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A Rustic Seaside Wedding at The Stallings House in Oriental, North Carolina

When Shelly Gossman (35 and a writer) met Benjamin (Ben) Piner (31 and a mentor), he was working as a sailboat captain and she was a performer at The

When Shelly Gossman (35 and a writer) met Benjamin (Ben) Piner (31 and a mentor), he was working as a sailboat captain and she was a performer at The Second City.  After a series of late-night sails the pair fell in love and started dating long distance while Shelly was working in Los Angeles and Ben was living in New York City. On Ben's first visit to see her, he hiked three different trails to find the perfect romantic backdrop and when he picked Shelly up from work, he casually suggested a hike. When they got to a spot overlooking the Hollywood sign, Ben laid down a blanket and presented Shelly with a little yellow journal that said, "Great ideas." "I opened it and on the first page was written, 'Marry Ben' and he was kneeling with a ring," says Shelly. "This time there was no doubt, this was definitely a great idea!" The couple decided on an intimate summer wedding and exchanged vows at The Stallings House in Ben's hometown of Oriental, a quaint village known as the sailing capital of North Carolina. The bride’s mother created and sewed an image on burlap of a bride and groom in a sailboat—with the bride's dress as the sail. This image was used for the wedding invites and the original was displayed on a tree at the reception. The first time Shelly stayed at the Stallings, she fell in love with it's rustic, sea inspired decor. They decided to get married on the lawn, with the boats Ben grew up sailing anchored behind them, and paintings by Shelly's mom on easels framing them. Guests received personalized jars and proceed to kegs filled with beer brewed by the bride’s stepfather (the father of the groom. Tables were set with burlap table runners, mix-matched vintage plates and local flower arrangements set atop handmade wood slabs. "Our wedding was burlap meets sailboats," says Shelly. "It was girl from Iowa meets boy from the coast and we wanted it to be extremely personal!

Ben wore a light gray suit, paired with a pale pink gingham shirt and a plaid tie,that reminded them of a Southern picnic.
Mismatched Casual Blue Bridesmaid Dresses
The bride carried a cluster of colorful wildflowers grown on a local North Carolina farm.
The bride’s mother created and sewed an image on burlap of a bride and groom in a sailboat—with the bride's dress as the sail. This image was used for the wedding invites and the original was displayed on a tree at the reception.
The first time Shelly stayed at the Stallings, she fell in love with it's rustic, sea inspired decor. They decided to get married on the lawn, with the boats Ben grew up sailing anchored behind them, and paintings by Shelly's mom on easels framing them.
The setting of a Southern, waterfront wedding helped to guide Shelly's wedding attire. She found her petal-covered dress in Los Angeles and imagining the petals fluttering in wind off the water sold her!
Guests received personalized jars and proceed to kegs filled with beer brewed by the bride’s stepfather (the father of the groom.
Guests were given a Mason jar glass, labeled with their name and table number on a wooden dragon coin—the dragon is Oriental’s mascot.
Instead of cake, friends from the village made cobblers and brought them in beautiful serving dishes.
Homemade Pie Dessert Display
DIY Rustic Guest Book Alternative
The couple decorated their relaxed tented reception with a "rustic vintage sea" theme. "It was burlap meets sailboats," says Shelly. "It was girl from Iowa meets boy from the coast and we wanted it to be extremely personal!"
A dear friend of the couple is a florist at A New Leaf in Chicago and worked with the couple's friends to arrange mixed local flowers in jars that were labeled with names of family members who had passed.
Mismatched Vintage China Place Settings
Tables were set with burlap table runners, mix-matched vintage plates and  local flower arrangements set atop handmade wood slabs.
Shelly and Ben's Relaxed Tented Reception
Waterfront Reception at The Stallings House