Olivia & Ryan | Real Weddings
An intimate, nautical-themed ceremony and reception in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, provided a romantic coastal setting for Olivia and Ryan’s southern celebration.
We love the South! We visit South Carolina every year and decided this is where we wanted to tie the knot. We did not want the typical wedding. We wanted something totally unique. Having fewer than 50 guests gave us plenty of unique options!
We were debating back and forth on whether we should have a beach wedding or a more inland wedding. Then we found the house and it took our breath away. It’s about a 5-minute drive from the beach and absolutely stunning. It is right on the inlet, so we had our own private dock. We had our own suite on the third floor, while the bridal party and our families had the first two floors—it was a blast being able to celebrate with everyone we love under the same roof for a few days. We had the ceremony in the front yard, overlooking the waterway, and the reception in the back, around the pool and in the first level of the house.
What was your theme and inspiration for the wedding?
Our theme was coastal chic. Our colors were rose gold, navy blue and white. My wedding ring is rose gold, which I am absolutely obsessed with, so we decided to incorporate rose gold. Rose gold décor was so hard to find! We ended up making almost all the décor! Ryan is in the army and wanted to wear his dress blues, so then we decided on the navy blue. We made all the decorations ourselves. My personal favorite was our dessert table (I spent most of the evening there). And each table had a theme instead of a number: we had Pearl, Anchor, Shell and Coral tables; the head table was the Mermaids and the Captains.
What were your favorite moments?
We chose the month of May because for the most part it is typically dry and temperatures are mild. But a week before the wedding they predicted Tropical Storm Bonnie was going to hit our area of South Carolina on our wedding day! Naturally, I was freaking out. What are the odds?! Our reception was supposed to be in the backyard around the pool, but we decided to play it safe and use the first floor of the house (which was also beautiful). During the rehearsal it rained the entire time. I had all my girls crawl into bed with me the night before to have a sleepover and we were like, “Well, this is it, girls! Getting married in a tropical storm!” We woke up the next morning to blue skies. It was amazing. I get goosebumps thinking about it. It was like a wedding gift from God. Although the day was horribly humid (you can tell by my hair in the wedding photos), not a single drop fell until 10pm, when the wedding was ending. It was an absolute dream.
What made you know your dress was “the one?”
My dress gives me life and I wish I never had to take it off! The gown I chose was Dori by Hayley Paige. Everyone always told me that you choose the exact opposite dress of what you think you will choose. This one hundred percent applied to me. I wanted a romantic, off-the-shoulder gown and I ended up with the blingiest one in the whole store. Hayley Paige is beyond talented. All of her gowns are works of art. My mom showed me this gown online about six months prior to my trying anything on and she said, “I want you to try this on. It is stunning.” I thought it was gorgeous but not really what I was going for. The second I tried it on, I didn’t want to take it off. I would not even try anything on after that. Mama knows best! We had the best experience at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite. My bridal consultant, Dominika Rudny, was beyond helpful and cute—I wanted to take her home with me. We ended up clicking so well that we’re still friends! Also, the alterations team is so sweet. They are miracle workers.
Any advice for brides-to-be?
Do not let anything get you down—not even a tropical storm! Enjoy every second of that day because it goes by so fast. Make the best of every situation and do not get caught up in things that don’t matter. Don’t get so caught up in the wrapping, but celebrate the actual gift of marriage! Take mental pictures of precious moments. This is your time to shine.
Where will you honeymoon?
Four days after we were married, Ryan was shipped out for army training for a month. What a bummer that was, being newlyweds! So we actually have not taken a honeymoon yet. We’re thinking that around Christmas time, Hawaii is calling our names.
Photos by Rachael Bowman Photography
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