Oysters Are an Aphrodisiac (And Other Things You Should Know About Coastal Weddings)

The sun’s out, the sand’s between our toes, and the waves are practically begging us to wade on in. It’s difficult not to enjoy the many, many perks of living and working on the beautiful Georgia coast, but it’s true that we enjoy some more than others. The best perk of all? Getting to be a part of all of your fabulous coastal weddings! 

In honor of our love of all things sea and sand, we’re reviewing some of our top tips for planning a waterside wedding your guests will NEVER forget. 

Don’t be a Beach

+1 for blogger Paige’s pun count, everybody. Who’s keeping score? 

Okay, but seriously… let’s talk about your options, here. If you’re not one for the fuss and muss of a beach wedding, there are plenty of places around Savannah for you to get your sea-breeze fix without the sandy mess. With countless beach resorts within driving distance, you can enjoy the view of the ocean from the air conditioned comfort of a ballroom or watch the waves crash from a deck waaaay out of their reach. 

Still set on an outdoor ceremony? No problem! Venues such as Bethesda Academy (the location of this gorgeous photoshoot), The Wyld Dock & Bar, and Oatland Island are perfect for those of you looking to indulge in the natural beauty of the rivers and marshes that surround Savannah. 

It’s all in the Destination

Is Savannah your last stop on before you tie the knot? Great! We love it when couples choose to make their wedding day an adventure. Just bear in mind that you might need a little extra wiggle room in your timeline when planning a destination wedding, especially if you plan to visit several times throughout the process. 

We know this city and the surrounding area like the back of our hands, so you won’t have to worry about your guests ending up stranded in some featureless beach town. The greatest thing about having a beach wedding in Savannah is that you and your guests are never too far from the finer amenities of the city. Even the islands are plenty equipped to keep you entertained both pre-and-post wedding!

No Need to Stick to Tradition

If you’re not into palm trees and sand dollars, there are plenty of waves for you to achieve that beachy-decor feel without compromising on your sense of style. I mean, just check out that epic oyster arch by Jeffrey Scott Kessler Weddings and Events. Beachy and beautiful! 

To master your beach decor, start by choosing a palette that reminds you of the shore. Let the opalescent whites and blues of the oyster shells you love serve as your inspiration, or go for a soft watercolor green with hints of gold and ivory. 

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Can you see your gauzy table runners fluttering in the sea breeze yet? Add pampas grass to your centerpieces and surround them with lots of flickering candles sat atop sand in hurricane jars. You’ll be in the beach bum spirit in no time. 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand “Woaaaah’s” 

We might be a bit biased, but in our humble opinion, the Georgia coast is one of the most beautiful places in the south to have a wedding. There are so many opportunities for you to score the wedding photoshoot of a lifetime-- and in all sorts of locations, too! 

Personally, we’d love to see a couple rent a boat-- yes, a boat!-- as their getaway vehicle, just like Julianne Hough and her hubby Brooks did on their big day. Um, coolest portraits EVER! Just imagine all of the amazing drone footage your videographer would get… we can just see it now, the camera panning out from you happy lovers on the dock to reveal the river cutting through the marsh that surrounds you. Yes please!

What else are you dying to know about coastal weddings? Let us know in the comments down below! 

{Vendor Credits} Photography: Rachel Strickland Photography // Gowns: Ivory & Beau // Venue: Bethesda Academy // Event Stylist: Two Chicks and a Trunk // Hand Painted Stationery: One Nine Design Co. // Cake/Desserts: Dewey's Delights // Hair: Roots Southern Salon // Makeup: Melaine MUA // Jewelry: RMC Boutique // Arch & Florals: Jeffrey Scott Kessler Weddings and Events

How to Include the Littlest, Stickiest, Funniest Guests of All: KIDS!

We’ll give you one guess at who the littlest, stickiest, and arguably funniest guests are at a wedding… okay, you got it? 

That’s right! Kids

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Alright, so not everyone’s down to bring the munchkins to the party-- and hey, we get that!-- but there is something to be said about celebrating the joy of a wedding through a child’s eyes. We love the little unpredictable things they do, from wandering around the aisle waving hi at all of the other guests to dancing in place as mom and dad say “I do,” these moments are some of the sweetest. 

But how, you may ask, do I keep these sweet moments from turning into something out of a sour patch commercial? 

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Well, first, you put them in tiny flower crowns and boutonnieres like I&B Couple James & Adrienne… I mean, it’s pretty hard to get frustrated with anything THAT cute, right?

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Okay, okay. All jokes aside, the key to keepin’ the kids from getting rowdy is keeping them involved. Have them walk you down the aisle or give them a chance to say a few of their own words when the time comes to exchange vows. Make sure to give them a very important task-- such as holding the bouquet (if it’s small enough for their little arms to handle) or keeping your veil from blowing away-- to keep them from getting too antsy mid-ceremony. 

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Oh, yeah, speaking of ceremonies and little limbs: give those tiny tots a chance to rest their legs! We loved James and Adrienne’s idea to seat the kids at a rug throughout their ceremony. You might consider giving them individual pillows or even a child-sized chair-- complete with a garland or floral arrangement to match your arch! 

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The fun doesn’t have to end at ceremonies, however. There are plenty of ways to keep the kids entertained throughout the night! Set up a dedicated play area with some toys to take home or set out custom coloring sheets as keepsakes. If there are enough kids in attendance, you might even consider asking the DJ to announce a kids-only jam sesh. Trust us, the pictures will be absolutely priceless.

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How do you plan to involve kids in your wedding? Let us know in the comments down below!

{Vendor Credits} Photography: Mackensey Alexander // Florals: Ivory & Beau

Cake is Always a Good Idea

Let's talk cake. Who doesn't love a good yummy cake? And an adorably designed cake table complete with custom accessories and details that fit the whole vision for the big day is just the icing on top of the cake. I love all things custom and unique and think that the cake and/or dessert table is the perfect place to get creative for your wedding day. As long as it tastes good too of course... 

Before the accessories though, here's a sneak peek of one of our most recent shoots with a cake from The Topiary. I am obsessssssssed with this Southwestern style cake she created for us complete with a funky pattern and fringe. She wasn't sure when I told her I wanted something that would be on top of a terracotta pot but I got to say, I love how it turned out!!! More from this shoot (complete with an alpaca) will be up on the blog soon! 

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I think having custom cake or unique cake cutters plus customized napkins and funky cake stands can make all the difference when it comes to designing and decorating a cake and/or dessert table! With so many options online you can find some that really fit the decor and style of the wedding. Whether you want a style that is very classic and traditional or modern and edgy or vintage and girly, there's something to fit all styles. For my big day we opted for a pair of modern black cake cutters and I had them monogrammed with our # "Mason Matrimony." Here's some of my favorite finds online including mine in the top left corner. And our cake and dessert table will be filled with unique quirky stands and plates from wooden cacti to macrame hanging bowls... give me all the weirdness.

What cutters would you pick for your big day??

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My top 4 tips for cake/dessert for your wedding day...

1. Order what you love. It is your day after all so I say eat all of your favorite things. If that means a dessert bar filled with gummy sharks, Reese's peanut butter cups, churros, donuts and key lime pie then so be it. The prep for the wedding is over and so is the diet, so splurge on baby. 

2. Sheet cakes are your friend if you are on a budget but still want an awesome cake. The sheet cakes typically are less per slice than the decorated cake and these are cut in the back by your caterer. So you can still have that amazingly decorated cake without breaking the bank. 

3. Think outside the cake box. You do not have to have a traditional white wedding cake. Get creative and think of your cake as an extension of the rest of the wedding design/style. 

4. Fresh flowers are the easiest way to decorate and create a beautiful cake!! The more flowers the better but that's just if you ask me. 

Thanks for reading and on that note, let's eat cake. xoxoxoxoxox, n

[Photo Credits] Cake by The Topiary, photography by Bud Johnson Photography // Black Geometric Cutters, Vintage Rose Cake Cutters via The Knot Shop // Wood Cake Cutters via Windrush Online // DIY Metallic Geometric Cake Plate via Birds Party // Customized Napkins via For Your Party // Mint Green Cake Stand via Minted // Together Plates via Modcloth // Vintage Cake Cutters via Chairish

I&B Dresses: Rebecca Ingram & Jenny Yoo // Healthy Bride Feature

So you're getting married... and you want to look your best... and the pressure is on... I've been there. I am there. With that looming wedding date coming up quicker than I know it, I feel the pressure getting heavier and heavier with each week that passes and with each splurge I treat myself to. I think if I'm being honest I've always had an unhealthy relationship with food. I'm not entirely sure where it stems from but I do know living in a household where there was never junk food or snacks or anything yummy and healthy dinners and then going to my grandparents every summer where I lived off of Zebra cakes, Fruity Pebbles, candy dishes always filled and salami sandwiches probably wasn't the best for a kid. I would go from barely eating because I didn't like the nuts and seeds in the pantry to gorging on all the yummiest of foods. 

Fast forward to now and I struggle with food. From being very disciplined eating every 2-3 hours, counting every calorie, munching on carrot sticks between meals to the weekend where my fiance and I just truly enjoy life and use any small excuse as a reason to celebrate with a date night... And then feeling guilty and bad that I have a wedding coming up and a dress to fit into and I want to look and feel my best. And the struggle is not fun to say the least. 

So when I ran across Ginny Leavitt's instagram post featuring our Rebecca Ingram gown talking about helping brides feel confident and beautiful on their wedding day I was instantly intrigued and so I delved in to find out more about what she is all about and of course along the way I'll share some of the gorgeous images photographed by Kelsey Halm featuring our dresses! 

Ginny Leavitt is a health consultant. Very different from a personal trainer. She got her Bachelor in Exercise Physiology and through her career she ended up working at the Weight Management Location in Charleston. This was her first introduction into health coaching. She got involved with brides when some friends in the wedding industry asked her advice for how to stay on track and feel confident in wedding dresses. So in March of this year she decided to segway and switch gears to help brides specifically. 

My biggest question was when we chatted was - what actually is the difference between health coaching and personal training? 

The key difference is that health coaching is "client-centered." A health coach works as a guide to help the client with what they want to do with their health. This is more sustainable because it focuses on what works for the client and is specific to them.

Ginny has created a program called the "Healthy Bride Experience" [ummm hello, *raises hand,* I need some healthy bride experience because all this see-sawing back and forth between healthy as can be to a splurging let-me-get-seconds-that-tastes-so-good human sounds so much better.] She has 2 courses - one that is 8 weeks long and one that is 16 weeks long. The courses include a workbook to fill out every week, these guide you through the coaching program. The "Healthy Bride Experience" is now just about weight loss... it's about wedding stress, healthy eating AND what to do after the wedding has come and gone. 

I love that her program is not just about losing weight but so much more. It's about a healthy lifestyle. She even mentioned one chapter is about socialisms around weddings. I think the biggest thing is just the importance of being able to enjoy this season and chapter of your life. Being able to call yourself a "bride" is exciting and amazing. It is a season of celebration, a season to remember. You are preparing for one of the most special days. Just stop and think about it... How many times do you get to have all your favorite people and family in one room!?!?! Sure I go to family reunions every summer (yassss Myrtle Beach next week!) but all my best friends aren't there. Sure I have girl's trip reunions with my Univ of Puget Sound girls but all my best friends from Savannah aren't there or my crazy lil cousins... Your wedding is the one day that all those favorite humans are there. Just talking about it gets me soooooo excited. So why ruin it with stress?! It is not worth it and I love that Ginny's program focuses on that too because stressing yourself out with weight loss may make your body look great but if you are so stressed out than you will not have that radiant glow that only happiness and a stress-free life can grant you with.  

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While chatting with Ginny I also had to ask her for her BEST advice to feel confident on your wedding day. Her response? Don't wait about how you feel. If there's anything you're nervous about or want to work on, get started with action. I couldn't agree more... I think this tip honestly just kind of applies to life too. Procrastination can be a huge source of stress for people and I've really focused on this not just in a health-mindset but also at work and in life in general. I have seen a huge decrease in my stress levels at work. Whether it's preparing the fall schedule for my team 3 months in advance or having one of the #iandbteam prepare flower orders months in advance or ordering all the little details we need for our wedding now rather than waiting... every time you can check something off and be ahead of the game it just feels so good. 

Another thing I love about Ginny's process is that she focuses on what is sustainable. I know for me especially trying to fast or eat only 1200 calories may work for a day but that is not realistic or sustainable at ALL. So I love that she focuses on providing the legwork to help brides with the tools that can help for a lifetime of health. Not just your typical crash diet or fad that won't ever sustain. To check out more of the Healthy Bride Experience and her two course options click below!! 

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Last but not least, thank you to the vendor team who made this shoot come together!!! 

[Vendor Credits] Photography: Kelsey Halm Photo // Wedding Dress: Rebecca Ingram available at Ivory & Beau // Floral Print Bridesmaid Dress: Jenny Yoo available at Ivory & Beau // Blue bridesmaid Dress: Bella Bridesmaids // Hair: Sarah Veal // Makeup: Alyshia Jackson // Florals: Lindsay Bishop // Models: Devan Walsh, Brooke Jones, Alex Moring // Jewelry: Gold Creations