This weeks Real Wedding is brought to you by newlyweds Deborah and John’s unbelievably beautiful Sea Island, Georgia wedding. Just wait until you see the tent. Listen closely kiddooze, Deborah knows what. is. up.
We chose to have a destination wedding in Sea Island, Georgia. Sea Island is located off the Atlantic coast of southeastern Georgia, along five miles of private beach. This was a special location for us, because my family vacations there every summer and we have so many wonderful memories. Because I am from such a large family, we have always had a strict “no ring, no bring” policy when it comes to boyfriends/girlfriends- and John was actually the first exception the summer of 2007- even though we had only been dating 5 months.
For the wedding weekend and leading up to it, we played off my favorite color, green. Our color scheme was green, brown, and crème. The letter pressed invitations and all other printed materials kept the same theme. The wedding weekend and theme really was an extension of John and I’s favorite things-colors, drinks, food and gift boxes.
I wanted the guests to get a true feel for Sea Island- the southern hospitality and charm. The guests were able to experience this through each venue we chose for the various events. The whole weekend and each venue had different feel and theme, personal touches of our favorite things, signature drinks, napkins, table linens, bars, etc. We assembled welcome baskets for each guests with our favorite southern bites, bottled water in our color scheme, etc. and a detailed itinerary of the wedding weekend.
The groom’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner on Thursday night at Frederica Boathouse for family, wedding party and close family friends. The venue was so masculine and rustic, right on an old lake and perfect for a rehearsal dinner- the invitation set the tone and color scheme for this night.
Guests were first greeted by sounds from a bagpiper in honor of the groom’s Scottish heritage and during the cocktail hour, listened to a Frank Sinatra type band, took boat rides on the old wooden boats below, and sipped on the signature drink: “The Mactini” (we played off my husband’s last name: McInnes and his favorite liquor-Crown).
Each table was named after John and I’s favorite places in Portland, Oregon. Portland means so much to the both of us as it is one of our very favorite places to visit. – The head table was appropriately named “The View Point Inn” as this is the place we got engaged.
On Friday during the day, my dad hosted a golf tournament at The Lodge, while I had my bridesmaid luncheon. Friday evening, we hosted a Southern Welcome Dinner for all guests at Rainbow Island. This is a charming outdoor venue right on the Black Banks River and is surrounded by marshlands. Guests were welcomed by the soul singers- the Friendly Stars, that sang old southern music .
During cocktail hour, guests smoked cigars, sipped on the signature drinks: Firefly and True Blue, cracked roasted oysters, and sat by several fire pits. During dinner and after, a blue grass band played on while guests ate the buffet style southern comfort food: shrimp and grits, fried chicken, bbq ribs, sweet potatoes, sliders, etc. We also had an elaborate dessert bar and s’mores for guests to roast around the fire pits.
The wedding ceremony took place in a garden underneath hundred year old trees. We had originally wanted to get married in the chapel right on the garden grounds, but it only fit 90 people. Instead, I chose to walk out of the chapel into the garden to walk down the aisle, so I feel like I got the best of both worlds.
My maid of honor was my sister, Bekah, and the other bridesmaids were my 3 sisters and sister in law. The bridesmaids wore Coren Moore, brown silk shantung dresses from Bella Bridesmaids. I had asked them each to pick a different style that flattered them the most- and they all ended up choosing the same cut. Since our main color pattern was green, and all the groomsmen and ushers wore green and crème ties, it was a perfect balance for the color scheme.
One of the very first bridal gowns I put on was the one I chose-it just felt so appropriate for Sea Island. I wore a strapless gown from the Vera Wang Luxe collection. We both come from such large families- I am one of 8 and he is 1 of 5 – and Because our family means so much to us, we really wanted each of them involved in our wedding someway: my sisters and sister-in-law were my bridesmaids, John’s 3 brothers were his groomsmen, the flower girls and ring bearers were our nieces and nephews, etc. It made the ceremony so personal.
The reception was located across the street at The Beach Club- which we had tented. The signature drink as guests walked in was my absolute Sea Island FAVORITE- Front Porch Lemonade. The tent and table cloths had custom made green and brown linens- as well as the bar.
We had a second tent for the band and dance floor- which was right off the ocean. My favorite thing about this tent was the black and white dance floor- not only did it give a great feel, it made for great pictures.
One of my favorite parts of the entire wedding was our first dance. The song we both love is “Your Love is Lifting me Higher” by Jackie Wilson – Although it is an older song, and fast, we danced to it our first dance-and it was so much fun. The funny part is that we had taken a couple dance lessons to at least try and be coordinated during this first dance—little did we know that the band would play it 3 times faster than we had practiced-so we were a little off- but we still made it fun! -We just wanted everything to be personalized and that song meant so much to us.
We never let each other get taken away by another conversation and were always right by each other. –It’s easy to be whisked away by a family friend- but I would advise staying with the groom since it is y’alls day. We never left each other’s side the entire night and danced the night away.
We had a special room called “Deborah’s Sweet Treats”, dedicated to my addiction to all things sweet: cookies, brownies, fine chocolates, coffee and liqueur.
I surprised my husband with a mint chocolate chip ice cream grooms cake – and had a “Johnny Mac’s Late Night” station set up in honor of his obsession for late night: sliders, hot dogs, milk shake shooters…. It was so fun surprising him with this and I can’t tell you how happy it made him!
Literally, the entire wedding weekend was my favorite- I can’t pin point one exact moment- it was so fun having your closest friends out to a place I hold so near and dear to me. It truly meant the world. I loved each night for different reasons because they were so different. I was able to let go and just soak it all up.
My biggest piece of advice to brides: it is about you and the groom- no one else. This is the only time in your life when all of your closest family and friends will be there all in one spot to celebrate the two of you! If the two of you weren’t getting married- there would be no need for a party. You just have to keep remembering when things don’t go as planned or what not, that it is truly a celebration of the two of you and your families coming together. This is a weekend for you to celebrate, not stress.
Deborah’s sister, Mary Beth Burrow was her wedding planner www.marybethevents.com , she also designed and executed every single invitation and ALL printed materials for the wedding…impressive
Photographer: Missy McLamb out of North Carolina and New York City http://www.missymclamb.com/
I mean, does a Southern lady know how to throw a wedding, or what!?