There is a special event that occurs on the beaches of Hilton Head Island from time to time. The sun, setting in the west, will stretch out its rays and strike the waters of the Atlantic, setting the beach alight with a golden-pink glow. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it offers a beautiful natural moment to anyone who happens to be there to witness it. It is well worth the travel to experience such a perfect moment, and it can only be improved upon by one thing – real joy.
The journey that led Cary Welker, Tim Nelson, and a host of beloved friends and family members to this moment began five years ago in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Cary had moved almost five hundred miles north from Charleston, South Carolina to work in a local resort. She expected a change of scenery, a new career, and perhaps a new adventure. What she could not have expected was the arrival of new employee at the resort a few months later, a chef named Tim Nelson who would go on to become her friend, her confidant and, ultimately, her husband.
Tim and Cary’s loves and passions became shared experiences. Cary introduced Tim to the world of college football, and, very soon, Tim was a passionate fan of Cary’s alma mater, Clemson University, cheering and tailgating with the best of them. Their shared passion for good food helped Tim grow as a chef and their love of nature guided them through the beautiful natural world of the Carolinas alongside Cary’s young son Easton.
Tim’s career eventually brought him to Hilton Head with Cary following a year and a half later. And then, in 2016, Tim, Cary, and Easton took a trip to Oconee State Park. Walking among the forest and waterfalls of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Cary’s son suddenly ran up to her… He’d found something. Easton opened his hand to reveal a beautiful engagement ring, and Cary turned to Tim to find him down on one knee. An exuberant “Yes!” later and suddenly they had a wedding to plan. Rounding out an unforgettable day, Clemson University trounced the South Carolina Gamecocks 56-7.
Cary and Tim wed in October of 2017 in The Dunes in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by family, friends and the sounds of the ocean. Cary, beautiful in her white wedding dress bedecked with lace taken from her mother’s wedding gown, was walked down the aisle by her father and her son. Flowers and edible blooms provided by Bobbie at Carlstedt’s Wholesale in Savannah were rendered into sophisticated arrangements by Cary’s family. A close friend of Tim and Cary served as officiant, and hair and makeup were done by Cary’s cousins and bridesmaids.
Described by Cary as a labor of love, the wedding was an intimate, honest service.
The tented reception - resplendent with hanging chandeliers and formal tablescapes - was held on directly the beach. At the suggestion of their son Easton, the chic reception was juxtaposed with oceanfront party games: cornhole, foosball and jenga stacks. Cocktail hour featured festive Mexican fare with mini tacos and margaritas. The dinner at the reception was inspired by Tim and Cary’s Carolina roots, featuring Lowcountry style dishes of meat and seafood alongside fresh fruits and vegetables, and after the sun set the guests at the reception enjoyed s’mores cooked around open fire pits along with delicious finger-style servings of lo-mein, chicken and waffles, and other late-night bites. The wedding cake was created by the bride and groom after careful taste-testing from another discerning palette, Easton’s. The result: a delicious cornbread cake with fresh raspberries and burnt honey butter cream icing. The bar featured Deep Eddy vodka, rum, bourbon, gin, wine and champagne along with peach-flavored cocktails to keep things light and refreshing.
Tim and Cary’s wedding was a reflection of their relationship: joyful, loving and natural. The journey that lead them to that day took years, but the destination was exactly where they were meant to be. Two people in the right place, at the right time, finally coming together in one long-looked for day. And now, as Cary, Tim, and Easton journey on in their lives together, we hope they can look back at their own natural, perfect moment and always feel the joy of that day on the beach.