Although it is practically impossible to come up with any real “rules” of wedding planning, there are a few guidelines that I think almost always apply: to work with your venue’s style and colors rather than against them, and that simple is often better. Cassidy and Mark hit it out of the park on both of these accounts, and as a result, their Outer Banks wedding was the stuff of beach wedding dreams! Their venue, The Saltaire House, needed very little decoration, so they included just a few thoughtful details that focused on their guests’ experience and let the romantic gardens and ocean views take care of the rest.
Thanks to Ben Lowry for sharing this beautiful wedding with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Right after we got engaged and I returned to Raleigh, I looked up wedding dress shops online. I called a place I had seen before called Traditions By Anna, and as it turned out, they were having a sample sale the following week and were taking appointments. I made one with the intention of going to find out what I was looking for, not to actually buy. My good friend came with me and I picked out four dresses. The second one I tried on was stunning! The ladies at the shop said no one had ever tried it on in front of them. When I walked out into the front room where the natural sunlight was coming in, I knew it was my dress. The light caught the crystals in the dress beautifully. It was like no dress I had ever seen and I loved it!
I walked down the aisle to the sound of live steel drums playing Canon in D. I played piano growing up and it was always my favorite song. I was ecstatic when I learned that they could actually play it on steel drums. When they announced us, the drums played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My family and I have traveled to the Outer Banks for many vacations. We thought it would be nice to have our wedding and a vacation combined so we could all spend more time together. When Mark and I went to look for a venue in the Outer Banks, I immediately fell in love with the Saltaire House.
The Saltaire House has a wraparound porch, a “saloon”-like bar, and gorgeous Southern decor. To keep people cool, we offered gorgeous paper fans from BHLDN and refreshing cucumber water. Our specialty cocktail was a John Daly (vodka, lemonade and sweet tea). Our food from Enchanted Cuisine was Southern and delicious–for appetizers, we had hush puppies, pickled shrimp with smoky cocktail sauce, and pimiento and crab on cornbread crostinis. Our main courses included NC pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, mac and cheese, watermelon and feta salad, and smoked chicken over Lowcountry red rice.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Yum! Just Desserts made our three-tiered wedding cake. It had ombre green layers, and was decorated with hydrangeas and white starfish. She did a wonderful job! Two of the layers were chocolate eclair, and the third layer was macadamia nut.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The caterers and service staff were fantastic, but I think the music is what really made our night. The steel drums were unique and sounded so beautiful during the reception and cocktail hour. During and after dinner, our DJ was amazing at feeling out the crowd and playing things we loved. There was so much dancing–that was Mark and I’s favorite part about the evening.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Mark and I first met in November 2008. My friend was dating his friend, and I was dating someone else, and we all met up at the designated “Ohio State” bar to watch a big game. We are both from Ohio, but lived in Raleigh at the time. A little over a year passed, and once I had split with my boyfriend, I signed up for Match.com. I emailed Mark because I thought he was cute, but I didn’t remember having met him. He immediately recognized me. Fortunately, he was the only man I had to go on a date with through Match, and on our first date, I knew that he was the one.
Tell us all about the proposal! We went to Las Vegas to celebrate Mark’s 30th birthday. He planned for us to take a gondola ride at the Venetian, then to go to a nice dinner, and finally, to go see Phantom of the Opera (my favorite Broadway show). After a little gambling and relaxing, we made our way to the Venetian for the gondola ride. Mark was frantic because we were running late for the “reservation,” but I didn’t think it was that serious. We eventually made it to the ride. Under the second bridge, Mark pulled out my GORGEOUS ring, turned to me, said some lovely words, and asked me to marry him. I was stunned! However, before I officially said yes, I really wanted him to ask on one knee. Mark is a big rule-follower, so he asked the gondolier if he could undo his velcro seatbelt and get on one knee. I got two proposals when he asked me all over again! Of course, I cried and said yes!
When did y’all get married? June 22, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not. We both wanted to see each other for the first time in front of all of our friends and family. It was an amazing moment.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My older sister read a “quote” from Bob Marley that I loved! “She’s not perfect–you aren’t either, and the two of you may never be perfect together, but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break–her heart. So don’t hurt her, don’t change her, don’t analyze, and don’t expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she’s not there.”
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Staying within a budget was very challenging, and we took a lot of time to create our menu. My husband and I LOVE food, so that was one of the biggest priorities of the day. My brother-in-law, who is a chef, helped create the menu, and my caterer, Gwen Hart from Enchanted Cuisines, was so nice and accommodating. She did an amazing job creating the food we asked for and everyone raved about it.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Once I had a budget, I mapped out how much we could spend in each area. Once we had that, I worked very hard to stay within it, which helped a lot. I didn’t spend a lot on centerpieces or flowers, because the home and the outdoors lent itself to beautiful pictures and decor.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Do what makes you happy. Decide what is most important to you (food, drinks, flowers, decor) and go from there. Food, drink and photos mattered most to us, and that was where we were willing to spend more. And at your reception, DANCE!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are moving back to Ohio soon to be closer to our families and to eventually start our own family. We will miss North Carolina, but it will always be a place we can return to for vacations and visiting friends.
Photographer: Ben Lowry / Venue: The Saltaire House / Florist: The Embellishers / Wedding Cake: Melinda Gregory of Just Desserts / Caterer: Enchanted Cuisine / Rentals: Ocean Atlantic Rentals / Ceremony Musicians: One Love Caribbean Steel Drum Band / DJ: DJ Fresh, Clarence Randall / Bridal Salon: Traditions by Anna / Paper Fans: BHLDN / Bride’s Earrings: Kate Spade / Hair Stylist: Ashley Dashiell of Dimensions Hair / Makeup Artist: Chelsey Crago / Bride’s Shoes: DSW / Groom’s Attire: Tommy Bahama / Shuttle: Island Limo