Massive moss draped oaks, marshes, and a river with a getaway dock served as the backdrop of Tara and Matt’s big day in South Carolina.

The couple, who chose RiverOaks in Awendaw, South Carolina as their wedding venue, treated their guests to a fun-filled reception that included lawn games.

“It felt like a really fun spring party, rather than a stuffy scheduled event,” says Tara.

Thanks to Nathan and Mell from Love Toast and Richard Bell Photography for the beautiful photos.

myrtle beach small wedding

Tara, 26 & Matt, 28

Awendaw, SC

Wedding Date: April 30, 2011

Number of Guests: 70

Wedding Ceremony Location: RiverOaks, Awendaw, SC

Wedding Reception Location: RiverOaks, Awendaw, SC

Southern wedding on the river

bride and groom portrait

South Carolina bride

Why did you have an intimate wedding? 

We wanted to celebrate our wedding day with our closest family and friends. We weren’t looking for a big spectacle, but rather a great evening with the people we care about. We wanted to have time to see everyone that could make it, and really enjoy the evening in a casual, fun way.

wedding sweet tea and lemonade station

succulent wedding favors

rustic wedding centerpiece

pink rose and ranunculus wedding bouquet

cherry blossom wedding cake

pink rose wedding bouquet

rustic wedding flowers

rustic red rose boutonniere

candle lantern on hanging table

wedding s'mores station on hanging table

outdoor South Carolina wedding by the river

outdoor south carolina wedding at sunset

white rose and green wedding bouquet

peony, ranunculus, and dusty miller wedding arrangement

What are some of the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding? 

The biggest challenge with a small wedding was getting family to understand they can’t invite everyone they can think of.

bride and groom at sunset

succulent wedding favors table


wedding corn hole sign

white candle lantern on outdoor hanging table

lucky horseshoes wedding sign

twig wreath with two pink roses

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list? 

A little bit. It was more difficult for our family.

platinum wedding rings

South Carolina wedding reception

wedding games

Did you have any issues with the small guest list from friends and family? 

Sure. They had a vision in their minds and it was probably different than ours.

wedding dress hanging on door

wedding dress hanging up in house

pink ruffled wedding shoes

If so, how did you address them? 

We simply had to remind them that it was our celebration. We valued their opinion and feedback, but we had a plan and we saw it through.

groom tying tie

groom in beige suit

green and white striped tie with beige suit

groom in beige suit and green striped tie

black and white groom portrait

bride applying lip gloss

bride's dress being laced up

bride tying on bracelet

bride in corset back wedding dress

What were the highlights of the ceremony? 

Our ceremony was short and simple. The highlight was when we were officially announced as husband and wife. Also, we chose to do a first glance before the ceremony, and that was very special.

wedding ceremony seating sign

guest book table

birdcage for wedding envelopes

bride with her father

outdoor South Carolina wedding at sunset

bride walking down aisle

outdoor wedding ceremony at sunset

bride putting ring on groom's finger

bride and groom walking down aisle

bride and groom leaving ceremony

bride and groom kissing

bride hugging wedding guest

bride hugging wedding guest

What were the highlights of the reception? 

It felt like a really fun spring party rather than a stuffy scheduled event. We played yard games, laughed, and just had a great time.

bride in strapless sweetheart gown

South Carolina bride and groom portrait

bride with pink rose bouquet walking with groom

bride and groom kissing under globe lights

bride and groom walking by river

pink garden rose wedding bouquet

bride posing in doorway

groom watching bride being photographed

bride portrait in doorway

bride and groom kissing in doorway

bride looking out window

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding? 

It sets the tone of the event. We had time to actually talk to each and every guest rather than shuffle around from table to table.

rose garland at wedding ceremony

pink peony and rose wedding arragements

succulent favors in mini watering cans

succulent in watering can wedding favors

rustic wedding arrangement

cherry blossom wedding cake

South Carolina wedding venue

wedding games

guests playing games

outdoor South Carolina wedding reception

iced tea and lemonade station at wedding

South Carolina outdoor wedding reception

outdoor South Carolina wedding reception

outdoor South Carolina wedding reception at sunset

outdoor South Carolina wedding reception

bride laughing with her dad

groom waiting for his bride

bride standing by window

black and white bride portrait
What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding? 

Don’t worry about traditions or what other people expect your wedding to be –make it your own. Remember, the whole point is to celebrate your marriage, so do that in the way that feels best to you. The day will go really fast, but you will  have strong memories of it all. Think about what you want those memories to look like.

bride and groom with champagne at sunset

smiling bride at reception

bride and groom by the river at night

bride and groom hugging under string lights

band performing at wedding reception

South Carolina wedding venue at night

myrtle beach


Dress: Maggie Sottero

Shoes: Hot pink shoes by Butter

Wedding Invites & Programs: Natural Pair by Wedding Paper Divas

Wedding Venue: RiverOaks

Wedding Photographer: Nathan and Mell from with Richard Bell Photography

Flowers & Day-of Planner: Marianne Caldwell of RiverOaks

Bakery: Ashley Bakery

Caterer: Hamby Catering

DJ: Other Brother Entertainment