When Sam Waters started an internship at a New York-based bank, he never expected to fall in love with Brook Thomas, a full-time employee he got to know professionally over the course of the 10-week program. Shortly after, she moved to Los Angeles for a new job, and when Sam headed west himself, he reached out to inquire about the firm. After-work networking drinks quickly turned into a few hours of spending quality time with each other. “I remember how easy flowing the conversation was and then being surprised at my intrigue when Brook revealed she was recently single,” shares Sam. Brook adds, “I was surprised by how differently I saw Sam… I just thoroughly enjoyed him.” 

Before long, Sam was asking Brooks’ parents for their blessings to marry her. While in Europe to attend a friend’s nuptials, he took the opportunity to plan a romantic stay in San Sebastian, Spain, before the wedding. Prior to their supposed dinner reservation, the pair was enjoying drinks on a stunning ocean-view patio at their hotel. “The setting was idyllic, yet somehow I was still surprised,” Brook remembers of the moment Sam got on one knee. Of course, she said yes. They traded dinner plans for room service, celebrating together in their hotel robes and sharing the happy news with friends and family. 

Though they initially planned to wed in Southern California where they reside, Brook and Sam had to quickly pivot due to Covid, instead choosing to host a destination wedding in Sea Island, Georgia. Not only would it prove easier for the majority of their guests who were traveling from the east coast, but the destination has also been special to the bride’s family for generations. Brook’s paternal grandparents honeymooned there in 1950, the bride has been visiting since she was four, and her family bought a home on the island when she was a teen. “Sam has been down there with my family a number of times, so it didn’t take much to convince him to move the wedding across the country,” she smiles. 

Wanting to stay true to the couple’s personalities, Brook and Sam’s wedding planner, Charley Izabella King of Bluebell Events, designed the day to incorporate their fun and classic disposition in an elegant way that wasn’t over the top. “We wanted it to feel timeless but also authentic to both of us,” confirms the bride. As 190 friends and family members took their seats for the alfresco ceremony, the bridal party processed to live musicians performing acoustic renditions of the modern favorites, including “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé, “A Good Night” by John Legend, and “Beyond” by Leon Bridges

“We wanted it to feel timeless but also authentic to both of us.”

Brook was stunning in a custom-designed couture jumpsuit featuring a sweeping train and veil as she walked down the aisle to “O Perfect Love” – one of her grandmother’s favorite hymns that played at her own wedding over 70 years prior. The bride met her groom beneath a “floating” chuppah designed to serve as an extension of the centuries-old live oaks covered in Spanish moss that enrich the property. Following a heartfelt ceremony and readings recited by loved ones, Brook and Sam exchanged vows. 

An alfresco cocktail hour set the tone for the party to come. Low tables covered with blue-and-white floral linens as well as cozy lounge areas provided plenty of seating for attendees to mingle after being served drinks from the bar, decorated with a façade of oyster shells. Once inside the massive tent, which showcased greenery-wrapped poles and chandeliers, guests took their seats. 

Rectangular wood tables were surrounded by light-blue velvet chairs, and round tables were covered with navy linens and surrounded by gilt chairs. Low centerpieces comprised of jewel-toned blooms were matched with clean place settings – including bullion flatware, plates with a gilt floral motif, and either navy blue or coral napkins – adding to the elegant, non-fussy look the couple envisioned. 

Following the sit-down dinner service, everyone hit the dance floor, which served as the focal point of the tent with its navy-and-white checkered tiles and overhead disco balls. As the bar and the band meant the most to the groom while wedding planning, he was thrilled with their selections. “The Royals [from EastCoast Entertainment] were unbelievable from start to finish,” he confirms of the band, whose various members performed throughout the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. “They had the dance floor packed all night and brought an incredible level of energy.” 

With all of the details and stress that comes with planning a wedding, the bride and groom encourage other couples to not lose perspective by setting unachievable expectations for the big day. Brook adds, “Your wedding weekend will include some of your happiest memories to date. Remember that going in – try to be present and enjoy.”

This real wedding was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

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