May 16th, 2005
We ate a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then went off to find our wedding site on nearby Folly Beach. It really is a good thing that we went to search for it prior to the ceremony as it wasn’t exactly easy to find. But, find it we did, after a few minutes of searching and back-tracking. We parked and walked the short trail to the beach itself; I took several pictures of the general area while Mark walked about (he ended up in several of the shots; there are a few where he looks quite pensive; hopefully not thinking about running away!) At that point in time, the weather was quite fine although there was the ominous threat of thunderclouds hanging in the sky.
Mark strolls along Folly Beach the morning of our Wedding Day
After we satisfied ourselves that the location would do perfectly well for our wedding ceremony, we headed back towards Charleston (via a gas station) to look for a place to get flowers for my hair. We tried one place near to the hotel but they were closed. With a bit of trepidation that we might not find one open, we headed back towards Folly Beach via Calhoun St. and found an open florist shop. We went in and managed to order a few orchids; the owner needed about 15 minutes to do them up so we walked down to a Starbucks and each had a caramel frozen coffee drink (mine light, Mark’s fully loaded!) We walked back to the florist and the flowers were ready; beautiful pure white orchids with vivid purple centers. So delicate; but, we were assured that they would last quite some time before they wilted.
As we were paying for the flowers, a small collie dog came bounding into the room; pretty active given she looked sort of aged; as the owner rang up our sale, the dog started to bark furiously; turns out she doesn’t like the sound of the cash register, also turns out her name was... Amy!
We went back to The Vendue Inn and relaxed for a few hours. At this point, I was actually starting to get a tad unsettled and nervous. So, Mark poured me a glass of red wine and assured me that all would be okay. I felt a bit calmer after that; enough so that I could read a bit while he checked email and, then, showered and got ready. He left me about 1:30; book in hand, headed up to The Rooftop Bar to hang out for 2 ½ hours while my transformation was in process.
Juliet Jones arrived and began working on my hair. She chattered pretty much non-stop, which was likely a very good thing since it had started to pour down rain; thunder, lightening, the whole nine yards. Since she kept talking, it was easy for me to be distracted; it was a pleasant, light-hearted conversation about various subjects; I’m grateful that she was so gregarious. As was Leslie Moore, the make-up artist, who arrived around 2:45 just as Juliet was finishing up with my hair. Between the two of them, I hardly noticed the deluge that was going on outside my window.
My elaborate Wedding Day hair!
Upstairs in The Rooftop Bar, Mark and his fellow patrons, the waitress and the bartender, were all keeping an eye on the Weather Channel. They all assured Mark that the storm would indeed blow off shore as the Weather Channel was reporting. Around 3:00, Mark called me to tell me this (he was worried that I’d be freaking out about the storm; he had no way of knowing, of course, that the beautification ladies were doing their best to keep me completely oblivious to the storm).
After Mark called, Leslie finished up my make-up and helped me get into my dress. After she left, I called Mark to tell him I was done but got his voice mail. I will admit to having one brief moment of panic; what if he left? What if he got hit by a car (how this would happen atop The Rooftop Bar, I have no clue), but, within a few minutes, I heard him coming into the door to our room and sighed a sigh of relief.
He seemed quite pleased with my appearance; I felt a bit shy about everything; my nerves came back full force and it was time to hit the bathroom one more time before leaving.
Thank God that I did; while in there, I happened to notice that my dress had one of those ink-tags in it; you know, the ones that explode when they get wet and spread a hideous ink stain over the garment which cannot be removed. A deterrent for would be dress-thieves, I suppose. Well, since we were about to head out into a rain storm…I shuddered to think of the disaster I had just escaped.
But, no scissors! So, Mark had to cut the tag out with a pair of nail clippers.
With that drama behind us, we left the room and went down to await our car. The rain was still coming down hard so we borrowed a large umbrella from The Vendue Inn.
Off we went!
The short drive to Folly Island was probably the worst part (if I can even say we had a worst part) of our wedding day. I say this as, there was a lot of traffic in Charleston, tons of tourists walking across the street willy-nilly, plus the rain; it all combined to make it a harrowing drive. Then, as we approached the access road leading to the island, there was a TON of stopped traffic; people weaving in and out, changing lanes, etc. Once we got onto Folly Beach Road, the traffic came to a dead stop and I started to get antsy thinking about the people that would be waiting for us at the wedding site (a look at the clock told me it was 4;45 and another look at the traffic indicated we’d not make it there in 15 minutes).
So, I called Mary Ann from A Charleston Beach Wedding to inform her we were stuck on Folly Beach Road. She said, “Oh yes, I came through there about 20 minutes ago and it was a mad house!” She told me that, further on up the road, the road itself was flooded (GREAT) and that was causing the delay. She asked for me to call her once we got onto the island itself and she’d leave the house to meet us.
Right about that point in time, a purple PT Cruiser pulled out in front of us; but for the grace of God, we would have been in a wreck on our wedding day.
As it was, we weren’t, but, all of this wasn’t doing much to calm my somewhat frazzled nerves!
We got to the point where the road was flooded (not so bad as the traffic piling up behind it) and made quick time from there. I called Mary Ann back; she said, “Okay, I’ll gather up my things and meet you!” I hung up wondering, “What about the officiant and the photographer?” I started to get paranoid; were we supposed to arrange for an officiant? No, I couldn’t imagine we’d pay almost $500 and have to also coordinate our own officiant! But, as I was starting to get worked up, so, anything made sense, even things that really don’t make sense at all. Mark maintained his cool, and did his best to keep me calm and collected.
We pulled up to the wedding site (with me breathing a prayer of thanks to the wedding God that a) we’d had the sense to go out previously in the morning and locate the spot and b) there weren’t a ton of cars in the parking lot) and parked. As we got out and looked towards the ocean, it was apparent that there was no rain anywhere near in sight; a very positive sign! A few minutes later, Mary Ann pulled up. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn (by observation, not by being informed) that she was IT; the coordinator, the florist, the officiant AND the photographer.
Mary Ann can best be described as “beachy-funky granola-crunchy’; she’d fit in perfectly in either Carrboro (or Santa Cruz, CA) and, as far as I know, might use a pen name (she said she was a writer, on top of many other things) such as “Willow” or “Storm”. In any case, she DID have a very calming affect on me; her kind face put me instantly at ease.
My bouquet was comprised of all white flowers; lilies, roses, carnations, with a splash of purple freesia (my request, as purple is Mark’s favorite color). They were quite lovely, and very fragrant. Mark’s boutonnière had a white rose and purple freesia.
We walked the short, sandy path to the beach; Mary Ann asked Mark where he wanted to stand. We moved a bit closer to the water’s edge, we faced the water, she faced us, and began the ceremony.
I knew from pre-reading it that it would be a short; I thought maybe 15 minutes. Boy, was I wrong! Within 5 minutes we were exchanging rings and the deed was done; barely enough time to work up a good cry!
But, the speed of the act in no way took away from its power and impact. To some degree, it was surreal. But, I took away from it a few vivid memories.
The wind was blowing slightly and I could see and hear the waves lapping against the sand. Mark and I alternatively looked at one another, then at Mary Ann, who, even though she was definitely present, it didn’t feel as if she was really there. There was no one else on the beach at first (although a lone surfer-dude did amble onto the beach about mid-way through the ceremony; he had the good grace to lay down on the sand far enough away as to not be intrusive) so, it truly felt as though we were alone in the sight of God and nature; just the two of us making a commitment to one another that was stronger than any commitment we’d ever made before in our lives. The words of the vows fit in perfectly with the surroundings, and, even more importantly, our intent.
As we exchanged our rings, the sun came out to shine on us; and, I’d dare anyone one of you reading this to challenge our belief that God, or a spirit, or whatever or whomever, was smiling on us that day.
The rings slid on easily, we had our first kiss as man and wife, and, we were married; Mr. and Mrs. Mark B.
The B's on their Wedding Day
After pictures, we walked back to her car (after being congratulated by a few people that had wandered onto the beach and witnessed the photography session, as well as the surfer-dude) and took care of the necessary paperwork.
After a hug and farewells, Mary Ann got into her car and drove away and we headed back to the BMW. Luckily, we’d had the forethought to take a hand towel from The Vendue Inn to wipe off our sandy feet. Since Mark left he shoes on, I had the towel to myself!
Off we went back to Charleston; as we were leaving Folly Island, Mark spotted a painted sign on a billboard that read, “Amy, will you marry me?” Another appropriately perfect sign, we felt, that our marriage was meant to be!
"The" Sign!When we got back to The Vendue Inn, Mark carried me over the threshold into our room. He plunked me onto the bed and promptly took a picture of me.
The newly made Mrs. B!We had just enough time to freshen up before our horse-drawn carriage was set to pick us up outside of the hotel.
We went downstairs and the carriage was already there. Unfortunately, it was raining again (thank God not a downpour but a steady mist) so we were not able to put the top to the carriage down. But, it was romantic all the same being drawn through the streets of Charleston’s historic district, holding hands, holding my bouquet, with the smiles and waves from people on the street warming us up inside. It’s amazing how happy people are to see other people happy!
In all honesty, though, I have to admit to being somewhat in a daze during that ride! I recall the driver talking pretty much nonstop about this and that about Charleston; some of it stuck, but not much.
He dropped us off at 7:00 pm for our dinner RSVP at S.N.O.B (Slightly North of Broad) where we were shown to a prime table towards the back of the restaurant. Mark had had the forethought to request this table when he made the dinner RSVP several weeks prior; we thought we were getting the same table we sat at last May, but, we got the table directly across from it. No matter, it was cozier, anyway, and still offered a wonderful view of the goings-on in both the open kitchen and the rest of the restaurant.
No sooner had we sat down than the server came over, and, upon spotting my bouquet, she said, “You look very nice this evening…is this your wedding day?” We smiled and said yes, and, within a few minutes, we were brought complimentary flutes of champagne. A very nice touch!We really took our time at our wedding dinner; after the champagne, we had martinis, then ordered and split an appetizer (goat cheese and pesto crostini), a salad (caramelized pear with walnuts, bleu cheese and field greens) and then our main entrées; Mark had salmon, I had grouper. Mark ordered a ½ bottle of a very unique and tasty Zinfandel, and we finished it all off with sharing a decadent key lime tart with passion fruit.
At Our Wedding Dinner
After dinner, we strolled back to The Vendue Inn (a mere five minutes away) and, upon entering our room, discovered a bottle of champagne chilling on ice, compliments of the hotel! Mark had already put our own bottle of champagne on ice (the sister bottle to the one we drank on the night he proposed), so, we saved the hotel’s gift for the next night.
When I took off my wedding dress, I discovered that I’d never cut the price tags out, so, I got married advertising (or soliciting?) a price!
Mark turned on the fireplace, poured the champagne, and…the stage goes dark…