We photographed Michelle & Mark’s beach wedding at The Palmetto Dune’s House. We began with getting ready photos of the bride at The Marriot Resort of Hilton Head while the groom, best man and family awaited Michelle’s arrival at the beach. Mark’s father officiated a touching ceremony that was followed by sunset photos on the beach while the guests enjoyed a cocktail hour. Michelle has a great sense of style and created many of the items with the help of family and friends. The customized accessories made for a relaxed and interesting reception for guests who mingled as they reminisced about carefully placed photos, signs and poems. The Dunes House is a perfect location for anyone considering a wedding reception that overlooks the beach. The marquis style lighting combined with the paper lanterns that Michelle and Mark chose created an ambiance that was wonderful for evening photos. We had a fantastic time photographing this gorgeous couple.
Ceremony Music, DJ: Brides First Dance (Bill West)
Wedding Gown: 100% silk, Anjolique gown. It was purchased from a Brides Against Breast Cancer event where all dresses are donated and 70% of the proceeds go towards cancer research.
Shoes: Coral wedges were a must once we decided on a beach wedding! Bought the wedges before I bought my dress.
Hair (amazing) LOVED that you had an elegant updo with the accent flowers! Hair was done by Fifth Avenue Salon of Hilton Head Island. I knew I needed my hair pulled back and secure since the beach would be a little windy. My florist picked the ivory and coral tea roses for my hair.
Makeup: Fifth Avenue Salon
Bride’s Jewelry: I picked out pearl jewelry I liked online and Mark bought it for me as a gift.
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Bright coral dresses from David’s Bridal…. One sister is pregnant. She opted for a Halter A-line dress.
Bridesmaid’s Dresses/Accessories/Jewelry: I gave each of my sisters a silver bracelet with Austrian crystal beads as a bridesmaid gift. They both wore it on the day of the wedding. We also all have matching rings that read: Always sisters, Forever Friends
Groom’s attire: Light grey linen pants, ivory linen shirts and rainbow flip flops. The groom prefers to be causal and comfy no matter the occasion. Keeping him cool and comfortable on our wedding day was important; my only request was that he didn’t wear his Jordan sandals to the wedding. The rainbow flip flops were my favorite part of his attire. .
Groomsmen’s attire: The Best Man wore the same outfit as the groom. They’ve been best friends since they were 5 and still talk to each other almost every day.
Florist: The Flower Shop – Bluffton; The florist Lauri wrapped my bouquet with burlap and lace her grandmother made.
Cake/Caterer The Dunes House
Was there a Rehearsal Dinner? Where? The rehearsal dinner took place the home my parents rented in Palmetto Dunes. It had a large deck overlooking a lagoon. My Dad, older sister and brother in law prepared ribs, corn on the cob and cheesey potatoes for 30 guests.
Guest Accommodations: Our friends and family rented homes in Palmetto Dunes.
We met at a Mega 80’s Concert in Grand Rapids, MI in November of 2008. Somehow I managed to captivate Mark’s attention; he actually put his phone down to engage in conversation! After a few months of dating on and off, we realized we were better together than apart and decided to make our relationship official. At that time, I was in grad school at Grand Valley State and Mark was working for Stryker in Grand Rapids. After graduating in April 2009, I moved to North Carolina an began my career as a school counselor. Shortly thereafter, Mark packed up his life in Michigan and headed down south to be with his sweetheart. Since living in North Carolina, we’ve lived in Greenville, Knightdale and now currently reside in Raleigh with our 3 cats (Bellagio, Peaches and Ivey) and Boston Terrier (Zee).
Mark proposed on March 10, 2013 while holding Peaches (our smooshed face cat) under his arm. Even though Peaches scurried away after Mark got down on one knee, she was thrilled to be part of the proposal. Mark is a medical device salesman with North Carolina and Kentucky as his territory. I’m a high school counselor in Raleigh. We love living in North Carolina and being able go and explore the fun areas along the coast (the Outer Banks, Wilmington, Atlantic Beach, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head).
Mark worried we would end up having a large wedding if we got married back home in Michigan which is why we decided to get married near where we live. We had visited the Hilton Head area a few times after my brother had moved to Bluffton last year. We fell in love with Hilton Head’s beauty and tranquility. We agreed it would be an ideal location for our “someday” wedding. It wasn’t too far from where we live and it would provide our traveling guests a vacation destination. After researching different wedding locations in Hilton Head, the Dunes House met the requirements we were looking for. It’s a great location right on the beach and affordable as long as we kept our wedding guest list small. We made the decision to get married at the Dunes House before seeing it in person, viewed it over FaceTime when the Dunes House deck was undergoing construction. After seeing the Dunes House in person for the first time in April, I knew I made the right choice. It was the perfect size for a small wedding and I loved the bar area! I knew my guests would love it too.
While visiting a hotel, I saw a wedding picture on display in the lobby with the bridesmaids on a beach wearing coral dresses; I loved how the color of their dresses popped against the sand. I knew if I got married on a beach, I wanted to have my bridesmaids wear coral. Once we decided to have a beach wedding, I had to find a more neutral color to help balance the bright coral color. Light grey was a perfect match!
I did a TON of pinning on pinterest to come up with wedding crafting ideas. With having a small wedding, I knew I could handle making all the invites, programs and decorations. Once I started crafting, I couldn’t stop. I created a list of crafts I wanted to do so I made sure I had enough time to get them done before the wedding. My sister, Laurel, my Grandma T and my best friend Michelle helped me tackle all the crafting. From chalk boards, to burlap banners…. My wedding crafts quickly took over what used to be the cats’ room in our house.
Mark does not like desserts and had no interest in having an expensive cake made. Luckily, the food package we selected at the Dunes House included chocolate cake and Key Lime Pie (my favorite!). I wanted our wedding favors to tie in with our beach wedding which is how I came up with having Salt Water Taffy. My brother and I went to Hilton Head Candy Company and tried all their flavors to decide on what ones to have as my wedding favors. So many delicious flavors but was able to narrow my decision down to 5 – Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Frosted Cupcake, Peaches and Cream and Chocolate.
Mark was taking a long time to propose (but I knew it was coming) so I started planning our wedding in February giving me 7 months to plan. Once he proposed in March, the save-the-dates were already ready to go. I was afraid everything would be booked if I waited on Mark. Starting to plan and book things early kept me from getting caught up in the stress of wedding planning. Using wedding websites and reviews to make decisions on photography, music, salons, etc…. made planning from afar very easy. All the reviews I had read held up to be true!
Both of my Grandpa’s passed away recently, so we included photos of them at the ceremony. They were a big part of my life and Mark’s as he had spent holidays with them over the last 5 years. The last time I had talked to my Grandpas, they both had asked “How’s Mark doing?” Even though they weren’t physically there for our wedding, I know they were smiling from above because they approved. My Grandpa Nuyen passed away in December. He always wore his Mickey Mouse watch, he even wore it when the battery was dead because he never went anywhere without it on. I knew when I got married, I wanted a part of him to be with me the entire night so I asked my Grandma if I could wear his watch for my “something borrowed.” Once she found the watch, she told me I could have because she knew how much he meant to me
Mark, what was it like to have your father presiding over your ceremony? It was awesome having my Dad play such a big role for the most intimate part of our wedding. Having him unite us as man and wife made the moment even more meaningful.