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I love weddings and I love the beach, so I was in heaven on October 26th when I had the honor of marrying Ginny and Robbie on Carolina Beach. The happy couple couldn’t have asked for better weather… 65 degrees, sunny, and a light breeze. They had the help of Beachside Occasions to transform the beach in front of the Marriott into a wedding oasis. It was absolutely beautiful!

beachside setup

The start to the weekend was quite a bit chillier… 50 degrees and SUPER windy on Friday for the rehearsal. We got through the ceremony one time when the maid of honor asked, “Can we run through it again?” This caused some moaning and groaning among the rest of the bridal party (I don’t think any of us were prepared for that chilly weather), but she took the words right out of my mouth! I always like to run through twice. The first time there is a lot of pausing, instructing, and explaining. The second time through should be quick and smooth, like the wedding day!

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The ceremony itself was wonderful! Ginny and Robbie chose the “completely custom” package, so every word was chosen with them in mind. They played a very big role in the crafting of the ceremony over the course of several weeks until it was perfect. They also chose to write their own vows, which made it even more personal. My favorite part of the day was the shell casting ceremony, which is a relatively new and VERY cool addition to a beach wedding.

As with all wedding rituals, there are different ways to handle it for your specific setup. Ginny and Robbie chose to place programs on each seat, with a seashell on top holding it down. They had walked the beach and hand picked the shells themselves earlier in the week. (How sweet!) As the officiant, my role was to explain the tradition at the start of the ceremony, and to give instruction at the end.

On your seat when you arrived was a seashell. Ginny and Robbie ask that you hold the seashell in your hands during their ceremony and make a silent wish, prayer, or blessing for their marriage. At the end of their ceremony today, we will participate in a shell casting together.

The rest of the ceremony continued as usual, and at the end I said, “Ginny and Robbie ask that you join them at the water’s edge so that we may cast our shells into the sea together. When the bridal party recesses, please follow them and wait for the cue to cast your shell.”

Down by the water, the photographer took over with lining up guests and giving the cue at the perfect moment for that perfect shot. Another option for this ceremony is to have the guests pick out the shells themselves. This would work better with a smaller guest list.

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The happy couple took off the next morning for a honeymoon adventure, traveling from the sea to the mountains of North Carolina. Asheville and the Biltmore Estate were on their list of must-visit places. There is no better time of year! Congratulations Ginny and Robbie!

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I am an ordained minister available for spiritual, Christian, non-denominational, interfaith, and civil or non-religious wedding ceremonies. I am based in Garner, North Carolina and serve the surrounding area, including Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Wendell, and Knightdale.

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