Destination Wedding on Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Island, SC beach wedding

Trudy and Sean (and 150 of their closest friends and family) traveled from Denver to Kiawah Island, South Carolina for a colorful and oh-so personal destination wedding.  We asked Trudy about their decision making process and here’s what she shared.  We fell in love with Kiawah Island the first time we visited. We spent our first Christmas together there and have gone back every year since. It is such a magical place. We decided on The Sanctuary because of its breathtaking views of the ocean. The Grand Lawn, where the ceremony was held, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. When you stay at The Sanctuary you truly feel like you are at home and we wanted our guests to feel the same way.”  A place of personal meaning and beautiful backdrops!

destination wedding welcome bags

What’s a destination wedding without matching welcome bags for all the guests?!  These goodies included a note of gratitude from the couple, a weekend schedule, snacks and even custom beer koozies!

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“I wanted to incorporate a South Carolina theme. My friend who is a graphic designer in Denver created a monogram with our initials and a palmetto tree that was included in the wedding details.  She also designed our hang tags that said “welcome to the low country,” a welcome letter, koozies, and wedding weekend schedule, which were part of the bags guests received upon arrival. Small details such as these made me feel like the wedding was something I created.”

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The bridesmaids wore bright pink dresses hung on custom hangers for each of Trudy’s favorite gals.

custom bridesmaid hangers

This wedding day was one that fate decided long ago.“Sean and I met in our first class as undergrads at James Madison University in 2002. We never dated seriously in college, but we always knew there was something special between us. This was confirmed when our paths coincidentally crossed a little over a year after graduation when Sean was visiting friends in Washington, DC. I was living there at the time and we ran into each other thanks to a mutual friend. Eight months later, we packed up my car, waved goodbye to my mom and Nanny, and started the cross-country trip to Denver, Colorado, where Sean lived.

We got engaged three years later in Vail. The weekend of our engagement was one of the most special weekends of my life. Sean flew in my mom, his parents, all of his brothers and his sister in law so they could share the exciting news with us.”

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We asked the bride what inspired this bright and cheerful color palette? A perfect mix of her favorite things and the holiday (they wed on St. Patrick’s Day)!  The green was a given because we got married on St. Patrick’s Day. Pink is my favorite color, so I decided to keep it simple and use pink and green as the dominant colors. I knew I wanted the bridesmaid dresses to be pink because they would pop against the green grass on the Grand Lawn, the location of the ceremony.”

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We love this first look!  They look like they are already having so much fun.  A perfect match.

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With a wedding date rich in Irish tradition, it was fitting that their wedding was too.  “We have strong family ties to Ireland, especially my husband’s family. His grandparents are first generation immigrants.  We didn’t want to get married during the summer because of the heat and humidity in the south, so St. Patrick’s Day was our first choice for a wedding date. We were thrilled that it was available.” 

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“The ceremony was the most memorable part of our wedding for both of us. My mom walked me down the aisle, which was a very special memory for me and Sean was led into the ceremony by a bag piper, which was very moving given his Irish roots. We were both very nervous about the weather because we got married outside and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.”

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“We wanted our wedding to be a weekend spent with our closest family and friends. Given that Kiawah Island and The Sanctuary are such beautiful places on their own, I didn’t want to add too much to take away from the natural setting.”

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 “I wanted the wedding to be a representation of us and I did this by designing and creating the table numbers and place cards (thanks to my creative mother-in-law).”

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Words of wisdom for future destination couples?  “Do your research! I only took three trips to Kiawah during the planning of my wedding and I set up meetings with vendors back to back. Due to limited time, I could only meet with a couple photographers, florists, etc. Doing extensive research on the vendors before I got there helped me weed out those that I knew I wouldn’t like and I could make the best use of my time there by meeting with those that I knew were reputable.”

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Then the newlyweds jetted off to St. Thomas for a romantic island honeymoon!

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Congratulations Trudy and Sean!

Destination Wedding Photographer:  Richard Ellis Photography

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Planner: Melanie Murphy, By Invitation Only… Event Planning & Design, Ceremony: The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, Reception: The Ocean Room at Kiawah Island, Caterer + Cake: The Sanctuary, Florist: Tiger Lily, Bridesmaids: Lula Kate, Lula Kate Flagship in Charleston, SC, Band: Back to Zero, Bag Piper: Jimmy Ryan, Lowcountry Piper, Makeup: Charleston On-Site Makeup: Kelly Campbell, Stationary: Pumpkinhead Paperie

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  • Trudy DeWitt

    I love the post! Such a great way to remember our wedding day.