Destination I Do
Thursday, October 20, 2011

Destination Wedding Charleston: A Dream Military Wedding!

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Sara France Photography

I like to believe that good things happen to good people. This is the case with Amy and Michael, a longtime military man. The couple got engaged and entered a contest they found online – Joanna Bailey Weddings 2010 Military Dream Wedding. Because the couple has lived all over the country, and not always in the location of their choice, a destination wedding was the perfect opportunity to start their life to together as man and wife in a destination of their liking. Amy and Michael were the lucky winners of Wedding Coordinator Joanna Bailey’s contest and said “I do” in Charleston, SC.

While winning the contest was certainly a blessing, Amy and Michael had to resign most of the control over their wedding. All their vendors were predetermined as each of them donated their services for the big day. While the couple had complete confidence in their planner, there was still the fear of the unknown; they had never even been to Charleston! The location, like the vendors, was predetermined and part of the contest. Thankfully, after a weekend girls trip with her mom her worries were put to rest and Amy quickly fell in love with her venue, Lowndes Grove Plantation, and her South Carolina location.

“How was I supposed to make decisions on the colors, the theme, or even the food never having experienced it before?” says Amy. “I decided I had to see it for myself. After experiencing the venue, food and incredibly romantic city of Charleston, every fear of the unknown was eliminated and the true excitement for the wedding began.”

While the couple’s destination wedding was certainly a dream come true, it wasn’t without hiccups. “There were flight cancelations, lost wallets, lost baggage and a car accident, just to name a few,” says Amy. “My uncle had to rent a car with strangers and drive to town when his flight was cancelled and my grandparents had to wear other family member’s clothes until their bags were returned. The good thing was that everyone took everything in stride. Things happen, usually when it is least opportune, but is how you respond that will make or break it. For me, I tried to think of it all as making more of an interesting story!”

Thankfully, once everyone arrived, things calmed down a bit and the couple’s family settled into a beach home donated for the occasion by Island Realty. The couple’s guests rented additional houses next door and they were able to not only spend an enormous amount of time together, but save some serious cash in the process. This was truly a family affair as guests pitched in and shared rental cars to make sure everyone got where they needed to go.

While Michael and Amy had some serious hiccups leading up to their wedding, there’s no doubt in Amy’s mind that a destination wedding was the way to go. “Looking back on all of the long distance communication with my wedding planner and vendors, it was almost easier than in person,” says Amy. “Making a phone call or sending a quick email was so much easier than scheduling appointments, taking time off work and driving across town to meet with someone time and time again.”

“Another thing I noticed while planning a destination wedding is that your options are limitless. When in your hometown, it is easy to have tunnel vision hiring only local vendors when in actuality you could hire anyone, anywhere and sometimes for les s money. Sometimes your hometown may not have the best deal, or even the best vendors.”

The couple’s vendors came from all over the country be a part of this Dream Military Wedding giveaway. Their photographer, Sara France, came from San Diego, their wedding planner is from Denver, her dress came from a boutique in Colorado Springs and their stationary was made in Maryland. A true demonstration of how your options are limitless for a destination wedding.

Amy’s a bride who’s wise beyond her destination wedding years. There’s no doubt that her and her husband Michael were the perfect pick for this dream wedding giveaway. We at Destination I Do would like to give a special shout-out to each of the vendors who donated their services and to Joanna Bailey Weddings especially for creating such a wonderful contest to honor our military members!

Photographer: Sara France Photography with Valerie Schooling & Neil Cowley
Wedding Coordinator: Joanna Bailey Weddings
Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation
Gown Designer: Alisa Benay Couture
Florist: A Charleston Event
Stationary: Allison Barnhill Designs
Additional Vendors: Oatmeal & Lace, Leslie Willis Jewelry, OOH Events & Specialty Rentals, The Stitch Witch, Technical Event Company, Olive Productions & Event Works Rentals.

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