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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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In the middle of January, Samantha and Micah’s lovely Hilton Head wedding is a breath of fresh air! Inspired by Samantha’s family’s beach house, they set out to plan their Southern coastal wedding, complete with sentimental family heirlooms, lovingly DIY-ed details, and most importantly, an “outdoor church.” With a grove of trees covered in Spanish moss acting as the roof, Samantha and her family hunted down the perfect vintage doors and windows to display, creating an intimate space for the ceremony. Truly, every part of Samantha and Micah’s big day was a celebration of their love for God and one another!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy from Amy Arrington Photography for sharing Samantha and Micah’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mom’s diamond necklace and earrings. I also used my sister’s veil (she got married four months before me!). For my something old, I wanted something from each of my grandparents with me on my wedding day. My mom’s mother gave me a ring she always wore, that she knew was my favorite. She also let me borrow her locket (featuring a picture of her and my grandpa inside). I also had an old cameo broach from my father’s mother that goes back four generations. I hooked the brooch and the locket on my bouquet. My something new was my dress and my lavender shoes! My favorite item was my getaway dress. My mother, sister and I redesigned my mother’s wedding dress, and my sister also used it for her wedding rehearsal dinner dress–I guess you can say it was old and borrowed! My something blue was my garter, but I also wore my mother’s garter from her wedding day!

My family has a beach house on Hilton Head, and Micah, my family, and I have been collecting driftwood for years. I wanted to incorporate the driftwood into the decor to give everything a low country, natural feel. Henry, the owner of The Flower Garden, understood my vision and made it happen! My bouquet was a mix of greenery, white flowers, and lavender. It was wrapped in a piece of lace from my mother’s wedding dress, finished with jewelry from my grandparents.

Essentially, we built an outdoor church. My mom, sister, and I hunted through flea markets to find the perfect doors, and then refinished them while my father constructed a frame for them so that they opened and closed functionally. The wreaths on the doors were made in memory of my deceased grandfathers, decorated to honor their military service and personal interests. There were six church windows specifically place along the aisles to represent our outdoor church setting, and the beautiful Spanish moss-filled oak trees acted as our church roof. The cross at our altar was made from 100+ year old wood and designed by a local artist.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. We are pretty traditional in that way and wanted the first time we saw each other to be when I walked down the aisle! Honestly, I’m so glad we did it this way. I did, however, have a “first look” with my father. It was so special and a moment I will never forget!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows; it was important to both of us to say traditional vows. However, my uncle and Micah’s cousin officiated out wedding. They told stories about us as a couple and made the whole ceremony personal and Christ-centered. It meant so much to us to have family as our officiants!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose two readings, Mark 10:7-9 and Colossians 3:12-13. These two verses really stood out to us during our premarital sessions with our officiants. We thought both of these verses displayed the love and the kind of relationship Micah and I strive for.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our ceremony underneath beautiful oak trees with Spanish moss set the tone for our Southern coastal wedding. The historical venue dated back 300 years. Each guest was given a welcome package with sweet tea or lemonade and a few of mine and Micah’s favorite goodies. The reception food was also very Southern–we served dishes such as shrimp and grits and pecan-crusted chicken.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I found inspiration for our wedding cake from a picture in a magazine, and our baker made the cake look ever better than I could have imagined! We had two flavors–Micah chose white chocolate cake with raspberry filling and I chose vanilla cake with strawberry filling. The outside had an awesome buttercream frosting decorated with fresh olive branches and lavender.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met on the first day of our freshman year in religion class at Presbyterian College. Micah was the smart, cute guy who sat behind me. As we got to know each other, we started to spend more time together and became close friends. However, we didn’t make it official and actually start dating until our junior year.
Tell us all about the proposal! Micah: I came home from law school in Virginia for fall break, having planned with the Thomas/Black clan that this would be the weekend I would propose. My mom planned to cook an elaborate celebratory dinner for our families after I popped the question, but she needed time to prepare for everything without Sam becoming suspicious. So, I decided to take Sam to Table Rock Mountain to hike for the afternoon. I should mention, it’s a very difficult hike and I made Sam do it with a torn meniscus. After our hike, we returned home to my family’s farm, and went to the dock overlooking our pond. While we “waited on my mom to finish cooking dinner,” I tried to hide my nerves as we talked. As we began to leave, I told Samantha that I loved her and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I got down on my knee and asked her to marry me. Of course, she didn’t believe this was really happening, because I may or may not have done several “fake proposals” during our five years together. However, when she saw the ring, she realized I was serious. Both of our families were waiting on us at my house, and we had a wonderful evening celebrating together.
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had visited several bridal shops with my mom and sister looking for “the dress.” After having a pretty bad experience at one of them, I felt a little discouraged. However, Wedding Angels in Roswell, GA was fantastic! I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and the wonderful staff members helped me find the perfect dress. I knew it was the one the moment I stepped into it and my mom started crying!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I didn’t want traditional wedding songs, but I love the elegant sound of the cello! Our cellist worked with me to come up with contemporary Christian music that sounded awesome on the cello. My bridesmaids walked in to “A Thousand Years,” the same song my sister had her bridesmaids walk down the aisle to. I walked down the aisle to “Never Once.” I loved the lyrics and the meaning behind the words. A sweet friend sang “10,000 Reasons” as Micah and I lit the unity candle. This was one of my favorite parts of the day and it was special to have her singing for us. Our first dance was to “Keeper of the Stars.” Choosing the mother/son and father/daughter songs were the easiest decision of the whole wedding–we had both known what we wanted for years! Micah danced with his mother to “Landslide” and I danced with my dad to “My Girl.”
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My sister and I got married four months apart, and neither of the weddings took place in our hometown. Obviously, that comes with a lot of added coordination, but the biggest challenge for Micah and I was being so far apart from each other. Micah was awesome, and whenever I asked his opinion on different things, his response was pretty much always the same: “whatever makes you happy.” That being said, it’s hard to plan a day all about the two of you when when your other half is states away.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One would be our officiants: my uncle and Micah’s cousin. They both did a great job making our ceremony God-centered and so personal to us. My other favorite vendor had to be Amy Arrington Photography! Amy and Brandon also shot my sister’s wedding, so they are beginning to feel like family! We loved their focus on lighting and their laid-back personalities. They are both so sweet to work with and we couldn’t have been happier with the incredible pictures they took!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Samantha: My most memorable moment was lighting the unity candle while a very close friend sang. It was the first time that I was able to take a few moments to breathe and just focus on Micah and I. Micah: My most memorable moment was saying the wedding vows to my wife. Looking at her and telling her on our wedding day that I would love and support her for the rest of my life, no matter what, will always stand out in my mind from that day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have your wedding reflect the two of you as a couple. If you are really creative and like to do things yourself, do that. But if that’s not your thing, don’t stress yourself out. Think about the things that make the two of you unique and incorporate those things in your day. It helps make wedding planning fun and special instead of stressful.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have had a long distance relationship for the past three years as Micah went to law school in Virginia and I got my Master’s degree in Atlanta. We love just finally being together and starting our marriage in a new town in South Carolina. We are looking forward to building a family together and creating a God-centered marriage!

Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Videographer: Artifice Films / Venue: Coastal Discovery Museum / Florist: The Flower Garden / Wedding Cake: Frankie Cakes / Catering and Wedding Coordination: Celebrations Catering / Lighting: Hilton Head Event Lighting / Band: The Vistas / Bride’s Gown: Wedding Angels /
Invitations: Coppia Creativa / Programs: Papel Custom Design / Napkins: With Love and Ink / Hair Stylist: The Hair Designers / Makeup Artist: Kiah from Skinzin / Bride’s Shoes: Bandolino / Bridesmaids’ Dresses Bill Levkoff / Men’s Attire: Jos. A Banks / Ties: Saks Off 5th / Bridesmaids Jewelry and Robes: Anchor of Hope Designs (the bride)

Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Kyla F reply

    Samantha and Micah’s venues were breathtaking! The doors were a really neat idea, especially with Mark 10:9 painted beautifully onto the piece. I think it is so special that they found a way to incorporate a traditional church setting into the outdoors – wonderful job!

  2. avatar Faith reply

    Wow!!! Absolutely beautiful!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Such gorgeous portraits. And their ceremony set-up reminds me of Natalie + Wade’s — so pretty + meaningful!

  4. avatar Dana reply

    the outdoor church is so awesome!

  5. avatar mary thomas reply

    As mother of the bride it is difficult to be objective how beautiful Samantha & Micah’s wedding was. Amy Arrington was so great to work with and captured the day perfectly. Looking at these pictures makes me relive the entire day all over. Thank you Lisa for presenting it in such great style, we so appreciate Southern Weddings for this fine presentation.

  6. avatar Taylor Rae reply

    As the sister of the bride I’m not objective in the slightest, but Samantha and Micah are such a wonderful couple! This wedding was so much fun to be apart of! Love it all!

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  13. avatar Natalie reply

    I really love your bridesmaid dresses! I’ve been trying to find dresses in the exact same color and styles. Where did you get them from?

  14. avatar Emily Bostaph reply

    My partner and I are planning our wedding for next fall and are trying to find the perfect venue! We both want to get married under the spanish moss trees. I was wondering what the name of this particular venue is? If it’s privately owned, would it be available for rent, for the big day?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Emily! This is the Coastal Discovery Museum, which is available to rent for events! I’ve been there myself, and it’s beautiful! The link is in the credits above :)

  15. avatar loves {31} | Lovestruck Events reply

    […] Place Setting via 100 Layer Cake Outdoor Ceremony Entrance via Southern Weddings Mercury Glass + Ranunculus Arrangement via Style Me Pretty “Hooray” Cake Topper via […]

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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