“Childhood living is easy to do. The things you wanted I bought them for you. Graceless lady you know who I am. You know I can’t let you slide through my hands.” ~ Keith Richards and Mick Jagger
An island so quiet, you can hear yourself breathe. Sunlight filters through the trees and vines as sounds of little animals scurry in the underbrush. A gentle splash of water moves through the salt marsh as the alligators bellow their courtships. Crumbling walls of a mansion called Dungeness remain today. This is Cumberland Island. The largest barrier island off the coast of Georgia, it is protected as a national seashore. It’s animal and plant communities are interdependent and each lends itself to the preservation of the other.
In the 1800’s Andrew Carnegie and wife Lucy built Dungeness and brought horses to the island. The horses remain on the island from that era and roam freely today along the shoreline and grounds of Cumberland Island. Although very beautiful, these horses are completely wild and should not be approached by humans.
Lauren Tucker and Josh Greenberg fell in love with Cumberland Island and each other all in the same weekend. They knew there was something special about this island that held them close and kept them wanting to return again and again.
So when Josh proposed to Lauren, the wedding plans began for an elopement to Cumberland Island!
When Luke and I arrived at St. Marys on Saturday morning, Josh and Lauren were already waiting to board the Ferry bound for Cumberland. They were so excited and were all packed and ready with wedding gown and suit, and even picked up homemade wedding cupcakes for the 4 of us to enjoy after the ceremony. We carried plenty of water, snacks, and sammies for our day trip, as well as bug spray and sunscreen. Not to mention Luke’s photography equipement, and my ceremony book and robe.
We all boarded the Ferry and enjoyed our 45 minute trip to Cumberland Island. I so enjoyed my time on the Ferry getting to know Lauren and Josh and hearing the story of how they met and fell in love. The ride was unbelievably beautiful with white fluffy clouds against blue, blue skies and beautiful waters along the St. Marys River. Finally, we arrived at the Dungeness Dock along the Cumberland Sound and began our mile trek along the sandy road to the Dungeness Castle ruins.
As we walked through the Dungeness iron gate entrance, 6 or 8 wild horses were grazing to the left of the castle. We walked around the side to the right and 8 or 10 wild horses were doing the same. They saw us, but were not concerned with us in the least. Frequently, they would lift their heads and watch us, and then go right back to their grazing.
A beautiful ceremony site was decided upon along the marshside of the castle and the preparation began! Josh returned to the dock restrooms and changed into his suit. As soon a he returned to the castle, Lauren did the same and changed into her wedding gown and veil. She arrived back at the castle looking absolutely stunning in her ivory wedding gown of taffeta and pearls. She wore a vintage look, strapless gown that was ruched to the side with a dropped waistline. She wore a birdcage veil and carried a bouquet of deep purple irises, lillies, & hydrangeas.
As she turned the corner of the castle and was in view of Josh, he smiled from ear to ear! The horses stopped grazing and looked up at her as she crossed the back lawn of the castle. She was beautiful!
Lauren proceeded over to Josh and they both stood together to finally be married on the island they love. I began the ceremony under the watchful eyes of wild horses and included several passages that were requested by Josh and Lauren. They had also chosen to write their own vows, in addition to the traditional vows. As the time approached for their own vows, Josh pulled out his worn, crumpled, paper from where he had written his vows and had practiced them many times in preparation for this moment. He read his heartfelt words of love to Lauren as tears welled in his eyes. Lauren then repeated the traditional vows and read her own vows to Josh. An aura of love surrounded them.
The ceremony ended and Lauren and Josh were pronounced husband and wife! They could hardly wait another minute to finally kiss! We all signed the Kubutah and even grabbed a young guy that had been standing at a distance to be a witness. Champagne was poured into plastic cups as the happy couple toasted themselves. We all had cupcakes and enjoyed a moment to catch our breath.
The time was slipping away from us quickly and we had so much more we wanted to experience in this unique place. More photography among the castle ruins, and also along the sandy road back as the horses followed behind. It was almost time to catch the Ferry back to St. Marys.
We boarded the Ferry back and I thought of the wonderful day we all had experienced on this unique island. It’s a place that helps transform people. It’s the untouched beauty. The undeveloped beaches. It’s the rivers, the sounds, and the marshes, It’s the sunsets, the views, and the wildlife. It’s the history. The history presses down on you like wet burlap. And it’s the Wild Horses. Wild Horses Couldn’t Drag Me Away.
“Wild horses couldn’t drag me away. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away. Wild horses, we’ll ride them some day.” ~ Alicia Keys
For more information on an elopement to Cumberland Island, please contact me at