Hilton Head Island Wedding Vibe

Photography options

This week I am up in central NY visiting my in-laws.  The other evening our old wedding pictures surfaced and it was amazing to see what the ‘style’ was almost ten years ago– not only the colors that were popular, but the style of photography.  The majority of my pictures were posed images of family and friends, which is now the one request from brides that they don’t want from their photographer today.


Of course it is important to get a few posed shots of the family and wedding party, but couples today are looking at the overall style and feel of the photographers images.  A photojournalistic approach-capturing the candid events of the day as they unfold-is a direction most couples want to see from their wedding images.


There is also an illustrative approach where it blends traditional and photojournalistic styles allowing the couples to relax and interact without much direction so the photographer can capture some spontaneity, but there is still some technical control of the picture.


Here are some tips for selecting the perfect photographer for your Hilton Head Island wedding:


  • Make sure when researching photographers that you ask them what their style and approach to your wedding pictures will be. Look at their portfolio and perhaps use them for engagement pictures first to see how comfortable you are with the photographer.


  • Ask them if they give a disc of images with their packages. This allows you the freedom to print and share your pictures. Most photographers include this as part of their package.


  • In order to get all the moments of the day, ask if the photographer will have an assistant with him or her at the wedding.


  • It may also be important to know if the photographer has shot a wedding at your venue before.


Hilton Head Island has many of amazing photographers available. Take your time and choose carefully, as your images will be around for years!

Best Wishes!


It's a HOT one!

It is summertime on Hilton Head Island which means beautiful clear blue skies, but it can also mean high temperatures and an occasional rain shower in the afternoon. What does that mean for your June/July/August wedding? Be prepared.

If you are getting married outside, please have a rain plan. Classic Party Rentals, Affairs to Remember, The Tent Factory, all carry tents for you to secure for your wedding. Having a tent reserved as a back-up plan is the best insurance you can buy for an outdoor wedding. Most companies require 50% down to hold the tent. Ask about their cancellation policy, but most times it usually is not far enough out to really know what weather Mother Nature is going to bring. My advise is to have the tent reserved and be prepared to spend the deposit.

Also, think about a cool refreshing drink for your guests when they arrive. Bottled water in a nice galvanized tub will keep with the southern style, and be practical at the same time. Don’t forget to stay hydrated yourself!   

Choose the right time for the outdoor ceremony. Consider the placement of the ceremony relative to where and at what time the sun will set. Try to avoid the hottest time of day for your ceremony.

Offer fans to your guests. There are some beautiful and very practical ways of incorporating fans for your guest’s pleasure.

Little bottles of sunscreen are also nice gestures to let your guests know that you are considering them!

You could also rent large patio umbrellas for extra shade perhaps for your older guests’ comfort.

Hilton Head Island is a beautiful place to get married any time of the year. Just remember to consider the heat and rainfall that we experience each summer and have a wonderful wedding!

Best wishes!


A Cinderella Story

Lindsay Daniels was married yesterday to the boy next door-literally. Justin Jarman lived next to Lindsay in Charleston where she is a nurse at Roper St. Francis.  Lindsay walked her dog by Justin’s house purposely so he would notice her-and did he ever!

On Saturday, June 11th, 3 years after finally meeting, they married in front of 300 guests at Palmetto Bluff Resort.

I had the honor of speaking with Lindsay and her mother 5 hours prior to her nuptials. Lindsay was radiant and her mother beamed as she explained why their wedding day was a Cinderella story.

When Lindsay was a little girl she tried out for the role of Cinderella in her school play, and was so sad when she did not get the part. Lindsay always seemed to shine behind the spotlight. Her mother shared that when Lindsay first slipped into her Vera Wang wedding dress, she said “Mom, I finally feel like Cinderella!”

On top of having a gorgeous couture dress that was embellished with Swarovski crystals, she was taken to the dreamy chapel at Palmetto Bluff by way of a white horse-drawn pumpkin shaped carriage!

Palmetto Bluff Chapel

(The list of more magical and elegant details can be seen in my upcoming story in Hilton Head Monthly Magazine….make sure to check it out!)

Lindsay’s family resides permanently at Palmetto Bluff after being vacationers to Hilton Head Island since the early ’80’s. It is a common story to hear how vacationers turn into permanent residents to this area. It is easy to fall in love with our Island!

I also hear stories of couples vacationing only once to the Island then deciding to marry here because of how special the Island is to them.

What is your story? Do you have a wedding story to share? How about a creative proposal?

If you don’t feel like you have a story yet, make one happen here on Hilton Head Island. Best Wishes!


Who's wedding is it anyway?

This week I must reflect on the dynamics of being a zilla. You don’t have to be in the wedding business to have heard the term bridezilla.  I, however, would like to take zilla from the bride and pass it on to other members of the wedding party. In other words, one could be a groom-zilla, a bridesmaid-zilla, or what I recently encountered, a mother-in-law-zilla.

I have concluded that anyone who takes center-stage the wedding day, and declares the attention as their own (in not a nice way) is a zilla.

At a recent wedding, my heart broke for the unkind words that were expressed to the bride regarding her choices of color, where she was seated, and even the shape of her wedding cake by her mother-in-law-zilla.

It doesn’t matter what shape the cake is, or the shade of the table linens. What matters is the union of marriage for the couple. Their new journey as husband and wife.

My suggestion to those that are dealing with a zilla is to let the comments roll off your back. Keep focused on the day for what it is about. Asking a friend or family member to intercede when the zilla is approaching wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  Or, ask your wedding planner to address the concerns in a kind way.

Stress is inevitable when you have two different families being joined together; many of which are broken in some way. Parents who have divorced and remarried are now asked to all gather in harmony and put on a happy face. Dynamics like these create stress.

I recommend taking a break from it all with a spa day. Not just a day for the bride, or the ladies, but for the men too. Setting time aside to unwind at a Hilton Head Island spa prior to the wedding will help take the edge off any stressful situation. I know my husband enjoyed his “man-icure” and a facial before our wedding at FACES DaySpa,.

In addition to the amazing selections of spas on Hilton Head Island, one of the easiest ways to unwind is to take a long walk on the beach. Inhaling fresh salt-water air is key to obtaining Hilton Head Island tranquility. After all, isn’t the beauty of the Island one of the reasons to marry on the Island?!

So take the zilla to the beach or to the spa, and enjoy your day! Relax and unwind and savor the moments. From planning to wedding day, the moments should be memorable and enjoyable.

Best wishes!


Florists, Photographers and Musicians….OH MY!

Choosing Hilton Head Island as a perfect wedding location shouldn’t only be because of the Island’s natural beauty and gorgeous beaches, accessible location for your guests, it should also be because of the array of top-notch wedding vendors this Island has to offer!

As I started this blog, it troubled me to think of how I could possibly mention each and every vendor well deserved of “blogging” recognition. Over time, I will do my best to introduce the southern brides and grooms of Hilton Head Island to each hotel, country club, caterer, musician, transportation company, officiant, spa, salon, photographer, florist and planner-OH MY! (I have a lot of work to do!)

Not only does each and every vendor deserve recognition for their hard work, commitment to the industry, and incredible performance in the wedding vendor category, but also for the genuine “southern hospitality” that  they exude each day. Hilton Head Island’s charm is what makes it so special and turns visitors into  permanent residents.I’ve been a resident of the Island for 23 years and I can’t imagine living or working anywhere else!

One of the first questions I’ll ask a destination wedding couple is “why Hilton Head?” And the responses are generally the same: visited once or twice and fell in love!

The wedding couple has a tough job when they meet all the Hilton Head Island wedding vendors-how to choose just one! When it comes down to it, after budget needs and style needs are met, you have to ‘feel it’ in your gut. You have to have a connection with the vendors that will be responsible for executing your dream wedding.

It is important to establish a level of comfort that you need when planning. No one said planning a wedding wasn’t work, but it should be fun and memorable at the same time.

For most couples, this is the first time they had to hire a florist, photographer, and other wedding vendors. Choose the vendor that takes the time to listen and, not only explain their services, but also the process from planning to implementation.

In reality, however, there are very few “newbies” to the list of wedding vendors on Hilton Head Island. The vendors have remained in this business because they are the top professionals in their category.  It will be up to you to choose the best fit for your day!

Best wishes!


Sweetest Part of the Wedding

The best part of the wedding day for me is sampling the leftover cake and desserts! Wedding cakes have evolved into more than a 3-tier, symmetrical concoction of flour, sugar and buttercream. Thanks in part to reality TV, wedding cakes are becoming the focal point of the reception with price tags into the thousands.

Personally, I have never encountered the cake that comes with a construction team to assemble, but I have worked with amazing local cake designers and pastry chefs that create a beautiful and delicious compliment to the weddings.

Courtesy of Sheri's Edible Designs

A way to create an original cake, without getting overly designed, is to create a cake with tiers that vary in height,” says Sheri of Sherri’s Edible Designs.  Sheri prefers to create a cake custom to the bride and groom as opposed to selecting from a previous design. Sheri starts with a design sketch and, after some revisions, the pencil sketch becomes reality!

When I asked Sheri about the cake that stands out in her mind, “It was a wedding cake that looked like luggage! The couple met on a layover in the Atlanta airport and the rest is history!”

Courtesy of Sheri's Edible Designs, Photo by Tim Zielenbach

Flavor profiles change according to the season. “In spring and early summer, there is a more of a direction of fruit-filled cakes, chocolate and carrot cake tends to be more popular in the fall,” Sheri states.

There are several trends happening out in the wedding dessert category. Often times brides will add a dessert bar along with the cake, and ice cream bar, a gelato cart (my favorite from Pino Gelato), or cupcakes.

“My cupcake requests have doubled this year over last year,” says Holly Slayton, owner of Sweet Carolina Cupcakes. “The cupcake trend is not going anywhere for a while.”  Sweet Carolina Cupcakes has been on the Island for 3 years and is the only cupcake store on Hilton Head Island.

Photo courtesy of Sweet Carolina Cupcakes


As wedding vendors we have encountered the non-traditional bride with her traditional family. “The best way to please them both is to have a cake topper for the bride and groom to cut (pleases the family), surrounded by assorted cupcakes and additional sweets (pleases the couple),” suggests Slayton.

Mini sweets, cake pops, and cookies are pleasing to the guests even after the cake has been enjoyed. “When the guests are dancing, and at the bar, they enjoy grabbing something quick and simple,” Holly concludes.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Carolina Cupcakes

“I am even making whoopee pies for a couple for their dessert,” says Pastry Chef Susan Vogal. “I also do mini southern pies such as mini key lime pies, sweet potato pies, and pecan pies.”  The southern desserts add to the ambiance of the southern wedding.

Pricing on wedding cakes and desserts can vary from $3 per person and up.  The old adage “you get what you pay for” holds true with cakes and desserts as well. Tastings are important and forming a relationship with your chosen wedding cake vendor is important as well.

So, how good is the cake a year later? Sheri of Sheri’s Edible Designs said that she has actually gotten calls a year later from couples who said “it was actually pretty good!” Personally, being local, we asked our pastry chef to remake a small, single layer of the cake we had at our wedding. It was fresh and a nice treat since I don’t remember what the cake tasted like the night of my wedding. Too bad she isn’t here any longer, because I would have asked her to do the same for my upcoming ten year anniversary!

As a wedding planner I always recommend savoring every detail of your wedding, and this includes the sweet stuff!

A Historic Island Style Wedding

One of the reasons I love weddings on Hilton Head Island is the variety of venues there are to choose from. Historic Honey Horn Plantation at the Coastal Discovery Museum is on the top of my list because it truly reflects the history and southern charm of our area.

Once a working cotton plantation, Honey Horn offers several areas of the property to host a wedding or even a rehearsal dinner. The Mary Ann Peeples Pavilion is a 4,000 sq. ft. covered area with plenty of options to set-up a wedding reception. Right next to the pavilion are several gorgeous live oak trees that create the perfect backdrop for a ceremony.

Also on the property is a terrace with fountain that overlooks Jarvis Creek.  Couples have the option of renting the entire facility, or just a part of the plantation. This flexibility of options is appealing to couples as they consider their budget and style.

The property has plenty of parking, great accessibility to the north and south ends of the island, clean enclosed restrooms, and a great kitchen for your caterer. It also can accommodate hundreds of guests! (In case you plan on inviting all your cousins twice removed!).  Guests appreciate the history of the property and the uniqueness of the space.

My favorite wedding so far at Honey Horn Plantation was last weekend, Amy and Peter. Amy, from Atlanta, and Peter, South African, met at a bar (yes, it does happen) two years ago and had an instant connection since Amy had just happened to travel to his native area. Peter owns property on Hilton Head Island and thought that since his family would be traveling already, why not spend a week with everyone enjoying the area as well.

Their wedding was host to 90 guests (our average there is about 150 at Honey Horn) and they married under the breathtaking oak trees and dined on family style rectangular tables. Sherri from Sherri’s Edible Designs made a scrumptious 3-tiered wedding cake and we served it with an ice cream sundae bar.  The Tent Factory, lit the pavilion with amazing twinkle lights, draping and lanterns to create a southern-romantic ambiance.

Other amazing lighting designers are Jamie and Liz Bodie of JLK Events. They also have a photo booth for rental which the guests have a blast taking pictures all night long (and it is fun to see the progression of the guests throughout the night as the bar remains open!) Old Savannah Tours has open air trolleys for your guests to shuttle to and from their hotel accommodations.

Tips for a successful Honey Horn wedding, or any outdoor wedding in this area,:

  1. Have a back-up plan.  Make sure you reserve a tent for your function. Classic Party Rentals is a full service tent and event rental company.
  2. Spray for the pesky noseeums (pronounced ‘no-see’ums)-any they are pesky! Contact a pest control company but make sure the products they are environmentally safe and they company is cleared through Honey Horn Plantation.
  3. Consider your date carefully. June and July are HOT here in the south. If you plan a summer wedding, make your guests comfortable with fans and possibly some nice cool lemonade and bottled water upon arrival.

If you don’t marry at Honey Horn, I encourage you to at least make sure you visit during your Hilton Head Island vacation.

Best Wishes!



I Do! Now What?

I DO! What?

Hilton Head Island Sunset Wedding 2007

Congratulations on your engagement! Hilton Head Island is a premier location for destination weddings. There is no passport necessary and beautiful beaches and sunny skies await you and your guests! There are plenty of options to choose from for your wedding reception and accommodations are plentiful! Get ready to put your feet in the sand and say “I DO!”

To start a beach ceremony you will need to contact The Town of Hilton Head for a beach ceremony permit. Make sure you check the tides on your wedding day to guarantee plenty of sand for your ceremony chairs and guests. Your guests will appreciate a basket of flip flops and sunscreen just in case you choose a summer month! The most popular months for a Hilton Head Island wedding are April-May and September-October.

In addition to a beach ceremony permit, you will need a marriage license. The Beaufort County website can guide you through the process.


Check out my blog every Tuesday for ideas and information on a Hilton Head Island wedding. I will highlight pictures of weddings in the area and the professional wedding vendors that are here to assist you. If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me as well!

UPDATE – Getting Hitched in Hilton Head Island

Getting Hitched on Hilton Head Island

Bride on the beach

After careful deliberation, Julie Klein and Dave Battiste were chosen from among many deserving couples to be finalists in the Get Hitched contest.  The lucky pair was then chosen to get hitched on Hilton Head by votes online from all over the country.

From Pittsburgh, PA, both Julie and Dave vacationed many times with their families on Hilton Head Island and decided that it would be the perfect location to celebrate their wedding.  They will tie the knot this November on the lawn at the Harbour Town Golf Links.  A reception in their honor will be held at Windows on the Waterway in Hilton Head Plantation.

In the meantime, dozens of vendors have volunteered their products and services for the happy event.  In addition to Celebrations Catering & Events, the list of sponsors includes All About Me, Ben Arnold Spirits, Classic Party Rentals, the Coastal Discovery Museum, Crescent Pointe Golf Club, FACES Day Spa, Main Street Inn, Outside Hilton Head, Photography by Anne, ResortQuest, The Sea Pines Resort, Sheri’s Edible Designs, the Westin Resort & Spa and others.

You can read more about the lucky couple’s journey to wedded bliss on Celebrations Catering & Events website.