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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
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  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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    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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