Real wedding: Jill & Mike

She fell in love with Hilton Head Island in the summer of 2008 when she came to visit her then boyfriend, Mike. His passion, genuine interest and respect for the natural beauty of the area were evident – to the point of being contagious, says Jill.

“Whether we were riding bikes on the beach (which I personally love because you are not allowed to ride bikes on the beach in New Jersey where my family vacations!), gawking at the wild armadillos of Pickney Island, or sharing a cocktail at Coco’s on the Beach – we were always having fun.

jill mike02This island has been our special place. We wanted all our friends and family to be submerged in the Lowcountry we love – surrounded by Spanish Moss and salty air. Experiencing that is what helps you understand who Mike and I are as a couple – warm, fun, relaxed and truly happy!”

Their wedding at Honey Horn Plantation in the Summer of 2015 was all of that – warm, fun, relaxed and truly happy. And there are an abundance of stunningly beautiful photos by Amy Arrington Photography to prove it! Not to mention a lifetime of memories for Jill and Mike.

Their love story starts in 2008 with early memories in their relationship of knowing the other was “the one” with simple things. Jill recounts how considerate Mike was with her schedule and his willingness to compromise on little things. Things that ultimately showed her what type of husband he would be and how their life would be together.

His proposal was unexpected – exactly how he wanted it to be. Mike was sure she’d pass her very important Oncology Certified Nursing exam and on the day of that exam, he was ready and waiting with flowers and a ring when she walked in the door. She thought he was congratulating her on passing her exam, but really he was down on one-knee proposing. Once she put it all together, there were tears, hugs and a celebratory bottle of wine. The two met family and friends at a local restaurant for a semi-planned engagement celebration.

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That was just the beginning of the celebrating their union. And what a celebration it was! Because there are no included rentals, food, or just about anything when you book the venue at Honey Horn (other than the majestic setting!), Jill and Mike’s team of wedding vendors was extremely important. Everything started from scratch – both a very thrilling and overwhelming experience. One that couldn’t be done by any one person. Spencer Special Events, led by owner, Amanda Spencer, was instrumental in the planning and design of the overall look and bringing that look to life. She collaborated with Dawn Kristy at A Floral Affair to ensure a rustic yet glamourous look. It was natural, inspired by Hilton Head’s inherent beauty but with pops of color. Fresh cut garden roses, poppies, ranunculus and greens were carried by Jill and her bridesmaids.

Low centerpieces placed in mason jars and small vases and on top of rustic wood slabs – all intermixed with with gold votive candles – really made the tables feel warm, rustic and upscale at the same time. The guests used gold flatwear – a touch that really lifted the feel of the event. Soft, flowing white linen draped the barn of Honey Horn and plush, comfy furniture and pillows were also brought in to create a virtual outdoor living room.

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The guests dined on Southern favorites: homemade mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, pork tenderloin, corn muffins and yeast rolls. It was served buffet style in a casual setting that was inviting and warm. Guests were able to take home mini key lime and pecan pies, as well as local honey in jars tied with “thank you”. All the details were just the way the couple and their family wanted.

For the style and fashion of the wedding, Jill’s BoHo Chic style with an edge was reflected in her gown, her jewelry and what her bridesmaids wore. “The color palate choice for the girl’s dresses was definitely my earthy bohemian side coming through considering the blush, taupe, and champagne color choices.

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They honestly looked amazing together and with the green back drop of honey horn, the swooping Spanish moss, and the extremely beautiful wedding party we had, they were truly a breath taking group. I chose to have my sister Megan (matron of honor) and best friend El (maid of honor) stand out by having them wear patterned dresses… this was my edgy side! El’s feminine floral print and my sisters sparkle were the perfect additions to set them apart as my nearest and dearest… without them I would have been lost!”

We noted that even some of the beautiful guests looked like they had coordinated! The southern flare that the groomsmen sported was no socks – all by Mike’s design. It’s not often that you can go sockless at a wedding – but the couple wanted the groomsmen to be super relaxed and comfy – it was something the groomsmen took full advantage of!

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As with any wedding, there are so many highs during the day that it’s always hard to pick one. Mike recounts their first dance as just one of many week long highlights. “We picked the song 'True Believers' by Darius Rucker as our song. The song is very special to Jill and me as it came out during a difficult time for us and really spoke to us and our relationship. Despite having known this would be our song for a very long time we never practiced the dance once. So like most things we do, we weren’t really sure what we were doing, how we were going to do it or how it was going to turn out. But like always we were in it together, had smiles on our faces and had a blast just winging it. The dance went great and the song was perfect.”

For Jill, being with her friends and family and seeing such a beautiful vision come to life, there were so many highlights but one in particular that she will never forget. “My Uncle Dave stopped me dead in my tracks during the reception and said ‘Your Dad is a good man and he did an amazing job with you two.’ I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. It was simple but striking and alarmingly true. It’s been a bumpy untraditional road for my dad but no matter what we always had each other, and we will always have an amazing family!"

jill mike07For Mike, he couldn’t get over the amazing food and rockin’ music of The Voltage Brothers. “Most people were in food comas after eating so much delicious food but the Voltage Brothers blew the roof off of Honey Horn and had everyone at the wedding dancing like crazy the entire night.” That sounds like one heck of a party!

And a party as any wedding might be, there will always be highs and lows, particularly during the planning process. Though there can be so many stressful parts of planning a big wedding, hiring the right team is crucial, says Jill. There will be bumps in the road but ultimately, her advice for couples getting married is to not lose sight of what the day is all about. Marrying the man you love!

With a dream-like Lowcountry setting, a dynamite team of vendors, and a love story built on simple joys and respect for eachother – this wedding is full of what makes us love weddings in the Lowcountry.


Wedding planner: Spencer Special Events
Photography: Amy Arrington
Videographer: Ryan Lindsay
Catering: Rick Patrick
Reception Entertainment: The Voltage Brothers 
Lighting: Hilton Head Lighting
Rentals: Ranco 
Florist: A Floral Affair 
Reception: Honey Horn

When the team at Hilton Head Monthly set off to find a real wedding – and only one real wedding -- to feature in our 2016 Bridal Resource Book, we encountered hundreds of dream-like, fairy tell weddings here in the Lowcountry. Was the choice on which wedding to feature hard? You bet it was! With the Lowcountry being such a popular destination spot for weddings and with thousands of weddings occurring here each year, there were just so many beautiful options to choose from.

jill mike08Here are ten reasons we loved this wedding and thought this was THE ONE:

  1. The groom’s and groomsmen seriously stylish shoes.
  2. The mason jars and vases wrapped in twine and burlap, the chalkboard menu, and other barn-rustic details were all done with a fresh and modern twist.
  3. Gold utensils. Need we say more?
  4. The to-die-for paper suite! Non-traditional and full of personality, the floral save the date, invitation with Hilton Head Island drawing was unique.
  5. Family heirloom photos of loved ones that could not attend in frames and present for all to see.
  6. Comfy couches and lounge chairs – complete with beautiful pillows to match the décor – under Spanish Moss draped Oak Trees. An outdoor living room was created!
  7. Take home treat for guests such as mini pies and honey.
  8. An exit for everyone to participate in! Showering the couple with eco-friendly confetti made for beautiful exit photos and a fun send off.
  9. “Best Day Ever” Banner.
  10. Truly iconic Southern setting – this wedding showed off the Lowcountry at its finest