Betrothed at the Beach

January 2024
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
Paula Player Photography

Beach babies Olivia and Brendan come full circle for a beautiful waterfront wedding

Olivia Patton & Brendan Gelson
April 15, 2023 • Debordieu Colony in Georgetown, S.C.

The first chapter of Olivia Patton and Brendan Gelson’s love story was set on the University of South Carolina campus, where they first met as freshmen.

“We both knew that it wouldn’t be the last time we would see each other,” says Olivia. “Neither of us were in a place to be in something serious at that time, but we knew there was something special between us. We saw each other on and off throughout our college years, but it wasn’t until the end of our senior year of college when we ran into each other again and we never looked back.”

After graduation, Brendan and Olivia moved to Charlotte, N.C., moved in together, and dated four years before getting engaged. Brendan proposed on the rooftop of a restaurant in Mexico while there on a trip with another couple.

“I was over the moon excited,” says Olivia. “It was so romantic, with just us and our two friends. It was such a special trip that we will never forget!”

Another unforgettable day: their wedding, held on April 15, 2023, at Debordieu Colony in Georgetown, S.C. With both bride and groom having grown up at the beach – Olivia in Myrtle Beach and Brendan in Cape Cod, Mass. – Olivia says they couldn’t imagine it being anywhere else. 

“We fell in love with Debordieu from the moment we saw it,” she says. “It is like its own little oasis. My parents just built a house there, so we can’t wait to make many more memories in such a special place.” 

The Big Day at Debordieu was a classic, traditional beauty, spotlighting a breathtaking plethora of white and green florals. Olivia’s brother, Zach Patton, is a musician who took the stage with a band he named "The Gelson Experience", to make the entertainment at the reception even more special. Beyond the five-star food catered by Debordieu, Olivia says they were also blown away by Cigar Row events out of Charleston, which hosted the reception’s cigar bar.

“We were so thankful with how well our team worked together with all the different vendors – they all felt like part of the family,” she says. “They brought zero stress the day of and there was nothing but the absolute best vibes all day and night!

“Our wedding day was by far the best day of our lives, and having everyone that we love all from different times of our lives in the same place to celebrate us,” she continues. “We wouldn’t change a single thing from the entire wedding weekend. We just kept saying all night, ‘I can’t believe all of this is for us and all of these people are here just for us.’ We felt so special.”

Brendan and Olivia Gelson are living their happily-ever-after next chapter from their home in Charlotte, N.C.

Key vendors:
Wedding planner: Stunning and Brilliant Events
Photographer/Videographer: Paula Player and David Player
Flowers: Carolina Charm
Rentals: EventWorks
Caterer: Debordieu Catering