Where southern elegance meets carefree quirk is the best way we can describe Caroline and Gates’ day.
These two welcomed all of their people, who traveled from near and far, to celebrate their love under the giant oak trees and with always-full champagne glasses. They made the day truly their own — getting ready together, hand-writing their vows, talking a walk by the waterfront alone after they sealed the deal. The weather was flawless (wait ’til you see that sunset!) the food was decadent, and there were more mustaches than we have ever seen in one place. More than anything, these two seemed to enjoy the heck out of their day, stealing kisses every chance they got and Caroline being swung around in the arms of her man more times than we can count. We could say a billion wonderful things about how they love each other, but we could never do it as well as them:
“Gates, when I think about why I love you, why I’m marrying you, and why I prefer to spend all of my time with you, I think back on a note that I wrote to you very early on in our relationship, during one of our many cross country visits. The gist of the note was this: with you, I feel like I can be myself completely. From the beginning, you’ve embraced my unique qualities, some of which might very well be described as bizarre. Since then you’ve fostered and nurtured and celebrated these qualities. From making squished up, ugly faces at you across the table during formal dinner parties, to diving into, burying myself and squirming around in the hot laundry when you dump it on our bed fresh out of the dryer, I feel perfectly comfortable being myself around you. This is an indescribably wonderful feeling, and one that I’d never felt before meeting you. Loving you is easy.”
“[Caroline,] as our relationship progressed, I found myself in uncharted love territory. A love that was different from anything I’d ever known. A love that was, at times, inappropriate for bystanders. Now, some folks believe in the saying “people don’t change” but I found that this love was changing me. I never thought I would embrace going to bed at 9 pm so that we could get up early and explore some new part of California. I never thought I would want to see one person for so much of every day. I never thought I would have so much goddamn fun. I never thought a creature as beautiful as you would accept and wear my wisdom teeth as jewelry. Speaking of “nevers”, could my younger self have ever imagined that I would get married in Georgia to a bomb- shell from Kentucky? Hell has frozen over, I suppose, and it’s a good thing I am a professional ice-skater?”
“[Gates,] I love the way I feel when I’m with you. You make me wanna do silly and ridiculous things like morning beach dances around the tent as you’re sleepily rubbing your eyes and wondering what the hell is wrong with me. You make me wanna do cartwheels and run through fields and jump off boulders into freezing cold lakes even though I promised my mom we wouldn’t do that anymore because one time she heard about this one guy who jumped into a lake and never walked again. You make me wanna hold your hand and find every trail in the world where we can walk side by side instead of single file. I love your irresistibly sweet and loving nature and your fierce commitment, not only to me and our relationship, but to your family, your friends and your career.”
“Caroline, you are a fantastic partner. You support me, sass me, unconditionally love me, and take me down a peg or three when I need it. You are a fantastic editor for my writings, a great sounding board for issues I have at work, and the best dance partner I could ever ask for. You *almost* tolerate my endless “morocco stories”, you tell me to put my phone away when I have it out too much, and you ask me to slow down and look at the view when I’m hiking too fast with my head down. You simply make me a better and less critical person. Now I don’t claim that our love is perfect, but it’s pretty darn amazing, and sometimes, when I look at you making goofy faces at kids in the park, flail-dancing at a wedding, crashing around in our kitchen, or scampering into my arms when I pick you up at the airport, I shake my head and wonder how I could get so lucky as to love someone so much.”
Their story is special and weird and wildly romantic, and we’re thankful they brought us down to the Georgia coast to capture the beginning of the best chapter yet. Here’s our faves.
Venue: Jekyll Island Club Hotel
Bride’s Dress: Le Spose di Gio from Joan Gilbert Bride
Hair+Makeup: Jenifer Patrick – friend of bride
Groom Attire: Armani Tux, Bowtie handmade by Devo Barkhausen – Warren Vermont, Grandfather’s studs/cufflinks
Florist: Stacy Bass – Straton Hall Design
Other Decor: Mini bourbon bottle escort cards by Julie Diamond of Louisville, Kentucky, Jekyll area map with activities & weekend schedule – designed and drawn by Ellen Sanford (mother of groom), Officiant’s saber sheath – handmade by Larry at Paloma in SF