On your Big Day, why not go big? High as the sky big; wide as the waters big. It’s what Caroline and Dan did on the banks of the marsh in Murrells Inlet at high tide on the final day of May.
Murrells Inlet is a special place they grew up alongside, loved and fell in love—it’s their stomping grounds, where they’d met in high school during youth group nights at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church and transformed it into a class-act premiere of “My Big Fat Creek Wedding.”
“I wish we could do that day all over again,” says Caroline.
That magical day all started on their first date on her birthday, December 15, 2011, when they were both home for Christmas break from College of Charleston. “Dan invited me to go with him on a boat ride for a beer on the inlet and I agreed!” she says.
It was the first time they’d really spent one-on-one time together. “Our paths came close at church, but we really never met until we were both living in Charleston and [were] introduced through mutual friends,” says Caroline.
From that day forward, the two were inseparable—by land and by sea for the next year and a half—until he popped the question within three successive white balloons that Caroline popped on July 26, 2013. “Dan delivered a balloon to The Citadel, where I was working as a graduate assistant to complete my master’s degree,” recalls Caroline. “I was told by a co-worker to pop the balloon and there was a note inside that told me to go home and get ready for a nice dinner.”
A second and third balloon followed; one in the car with Dan when he picked her up, which held a folded map to Peninsula Grille for dinner, and, after dinner, one on the roof of the Charleston Place Hotel, floating above a vase of flowers and illuminated by the Arthur Ravenel bridge. “I popped the balloon, and inside was a letter from Dan that I’ll cherish forever,” she says. “When I finished reading it, I looked up and Dan was on his knee, and asked me to marry him. It was the best moment in my life.”
Which leads up to the Temples’ Big Fat Creek Wedding on May 31, 2014. “Every part of our wedding was on the inlet—from the family welcome reception at Marshmere, the bridesmaid luncheon in the Hermitage and the rehearsal dinner at Inlet Affairs to our ceremony at Belin United Methodist and the reception at my family home on the creek.”
The couple arrived and departed the reception by a pontoon boat draped in magnolia leaves and stocked with champagne. Oyster shells, lanterns, canoe coolers and a pretty palette of purples and lavender swept through the massive tent in the backyard. “When we left that night, the tent, made out of sailboat masts, was glowing and just was such a beautiful, memorable sight,” says Caroline.
Family photos throughout the tent and displayed with keepsakes in a glass-top curio, as well as wicker sitting areas plumped with embroidered pillows, all contributed to the couple’s love for family comfort.
A heaping amount of traditional Southern food was served, along with a five-tiered cake accompanied by a cluster of homemade family cakes. “Dan’s family has a lot of aunts and uncles, so we asked them to make a favorite homemade cake for our family cake table and we had Aunt Gina’s Key Lime Cake and Bogan’s Blueberry Pound Cake, just to name a few,” says Caroline. “Our guests really enjoyed the variety!”
Other wedding highlights were Dan’s “Cigar Dock,” complete with a “smoking armchair, fun Instagram posting instructions with the hashtag #templefortwo and a guestbook crafted from Polariod photos, and a “well wish” from each guest that hung on a rustic creek frame. Also included in the visual memories was a guest appearance by Charles Williams, a Charleston-based artist who created a live painting during the reception. “He left us with an incredible gift we will treasure forever,” says Caroline.
For all of these details and more with a wedding on this scale, without all the stress, the bride highly recommends hiring a wedding planner. She can’t speak any higher of hers, Della Ramsey. She also advises that time-honored Southern tradition to ward off any inclement weather: “We buried that bottle of bourbon upside down and I swear by it!” she laughs.
As the sun set on the final moments of her Big Day, after the final notes played by Tru Sol for the couple’s first dance, “How Sweet It Is,” after the couple left the reception tent in the wake of their pontoon, Caroline knows one thing lives on forever past May 31.
“Dan is my soulmate. … He makes me a better person,” she says. “He is one of the happiest, smartest people I know. … And at the end of the day—even a very long day—I can’t wait to get home and finish my day on a great note with him. He is fun-loving, driven and absolutely perfect. I am so blessed to be his wife!”
Caroline, a professional school counselor in the Georgetown County School District, and Dan, a CPA with Debbie Leonard, CPA, PA, happily live in Murrells Inlet, where it all began.
Ceremony: Belin Memorial United
Photographer: Carmen Ash
Planner: Della Ramsey
Caterer: Inlet Affairs
Videographer: Jason Wheeler
Cake: Incredible Edibles
Flowers: Blossoms, Carolina Charm
Band: Tru Sol