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Rolling with the tides

By Sarah Ryberg | Photography by BlueSky Studios

Posted: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012

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When Dawn Barnard and Jodie Bartock met at a Halloween party, their mutual friends knew they had something special. “After that initial meeting, my girlfriends tried to get us together several times over the next 3 years,” says Dawn. It wasn’t until a group beach trip that the timing was finally right and the pair started dating.

For Christmas the following year, the couple made plans to spend the holidays together. With Dawn now living in Houston and Jodie in Atlanta, family brought both of them to Charlotte.

Jodie’s Christmas present for Dawn – a new iPad – brought on a proposal she wasn’t expecting. Jodie had loaded it with a slideshow of their relationship and one very important picture. “As we were looking through the slideshow, I could tell his heart was beating a little faster,” she remembers. After about 25-30 pictures, an engagement ring appeared on the screen. “I looked over at Jodie and he had gotten down on one knee in front of me,” explains Dawn. “There were tears, hugs, kisses, and most importantly a yes.”

The couple already knew that they wanted a small destination wedding, but the toughest decision was deciding on the destination. “We knew we wanted to get married on the beach and have a ‘shoes-optional’ wedding,” she says. Dawn and Jodie wanted a venue that offered relaxing activities for their guests, but also allowed them to bring outside photographers.

Before they even booked their venue, the couple had hired BlueSky Studios to photograph the event. “We already knew Cassandra (of BlueSky) as she had photographed Jodie’s brother’s wedding, as well as another wedding we’d been to in December,” says Dawn. “We didn’t even interview other photographers.” When they discovered a venue in Mexico that allowed outside photographers, offered a laid-back atmosphere and accommodated only one wedding per day, the couple knew they had found their perfect location.

Much of the planning was done via email, and while traveling made taking décor difficult, Dawn still wanted to incorporate personal touches. With the help of her mom and future husband, Dawn made the hairpieces for her bridal party, clips for her shoes, welcome bags for their guests and wedding weekend itineraries. The couple also ordered the components of their invitations and put them together.

To keep family close to her, the bride attached her grandmother’s pin, as well as lace from her mother’s veil, to her bouquet. Even the garter that Dawn wore was handmade by her mother. And as a nod to both of their families, the couple displayed their grandparents’ and parents’ wedding pictures at the reception.

One detail Dawn and Jodie couldn’t control was the weather. Although it rarely rains there at that time, the area witnessed a torrential downpour during the wedding weekend. “I look back on it, and nothing fazed me,” she says. “The reception ended up in a nice restaurant area and many of the guests don’t even remember that it rained.”

Luckily, a break in the weather meant that Dawn and Jodie were still able to have their ceremony on the beach. “We had already set up the rain plan, so it was a surprise to Jodie,” Dawn explains. “We told him right before the wedding.”

The rain couldn’t dampen the energy of the party. Guests danced until the last song of the night, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” rang out from the speakers. As for the couple, a little rain didn’t prevent them from enjoying their dream wedding. “We had this sense of floating on cloud nine,” she says. “We got to spend the entire day with people that we loved and that loved us. We were so blessed.”

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BlueSky Studios
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www.weddingsbybluesky.com

Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: “For the love of the game”

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