We’re Not Cold, We’re in Love

My first elopement of the year was a couple that was here on St. Simons Island for the weekend and decided to get married.  I love these elopements!


I received a phone call from the groom about 4 pm on Saturday afternoon asking if I was available today to officiate a wedding.  I said yes.  He said they were already planning to marry on November 11, 2017 in a larger ceremony on Jekyll Island, but they wanted to go ahead and tie the knot right now while they were here.  They had their rings, their marriage license and wanted to meet me at Driftwood Beach, if possible.  Well, of course!


So at 5:30pm, on Saturday, January 7, 2017, we met up and walked the path together down to the beach.  It was the coldest day we have had in quite a while on Jekyll Island, with temperatures in the 30’s and wind gusts at 15 mph.  Brrrrrr.  We braved the chilliness and found the exact spot they wanted to say their vows.


As as I began the ceremony, I noticed we were all 3 standing there shivering and hovering together.  We continued the ceremony and they repeated their vows with chattering teeth and exchanged rings with ice cold hands.  And it was wonderful.  Not a soul anywhere on the beach…just us.  I pronounced them husband and wife and they kissed the first kiss of their marriage.


Two people in love and finally married.  I love that!


They are still planning their big wedding and reception for November 2017.  Don’t want to disappoint the friends and family, but there is nothing quite like the excitement and secrecy of eloping.  No one will be the wiser and the wedding will go on as planned.




For information on planning your own wedding or elopement, contact me, Carla Pryor, at my website http://www.stsimonselopements.com or email at stsimonselopements@yahoo.com or phone 912-506-0377.

It’s the best day of your life!

This is your wedding day and it’s all about you.  Every T has been crossed and every I has been dotted.  All the details have been taken care of and the stage is set for a perfect day.  You have hired all the best vendors and everything is going to be just the way you dreamed it would be.
Except… Your bouquet is not what you thought it would be.  Your grandparents are running an hour late.  Your groom’s mom has her feelings hurt.  The cake is not the flavor you requested.  It’s raining.  The minister is stuck in traffic.  Your false eyelashes are driving you insane.  Your cell phone is blowing up.  Your wedding gown is tighter than it was when you bought it.  And so you cry.  
What I want to tell you is this:  This is the best day of your life.  Don’t allow anything or anyone to change that.  No matter what happens, remember the reason you are here today.  You are marrying your soulmate, the love of your life.  Nothing can happen to trump that.
You want to look back on your day with happiness and love.  Don’t allow negatives to change your attitude.  At the end of the day, you will be married to your best friend, your partner in crime, your true love.  And isn’t that all you ever really wanted in the first place?

It Could Happen To You

I never thought it would really happen, but it did.

The bride and groom had purchased a little elopement package from me which included an hour of photography and the officiant, plus recommendations.  This package was for the couple and less than 4 guests.  Several months out from their wedding date, the bride told me the groom’s uncle was a Bishop and would be officiating.  That’s no problem for me.  I still would be attending to insure all would go as planned.

We talked, emailed, and texted many times throughout the planning period and even more during the few days before the time of the wedding to make sure all was running smoothly.  Everything had fallen into place perfectly!


It was a beautiful morning in late August.  Not too terribly hot, actually.  The ceremony was scheduled for 10am on the beach at Jekyll Island.  I had planned to arrive on site about 45 minutes ahead of time and had touched base with the photographer before I left my house to make sure he was in route as well as the bride to see how she was handling the morning.  Everything was on schedule!  Awesome!

When I arrived, I was a little surprised by the number of guests that had already arrived for this wedding.  I was expecting an elopement, but this had turned into a full blown wedding!  The photographer arrived and we walked into the crowd, hoping to see the Groom and the Pastor to give last minute directions and answer any questions before the Bride arrived.

The Groom was obviously nervous, but ready to get this thing started!  I instructed him, along with his groomsmen to follow the photographer down to the beach before his bride arrived.  I asked him where his uncle (the Pastor) was.  He did not know.

The bride texted me saying she was in route and would be there in a couple of minutes.  She also asked where the Pastor was.  No one knew.  No one had any idea where he was.  It was now 10:25am and no sign of the Pastor.  The bride arrived and stayed in the car with her bridesmaids waiting on my instruction.

Well, never say never!  Before I left home, I made sure my black robe was in the car and my IPad with my wedding ceremonies.  I had not prepared a ceremony for this couple, since they had their own Minister, but could pull it off in a pinch in an emergency, if I had to.  I had no idea this ceremony would be the emergency!

I explained to the bride, who was in full panic mode by now, that I had my book in the car and I would take care of it.  Just give me a few minutes to get to my car and back.  She said they had special vows that they wanted to use and Asked if she could email them to me.  Sure.  I took a few minutes to copy and paste and to add the special vows they had written together.  Zipped up the robe, grabbed my iPad and announced we were ready to begin.

The 40-50 guests followed me down to the ceremony location on the beach.  It was hot as blue blazes with that black robe on.  The sun was beating down and the breeze was no where to be found.  As I directed the guests to gather close in a semi circle, I explained to the Groom that the Pastor had not shown up, but not to worry because I would officiate.  He was ready!

Just at that time, the Pastor walked up.  I unzipped my hot robe in a New York second and said, “I’m glad to see you!”  He smiled and stepped under the wedding arbor as everyone waited for the bridesmaids and the bride to begin the ceremony.


But…that’s not all.  We were just about to begin, when the Groom came over to me and asked if I had a copy of the special vows that they were going to be saying.

I said, “Sure, I have them right here, since I copied and pasted them into my ceremony just a few minutes ago.  Do you need them to go by, during the ceremony?”

He answered, “Yes.”.  So I handed him my IPad with my ceremony.  I really was thinking he must have been so nervous, he forgot to bring his vows to read to the bride.

So the bridesmaids and then the Bride arrived and the ceremony began.  I noticed the Pastor had an iPad book/holder just like mine.  Isn’t that a coincidence?  He began reading.  How could that be possible?  He was reading MY wedding ceremony that I had written from my IPad. I recognized it immediately and had to chuckle.

I always read all of my ceremonies from my IPad and it can be difficult in the bright sunshine to read the words from the IPAD due to screen glare and especially if you are wearing sunglasses.  He was wearing sunglasses and would pause frequently to see the screen better.  It was at those times that I prompted him with the next word, under my breath, of course.

The part that amazed me the most was that he changed the wording on the special vows the bride and groom had chosen for their ceremony.

“Do you promise to love, honor, and obey?”.

WHAT?  OBEY?  No one obeys any more.  That’s not at all what was written.  He changed the vows to say what he thought they should say instead of what the couple wanted to say.

I felt really bad for this couple. What this goes to prove is that you need to meet or at the very least, talk with your officiant or Pastor ahead of time and make sure they know your wishes for your vows and your ceremony.  It could happen to you.

Carla Pryor


A Wedding At Lovely Lane Chapel | St. Simons Island Wedding Officiant

Gina Oviedo and Brian Batt were married at 4pm on Saturday, July 19, 2014 in the historic Lovely Lane Chapel located on the grounds of Epworth By The Sea on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  Lovely Lane Chapel is the oldest standing Church building on St. Simons Island, Georgia. 50 of their closest relatives and friends witnessed the nuptials that included several meaningful family traditions.


The ceremony began with Brian, the groom, escorting his mother, Sheila Batt to her seat and followed close behind by his father, Joseph Batt.  Brian then joined his best man and brother, Casey Batt, along with his 6 groomsmen and the wedding officiant to line up along the altar.


The groom and his groomsmen were dressed handsomely in black suits and ties. Gina’s sister, Gabriela Umanzor served as maid of honor along with 3 bridesmaids.  They each wore navy blue floor length gowns. After the groom and groomsmen were in place, the bridesmaids proceeded down the aisle, followed by Gina’s 2 year old nephew and ring bearer, Daniel Corporan.  The 2 little flower girls came next.  They were Halynn Pierson and Dahlia Corporan, Gina’s niece. They were all 3 adorable!


The Bagpiper, Bill Sloan began his march down the aisle as he played the pipes and Gina stood just outside the church doors with her mother waiting for her entrance.  They stepped inside the door and began the procession down the aisle. When Brian’s eyes met Gina’s, they both smiled from the heart.


Gina was so beautiful in her floor length strapless, mermaid gown.  Her veil hung softly about her shoulders and down her back.  She was glowing as she and her mom proceeded down the aisle. Gina was presented in marriage by her mother, Sadia Imanzor.  Brian took Gina’s hand as tears of happiness welled in each other’s eyes.  After a short message from the officiant, the groom’s aunt, Rosemary Marrotta read encouraging words to Brian and Gina and also played a beautiful rendition of Ava Maria.


Vows were said and the couple knelt at the altar for their mothers to place a white Wedding Lasso Cord in a figure 8 around the couple’s shoulders.  The Lasso Cord symbolizes the infinite bond of love that the couple shares.  It’s the bond that keeps the relationship strong in the face of adversity, as well as that the bride and groom are no longer two, but one in marriage.


Gina and Brian said their I do’s and exchanged rings before participating in a Coin Exchange Ceremony. The coins symbolize prosperity and good wealth for the couple in their future life together. The 13 coins represent Christ and the 12 apostles.  Brian poured the 13 coins into Gina’s hands and pledged them as his dedication to her, the care of their home, and the welfare of their children. Gina accepted them with the same pledge. After a wedding prayer, the groom’s aunt, Constance Busch read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and ended with, “The Greatest of These is Love”.


In closing, the marriage was blessed and a prayer was said.  Brian and Gina were pronounced husband and wife, at last! Brian kissed his bride and the guests all cheered with happiness!  The Bagpiper blew the pipes, once again and proceeded up the aisle ahead of the couple. After the ceremony, the Trolley was waiting outside to carry everyone to the beautiful reception that was awaiting them at the King and Prince Hotel on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  Everyone enjoyed the fabulous food of Straton Hall and wedding cake of Serendipity Bakery.  Lots of love and happiness shared between families.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” ― Pablo Neruda

Vendors: Wedding Officiant – Carla Pryor, http://www.stsimonselopements.com

Photographer – Debbie Peacock, http://peacockphotovideo.com

Ceremony Venue – Lovely Lane Chapel, http://www.epworthbythesea.org/chapel.html

Reception Venue – King and Prince Hotel, http://www.kingandprince.com

Caterer – Straton Hall, http://www.stratonhall.com

Wedding Cake – Ashlyn Seckinger, Serendipity Bakery, https://www.facebook.com/serendipityssi

Reception Music – Island Sound, http://islandsoundlive.com

Hair and Make Up – Kimberly’s Back Porch, https://www.facebook.com/thebackporchssi

Bagpiper – Bill Sloan, http://www.acartha.com/billsloan/

Transportation – St. Simons Trolley, http://www.stsimonstours.com

Heather and Larry – Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses | St. Simons Island Wedding Officiant

July 17, 2014 was an absolutely gorgeous day at East Beach on St. Simons Island, Georgia for the beach wedding of Heather Tagliaferi and Larry Hillock, Jr.  The white sandy beach and dunes were the perfect backdrop for this couple to say their I do’s.

Thirty or forty of their closest friends and relatives arrived right on time to show their love and support for this happy couple and join them on this important day in their lives.  Also in attendance were the couple’s 3 dogs, Bert, Dodger, and Bandit.

The sun was slowly descending in the western sky as Larry stood in wait for his bride.  Heather and her son, Cameron held hands together as they walked forward to the chosen beach location to be presented to Larry.


The guests all moved in a little to surround the couple and the ceremony began.  Cameron presented his mom, Heather in marriage and with such joy and elation!  He was obviously thrilled with the union!  Before the marital vows were said, Larry vowed to love, cherish, and protect  Cameron as his own, while Cameron vowed to accept Larry as his step father and to give him his love, respect, and honesty.

As Heather and Larry looked into each other’s eyes, they each spoke their vows of love and commitment.  Rings were exchanged as a token and pledge of the love and faith they each have for the other.  Bert, Dodger, and Bandit voiced their approval with a few barks and woofs!

A prayer was said to bless this union and the two were pronounced husband and wife!  The guests all cheered and clapped as Larry kissed his bride and Cameron rushed in for a group hug!

“If you want to know how much I love you, count the waves.”

~ Unknown

Wedding Officiant: Carla Pryor, http://www.stsimonselopements.com


Lucy and Armando Got Married | St. Simons Island Wedding Officiant

It is true that rain on St. Simons Island comes and goes so quickly that all you have to do is wait a few minutes and the clouds will part and blow right over.  That’s exactly what happened on July 16, 2014 for the beach wedding of Lucy Guirado and Armando Lucas.

Armando and his best man, Philippe’ arrived early to set up the beach area below the St. Simons Island Lighthouse.  Tiki torches were set in the sand and lit with help from family and friends as we waited for Lucy and her bridesmaid to arrive.

Philippe’ and Armando stood in place inside the circle of flaming torches.  Lucy’s bridesmaid walked forward to take her place, as well.  At last, Lucy proceeded inside the glowing circle and Armando took her hand.

Their family and closest friends gathered in a little closer as the ceremony began.  Armando and Lucy professed their love and commitment to each other before the big blue sky and the ocean deep and wide.  The St. Simons Lighthouse stood tall in the background.  It was just the way they had dreamed it would be.

A few raindrops began to fall as Armando and Lucy were pronounced husband and wife and they kissed the first kiss of the marriage.  A dream came true for this sweet couple!

“You are the answer to every prayer I’ve offered. You are a song, a dream, a whisper, and I don’t know how I could have lived without you for as long as I have.”  ~ Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Wedding Officiant:  Carla Pryor, http://www.stsimonselopements.com


Heather and William’s Cord of 3 Strands | St. Simons Island Wedding Planner & Officiant

July 3, 2014 was a hot, steamy day on St. Simons Island, so naturally I found the groom, William Nelson and his best man, Brandon and friend, Ryan taking a break at the bar and enjoying a refreshment before the festivities began.


William was dressed in khaki slacks and a white shirt with sleeves rolled up. His unique boutonnière was a starfish. Brandon, the best man wore khaki shorts and a mint green shirt with rolled up sleeves. His boutonnière was a starfish, as well.


As the guests were taking their seat on the oceanfront lawn, Heather, the bride was taking care of the final touches on her wedding gown with help from her sister and maid of honor, Paris, as well as her mom, Tammy. Her long blonde hair was styled into a side braid and curled ponytail with starfish pins and she wore shoes that were mint green to match Paris’ bridesmaid dress. Little Axel, two year old son of Heather and William was dressed in khaki shorts and white short sleeve shirt. He also wore a mint green bow tie. He was adorable! Heather’s bouquet was of white lilies, daisies, and roses…so pretty. Brandon, her brother was ready and waiting to present his sister to her handsome groom.


Hurricane Arthur was bearing down on the NC Coast and producing heavy winds for the coast of Georgia. Looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, dark clouds were forming and moving in. We knew we had to get this wedding started or chance getting caught in a downpour.


The music started and the moms were both seated on the front rows. William and I walked to the center front and stood to wait for the procession to begin. Paris and Axel proceeded to the front and took their place, as well. Axel carried a small box that held the rings, while Paris carried a small bouquet of daisies. The guests all stood as Heather walked down the aisle on Brandon’s left arm. She was so pretty and her blue eyes twinkled as she saw her groom for the first time. William was in awe of his beautiful bride and they glowed when they finally held hands together. Brandon presented his sister to William and then stood in place as William’s best man.


Heartfelt vows were given by each and followed by traditional Christian vows. Rings were exchanged as a token and pledge of their commitment to each other. Little Axel was precious as he opened the ring box to present the rings that had been tied together with a mint green ribbon.


The Cord of 3 Strands was chosen by Heather and William as a symbol to allow God to be at the center of their marriage, woven into every aspect of it. In braiding these three strands together, William and Heather demonstrated that their marriage is more than a joining of two lives together. It is a unity with God as well. Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”


Heavy winds began to blow and rushed the ceremony a bit, but not before Heather and William were pronounced husband and wife and a sweet loving kiss from William. Mr. And Mrs. William Nelson, at last!


The reception was held in the Retreat Room inside the King and Prince Hotel with a full oceanfront view. As always, the food served by the King and Prince was delicious and the guests made their way through the buffet line to enjoy the bounty. After dinner, the beautiful wedding cake was cut and each guest was served the delicious wedding cake as toasts were made from William, his mom Ronda, and Brandon. Everyone in attendance then gathered together for a group shot in front of the picture window ocean view.


As the evening began to wind down, Heather and William danced their first dance to “Angel” by Aerosmith. They kissed ever so sweetly while they danced. So in love!


Wedding Vendors:

Wedding Planner and Officiant – Carla Pryor, http://www.stsimonselopements.com

Photography – Luke Smith, http://www.lonepine-photography.com

Flowers – Linda Stewart, http://www.brunswickflowerbasket.net

Wedding Cake – Ashlyn Seckinger, https://www.facebook.com/serendipityssi

Hair Design – http://www.imageartisansstudio.com

Ceremony Venue – http://www.kingandprince.com

Reception and Catering – http://www.kingandprince.com

Lodging – http://www.kingandprince.com