“While our exhausted classmates slowly trickled home every night, Joe and I were always the last on the dance floor,” says Déla Breyne of meeting Irishman Joe O’Callaghan during a college trip to Belgium. Three years later, Joe proposed on Garnish Island in Ireland, but with the rigmarole of visas, the groom made it stateside a mere two months before the Big Day. Flying solo for most of the planning (and wanting to stick strictly to their $10,000 budget), Déla struck gold when she found a private home on a local beach that could host their 20ish guests for the laid-back day on the coast she had dreamed of. “I knew I wanted something low-key and low-stress,” she says, “with a vibe that was romantic and ethereal but not over the top—like a really great dinner party at a friend’s house.” And she got it. “I loved having all our friends here for the weekend,” she says, “it was like a big sleepover.”
Sea What Works
Choose wisely. Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach, Kiawah, and Seabrook have varying rules about hosting ceremonies (or receptions) on the beach and throwing parties in rental homes. Visit (and bookmark) CharlestonWeddingsMag.com/BeachRules for details.
Play it close. Sidestep many regulations—plus gusting wind, blowing sand, and onlookers—by holding the ceremony in your rental’s waterfront yard and the reception on its decks.
Aim for double duty. Besides having it host the Big Day, use your rental for accommodations.
Pick a pretty one. Opt for a property (Déla found this one on VBRO.com) with an aesthetic that requires minimal additional décor.
Get crafty. The bride (a graphic designer) made the invitations and heart garlands, while the same pals who bussed tables and kept drinks full folded napkins with a flourish.
Wedding design, planning: Dela O’Callaghan (the bride)
When a belle of an old-guard Charleston family opts for a pre-ceremony “first look” with her groom, it means times are changing. See why a sneak peek worked for Kathleen Hay and Andrew Hagood, and why you might follow suit