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Real St. Simons Island Wedding


January 6, 2022
Words by Kate Darnell
Photos courtesy of Carrie Joy Photography

Ashley Kate & Will’s wedding shows the best of southern elegance along the coast. These two Atlantans brought their friends and family down to St. Simons Island, Georgia to celebrate the beginning of this next chapter in their lives. Hear from the couple themselves about their experience and insights on planning a destination wedding below:

Q: Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?
A: I have always liked the idea of a destination wedding because it feels like a wedding celebration plus a vacation for all attending. Having our wedding in June, I thought this would be an opportunity for attendees to use our wedding as a summer vacation if they chose to.  I liked the idea of traveling because you can leave the stress at home and enjoy the entire weekend once you arrive in your chosen destination. It felt like an entire week/weekend of celebrations rather than just our wedding day.  One thing that I looked most forward to when planning a destination wedding was having our wedding party and families all stay on the same properties to have more time spent celebrating with the ones we love the most.

Q: How/why did you choose the location/destination? Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?
A: I’ve always wanted a coastal wedding because I think it matches my personal style and the vibe I wanted for our wedding. I specifically chose St. Simons Island because I grew up vacationing on the island, so it felt like a second home. I’m familiar enough with St. Simons that I knew it would make for an easy location to plan a wedding. I wanted warm weather, coastal vibes, Oak trees with Spanish moss, and a beach town, which St. Simons Island had all of and so much more! Fortunately, I did not really run into any issues while wedding planning. St. Simons is such a small island that there are limited options when it comes to wedding vendors and all seem to be wonderful options that made decisions easy. Savannah and Jacksonville are two bigger cities close enough to provide vendor options if needed.

Q: How did your family and friends respond to the decision? If any of them had a negative reaction, how did you resolve it?
A: Our families were very supportive of our decision to have our wedding in St. Simons. As I said before, my family spent many vacations on the Island, and it brought us so much joy growing up that there was instant excitement when the decision was made. My husband’s mother grew up coming to the island as her family owned a house close to our wedding venue. She enjoyed reminiscing on old memories. We knew there would be some people that would be unable to make the wedding due to travel but that is usually the case for all weddings near and far. St. Simons is a coastal town in Georgia, where most of our guests live; therefore, travel was not too far to be a great concern.

Q: Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples? i.e. books, a wedding planner, referrals?
A: The main resources I used while wedding planning is the following: wedding planner recommendations, local referrals and personal research on social media. I found it very helpful to look on social media, mainly Instagram, at other weddings in the area for ideas and vendor options. Once we hired our wedding planner, she was able to give great recommendations for the area. 

Q: How were you able to coordinate with vendors from afar? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?
A: I don’t think communication was any different with vendors as it would have been in my hometown. I pretty much knew what I wanted; therefore, it was easy to communicate via email and phone with vendors. I was able to make one visit to St. Simons for wedding planning and I pretty much knocked out everything that needed to be done on purpose (i.e. venue walk-through, food and cake tasting). Other than that, all communication was via phone and email such as communicating preferences and signing contracts. I was lucky to have worked with such great vendors that provided amazing customer service and excellent communication. 

Q: How do you think your wedding would have been different had you not held it away from home?
A: I think our wedding would have been totally different if we would have stayed in our hometown of Atlanta as it is very different than the coastal town of St. Simons. The vision I had for my wedding was best met at the beach. I had hoped for an outside wedding by the beach with a small-town coastal vibe and Atlanta could not offer that. Another plus to having a destination wedding was that most of our close friends and family were willing to travel ahead of time to start the celebrations early. Between The King and Prince Resort and rental houses, we were able to accommodate large groups of family and the wedding party on the same properties which allowed for more time spent together celebrating.

Q: Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?
A: Make all decisions for you and your future spouse. You will not regret any decisions if it’s what YOU want. Choose a destination that you love and do not think twice about it! Your loved ones will show up to support you no matter how near or far.

Vendors: Photographer: Carrie Joy Photography; Wedding Planner: Jessica’s Premier Planning; Venue: King & Prince; Floral: Marble & Pine; Band: Infinity Show Band; Cake/Desserts: I DO Cakes; Hair & Make-Up: Pamper Polish & Primp; Transportation: Trolly Lighthouse; Rentals: Beachview Rentals; Wedding Painter: Kate Scrivner Art; Wedding Submission Services: Published + Pretty

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