Isle Romance

Isle Romance | A bride’s family vacation spot proves the perfect place for a Big Day at the beach

Andrea Graham & Conor Ryan
October 10, 2015  •  Wild Dunes Resort


Conor Ryan first spotted Andrea Graham at a November “Friendsgiving” while the two were both students at the University of Dayton (UD) and swiftly made his way over to sit near her. That meeting ignited a romance that spanned semester after semester and years later led to rainy-day proposal when they returned to their alma mater for a visit. Andrea, who was holding an umbrella over the two of them, thought Conor was bending down to tie his shoe; turns out he was more set on tying the knot.

Soon after, the pair planned to head south to Isle of Palms and Wild Dunes Resort for the ceremony and celebration. “Wild Dunes was honestly like a dream come true,” says Andrea. “For years we had discussed wanting all of our friends and family to stay in homes around the isle so that the night before our wedding we could travel from house to house and visit everyone.” Andrea, who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Conor, who’s from New Jersey, knew of the beachside retreat because her parents have long had a vacation home there (and the self-described “golf nerds” can’t get enough of its courses). As for that urge to bop from house to house? It was a throwback to their stint at school, Andrea says. “It’s very similar to our UD days, because aside from dorms, student housing consists of a neighborhood of houses,” says Andrea.

Wanting the wedding to feel like a reunion and a quintessential Charleston vacation, Andrea brought Meredith Tanton of Sweetgrass Social on board. Meredith used a palette of blues, greens, and purples (inspired by the resort’s pastel-hued buildings) paired with organic touches like natural wood and foliage accents by Branch Design Studio for a setting peppered with nods to the couple’s roots. From the wedding hashtag (#fromyinztoyall, a quip on Pittsburgh versus Southern slang) to the lucky horseshoe pendant that hung from Andrea’s bouquet in honor of Conor’s Irish family, and on, personal touches abound.

And as for the party? “When I say we danced the night away, I am not kidding,” says Andrea. “In the reception pictures there’s sweating and laughing—we have so many memories that retelling them has filled nights at dinners and parties. I can only hope that Conor and I will have that much laughter and fun throughout our lives together.”

Vendor List

Wedding design: Sweetgrass Social,

Florals: Branch Design Studio,

Photography: Aaron and Jillian Photography,

Rentals: EventWorks,

Linens: La Tavola,

Photo Booth: Southern SloMo Party,

Tent: Sperry Tents Southeast,

Lighting: Technical Event Company,

Transportation: Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle,

Ceremony Musicians: Palmetto Strings,

Band: The Business through East Coast Entertainment,

Venue, bar, catering: Wild Dunes Resort,

Cake: Artistic Cakes by Linda,

Stationery: The Silver Starfish,

Signage: Sixpence Press,

Bride’s attire: Maggie Sottero, available in Charleston through Bridals by Jodi, (gown); J.Crew, (earrings); Jack Rogers, (wedge heels)

Beauty: Paper Dolls,

Bridesmaid’s attire: Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids, (gowns); Palm Beach Sandals from Bob Ellis, (sandals)

Menswear: The Black Tuxedo, (suits); M. Dumas & Sons, (bow ties); Happy Socks, (socks)