Calling All Mermaids

Calling All Mermaids | When the salt water runs in your veins and your vows must be spoken on a Lowcountry shore, a dock wedding is the way to go
Native Charlestonians Katie Poletti and Matt LaTorre’s love story is entwined with the waters that ebb and flow throughout the Lowcountry, so it’s little surprise the high school sweethearts got engaged on Bulls Island on a fishing-slash-beachcombing trip, and that they traded vows on her family’s Sullivan’s Island pier few above the Intracoastal Waterway. What was a surprise? That Ooh! Events was able to comfortably (and safely) fit some 315 guests on that dock and that the adjoining reception site—after four dump trucks worth of refuse was hauled out—was ready in time for the “I do’s.” Curious about how the Historic Quartermaster Dock and Warehouse, which once helped arm nearby Fort Moultrie and was the drop-off point for a long-ago ferry route, turned into Katie’s dream wedding site and how that might hold ideas for other at-home dockside brides?
Dock Wedding Tips
Do: Chase your dreams. “When I was at CofC,” says Katie, “I would take walks to Waterfront Park and sit on the dock next to the Harbor Pilot House. I would unwind and think about how I’d love to get married at a place like that over the water.”
Do: Wear smart shoes. “I got the word out to guests to wear chunky heels or wedges,” says Katie, who followed her own advice. “Some of my bridesmaids brought heel stoppers to keep their shoes from getting stuck between dock planks.”
Do: Think about splinters, dirt, and your veil. “I considered carpeting the aisle,” says Katie, “but ultimately decided to keep the outdoor feeling. I shortened my mom’s veil so the delicate fabric would not get ruined or dirtied along the dock.” (Bonus: The Ipe planks on their pier don’t splinter.)
Do: Embrace your surroundings. “We thought about bringing in a dance floor but decided why not paint one?” says Katie, who, with Matt, spent weeks sweeping the warehouse. “Two days before the wedding, the paint had dried and we laid down a ‘K&M’ decal.” The goal with the space, says their planner, was not to transform it into something it wasn’t but to make it the couple’s own.
Do: Respect the community. The couple hired a valet service for parking, abided by Sullivan's Island rules, and obtained necessary permits.
Wedding design, rentals, draping: Ooh! Events
Photography: Virgil Bunao
Venue: Family owned
Catering, bar: Cru Catering
Stationery: The Scratch Pad
Calligraphy: Gayle Hilton, Calligraphy by Request
Officiant: Father Frank Seiginous 
Steel drums: Tim Mathias, OtherBrother Entertainment
Bride’s attire: Gown Collective (gown); Kira Elizabeth Designs (altered family veil)
Groom’s attire: Michael Kors from Berlin’s for Men
Parking attendants: Royal Parking
Transportation: Friend’s boat