Carolina Bride

A magical escape

When Emily Langley met Bryan Smith, she had all intentions of setting him up with a good friend. But as fate would have it, the two became fast friends and they spent the next year getting to know one another. Being the romantic one of the pair, Bryan couldn't just assume the two were officially dating. After a day trip to Chimney Rock, he asked Emily to be his girlfriend. And in true Bryan style, a party with family and friends was awaiting them when they returned home to celebrate. The day after Emily's birthday, Bryan planned for the couple to enjoy a ride in a friend's private plane. He set an appointment for Emily to get her hair done and told her they would enjoy the small trip and then try a new restaurant in town. Once in the air, Emily was in awe of the beautiful view. She remembers, “Just as I was looking out admiring the blue sky, Bryan told me to look right. A crowd of our family and closest friends stood in a field next to giant sheets that read, ‘Emily, will you marry me?’” Bryan then held the ring over her shoulder and asked her to be his wife, as the pilot radioed down to the crowd below that she said yes. To celebrate another milestone in their relationship, Bryan surprised his fiancé with an engagement party after they landed. For Emily, the idea of planning a wedding soon became an overwhelming task. She says, “I was starting to stress over the details of the wedding, so Bryan asked me if I could have anything in the world, what would be the three things I would want for our wedding day? The answer was easy: white sand, blue water and palm trees.” The next day, Bryan put in a call to a travel agent and settled on a destination that promised all three: Siesta Key, Florida. After making a trip to settle on a wedding planner in Florida, next on the agenda was making sure photographer Sageleaf Studios in Concord could make the trip and finding the perfect gown and accessories at Poffie Girls in Gastonia. On their wedding day, white chairs were set out in the powdery sand and a bamboo altar marked the end of the aisle where Emily and Bryan would say their vows. Steel drums played as the bridesmaids walked barefoot wearing light teal, tea-length, strapless dresses with an ivory sash. Emily says, “My favorite part about a wedding is looking at the groom when the bride is walking down the aisle. The look is always so real and filled with lots of love. I wanted to be the first to see Bryan's reaction, so he faced the ocean until the moment I was right beside him. When he turned to me and I saw his expression, I knew I was marrying my best friend and I would be with him for the rest of my life. It was a feeling I will never forget.” Instead of “I do,” the ever-enthusiastic groom responded, “Absolutely!” The ceremony concluded just as the sun was setting over the Gulf of Mexico, providing a perfect backdrop for photos. Later, wedding guests enjoyed dining and dancing outside on the patio of the Sun Garden Café. Emily says, “Planning a destination wedding was the best decision. Bryan and I really enjoyed the fact that we could spend so much time with each guest and thank them for celebrating with us. It was so relaxing! It made the whole experience simple, laid-back and magical.”

Featured Vendors


Sageleaf Studios


Wedding gown, headpiece/veil and tuxedos

Poffie Girls


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