Hilton Head Island Real Wedding


June 23, 2021
Words by Hope O'Brien
Photos courtesy of Dana Cubbage

A destination wedding is not always easy to plan, throw in a global pandemic and the road simply becomes rougher. But Kelsey and Stephen, a pandemic couldn’t stop them from having their big day in the place they fell in love with; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

The couple are no strangers to the digital world that the coronavirus pandemic has amplified, as they first met through the online dating app Bumble. It was all uphill from there as they fell in love and began to travel together and become a part of each other’s lives, and through those travels, they found Hilton Head Island. 

“After having vacationed in Hilton Head many times and being familiar with the area, it seemed like the perfect location to officially start our lives together,” the bride says. 

So the planning began to make the 700 mile trip for the wedding of their dreams. Unfortunately, their wedding planner was furloughed for part of the planning process due to the pandemic. But, the couple persevered and used multiple apps and joined Facebook groups to plan on their own.

Even through the hardships brought upon by the pandemic, the couple wasn’t going to let their dream wedding slip through their fingers and opted to have a smaller guest list than originally planned.

“We ended up only having about 40% of our original guest list able to make the day, which all things considered we understood completely,” the bride says.

With the hardest part out of the way, it was time for guests to make their way to the gorgeous Sea Pines Beach Club for the ceremony and a taste of the island.

“We chose Sea Pines Beach Club because it gave you the beautiful beach views while still getting that greenery and natural Southern feeling in Sea Pines Resort,” the bride says. 

From first look and bridal portraits in a nearby cemetery coated in towering oak trees and Spanish Moss to a beachfront ceremony, the couple made good use of the duality of the island. Friends and family gathered on the resort’s private beach as Kelsey and Stephen said “I do” to a new life together. 

Following the breathtaking ceremony, guests gathered for a seated dinner and cocktail hour in a room that overlooked the beach and rolling ocean waves. Even with the amazing scenery and magnificent ceremonies, Kelsey and Stephen learned that sometimes it’s the smaller things that make everlasting memories. 

As they said their vows, vacationers and beachgoers began to flock together to watch to share in the joyful moment, and the couple was overwhelmed with love and support from complete strangers.

“When my grandfather announced us as husband and wife for the first time, we were cheered on by not only our family and friends but the strangers who had ended up being a part of our special day,” the bride says. “After going through quarantines and stay-at-home orders, where at times it was easy to feel isolated and alone, it felt like at that moment that we were a part of something bigger than us, and it was really breathtaking.”

Vendors: Photographer: Dana Cubbage; Wedding Planner: Dawn Farrell with Sea Pines; Ceremony/Reception Site: Sea Pines Beach Club; Florist: A Floral Affair; Stationery: Minted; Groom’s Suit: Tom James; Bride’s Dress: Jasmine Bridal; Groomsmen’s Clothing: Men’s Wearhouse; Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal; Hair and Makeup: Makeup Madame; DJ: JLK Events

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