A Modern Surprise Wedding at The Alley in Charleston, South Carolina

Kathleen Saunders and Kayla Kantola’s casual wedding was a surprise for their guests. "When our big day arrived, only a few people knew we were getting married that evening,” Kathleen says. “Kayla and I had over 100 family members and friends in town for our Premarital Pregame (our send-off party) because we’d told everyone we were eloping in Puerto Rico. We were jittery all day, excited to ‘punk' our guests with a wedding they would never forget: a surprise ceremony on the bowling lanes of The Alley, Charleston’s iconic barcade.” The pair designed a “retro, bright, colorful” party that matched their personalities, and they asked guests to wear whatever felt comfortable for bowling. Neither bride wore a traditional white dress. “We are known for lots of colorful looks and Hawaiian shirts, and have joked that we should have been the daughters of Jimmy Buffett,” the brides say. “We landed on matching parrot shirts, with Kayla in a suit and Kathleen in a skirt.” The ceremony took place on lane five of the bowling alley, and the brides danced down the aisle and recessed with a conga line. “We are almost never serious, so this felt super appropriate to our personalities to arrive to our ceremony dancing and groovin’,” the brides say. Kathleen DIYed flower arrangements out of silk flowers and felt flowers. “I spent many a night cursing over a hot glue gun and floral tape, but it was all so worth it!” she says. Kathleen also made postcards for the dining tables that had fun facts about their relationship, like how long they spent in the car together during road trips.
Our favorite #MakeTradition moment: Kayla’s mom had one request for the wedding day: a delicious cake. The pair played off their bird theme with a hummingbird cake, which is a tradition in the South.