On a clear April evening, as the sun dipped low over Kiawah Island, Sarah Kana and Spencer Lacey held hands and promised to love each other forever. Their lives leading up to that moment on Kiawah had many parallels. Sarah and Spencer were both born in Washington DC in the same year before their families moved South — she to Spartanburg, SC, and he to Birmingham, AL. They both grew up skiing in Vail, and they both returned to DC after college to begin their careers. But it wasn’t until they found themselves on a party bus heading to a Phish concert that their parallel paths finally intersected, and they fell in love.
They’d been together for several years when Spencer surprised Sarah by whisking her away on a relaxing weekend getaway to Key Largo, FL. After spending the day poolside, Spencer suggested going for a drive in the golf cart before dinner at the Islander. “I was suspicious, but I could tell he didn’t have a ring box anywhere on his person or in the golf cart, so I didn’t really think it was going to happen,” Sarah says. Halfway through the ride, they pulled over so Spencer could show Sarah one of the holes on the golf course that is completely enveloped by mangroves. He got down on one knee, pulled the ring from his pocket, and asked Sarah to be his wife. She happily said yes, utterly shocked by Spencer’s sneaky ring placement. “I could not believe he had the ring loose like that!” Sarah says. After a sweet moment together among the mangroves, they celebrated with drinks on the point, a beautiful dinner and joyous phone calls to family and friends to share the happy news.
Beautiful Kiawah Island was the perfect setting for the refined and relaxed celebration Sarah and Spencer had in mind — and also had sentimental value for Sarah from summers and weekends spent on the island. After Sarah and her sister both moved to DC after college, it became easier to fly to Charleston and hop over to the family home on Kiawah than to travel back to their hometown of Spartanburg, so Kiawah became a home base of sorts. “Kiawah is a special place for my family and has become a special place for Spencer as well,” Sarah says. “I wanted our guests (we had friends and family come from as far as Europe and California) to be somewhere where they could enjoy the wedding outside of our wedding festivities and make a little trip out of our wedding if they wanted to.”
Sarah, a consummate hostess and decorator, was truly in her element while planning the wedding and relied on inspiration both from Pinterest and from beautiful weddings she’d previously attended. “I knew that I didn’t want anything to be too over-the-top or trendy, and I wanted us, our friends and family and the setting to be the focal point,” Sarah says. She aimed for decor with a relaxed, “special occasion at home” vibe and pulled her neutral color palette from the Lowcountry setting. Oyster-colored bridesmaids dresses and lush bouquets featuring white blooms and delicate sprigs of greenery complemented the setting without competing with it. “I like color, but no color that wasn’t in the surrounding nature felt worthy of being on our tables, in my bouquet or on my bridesmaids,” Sarah says. These natural elements, from the wooden chairs on the lawn for the ceremony to the sweetgrass bands on the wedding cake all gave subtle nods to the dreamy island location.
After much careful planning, Sarah awoke the morning of the wedding completely calm and excited for the day ahead. “I had always imagined that I would be a little anxious on my wedding day — I think every bride wakes up to a few wedding-related nightmares during their engagement — but I have honestly never felt more at peace,” Sarah says. “I know this has to do with how secure I feel with Spencer and how ready I was to marry him, but it definitely had a lot to do with Mariée Ami being at my side.” With the Mariée Ami team handling all of the little details, Sarah was free to soak up every special moment of her wedding day. She spent the morning getting ready alongside the most important women in her life and then met her groom for their first look under a canopy of trees draped in Spanish moss.
At 5:30 in the evening on April 21, 2018, 200 friends and family members got to their feet as the Magnolia Singers rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” rang out over the gorgeous vista at The River Course on Kiawah Island, and the bride made her way down the aisle on her father’s arm. The ceremony was intimate and beautiful as the pastor led Sarah and Spencer as they exchanged vows and rings. They were pronounced husband and wife and shared their first kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Lacey.
The reception began with cocktail hour on the gorgeous lawn overlooking The River Course. A delicious seated dinner followed, which was a top priority for Sarah and Spencer when planning the wedding. “Seated dinners do take away from some of the time you would get to visit with everyone otherwise, but it was so nice to be able to sit down and soak everything in and have longer conversations,” Sarah says. After a wonderful meal, toasts to the new Mr. and Mrs. and cutting the cake, the bride and groom hit the dance floor to dance to, appropriately, “Tide Turns” by the band that originally brought them together five years before — Phish. They danced all night and exited the reception under a shower of rose petals.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us, Sarah and Spencer! Cheers to many happy years ahead!
- Photography: Clay Austin Photography
- Wedding coordinator: Mariée Ami
- Wedding dress: Vera Wang from Carine’s Bridal Atelier
- Bridesmaids dresses: Dessy
- Groom and groomsmen attire: Tom James Company
- Wedding artwork: Champagne Maker
- Cake: Ashley Bakery
- Flowers: Out of the Garden
- Venue: The River Course on Kiawah Island
- Catering: The Kiawah Island Club
- Band: The Maxx
- Ceremony music: The Magnolia Singers
- Makeup: Dru McDaniel
- Hair: Sasanqua (Kiawah Island Club)
- Guest accommodations: Rental homes on the island, The Sanctuary, The Andell Inn
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