Summer & Brian at the Village House at Litchfield

December 2020
Written By: 
Ashley Daniels
Photographs by: 
Scott Smallin

A night of caroling turned into a lifetime of love

Summer Mueller & Brian Hakoun
May 16, 2020 • Village House at Litchfield

For Summer and Brian, Christmas is the most wonderful time of year for one more reason. It’s the season they first met, two years ago, on December 18, and the day that sparked their forever. 

It was the day that Summer and daughter Lola decided to go Christmas caroling with their church, while delivering food to the Hurricane Florence flood victims of Myrtle Beach.

“I was a single mom and I was busy,” says Summer. “And I’d recently accepted that my destiny may be to just keep building businesses, share the love of God with people, and completely focus on my 4-year-old daughter. I want Lola to know love, giving and gratefulness.”

But God had other plans that day. As she and Lola were waiting their turn in the hot chocolate line, Brian, an elementary director at Beach Church at the time, recruited the two for his caroling team.  

His smile was infectious and his energy was even more captivating,” remembers Summer. “Lola and I both loved everything about that day. Our team went from home to home spreading the love of God, singing our hearts out, delivering food, and wiping tears from the eyes of those who had just lost everything. … Praying with Brian was my second favorite part of meeting him. The best part was how easily he connected with my daughter and all of the other children.”

At the end of the event, Summer and Brian, both 36, swapped numbers to text each other the group caroling photos, which opened the door to a flurry of invitations from Brian to Summer to volunteer with the children’s ministry at Beach Church. And that led to an invitation to their first date over coffee at Boardwalk Coffee House, which she says was “filled with belly laughs, hard-knock honesty, the craziest of stories, and an attraction that couldn’t be ignored.

“Brian, Lola, and I have been inseparable ever since that coffee date,” continues Summer. “God has given us sign after sign after sign that His hand is steering this relationship.” 

After nine months of courtship, she knew in her heart that the natural next step was a marriage proposal, but she just didn’t know when. 

On August 3, 2019, in the middle of a seven-day mission trip to Mexico, where the couple participated in building stone stoves for Mayan villages in Chan Chen and hosting a Vacation Bible School for 50 children, it happened. After an early morning run, a quick swim, hiking more than a mile and climbing up more than 100 steep steps leading up to the Mayan ruin in Cobá, Brian got down on one knee. 

“He told me he was the happiest man in the entire world and asked me to be his wife,” says Summer. “I was on top of the world in so many ways! I get to marry the man of my dreams! My engagement was nothing short of surreal. I still sometimes pinch myself and wonder if this is all real.”

What was real was their wedding date, set for May 16, 2020, in a dreamy outdoor setting at the Village House at Litchfield in Pawleys Island. Their 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen, donned in classic black, along with family and friends from New York, where Brian was born and raised, and Nashville, where Summer grew up, gathered to witness and celebrate this special couple’s nuptials. The guest list that was originally 250 had to be shaved down to 50 because of COVID restrictions. 

“May 16 was our original date, but we went back and forth as to whether to change it or not,” says Summer. “We really felt God telling us to do it anyway and have a celebration later. We’re glad we had an intimate semi-private ceremony—it was perfect. And we believe God’s plan is always better than what we may see as our vision. We are insanely grateful for our wedding.”

Summer’s theme for the day was a blended vision of boho, earthy, vintage, rustic and romance—from the blend of Carolina blues, natural greenery and sea oats in the bouquets and arrangements to the dream catchers to the 1924 Model T awaiting the newlyweds to the vintage throw rugs down the aisle. Little Lola Moon walked down the aisle as flower girl right before her mom made an entrance in a gorgeous, custom-made jeweled gown by Christian Bossert of Ishi Boss, illuminated by hand-sewn beading. 
The Big Day even carried its own hashtag, #Hakounamatata, a reference to the newlyweds’ last name of Hakoun and their dedication to living by what hakuna matata means: “no worries, and love, love, love,” says Summer. 

The celebration continued with a twist to their original plans of a reception and menu featuring “cuisine around the world,” such as Thai food (Summer’s favorite), Israeli goodies (Brian is half Jewish), and Italian classics (Brian is half Italian). Because of COVID restrictions, they had Mellow Mushroom pizza delivered. Regardless, it was a beautiful day celebrating the love between this bride and groom. 

“I was open to the possibility that maybe I would meet an amazing man who saw life the way I did, saw love the way that I did,” says Summer. “I was open to a ‘meant to be.’ I was open if God had it in His plans to use me for marriage.
“Anyone who knows Brian knows what an amazing man he is, inside and out,” she continues. “His love for God, children and all people in general is inspiring.”

Summer, regional vice president at Primerica and owner of Coastal Holistics and La Bella MD, and Brian, who works as a nurse and is the owner of Coastal Carolina Home Care, live in Myrtle Beach.

Key Vendors

Photographer: Scott Smallin Photography
Venue: Village House at Litchfield
Planner: Bride and friends, plus Julia from Village House at Litchfield
Decor: Top Knotch Staging 
Dress: Ishi Boss
Cake: Hollie Davis 
Florist: Kings Florist
Catering: Mellow Mushroom
Music: Lisa Perry  
Transportation: Carolina Limousine