Brian Mulderrig’s move from Tennessee to New York in 2004 meant a transfer to Cold Spring Harbor High School, where his future wife, Alden Kean, happened to be in the grade below him. Brian’s cousin (and Alden's future maid of honor!) first introduced the pair—though, it took about seven years for them to graduate past friends. After Alden finished college in 2011, she moved to Manhattan, where Brian was working, and they went on their first "real date." And in December 2016, after five years of dating, Brian proposed in front of the Christmas tree in their first apartment, then whisked Alden off for dinner at the restaurant where they had that first date. After dinner, he had one final surprise, requesting an Uber to the airport for a celebratory long weekend in Paris!
After a celebratory weekend abroad, the New York City-based couple looked south to Sea Island, Georgia, a locale that holds close ties to the bride, for their wedding on September 22, 2018. “I have so many fond memories growing up going to Sea Island and was so excited to share this special spot with Brian. He quickly fell in love just as much as I did," Alden says. "When looking for a wedding venue, it was an easy choice. We couldn’t think of a better place to share with our friends and family.”
With their location set, Brian and Alden made a point to share the local experience with their guests, spreading events out among a handful of the coastal oasis’ beautiful venues. The festivities began with a rustic-meets-elegant welcome party, followed by a romantic garden ceremony, tasteful tented reception, and delightfully themed after-party. The couple wanted everything to feel classic, timeless, and fun. "Most of our planning process was centered around making sure all of our guests were having a great time the entire weekend," Alden admits.
Overall, Alden and Brian wanted to showcase their love of the outdoors (particularly, the beach!) and host a great party. They made both goals clear from the very beginning, working with Dear Elouise Fine Paper to create an invitation suite that showcased their iconic venue (with illustrations of the resort's facade, abundance of palm trees, and oceanside setting) as well as the weekend's multiple events.
The celebrations kicked off the night before the wedding with a welcome party at Rainbow Island, a casual, picnic-style venue by Black Banks River. Alden opted for a white, off-the-shoulder jumpsuit and matching statement earrings for her first look, while Brian kept it classic with a blue blazer, khaki pants, and loafers.
The night's party was set up al fresco by the marsh, so Easton Events worked with The Vine, a local floral design company, to create a vibe that felt "rustic yet refined." This translated to a display of wooden vessels, casual bistro lights, and potted planters (that held as escort cards!) at the entrance to the event.
Once guests made their way down the boardwalk to Rainbow Island, they were greeted with another rustic scene: a wooden table topped with arrangements of vibrant sunflowers and lanterns in various rattan and cast iron vessels.
Outside, Alden and Brian prioritized giving their guests the most fun experience possible, so they set up lawn games and cozy lounge areas to ensure that happened. Also, since it was September in Georgia, they provided mosquito repellent and decorative fans in bulk to help everyone combat the elements.
Dinner was set outside on an open lawn so that the venue's existing palms (now, enhanced with bistro lights) and landscaping would naturally frame the area.
Tables were topped with blue patterned linens and decorated with rattan chargers, textured votive candles, and blue-and-white napkins in yet another pattern. Pots of sunflowers and chamomile flowers completed the look.
The night's menu featured Southern favorites like Brunswick stew, mac and cheese, and fried chicken alongside spicy margaritas and a bourbon tasting bar. After dinner, guests moved over to The Cloister for an after-party featuring music by Alden and Brian's favorite Nantucket-based piano player. “The energy was unreal, and our guests absolutely loved singing along at the top of their lungs for the remainder of the evening,” she says.
The following morning, Alden and her bridesmaids got ready together, drinking bubbly and relaxing before the afternoon ceremony. Alden gave her 'maids printed robes (featuring palm trees!) and monogrammed beach bags as thank you gifts.
Alden admits to trying on a lot of wedding dresses, but she ultimately said “yes” to a strapless lace Monique Lhuillier gown.
The bride, who opted for a first look with her father, accessorized with Jimmy Choo shoes, a Monique Lhuillier belt, and diamond earrings from her mother.
Alden and Brian also caught a glimpse of each another before saying “I do.” The groom rocked a white dinner jacket, black tuxedo pants, and black velvet slippers that read “The End" across the top.
Hosted in Sea’s Island’s Cloister Garden, the ceremony setting featured white chairs nestled within the grass, along with white florals and greenery flanking the aisle. An arch of hydrangeas also effortlessly dressed up the altar. “We wanted our day to feel fresh, elegant, and timeless,” says Alden of the setup.
Both Alden and Brian’s grandparents had special roles in the duo’s nuptials. The bride’s grandmother read a poem that her father had written titled “Sunny Day," while the groom’s grandfather also spontaneously recited his own homily, rather than a traditional reading.
After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their 239 guests gathered in yet another spot on property: the Back Banks Terrace, which overlooks the marsh. The patio was decorated with modern couches, upholstered chairs, and scalloped umbrellas to create a cozy setting representative of the bride's style as an interior designer.
Dinner took place beneath a beautiful scalloped tent at the Beach Club, where white tones and pops of blue coordinated with the beach nearby. For extra space, Brian and Alden built their own dance floor (around a living palm tree!), emblazoned with an "AB" logo. "In the end, it was one of our favorite elements to the decor and was a great addition to the dance floor," says the bride.
A smaller entry tent opened up to the romantic dinner space, complete with oversized hanging lanterns, white linens, and lush centerpieces.
Wedding attendees enjoyed crab cakes with green tomato jam, poached lobster tail, and demi-glace filet atop floral blue dinnerware.
After the pair cut into their cake and Alden made a quick outfit change, the occasion gave way to yet another after-party—this time with costumes! “We had hundreds of wigs of all shapes, sizes, and colors,” Alden recalls of the wedding’s grand finale. “It was both hilarious and amazing to see people of all ages catch their second wind and continue to dance well into the night.”
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sea Island || Wedding Planner: Easton Events || Bride's Dress & Veil: Monique Lhuillier || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Claire Balest || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Mother of the Bride Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Groom's Attire: Sebastian Grey || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Ken & Dana Design || Floral Design: The Vine || Invitations & Paper Products: Dear Elouise Fine Paper || Ceremony Music: Music by Pegge LLC || Reception Music: East Coast Entertainment || Catering & Cake: Sea Island Catering || Lighting: Technical Event Company || Favors: A Signature Welcome || Videography: East West || Photography: Patricia Lyons Photography