A Coastal Breeze

by Judy Bean

A family celebration summons sweet memories of the bride’s childhood summers on Tybee’s sandy shores.  


By Judy Bean  |  Photography by Jade and Matthew McCully

Annie Morgan and Dustin Flynt had just carried a large kayak over a long, up-and-down path through the dunes at Tybee Island’s North Beach.  Suddenly, Dustin fell to his knees—well, actually, just to one knee.  At the low-tide water’s edge, to the delight of passing beachcombers, the two agreed to sail through life together in the same metaphorical boat.

Less than a year after that sandy proposal, the two Ohioans married on Tybee, where Annie planned a light-hearted celebration to reflect her lifelong love for the island—and for the cherished grandparents’ cottage that she, Dustin and their two sons from previous marriages now consider a second home.

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Seaside Vintage

Annie first visited Tybee Island when she was just a baby and returned many times throughout her childhood.  She recalled those sun-washed summers in the glimmer of old, wavy glass, the patinas of worn wood and the shades of sand, sea and sky—all of which inspired her faded wedding palette.

Navigating Etsy and Pinterest, as well as the abundant antique shops of Lebanon, Ohio, where she and Dustin live, Annie sought out tangible reminders of those Southern summers.  She found vintage vases, antique bottles and candlesticks for table settings.  She acquired an antique chalkboard to use as a sign, welcoming wedding guests.  And she collected cake stands to display nostalgic treats, including Rice Krispie bars and homemade cookie-and-cream sandwiches, at the reception—which mollified small hands for the family-friendly event.

As she gathered treasures, Annie also discovered Savannah vendors, including wedding planner Ashley Greene of Posh Petals and Pearls.  It wasn’t easy, Annie admits, to find a planner who embraced her and Dustin’s ideas for an informal gathering and “family vacation” atmosphere.

“But Ashley got our vision,” Annie says.

Finding other local sources proved easier.  Annie and Dustin clicked instantly with photographers Jade and Matthew McCully and with florist Anissa Manzo of Urban Poppy.  They went on to book wedding guitarist Sean Driscoll, confectioner Adrienne Bibb of Addy B’s Cakes, bartenders from Johnnie Ganem’s and videographers from 98 Productions—all of whom helped fulfill Annie’s dream for her big day.

To share with family and friends the happiness Annie had always found on Tybee, she and Dustin rented two more beach houses: one for the bride and bridesmaids, and another for the groom and groomsmen.  The wedding party arrived a few days before the wedding to enjoy some of the couple’s favorite Savannah activities, including downtown ghost tours.

For their rehearsal dinner, everyone gathered poolside at Annie’s grandparents’ cottage, where they dined on succulent pulled pork, tangy baked beans, crunchy slaw and other Southern staples from Wiley’s Championship Barbecue, one of Annie’s favorite Savannah restaurants. Meanwhile, the Jimmy Wolling Band from Metter picked high-energy bluegrass tunes.

“Dustin grew up in Kentucky, so the bluegrass music was perfect,” Annie says.

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Going to the Chapel

Annie’s plans all came together at the Tybee Wedding Chapel, where Anissa festooned the aisle-side seats with clusters of baby’s breath, hanging in humble canning jars.  A large twig arbor, arrayed in pink roses and Spanish moss, stood in the altar position.

As classical guitarist Sean Driscoll played softly, the wedding began.  Preceded by her 4-year-old son Camden as ring-bearer, Annie entered to the strains of “Over the Rainbow.”  The song “wasn’t on Sean’s playlist,” Annie recalls, “but he played it for us because we loved it so much.”

The bride wore a white strapless gown by Modern Trousseau and carried a bouquet of pink roses and silver- green dusty miller.  The bridesmaids carried petite versions that highlighted their ethereal taupe dresses, all customized with different necklines of their choosing.  The groom and groomsmen (including Dustin’s son, Chase) wore classically Southern, gray-and-white seersucker suits and casual Toms shoes.

“We chose Toms because they were stylish and comfy, and also because we both love that they give (shoes for every pair purchased) to people in need,” Annie notes.

An outdoor happy hour on the chapel’s sprawling deck followed the ceremony.  As guests mingled under trees hung with tea lights, the chapel crew moved chairs and pews to set up a seated dinner reception, where guests feasted on classic coastal favorites catered by Cape Creations.  Crab cakes, sweet potatoes and sweet tea were among the most popular flavors at the family-style tables.  For an additional taste of the South, each setting included a take-home Mason jar of vanilla- peach bourbon jam with a label by Savannah graphic designer Heather Young, who also designed the wedding stationery.

After toasting, dining and dancing, the couple departed beneath an outdoor arch of handheld sparklers, which flickered like delirious fireflies in the evening air.

Wedding planner Ashley remembers the entire event as “very intimate.  It was very much about love and family… and having fun.”

The bride, too, reminisces fondly.

“Once we found Ashley, we didn’t have any real problems,” she recalls.  “It was relaxed and happy.  We spent time with the people we care for.  All I can say (to other brides) is trust your instincts—and focus on what you love.”

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Annie and  Dustin

Season:  Spring

Guests:  65

Palette:  Taupe and rose

Planning time:  9 months

Rehearsal dinner:  The bride’s grandparents’ home, Tybee Island

Ceremony and reception:  Tybee Wedding Chapel



The big day:  Saturday, June 2, 2012

Palette:  Taupe and rose

Planner/event designer:  Posh Petals and Pearls

Rehearsal dinner:  The bride’s grandparents’ home, Tybee Island

Ceremony site:  Tybee Wedding Chapel

Officiant:  The Rev. Joseph Wadas

Ceremony music:  Classical guitarist Sean Driscoll

Gown:  Modern Trousseau

Hair:  Joan Mills, Salon Aqua

Makeup:  Dollface by Jules

Bridesmaids’ attire:  Lela Rose gowns, with accessories from Etsy and antique shops

Groom/groomsmen’s attire:  Jos. A. Bank suits, Toms shoes, vintage neckties

Reception:  Tybee Wedding Chapel

Catering:  Cynthia Creighton-Jones, Cape Creations Catering

Reception music:  All About You Entertainment

Florist:  Urban Poppy

Cake:  Delectable Designs

Photographers:  Jade and Matthew McCully, Jade + Matthew Take Pictures, 912.220.6562, www.jadeandmatthew.com