Friday, June 17, 2011
This Destination Wedding Couple Brought 200 Guests to Hilton Head, SCWords by Courtney Kellar Words by Courtney Cox
Photos by Scott Hopkins Photography
Megan and Greg always knew a destination wedding was in their future. In their minds, not only was it a way to avoid the craziness of a huge affair in their hometown of Boston, but Hilton Head, SC had history. Megan’s beloved grandparents lived in the seaside town, so she vacationed there frequently as a child. By getting married in Hilton Head, Megan could have her cake and eat it too - commit herself to Greg for life in a town with years of sentimental meaning while her elderly grandparents looked on.
“My sister got married and at the last minute, my grandparents were not able to make the trip which devastated all of us,” says Megan. “I was determined to have them walk down the aisle at our wedding!”
The couple’s family and friends were spread out across the U.S., so a destination wedding wasn’t a stretch. The couple figured if everyone was going to have to travel anyways, they might as well travel to a vacation destination. One of these friends came to the couple’s aid in recommending a potential venue: The Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa.
“The moment we walked in we both knew it was the perfect spot for our wedding,” says the couple. “It offered everything we needed right in one place. We got married on the beach, had cocktails on the patio, held the reception under the covered pavilion and had a bar on site for later in the night. And, best of all, the Westin was big enough to accommodate all of our guests and also provided a beachfront resort experience.”
The couple tried to make the destination wedding experience as easy as possible for their guests. Luckily, they found a free resource which was a lifesaver. “Greg and I set up a wedding web site at MyWedding.com,” says Megan. “It’s a free site and was really easy to use and customize. We put all the necessary information there such as the area airports and a link to booking hotel accommodations that was preset with our reduced rate. Obviously you’re going to field a lot of questions, but we tried to put as much information online as possible.”
Thanks to a wedding planner at their chosen venue, W-day went off without a hitch. The couple tried to prepare as best they could in the months leading up to the wedding. One thing that was important to them was to meet their vendors in person. “We had the opportunity to meet most of our vendors during a trip [to Hilton Head], including a ‘get to know you’ session with our photographers,” says Megan. “I highly recommend this, especially if you are a little camera shy like Greg and me.”
This bride has advice for other couples planning their own destination wedding: “Getting married out of state can be tricky. Make sure you know all the rules specific to your destination. I realized when I got to the airport that my license was expired. Turns out you can board a plane, but you can’t get married without a current license. Thankfully we found a sympathetic woman at the Hilton Head Municipal Government Office willing to process our paperwork on good faith.”
The couple admits that having a destination wedding didn’t end up being as simple as they thought, but have no regrets. They originally thought having a wedding away would narrow down their guest list, but 200 of their loved ones made the trip to Hilton Head from all over the country. Obviously this is a good problem to have and in the end the couple couldn’t have imagined the day any different.
“There was a moment in which we hesitated, thinking of all the reasons why friends and family could be put out by a destination wedding. But, thankfully, we got over that. It’s unrealistic to think you can please everyone. But know that, in the end, your friends and family want to be a part of your day – wherever it is. Within reason, of course!”
Photography: Scott Hopkins Photography
Wedding Planner: Malely Cowan, The Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa
Ceremony/Reception Site: The Westin Hilton Head Resort & Spa
Gown Designer: Jenny Yoo
Grooms Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss
Florist: A Floral Affair
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