which is beautiful, but we wanted something different. Since Donny’s mom lives in South Carolina and we visit her often, we knew how beautiful it was there, and after some research, I came across Greenfield Plantation. The website took my breath away, and when Pati (Donny’s mom) went to visit, we knew it was the place. We never even saw the venue until the rehearsal, but it was everything we expected and more. It was also nice to get our So Cal friends and family to the South–most of our friends had never been, but now, they can’t wait to go back!

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we both wrote our own vows. Donny went first, and his favorite line of his vows was, “2,506 miles couldn’t keep us apart. I wish I could turn back the clock. I’d find you sooner so I could love you longer.” My favorite verse from my vows was, “As we say I do to each other, I want us to keep a few things in mind for the future, and they are this: let’s keep each other laughing for as long as we live. Let’s stand together hand in hand until we’re so old that we either can’t stand or can’t hold hands. Let’s overwhelm each other with love, as often as we can, for the rest of our days. And let’s be the best US that we can be until our very last breath.”

    As Donny and I planned for our special day, it was always a somber thought that I would be walking myself down the aisle. My dad passed away a few years ago, and I didn’t have another relative close enough to walk with me. A few days before the wedding, we decided that Donny, the new man in my life, would walk me down the aisle. It was an incredible moment for him to come and get me–a man who has been by my side in good times and bad, who loves me unconditionally, and who is now my husband.

    My mother-in-law, Pati Heinzmann, and our decorator, Holly Cox of I Do Vintage Weddings, set out to create an elegant, formal, outdoor plantation wedding, complete with a Lowcountry feel characteristic of South Carolina. They accomplished this with antique crystal chandeliers hanging from the branches of the Spanish moss-covered oaks, antique black shutter doors reclaimed from a local church, a bar made of authentic Kentucky whiskey barrels, and a signature drink called “Southern Charm,” served in mason jars.

    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My mother-in-law was absolutely incredible. She has never done wedding planning for a living, but she planned ours like it was nobody’s business. Our dream day would not have happened without her and I will be forever grateful for all the time she spent on it and everything she did for us.

    Tell us all about the proposal! Donny and I travel with his family for Christmas each year, and the year that we got engaged (2013) was no different–we had planned a trip to London and Paris with everyone. As a little girl I had always dreamed of visiting Paris, so we made plans to go there after spending most of our trip in London. On our last day in Paris, Donny decided he was going to take me on a bike ride through Paris and then to the Eiffel Tower, but the bike rental machine wasn’t accepting our credit cards. Donny became quite the stress case and started getting antsy, so he grabbed us a cab to a little spot overlooking the Eiffel Tower. It was the first time I was able to actually look at its beauty, so I, of course, started taking pictures of it, when Donny told me to “relax” and just take it all in. I turned to give him a piece of my mind for being such a stress case that day, and I found him on one knee with a magnificent ring in his hands, professing his love for me and telling me he couldn’t live without me. Best moment of my life. He had hired a photographer in Paris to capture the whole thing!
    When did y’all get married? October 11, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our best friend, a groomsman in our wedding, passed away in a tragic plane accident a few months before our wedding. His wife is my best friend and was my matron of honor, and we decided to have his dad marry us. He went through three months of classes and training through his church to become an ordained minister for us. It was so nice to have him take part in our wedding. One of his readings was 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “Marry Me” by Train. We also did a special song in memory of our friend Jacob Griffiths (the one who had passed in the plane accident), where we hugged and danced and cried with Amanda (his wife), his family, and our friends to “Angel” by Jack Johnson.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Never, ever forget what the day is about. Luckily, we had Donny’s mom to help us every step of the way (and take on the majority of the stress), so we didn’t have to deal with a lot of the struggles other couples have had to deal with, but I will say, I understand how easy it can be to lose sight of what’s important.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We both really want a family, so we are looking forward to that next chapter!

    Photographer: Ray Kang Photography / Videographer: Hart to Heart / Venue: Greenfield Plantation / Florist: Barry West of Blossom Events / Cake Baker: Incredible Edible Cakes / Caterer: Inlet Affairs Catering / Rentals: American Tent Rentals / Special Details: Holly Cox of I Do Vintage Weddings / Paper Products: Print Experience / Bride’s Gown: Casablanca Bridal / Hair Stylist: Shelby Johnston of Kim Vo Salon / Bride’s Shoes: “Pigalles” by Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “868552” by Ralph Lauren / Menswear: Calvin Klein

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    6 Comments
    1. avatar Anna reply

      Thanks for the post! So many unique ideas.
      Love vintage cabinet with flower centerpieces.

      http://www.thesmellofroses.com

    2. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

      Gorgeous ceremony!

    3. avatar Greenfield Plantation Wedding, South Carolina reply

      […] Featured on Southern Weddings […]

    4. avatar Greenfield Plantation Wedding, South Carolina by Ray Kang reply

      […] See the full feature at Southern Weddings […]

    5. avatar R Read reply

      Your wedding was beautiful! Your vows and the rest of your story made me cry. So lovely! Congratulations to you both!

    6. avatar Geoff Schatzel reply

      Looks like an incredible place. Love the sparkler send off too. Makes for a great ending.

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