Sports buffs Kate Owens and Eric Martin first met during a soccer tournament in Arizona in 2011 — Kate's Virginia Tech club team was staying at the same hotel as the players from the Naval Academy, which just so happened to include Eric. While their shared affinity for the sport was strong, it soon paled in comparison to their love for one another. Just two years after the duo first bonded over soccer (and just weeks before he deployed with the Marine Corps for the very first time), Eric popped the question on his bride-to-be's birthday in December of 2013.
As any military couple will tell you, planning a wedding during deployment is no easy task and Eric's career as a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps meant that he was in training with little-to-no phone access in the month before the couple's nuptials. Although that left much of the burden on Kate, the two found creative ways to make it work, and even carved out a little time the night before the wedding to finish their last remaining tasks. "We chose our first dance song out at a bar after the rehearsal dinner," Kate laughs.
But the distance couldn't stop this couple from planning a beautiful June 6, 2015, celebration at the Bakery 105 in Wilmington, North Carolina. On the big day, the venue's architecture took center stage, complemented by Kate and Eric's neutral color palette of ivory, champagne, peach, and pops of pink and stunning floral arrangements from Beautiful Flowers By June. Meg Cooper Photography captured every detail of this pretty day, all seen below.
Although Kate admits she's hardly a big shopper, she wouldn't settle for any old wedding dress. In fact, the bride and her mother drove an hour from home in search of bridal salons with styles she might like. "The tiny shop we ended up getting my wedding dress from was two minutes from my parents' house," Kate laughs. "This was the last place I expected to buy it."
The wedding dress Kate chose featured organza and lace and a plunging back line but most importantly, it met her number one criteria: It had straps. "I wanted a dress with straps or sleeves, but most looked matronly on me since I am five-foot-three," she says. "This one was modern and I had never seen it before. It fit my body perfectly." And Eric, of course, donned his Marine Corps dress blues.
Bridesmaids wore matching sparkling knee-length dresses spotted by Kate's sister-in-law. The dress looked so good on everyone, Kate says, that she changed her plan of having every 'maid pick her own dress to asking them to share the same style. "It was such a standout that all the other dresses paled in comparison," Kate explains.
Kate's organic bouquet was made from garden roses, ranunculus, astilbe, anemones, dusty miller, cushion mums, fresh lavender, ivy, and nigella, while her bridesmaids carried arrangements of similar flowers with pops of peach, coral, and green.
Eric's fellow Marine Corps groomsmen also donned their uniforms, while his non-military pals wore traditional black-and-white tuxedos.
Kate's father walked her down the aisle while a recording of Vitamin String Quartet played throughout the space, which had been draped with fabric for an intimate feel. There, the pair exchanged vows they wrote themselves and further personalized their ceremony with readings they selected from Les Miserables and Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12.
Kate and her mother created the table assignment display themselves, crafting the gold-leafed paper lists that were hung by clothespins on a wooden board.
The couple's head table sat against an exposed brick wall that was draped in vintage string lights. It was topped with cream-colored linens and wooden boxes that were filled with flowers in the couple's neutral color palette.
A floral chandelier was hung above the reception space. On tables, mercury glass vases were filled with flowers and flanked by mercury glass votive candles and rattan chargers. The bride and groom used photos of themselves at different ages to designate each table's number.
Kate and Eric's three-tiered cake was topped with fresh flowers and made from layers of lemon and carrot cakes with raspberry jam.
The newlyweds hired live entertainment for their reception. "Our band was amazing," Kate says. "It was important to us that everyone had a great time." They shared first danced to Zac Brown Band's "Loving You Easy."
After Eric returns from his latest deployment, the couple plans to honeymoon in Costa Rica. "Don't forget what the day is actually about," the bride tells future couples. "It is so easy to get wrapped up in the planning and the details."
Venue, Planning & Catering: Bakery 105 || Bride's Wedding Dress: Wtoo || Shoes: Ivanka Trump || Hair & Makeup: Groove Jet Salon and Spa || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Florist: Beautiful Flowers By June || Invitations: Elli || Music: Elegance || Cake: One Belle Bakery || Rentals: Party Suppliers and Rentals || Videographer: Philip James Films || Photographer: Meg Cooper Photography
Want to see more beautiful weddings like this? Then check out the video below, filled with real couple's military celebrations.