Country Beach Wedding from Katie Nesbitt Photography

I am really loving the country beach vibe in today’s wedding from Katie Nesbitt Photography! I love the beach-y atmosphere coupled with the rustic style and details. The wildflower arrangements are perfect pops of color, the photo booth is just too-much-fun, and the portraits of the beautiful bride and groom, especially those with their three month old daughter, are just too sweet for words. While simple, the details are also very chic, all encompassing one very sweet day that I’m honored to share with you all today!

John met April’s aunt and uncle when they were all down in Cap Haitien, Haiti, helping to build a church in 2008. The more they learned about John on their trip, the more they thought he needed to meet their niece, April! They told him a bit about her, including her travels abroad and some of the more memorable adventures she’d taken. His interest was peeked.

When they all returned home, April’s aunt invited her on a double date with John. April agreed and her aunt gave her John’s email to make contact and sort out the details. He was very witty in his emails and she could tell right away that he was smart and a lot of fun. He gave her a few options to choose from for their date: skeet shooting, line dancing, extreme golf, or a country fair. Because she’d never been and it sounded adventurous, April chose skeet shooting.

On their way to dinner after skeet shooting, they stopped to get gas and he joined her at the pump. While she was pumping, they were talking, and he gave her a small, very sweet smelling red rose that he’d picked from his yard. She blushed when he gave her another rose, this one made from a red gunshot shell. She’d never seen anything like it but loved it immediately.

Six months into their relationship, April lost her job, got pneumonia and kidney stones, and had to leave her apartment. She was forced to stay with John who took very good care of her while she was sick and even helped her devise a plan to get back on track. It was a low time for her, but with his help, she climbed out of her hole. After about a month she moved out, got her own place, and left his, even more smitten than before.

John was in Haiti during the earthquake in 2010 and couldn’t make it home in time for the beginning of the new semester. Knowing he would be missing a few of his classes and not wanting him to miss out, April got in touch with his professors, explained the situation, and asked if she could attend the class in his place for a few weeks just to get the notes and other important information he might need later. It didn’t seem like a big deal to her, but it was to him. He even mentioned it in his wedding vows!

They’d talked about getting married and agreed that they wanted to let things happen naturally and not talk about other future plans until they were engaged. With that said, April just did her thing and didn’t really obsess over when it would happen. To her surprise, John proposed on a Sunday afternoon.

She’d mention how she wanted to go skeet shooting again, since it had been over a year since they’d last gone. When he asked her to go that weekend, she readily agreed. It was a warm and sunny October day, and they were both in great spirits as they headed to the same park where they’d first met. They chose to shoot in the woods and went around to a few spots before they came to a heavily wooded area. John seemed a little distracted but April just assumed he was thinking about setting up his next shot, which he was filming for some strange reason (to check his form out later maybe?). But when his ammo jammed, he asked April to come and take a look. When she did, John pulled out a ring attached to a red shotgun shell (reminiscent of their first ever skeet shooting date). He told her how much he loved her, that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, then he got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife. Of course she said yes!

{From the Bride} The theme of the wedding was meant to be Country Beach Wedding. I wanted to blend old world Southern elegance and rustic Carolina beach charm. For decorations, we stole some great ideas from and a variety of wedding blogs. We had some fun with chalkboards, lanterns, sand, shells, lace, funky fan programs, rafia, starfish, blue mason jars and ruffles! We did a fun, personal Mad Libs scroll for guests to fill out at their tables. We did large and small candles on all the tables to provide some additional lighting to our outdoor tent. After all, warm lighting really sets a romantic tone. On the gift table, buffet table, and dessert table we did fresh flowers, lanterns, and menus that tied into the look of our invitations.

My mom is a master gardner and has amazing gardens at her home. She cut and brought all the fresh flowers. I wanted a rustic wildflower look so it worked out perfectly. She did all the bouquets and arrangements the day before the wedding.

For food, we wanted to do something fun, easy, and casual. So we did chopped pork barbecue (a local favorite), fried chicken (a Southern staple), scalloped potatoes, cold pasta salad, a big garden salad, baked beans, and coleslaw. For dessert, we wanted to step out of the box a bit. I also wanted to really capture that Southern charm and elegance. So I went with 4 assorted pies: peach, strawberry, key lime, and apple. Fresh cut watermelon slices and a 2-tier country white cake. The top was gluten-free vanilla with raspberry filling and the bottom was chocolate fudge with raspberry filling. There was ZERO leftover.

We did have a signature drink, which we called Sweet Pea after our 3-month old daughter. It was lemonade, iced tea, and vodka dressed with a nice fresh lemon wedge. It was very refreshing. Did I mention it was 106 degrees on our wedding day?! The hottest day of the year so far – wow, was it hot.

For our guests, we had a large coach bus taking them to and from their beachfront hotel in Virginia Beach. We also provided a photo booth area with props like silly sunglasses, mustaches, leis, etc. for them to take snapshots throughout the night. We have all the shots in a book and its loads of fun to look through. We also gave our guests small paper pouches of fresh, chilled cherries on their way out. Another sweet country summer treat.

{Advice for Couples} I would say communication. Throughout our relationship and throughout the wedding planning process, we really kept things real and honest. There have been many disagreements and I think that is normal. The key is to work through things when you disagree, to really listen, and to compromise if needed. And you can’t do any of that if you don’t have good communication.

The second thing is to keep your love tank full. Life gets you down sometimes and it’s easy to forget what wonderful things you have. Sometimes you have to put everything else on pause and just fill your love tank back up. How you choose to fill it is up to you, but I think it’s really important to keep a lot of love in your heart. It helps you keep warm, positive, and kind, to yourself and others.

Congratulations, April and John, and thank you so much for sharing your love story with us! We wish you both so much love, luck and laughter in the years to come! And a very special thank you to Katie Nesbitt for sharing their very special day with us today! xoxo

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