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 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!