In May of 2010, Melissa Crotty was working at a local store in Park City, Utah, while prepping to open her own business. "Dave came in to pick up a mirror for his sister-in-law and I assisted him," she says of their first encounter. "He noticed me and called the store for a dinner date that same day! I said yes, but only to coffee." Just over a year later, she found herself saying yes to an entirely different question. "Dave proposed on July 4, 2011. He was super nervous, and I thought it was weird that our official one year anniversary made him nervous," Melissa says. "I had no idea he was going to propose."
When the Utah natives started planning their October 12, 2013 wedding, they decided to head to the opposite coast for a southern wedding infused with earthy and organic charm. They chose the Inn at Palmetto Bluff and invited 96 guests to join them for their natural-inspired celebration and Britt Chudliegh was on hand to capture every incredible detail.
"My dad actually suggested the venue to us," Melissa says of their Bluffton, South Carolina, venue. "He took us over by boat for lunch one day and we fell in love with the area. Since our guests were traveling, we wanted them to have a one-of-a-kind experience. They were not simply going to a wedding, they were taking a vacation and a break from the real world. Palmetto Bluff is quaint, quiet, and fairytale like." The couple rented out the two homes on the property and their guests reserved the 50 on-site cottages, so everyone was close throughout the weekend.
Melissa and Dave worked with Copper Willow to create their incredible invitation suite in shades of copper and navy. Dream catchers were used throughout the ceremony and reception, so turning one into a formal invite was only fitting.
The bride chose a strapless organza ball gown from Vera Wang. "It fit and looked like a dream!" she says. "If I was a wedding dress designer, this is what I would have designed." She added a veil from the same designer, her mother's earrings, and a bracelet her father gave her on the morning of her wedding. "I also pinned a vintage baby blue, embroidered handkerchief that belonged to my late grandmother under my dress so that she was with me all day long," Melissa says.
While she certainly looked like a classic bride, Melissa had one hidden accessory that was entirely unique to her. "I'm not much of a heels person," the bride admits. So she commissioned custom-made ivory and nude cowboy boots from Luechese with a short heel to wear under her dress.
Melissa carried a mostly white bouquet of garden roses, ranunculus, astilbe, and berries and wore a delicate floral crown.
When it came to dressing her bridesmaids, Melissa knew she didn't want anything traditional or predictable. Instead, she worked with friends that own boutiques in Park City to find something floor-length and neutral, but with a twist. She ultimately chose embroidered nude gowns from Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent. Their bouquets were a smaller version of the bride's blooms.
Dave and his groomsmen, which included his 11-year-old son, all wore charcoal grey suits, plaid Burberry ties, and leather belts made by a friend in Utah.
Melissa and Dave's two flower girls kicked off the ceremony wearing white lace dresses, beaded capes, and tan cowboy boots. Then, the bride and her father walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of the Allman Brothers "Little Martha." The bride and groom exchanged vows that they wrote themselves at the front of the flower-lined aisle. "I didn't want to write the vows," Melissa admits. "But Dave insisted! It was the best idea ever. We completely unknowingly wrote two of the exact same things."
Cocktail hour was held outside on the lawn of the inn. The couple created a delicious signature drink that could be enjoyed with or without spirits: a refreshing blend of coconut water, coconut puree, and lime juice.
Inside, the reception space was decked out with copper sequin tablecloths and copper centerpieces that were filled with mixes of white flowers, including tulips, ranunculus, and dusty miller.
For favors, the couple gave each guest a clear glass globe that was filled with feathers. And, in honor of their favorite meal, Melissa and Dave gave each guest a tote with a "Breakfast for Dinner" cookbook.
Dessert was a site to behold. The bride and groom enlisted Minette Rushing to create an incredible five-tiered wedding cake, complete with dreamcatchers, arrows, and gold feather details.
"Don't sweat the small stuff, because at the end of the day, whether you do or don't your wedding will still be perfect," Melissa, who honeymooned with Dave in Bora Bora, advises future brides. "You still get to marry your best friend!"
Venue & Catering: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff || Wedding Planner & Designer: Jesi Haack Design || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Vera Wang || Shoes: Luechese from Burns Cowboy Shop || Hair: Salon 1050 || Makeup: Sandra Subacius || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, purchased at Flight Clothing Boutique || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse; Burberry || Flower Girl Attire: Zara; Monsoon || Engagement Ring & Bride's Wedding Band: Tiffany & Co. || Groom's Wedding Band: Woodbury Jewelers || Flowers: A Floral Affair || Invitations & Paper Products: Copper Willow Paper Studio || Music: Todd Cowart; Jamie & Liz Bodie || Cake: Minette Rushing Custom Cakes || Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental || Favors: Root'd || Videographer: Savannah Wedding Films || Photographer: Britt Chudleigh
Looking for more outdoor wedding inspiration? Then we bet you'll love another couple's open-air celebration in California, seen in the video below!