If you had asked Bri McDaniel and her friends where the best place to find a potential suitor would have been in 2009, you'd get one resounding answer: the Georgia Tech campus. "You gotta love those engineers," Bri laughs now. Humor aside, their instincts were on point. It was there, at a campus pizzeria, that Bri first bumped into Phil Richards. And she hasn't left his side since.
Five years later, Phil popped the question at a park, and the couple began to plan their casual March 21, 2015, wedding on Folly Beach, South Carolina. As Bri says, the process was quite relaxed — thanks in large part to the help of the team at Detailed I Do's — as was the couple's barefoot, sandy ceremony and gold,
black, and white reception near the beach. And with Michelle Scott Photography there to capture every colorful detail, you're sure to find ample inspiration for your own eclectic fete.
Bri and Phillip invited about 70 guests to join them at their celebration. "I wanted a very chill beach trip for my guests, where we just happened to be getting married," the bride says.
Bri knew she didn't want to go the traditional white route for her wedding dress. "I was looking for a gold dress with over-the-top sequins," she says of the perfect gown. When she spotted her Vienna dress on the rack at a store, she admits the glittering material immediately stood out. And with its $100 sale price tag, this bride couldn't resist buying it on the spot. That being said, Bri does admit she wondered about her final choice until the wedding day. "It didn't really feel right until I was walking down the aisle toward Phil," she says. "His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, so that was when I knew then that I had made a pretty good choice."
Bri went without a veil, choosing to wear a floral crown in hues of red, orange, pink, and peach instead. She carried a bouquet of roses, anemones, greenery, favoring the same cheery colors as her crown.
And if you needed more proof that their wedding was entirely relaxed, just listen to this: Phil's suit came from H&M. And his stand-out accessory? "He carried a flask that his best friend engraved for him," Bri says.
Bri's bridesmaids chose their own black dresses from either Rent the Runway or Forever 21. "I wanted them to choose a dress that they felt the best in and that represented their personal style," the bride says. Each 'maid also carried a slightly different bouquet, in hues of red, pink, peach, and yellow.
The twosome envisioned a wedding ceremony in the sand, where the natural beauty of the beach could speak for itself. "I really wanted to be surrounded by nature during my ceremony," Bri says, so it was no surprised that the couple kept their décor to a minimum. A wooden arch served as the focal point of their celebration, and was covered in an asymmetrical garland with pops of pink, orange, and red flowers.
Bri's father walked her down the aisle, with the sounds of the ocean as the only processional music to be heard, and her grandfather acted as the couple's officiant.
While the couple did write their own vows, they didn't put pen to paper until minutes before the ceremony began. "I wanted them to truly come from the heart," she explains. "No special quotes. Just short and simple."
The newlyweds held their reception at a nearby open-air pavilion. "It allowed my guests to have the beach as a reception backdrop," Bri says, and for the couple to yet again let the natural beauty that surrounded them take center stage.
Bri and Phillip sat at a sweetheart table, topped with a sparkling gold runner and a bottle of hot sauce, all the better to slather their Southern Comfort dinner with. "We used the food to tell who we are as a couple," the bride says. On the menu: chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and collard greens.
Their sweetheart table included gold marquee letters in the couple's initials, flanked by flowers.
Other tables were topped with the couple's DIY project: Mismatched wine bottles spray painted gold, and filled with bright flowers. While some wooden tables remained bare, the couple dressed others up with black and white chevron table runners. Their sweet favors, miniature fruit pies, also doubled as dessert.
Bri and Phillip danced to "Just the Two of Us," by Bill Withers, then opened up the dance floor for their guests to get down.
At the end of the night, Bri and Phillip gathered their guests on the beach and sent off Chinese wish lanterns. "It was really special because Phil and I made a private wish along with everyone else," Bri says. "It just seemed like everything was full of hope and promise."
If Bri and Phillip's laid-back wedding sounds like a dream, it can be yours, too. No matter how complex your wedding day plans are, Bri says to remember everything will work out. "Chill out and everything will naturally fall into place as it should. Nothing will really go as planned on the wedding day, but that's what makes it exciting and special."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Pelican Watch Shelter at Folly Beach || Wedding Planner & Invitations: Detailed I Do's || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vienna || Hair: Shear Rhythms || Makeup: India Drummond || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Rent the Runway; Forever 21 || Groom's Attire: H & M || Wedding Bands: Helzberg Diamonds || Florist: Victory Blooms || Music: DJ Chuck Nice Inc. || Catering & Favors: Carolima's Low Country Cuisine || Rentals: Synder Event Rental Company || Photographer: Michelle Scott Photography
Searching for more beach wedding inspiration? Then watch another couple say
"I do" with the ocean as their backdrop in the video below.