A Polished Wedding at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, South Carolina

With nearly 400 guests in tow, Caroline Smith (27 and a labor and delivery nurse) and Gil Smith (29 and a commodities trader) celebrated their nuptials with a simply chic destination wedding at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, South Carolina, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The black-tie affair was inspired by the bride’s family vacations to Kiawah. “My family has been vacationing in Kiawah for 28 years, and some of my fondest memories from growing up are rooted in the Low Country of South Carolina,” Caroline says. “We would always have the best time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.” The venue was an easy “yes” for the groom, who had also vacationed on Carolina’s beaches. “I like things simple and clean looking but elegant in feel,” Caroline says. “I didn’t want to take away from the view and scenery, so I allowed the ocean, dunes and seagrass to serve as my backdrop during the ceremony.” The bride and groom let nature shine by embellishing their ceremony site with minimal decor—classic white chairs and wooden planters brimming with lush white florals and greenery. During the ceremony a five-string quartet played classical music, and a bagpiper stepped in for the processional and recessional. A custom canopy constructed using posts, romantic string lights and bronze lanterns led guests from the ceremony to the tented reception for cocktail hour, where a four-sided barn adorned with potted trees and lush floral arrangements awaited guests. “We also used lots of string lights in the clear-top tent and large trees to add interest and height and really make the tent feel like a room of its own,” Caroline says. “The entire tent was floored with beautiful pine flooring.” A clear-top tent gave guests a view of the starry-night sky. Caroline and Gil had their first dance as newlyweds to “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” by Barry White, and then Atlanta Rhythm and Groove kicked off a dance party that included a Michael Jackson dance-off. “We also sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to my dad, who turned 60 two days after the wedding,” says Caroline, who presented her dad a key lime pie and thanked him for the wedding. The party also included a scotch and popcorn bar in lieu of a groom’s cake, along with late-night chicken sandwiches delivered by the Chick-fil-A cow, which joined the dance party. After a celebratory exit where the newlyweds were showered in rose petals, they were whisked away in a golf cart decked out in a “just married” sign. —Marissa Hermanson