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Destination I Do
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

A North Carolina Beach Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of A.J. Dunlap Photography

Chris and Jennifer have a longstanding love affair with each other and Sunset Beach, North Carolina. “This beach is a very special place to us,” says the bride. “It’s where we’ve celebrated Easter, our birthdays, July 4th and many other special firsts together. It’s a place Chris already loved and the one where we fell in love with each other.” Deciding on a Sunset Beach destination wedding in North Carolina was a cinch for the couple and thankfully so was choosing their venue. “We chose the wedding venue because it was surrounded by the water on three sides and located on a peninsula between the coast and the Inner Coastal Waterway,” explains Jennifer. 

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The destination’s proximity to their guests was another reason the couple opted for Sunset Beach nuptials. Unfortunately, Mother Nature stepped in and complicated matters. Hurricane Florence struck the North Carolina coast the week before the couple’s wedding and turned a three-hour drive into a six-plus hour drive for guests. 

“The aftermath of Florence caused major flooding and hundreds of road closures including interstates, highways and side roads,” says the bride. “Navigating the route there was changing by the minute, which impacted food and flower deliveries to our caterer and florist, our guests’ commute and even some of our vendors who were driving from our hometown.” 

Due to the unpredictable weather conditions, the couple did consider postponing the wedding, but ultimately decided to take the risk and stick with the original plan. “As we watched and tracked the storm’s devastation, we debated new dates and location, but knew in our hearts this was the perfect destination,” recalls Jennifer. “The only thing we knew to do was turn it over to God and wait for Him to reveal our plan.”

While some guests ended up having to drive up to 12 hours due to damaged roads and street closures, the couple got the beautiful destination wedding day of their dreams. “We shared our love and vows surrounded by our most favorite loved ones at a special and meaningful location, canopied under the most beautiful clear Carolina sky imaginable,” says the bride. 

Having overcome lots of obstacles (literally), the couple still don’t doubt their decision to host their wedding away. We asked Jennifer what final words of advice she would offer couples. “My advice is to always have a plan ‘B’ and to be flexible. Be patient and know that no matter what challenges you face, true love will find a way. The most helpful resource [for us] was our faith. We knew in our hearts God had a plan for us and our special day. It allowed us to stay calm in a time of uncertainty.” 

Vendors: Photographer: A.J. Dunlap Photography, Wedding Planner: Ashlee Adams from The Sutherland Estate & Gardens, Ceremony/Reception Site: Property #4209764 on HomeAway, Florist: Little River Flowers & Events, Stationery: Minted, Cake: Ashley Cakes, Gown Designer: Anthropologie, Bar Service: Pour Bar Services, Catering: Art Catering, Lighting: MC Sound Light & Video, Guest Accommodations: The Sunset Inn & Musician: Scott Pittman

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