Elopement/Real Weddings

Intimate Charleston Boho Beach Wedding

Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 4

Boho beach vibes aren’t reserved only for West Coast brides my babes, oh no. May I introduce to you the beautiful, breezy Carolinas – where one can plan the oh-so-perfect intimate, bohemian beach wedding just like Bethany & Keenan.

I have a special place in my heart for Folly Beach as I’ve been trying to convince my husband for years to move to Charleston. On one visit, we were taking a final beach day at the relaxed & beautiful Folly Beach when a gas line burst, and we were trapped on the island, just before our flight back to NY. I spent those few hours that morning hoping we were truly stranded, and we wouldn’t have to leave Charleston that day, just spread out on that breezy South Carolina beach.

All of this is to say, I truly understand why anyone would dream to marry in this beautiful place. Dolphins swimming by, cranes gracefully en-statue – it’s stunning, serene, and only fifteen minutes from Charleston.

Bethany & Keenan were spoiled to all of the natural beauty of the Carolina coastline leaving with them with just a few fabulous DIY projects, like oyster place cards & an altar that blended so well with the natural driftwood. The entire scene was a dream for photographer Ava Moore, who captured this beautiful day on film.

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Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 49

Our Love Story

We met six years ago in a packed train station in Yokohama, Japan. I was coming home from a terrible date and Keenan was coming home from a night out with his Navy buddies. As I was climbing the stairs to the train platform, I could hear Keenan and his friends laughing and having a great time. It was really late and I wasn’t in the mood for anything but to get home and go to bed. However, Keenan saw me and immediately had other plans.

I stood in the back of the platform and tried to be invisible. They were taking pictures and joking around with the locals when Keenan came up and they all crowded around me to take an uninvited photo. The train finally arrived, and Keenan spent the entire 45-minute train ride home trying to get to know me as I politely tried to let him know I just wasn’t interested. After I finally managed to convince him I was fine to walk home in the dark on my own, we went our separate ways.

As soon as I had walked away he told his best friend that he was going to marry me someday. Somehow, he had decided this even though I had turned down all of his invitations for a date and he had spent most of the train ride just trying to guess my first name. Keenan was a man on a mission, though, and spent the next three days asking around and searching for me.

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He finally found my Facebook profile and messaged me asking for a lunch date as an “apology” for bothering me that night on the train. I continued to neither accept nor reject his offer, so he finally told me that he would be at a local restaurant at 11:00 am the next day and would give me until 11:15 am to show. I made him sweat a little bit but, I showed up at 11:14.

We had an amazing 4-hour lunch date spending the entire time talking and hardly touched our meals, and we have been together ever since. Who would have thought that an annoying American in a Japanese train station would be the guy I would fall in love with? But here we are and we are so excited to begin our next adventure in marriage.

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Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 41

The Proposal

Keenan attempted to propose three separate times. The first plan, he had worked on for months with our best friends and the managers at a movie theater we spent many date nights at when living in Kansas City. We were flying out to KC to visit our best friends for their wedding and Keenan had everything set up to propose to me that night at the movie theater.

He had asked for the manager to fake a contest where I would be called to the stage for my prize. During this time, he would happen to “be in the bathroom” and then walk up toward the stage asking why I was up there. At that moment Will You Marry Me would have popped up on the screen behind me and the proposal would have begun.

However, our flight was delayed for six hours at our layover in Dallas. Keenan tried to hide his dismay about the delay and was on his phone frantically trying to let everyone know that it would not be happening that night. I, unaware of the plan, wondered why he was so upset; we were just missing a movie!

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Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 63

Later that weekend, at our best friend’s wedding, I happened to catch the bouquet. As we were already planning on getting engaged, he tried to be polite and stood near the back of the group for the garter belt throw in an attempt to let the other men get their chance. Instead, the belt made a b-line for him through the crowd and he just managed to stop it from hitting him in the face. My best friend, Renee, who was the bride suggested that Keenan propose then and there as he already had the ring on him. However, he didn’t want to take away from their day so decided against proposal #2.

A week later, back home in New Mexico, I came home from work one evening to find Keenan putting his shoes on. He told me that our friends were driving around up in the mountains and their truck had broken down. He said that we needed to go pick them up. Unbeknownst to me, Keenan had spent the day prior stringing lights and setting up his final attempt.

We drove up there, not to find our friends but instead a gorgeous gazebo all lit up and a hand-built tree swing (I love to swing). He had recreated our first Valentine’s day. I got out of the truck and he got down on one knee, he told me that he was pretty sure I was made for him and asked if I would spend the rest of my life re-watching all of the James Bond movies with him (an inside joke). I could barely contain my eager “Yes!” until his speech was over. Proposal #3 was a success! I definitely think he saved the best plan for last.

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The Dress & Flowers

My wedding dress was the second dress I tried on. I absolutely fell in love with this Grace Loves Lace gown and simply could not find a dress to beat it. My bridesmaids and I then shopped endlessly for dresses that complimented both the wedding and their individual style. Lastly, the gentlemen’s attire was chosen to compliment the ladies.

We wanted organic floral arrangements with a lot of eucalyptus and neutral florals. Lori from Petoloso helped bring our vision together with the most gorgeous arrangements.

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Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 42

The Weddings Vibes

We wanted our wedding to have a romantic, organic, and intimate feel. We chose dusty greys and blues with rose gold accents to bring our vision together. We thought the beach added a gorgeous natural background to compliment our decor.

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Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 44

Favorite Moments

We are huge fans of the show “The Bachelor” on ABC. For our first look, Keenan had his best man dress up as Chris Harrison and set up a rose on the beach. This was such a personal touch to the day and I absolutely loved how thoughtful Keenan was in planning it. Of course, I accepted his rose.

Before the wedding, I asked my brother Jeff to hold on to my vows. He was also in the wedding and right before walking down the aisle, his wife suggested that he empty his pockets as they looked bulky. When it came time for me to recite my vows, I looked to Jeff but he had left them at the house with the remaining items from his pockets. With a look of panic, he ran all the way back to the beach house and sprinted back to save the day. This is a memory we will hold dear for many years.

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Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 35

The Favors & DIY Details

For favors, we made beach bags for each family that consisted of snacks, a beach towel, and personalized water bottles. We then tied a thank you note and itinerary to the outside of the bag.

We tried to DIY as much as possible, this included the arbor, lighting, backdrop, and small decor touches. The arbor was made from three spray-painted 2X4s buried two feet deep then wrapped with fabric and stapled heavily to fight the wind. A gorgeous flower arrangement was zip tied to the corner. The lights were hung every foot along the roof and along the edges of the carport for lighting and ambiance. The backdrop was a last minute addition in an attempt to block some of the wind. Sheets of plywood where attached to the buildings support poles and then white sheets were stapled to make it presentable. We hand wrote the name of our each of our guests onto oyster shells as place cards and labeled water bottles with a personalized label.

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Intimate Southern Boho Beach Wedding in Charleston – Ava Moore Photography 30

The Important Details

When we first started to plan our wedding we decided there were a few things that were must-haves. The biggest was the ability to have our dogs in the wedding. Our dogs are our babies and so we needed to find a house that would allow pets as well as accommodate for a beach wedding and reception. We also planned our ceremony for after six in the evening as dogs are not allowed not the beach before this time. These hurdles were well worth it for them to be a part of our wedding and see the ocean for the first time. The wedding would not have been the same without them.

Second on our list was to ensure the food was above average. For that, we were lucky enough to find Chris at Just Eat This. As soon as we tried his crab cakes and short ribs we knew we had our man. Everyone at the wedding raved over the food during and after and Chris’s service was amazing.

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