On the night before Kara Colnitis and Justin Pudenz moved from Minnesota to Florida, the groom organized a special surprise for his beloved – a gathering that most invitees believed to be a goodbye party. While guests made their way to the venue, Justin surprised Kara by dropping to one knee and asking her to be his wife during a romantic stroll along a bridge that offered sensational views of the Minneapolis skyline. “I was so happy he did it in the city where we met,” says the bride. Little did she know her groom had invited their friends – and flew in her brother – to celebrate their engagement that evening. “The way he was able to make the proposal so intimate between the two of us, but still include family and friends, absolutely blew me away!”

Exactly one year later, loved ones joined together for the couple’s nuptials in South Carolina. “I knew since I was a child that I wanted to get married in Hilton Head,” reveals Kara, who also desired a traditional church ceremony. “Kara and I chose to write our own vows,” says Justin. “I will always remember professing my love to [her] in front of nearly 300 people.” The bride wore a stunning lace gown and carried a bountiful bouquet of hot pink and coral peonies. Bridesmaids were resplendent in mismatched sheaths in shades of coral and blush; they carried pastel bouquets of peonies, garden roses, and parrot tulips. Justin dressed in traditional black-tie attire; his groomsmen in black tuxedos with gold vests and bow ties.     

Having always dreamed of an outdoor reception, an open-sided tent was designed with glamorous drapery to offer impeccable views of the sunset throughout the evening. “I also had a life-size tree created inside the clubhouse with table cards hanging from it,” explains Kara. A romantic color palette of gold and cream with hints of coral and turquoise graced the enchanting space. South Carolina’s state tree, the palmetto, was incorporated into the wedding crest, which appeared on nearly all printed materials as well as the dance floor. Following a sit-down dinner service and the cutting of three cakes, dancing ensued until midnight.

To top off the celebration, a full moon shone over the tent the entire night. “It was as if my grandparents in heaven were looking down and blessing us with the most perfect wedding day!” says the bride. As the newlyweds exited the reception location in a white Rolls-Royce, a display of pyrotechnics lined the road and lit the way – a surprise from Kara’s mother that further added to the magical evening. “Our wedding day was a day of pure bliss,” confides the groom.