Crystal + John | Ocean Club wedding photographer

Wedding Venue:  The Ocean Club, Indian Beach, NC
Coordinator:  Bridal By The Sea
Florist:  Tildy Designs
Band:  The Love Tribe
Cake:  Kim Cake
Wedding Gown Designer:  Ellis
Bridesmaid Dresses:  Lula Kate
Mens Apparel:  Vineyard Vines

From the bride, Crystal...

If you could pick one moment that stands out to you as the best on your wedding day, what would it be? About halfway through the reception, my matron of honor came up to me and said, "wait until you see what the band got you and John as a gift!!!" Band TShirts!!!" I told her I had to put it on right then. She ran and got it and I put it on over my dress and ran onstage with the band! The looks on their faces were priceless as they launched into the next 80's hit and I began dancing around and singing every word along with them. I had always wanted to be a rockstar! Next thing I knew, someone had given John his shirt and he was up there with me! It was such a spontaneous moment and just so much fun.

During your wedding planning, what was your vision for your wedding day? When John and I got engaged, he said to me flat out, "just tell me where to show up." He wanted nothing to do with the planning, so I ran with it. From the start I knew this was going to be what my friends now refer to as "a very Crystal wedding." I just didn't want to have the same conventional wedding that I had been to dozens of times. I knew I wanted a nautical theme- navy and seersucker were immediate standouts for me. I couldn't find seersucker linens anywhere so my mom made them by hand! The bright spring green bridesmaids dresses were inspired by a magazine photo. I was so close to changing my mind on the color, down to an email from the salon that said "Crystal we need your decision. Today." At the end of the day I told myself at least they would be different. I am so so glad I stuck with the green! The dresses looked great on the girls and were perfect for the beach vibe of the whole day.

I am an old soul and a huge music buff. I knew I wanted my ceremony to be different, memorable, and "sooooo Crystal." I chose music selections by Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. I walked down the aisle to "Here Comes the Sun" which had always been a dream of mine. It meant the world to me to hear "I was really digging the music!" when I arrived at the reception. 

My main goal in planning was for our guests to have the most fun they had ever had at a wedding before. 95% of our guests had to travel to attend so I wanted to make sure I made it worth their while! I knew right away that I wanted a live band. After some research online I came across Love Tribe, and we previewed them the weekend of our engagement party in Raleigh. I was sold. I had no voice for 2 days after singing along at the top of my lungs that night! I knew their high energy and crowd-pleasing talent would be perfect for us. And they did not disappoint!!! They completed my dream of having the most fun wedding ever.

Describe any special traditions, personal mementos, or helpful friends/family members who played a sentimental role in your wedding planning or wedding day. In my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, there is a tradition of wearing your pin, a golden key, on the inside of your dress over your heart. I had also planned on this being my something blue as my key also has sapphires. We were on the way to the venue and realized I had forgotten it! But in such a sweet gesture my bridesmaid Laina, also a Kappa, told me I could wear hers! It was so special to me to wear her pin as I grew up without any sisters. Laina has always been such a good friend to me and helped me so much in the planning process. Also on the inside of my dress I wore my cousin Amber's Sullivan pin, our family crest. The Clement cousins would typically all wear our Sullivan pins as we celebrated our heritage on St Patrick's Day. My cousins and I had a very emotional moment at the reception when I showed them the pin. I also had the blessing of wearing my late Grandma Kat's engagement ring on my right hand. As her only granddaughter, it was so special to have her there with me on my special day.

What made you choose your venue(s) for your wedding day? Aside from simply needing a venue big enough to accommodate our guests, I was sold right away by the beauty and simplicity of The Ocean Club. Palm tree-lined aisle, need I say more? We also loved Carlton's catering which is located in house at The Ocean Club.

What was your First Dance song? Is there a special story behind it? We started our first dance to "You Had Me From Hello" by Kenny Chesney. The first time I heard this song was at my bridesmaid Kam's wedding. It was the first time I had brought John as a date to anything and my parents were there as well. We were dancing to the song and John tells me he had talked to my mom... "Uh oh," was my response. He said, "she told me 'I see her look at you with those big hazel eyes and I can tell that she loves you.... (Insert tears on my end) and if you hurt her I will come after you!'" Laughing through my tears, I realized at that moment that she was right, and I hate admitting when my mother is right.

But being that this was not your typical wedding, I twisted John's arm really hard to get him to break into a surprise choreographed dance to "Got Money" by Lil Wayne! He fought me hard on this one because he thought I was just trying to embarrass him (he can't dance). But he picked it up quickly and he was a huge hit!! Only 3 people in the crowd knew what was coming. Seeing everyone's reactions was a moment I will never forget.

What was one wedding planning decision that proved invaluable? I kept a notebook in my pocket at work and in my purse where I could make notes and lists whenever they came to mind. Crossing things off the list was the only thing keeping me on track in those last couple weeks. The smartest decision I think I made was to do a first look with John. We got all of the nerves out of the way beforehand, in private, and then John was able to hang out with the girls and I until it was time for the wedding! He even did the wobble with us in the back room! He was just thankful to be in the air conditioning and out of the 95 degree heat. I knew our photos would be the most important and timeless piece of the wedding puzzle, so my first email was to Cynthia Rose!! Cindy and Victor were a dream to work with. I still cannot believe they put up with our craziness and were able to capture such fantastic photos. Thank you!!! I am also eternally grateful to Rachel and Jaci of Bridal by the Sea. I honestly do not know how people have weddings without a wedding coordinator. Rachel kept me sane throughout the planning and talked me off of a stress ledge once or twice. On the wedding day they would calmly pull me aside and tell me what was happening next. I was able to be a rockstar with the band, turn up flamingos, eat four flavors of cake on a sampler platter, and essentially have the time of my life without losing myself in the confusion of a large wedding. I couldn't have had my dream wedding without such a great team of vendors!