Real wedding: Kendra Collins & J.D. Allison

Golfers find love off the course

Kendra Collins was on Bluffton High School’s golf team when she met J.D. Allison, a native of Houston who was attending the International Junior Golf Academy on Hilton Head Island.

“He said he saw me and fell in love with me,” says Kendra, who married her high school sweetheart at Windows on the Waterway in Hilton Head Plantation.

Kendra Collins2The vendors the Allisons hired to help them pull off their perfect wedding day say one of the best decisions they made was selecting the right place to tie the knot.

“Windows on the Waterway actually is one of my favorite places for a wedding, because the venue itself is really pretty, and it’s right on a pier, so there are good sunsets,” said wedding photographer Rob Kaufman, who was hired to document the Allisons’ big day.

Tracey Mancini, senior wedding and events specialist for Celebrations Catering & Events, knew Kendra from her days as a University of South Carolina Beaufort student taking classes from the chef in the Windows’ kitchen.

“Kendra and I got to know each other, and when she was getting married, she came to us,” Mancini said. “Originally, the wedding was going to be in The Gallery, our other venue, but the count grew a little higher so we suggested moving it to Windows. She ended up so thankful we did that.”

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The autumn air was brisk but perfectly lovely for an outdoor wedding, Mancini says.

“The lawn wasn’t as green and lush, so we did dark mahogany ceremony chairs, and the most beautiful arbor covered in flowers and greenery,” she said. Clear glass jars filled with fresh flowers hung from iron hooks along the center aisle as the crowd of about 60 guests watched Kendra make her entrance.

“I didn’t notice any of the people while I was walking down the aisle,” said Kendra. “All I could see was him.”

After the ceremony, performed by officiant Richard Smreczak of Barefoot Wedding, the guests enjoyed a cocktail hour while Kaufman whisked away the newly married couple and their wedding party for some beachside photos.

Kendra Collins3“On the way back from the beach there’s a place in Spring Lake Pavilion that has a really cute little bridge over a little pond. We pulled the car over real quick and I had them jump out for three minutes,” Kaufman said. “It’s one of the few places on Hilton Head where you see fall colors, so they have pictures with yellow and orange foliage behind them on this bridge.”

Back at the reception hall, tables were decorated in the couple’s colors or to match the couple’s theme.

“We did ivory linens with natural Chiavari chairs, very rustic but classic, with a little bit of elegance to it,” Mancini said. “Her pop colors were different shades of purple, so we rented beautiful purple damask napkins. And her mother-in-law had made burlap pockets for the silverware, so we placed those on top of the napkins. It was beautiful.”

Celebrations catered the event, while DJ Andy Pinckney of Hilton Head Entertainment kept the crowd dancing.

The couple chose the popular John Legend song “All of Me” for their first dance.

“We had a deep emotional moment with that song one day,” Kendra said. “I had never seen him cry until we listened to that song together.”

Another touching moment came when Kendra danced with her father to Tim McGraw’s “Daddy’s Little Girl.”

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When it was time for a sweet treat, guests had two from which to choose. Signe’s Heaven Bound Bakery & Cafe created the wedding cake, which was a pink lemonade-flavored, three-tiered white cake with purple flowers. J.D.’s mother also made a groom’s cake to celebrate her son’s love of hunting. That festive confection was camo-colored cake decorated with icing and a hunting scene on top, complete with tiny plastic deer.

Kaufman’s wife, Samantha, took video clips throughout the day, and the Kaufmans created a fusion video album combining still photos and video clips of the day’s magical moments.

“It turned out perfect,” Kendra said of their wedding day. “It was a little chilly, but the sun was out and it was perfect.”

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Venue: Windows on the Water Way 
Photography: Kaufman Photography
Video: Samantha Kaufman 
DJ: Hilton Head Entertainment
Flowers: Lauri Leber
Cake: Signe's Bakery
Hair/makeup: Haircuteches Salon, Bridget Lopez
Reception rentals and catering: Celebrations Catering and Events, Tracy Mancini
Officiant: Barefoot Wedding, Richard Smreczak