Real wedding: Katie Koropey & Jason Windmoeller

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Tropical storm can’t spoil couple’s Harbour Town wedding

Though she grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Colorado, Katie Koropey Windmoeller had long dreamed of having an outdoor wedding on Hilton Head. 

“We chose Hilton Head because I went there every summer, and we’ve had a house there for many years. It’s kind of my special place. And that’s where Jason proposed,” Windmoeller says. “Plus it was always my dad’s dream to see one of his daughters get married on the 18th hole of Harbour Town Golf Links.”

Katie Koropey2So when it came time to pick a wedding date, the couple did their homework on the best time of year to get married on the island. Their research showed that in 60 years, it had only rained twice on May 29. So they settled on that date, a bit reluctant since it is also her mother’s birthday.

Turns out they did have to share the spotlight with another woman that day — Tropical Storm Bonnie.

“It was heartbreaking. I definitely cried off a good amount of my makeup before I ever made it down the aisle,” says Windmoeller of her bad luck with wedding weather. “But at the end of the day, we were there to get married. And the guests didn’t know the difference.” 

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The guests, nearly 170 of them, had come mostly from out of state to see Katie and Jason tie the knot. The Windmoellers hosted a rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding at Poseidon for the bridal party — eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen — plus the bride and groom’s immediate families. Afterward, the Koropeys held a welcome party for all the guests at The Wreck of the Salty Dog. It was pouring rain.

The wedding day dawned damp and soggy, but the couple held out hope until very close to the scheduled ceremony time. Katie and Jason had opted for a “first look” meet-up and quick photo session beforehand, which the bride says she really needed.

Katie Koropey4“It was the first time we got to see each other, and we had realized our wedding was going to be very different than we thought it was going to be,” she says. “I needed to see him (at that moment). I was at the breaking point.”

The bride, dressed in an ivory strapless Danielle Caprese wedding gown and carrying a bouquet of white and blue hydrangeas, was walked up the aisle by her father to once again meet her groom, this time inside the cozy confines of the Heritage Room. He and his groomsmen wore sharp blue dress pants, navy blazers and light blue ties. Those blazers complemented the bridesmaids’ mismatched navy gowns.

A ceremony highlight was when the couple’s beloved golden retriever, Goose, served as both a stand-in groomsman and the ring bearer, delivering their wedding rings, which were fastened to his bow tie.

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“He is our pride and joy. He’s in most of our pictures,” Windmoeller says of the 1-year-old pup. “My best friend walked him up to us.”

After vows were exchanged, it was time for a cocktail hour and then a sit-down dinner inside the Champions Ballroom, where the bride says every part of the reception, from the food to the speeches to the dancing, was “amazing.”

“I wouldn’t trade one thing about the reception,” she says.

The couple’s first dance was to “Latch” by Disclosure, which kicked off a night of dancing to the music of cover band The Boomers.

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Later in the evening, the bride surprised her candy-loving groom with a candy bar, which also served as take-home favors for the guests. There were more sweets too, with a surprise birthday cake for Katie’s mother, and a “naked” wedding cake.

“I’m allergic to wheat, so everybody told me the cake was amazing,” Windmoeller says with a laugh. “I only got it spread on my face, so I’m not really sure.”

The day after the nuptials, the bride’s family hosted a brunch at Sea Pines Plantation Beach Club in Sea Pines, which was the perfect way for the bridal party and guests to say goodbye — to one another and the rain.

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“When I think about my wedding day, I think about how amazing it was to marry my best friend. But Tropical Storm Bonnie, it was painful to have to deal with that,” Windmoeller says. “But I think it brought everyone closer. I always thought people just said, ‘Rain on your wedding day is good luck,’ but it really felt like they meant it when they said it. And because Bonnie was there, it made it even more memorable.”

“All around it was a really incredible day.”

VENDORS LIST:

Photography: Tim Zielenbach 
Reception band: The Boomers, EastCoast Entertainment 
Ceremony music: Catherine Klimoff
Makeup: Bride's Side Beauty 
Wedding officiant: David Leininger 
Photo booth: JLK Events
Flowers: Flower Garden HHI (Henry Kretchmer)
Coordination: Tiffany Lucca, The Sea Pines Resort
Ceremony and reception venue: Harbour Town Golf Links and The Sea Pines Resort