Guest Blog

Destination Beach Weddings in the United States

Unique Beach Wedding Destinations

by: Andee Schmidt

Whether you’re planning a royal affair on the open ocean or an intimate beachside bonfire, wedding options by the sea are on trend for nature-loving brides. The advantages of a beach wedding are endless; it’s a package deal of picturesque sunset backdrops, built in adventures, and easy access to a budget-conscious honeymoon. If you’re dreaming of a beachy wedding destination, keep in mind the following popular locales as potentially perfect spots to say, “I do.”

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South Walton, Florida

Head to the Northwestern rim of Florida for a dreamy beach wedding on sugar white sand; South Walton offers access to several popular beaches, including Alys Beach. The town is famous for its walkability that you and your guests will adore. Enjoy a convenient stroll from the beach to the reception while admiring the beautiful Bermudan-style architecture and courtyard. With plenty of venues to choose from that also offer honeymoon packages, this coastal paradise is sure to be a hit for any beach wedding. Explore the endless list of ways to keep your guests entertained, like their nature preserve-a 20-acre protected forest with a quant boardwalk-or watch the sea turtles hatch and make their journey to the sea, then top the night off with a beach bonfire and stargazing.

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Corolla, North Carolina

Experience the quaint allure of North Carolina in Corolla, a beachside town that’s making wedding industry waves for its natural ocean beauty. Plan a small Corolla beach wedding at one of their many fine sand beaches, where treasured wild horses run free along the waterside, or throw a ball at Whalehead in Historic Corolla, a 1920s Art Nouveau manor that echoes country elegance. The small-town feel of Corolla offers guests the intimate experience of privacy, where time pauses just for your special day, and smiling friends and family become the most important thing in the world. This romantic destination is ideal for the active bride; kayaking, parasailing, and surfing are all available at the dock’s edge.

Bar Harbor, Maine

If white sand beaches don’t get your heart swooning, consider a rustic wedding in Bar Harbor Maine, a peaceful town on Mount Desert Island. Next to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is a union of deep green woodlands and epic rocky beaches overlooking the waters of Frenchman Bay. Propose a nature-lovers wedding at the foot of a majestic lighthouse with a fresh lobster bake reception; sea birds singing, whales on their seaward journey, and sunset of red-gold set the scene for this romantic provincial festivity. Nature hikes, ocean trails, and windjammer cruises all make for an exciting way to entertain guests before the big day.

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San Diego, California

With nearly perfect weather year-round, San Diego is the ideal spot for a luxurious wedding on the coast. Get hitched on a Victorian-era catamaran, with stained glass windows and an open-deck for the perfect sunset photo-op. As one of the more popular California wedding destinations, there is no end to the options for choosey couples seeking out their dream day, but it will come at a cost. A hotel or resort venue on the crystal-clear beaches easily accommodates a larger wedding party and often includes a swarm of event-planners ready to take the load off your shoulders for your big day. However, there are a number of wedding venues in San Diego that cater to the budget conscious bride, but you might want to plan ahead and search during off-peak season for the affordable beach ceremony of your dreams.

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Chesapeake Beach, Maryland

Look no further than the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland for a romantic waterfront wedding on the eastern shore. With easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, this coastal town is a hit with beach loving couples looking for a ceremony with all the heart of home. Fresh seafood and picturesque boardwalks, hiking and outdoor adventure, and a variety of venues are all at your fingertips, ready to make your wedding day an unforgettable affair. Book a ceremony at one of the nearby beach resorts with staff on hand to handle the more stressful parts of wedding planning or settle into a luxurious spa with your best pals for the evening before your ceremony and awaken to a sunrise feeling refreshed and ready to take a stroll into your new life as two.

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Seabrook, South Carolina

This once hidden gem of a town is now making its mark as a serene getaway for the more elopement minded lovers. Seabrook Island, a barrier island in South Carolina, is just miles from the historic city of Charleston. Choose a wedding with a sunset view of the spectacular marshlands or keep it new-age traditional with a private wedding on one of Seabrook’s pristine white sand beaches underneath the sway of a breezy palm tree. This destination is guaranteed to deliver gorgeous photos and unforgettable experiences. Guests can fly into to Charleston’s newly renovated airport, where there are ample hotel options and unique bars and restaurants for a reception or bachelorette’s night out.

seabrook beach wedding

 About the author: Andee is a recent college graduate from Arizona State University with a love of writing, the outdoors, and funky cafes. You can usually find her hiking or planning her next trip. She is passionate about traveling, her family, and the perfect cup of coffee. Find her on Instagram as @andee_schmidt

Bridal Photo Shoot featuring Lacey McLaughlin Photography

This past June, the sweetest Fairhope, Alabama photographer reached out to me after seeing MEB on Instagram (how lucky are we to have something to bring us all together?!?). After seeing her work and other shoots she had done, I knew I must go with Lacey for a photo shoot that was in need of happening. Lacey was professional, worked efficiently, and knew how to place the models which made my job so much easier. Finally in September we made the shoot happen (even with the clouds/rain affecting our usually bright studio) and the results are EXACTLY what I wanted and was looking for.

Lacey is no stranger to 30A. She married her love at Eden Gardens in the spring of 2017. Read on to get to know Lacey a little more and give her a follow on Instagram so that you can see the amazing work this talented photographer puts into every shot.

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What inspired you to become a photographer? How long have you been in the business of photography? 

I started taking photos for Journalism in high school and really enjoyed the connections I was able to make when the camera was added to the equation. It was almost like it added an extra sense of closeness of getting to know someone because you have to build a sense of trust. Still not sure about what I wanted to be, off to college I went starting out majoring in Journalism. While I enjoyed writing, I realized I wasn't able to express all of my creative aspects. When I switched over to the college of Fine Arts, it was then that I took my first photography class starting out on 35mm film processing in the dark room. This was when I fell in love. Something just clicked. When I was behind the camera, I felt my happiest. I felt invincible and I knew that this would be the path for me. Film is my one true love for personal and portrait work, but when I started photographing weddings immediately after graduating in 2013, I knew I would need something a little more efficient. I second shot my first wedding for a photographer in 2013, moved to California, started my own business in 2014 and have never looked back! I've been a photographer for 5 years now. 

What does a day in the life of running your business look like? 

Well, to be honest, each day looks pretty different. It also depends on what time of year it is because Spring and Fall are the busiest times for me with wedding season being the most abundant then. I travel around to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida for photo shoots throughout the year, mostly on weekends. During the week, on an average day, I am at my new studio (celebrating it's 1 year opening October 20th) answering emails, listening to music, meeting with potential brides/grooms, and editing. LOTS of editing

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What sets your photography apart from others? 

This is a hard one, but I would say it's all about the energy I emit through the camera. Each person responds uniquely to me as a photographer and if I'm either doing well or having a tough time, that shows in the photos. I try to bring my best self to every shoot so that I can bring that beautiful & positive light out in my subjects. I also like to take a more modern approach with weddings and all my work, while capturing those candid natural moments that are full of emotion as well. Whether it's happy, energetic, sad, loving, or plain honest; the emotion is what I'm after. 

What can brides expect if they hire you as their photographer? 

Beautiful photos that capture the unique essence of them TWO! Each couple is unique, and I never show up to a wedding day knowing what the outcome of my photos will look like. Some couples are loving, touchy, and some aren't. I want to capture their day in the best way possible. If it's raining, the photos will be a bit moodier. If it's hot and sweaty, we roll with the punches and find shade where we can. If I step in an ant pile during a first look (true story), I kick my shoes off, squeal and keep shooting. I never want to miss a moment. But most of all, my brides can expect honest and loving photos that make each of their unique personalities shine!

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What is the biggest tip you would give to a bride for her big day? 

Be in the moment. Be in love. Don't worry about how you look when you're laughing or crying or feeling any kind of way. Talk to your love. Don't worry about the camera. These true moments between you and your spouse are the ones that make the most beautiful photos. Soak it all in. Don't worry about the little details. Give your phone to your bridesmaids. Dance your heart out. Eat the cake. Stop for a moment (or two) to take it all in. This may be the only day of your life when you have every single person you love and who loves you all in the same room celebrating your love. What could be better?!

Visit her website to learn more:

Sweating for the Wedding | By: Sara Moreland Hester with Sara Moreland Fitness

We know, we know, the dreaded f word… FITNESS! There is nothing like a wedding date to push a bride into total “workout, diet, get in shape” mode. Hey, I have been there! A dedicated, 22 year old that went to the gym everyday… even on Fridays. Whoa! I remember thinking, “I am going to go to the gym the morning of the wedding.” Like, really? Ha! But, the feeling of accomplishment was amazing. The before and after of myself in my wedding dress was mind-blowing. I didn't lose a ton of weight but the tone in my arms and the rest of my body showed what I had worked so hard for, and that is why I am glad I adapted a healthy lifestyle before my wedding. I had no idea that “working out for the wedding” would lead to me being a healthier person altogether, even years after wedding day. Now, I have cheat meals, drink my calories at times, and skip the gym more times than I should, so I am not perfect by any means. That is why I asked the healthiest and most fit person I know to guest blog on how to get fit for the wedding. Read more on what Sara Moreland Hester of Sara Moreland Fitness and Studio S has to say about getting fit and losing that unwanted weight. There is even a surprise at the end. Do it! Your body will thank you!

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How long have you been in the fitness industry? What inspired you to start Studio S? 

I have been in the fitness industry since 2010.  I started my fitness journey by working at a local 24 hour gym teaching classes in the evening.  After several years of writing workouts, seeing results in clients, and keeping a steady interest in working out, I decided to create a lifestyle that revolved around helping other people get healthy and fit. 

What does a day in the life of running Studio S look like? 

Running your own business can be a challenge.  You have to be disciplined and focused on keeping people involved and motivated.  We start classes in both locations at 5:15 am.  Afternoons are tough for people, so a lot of people have to wake up and workout before their day even begins.  Our next class starts at 8:15 am. We stay in classes for 45 minutes and keep a smile when they tell us how much they don’t want to be there.  During the day, I try to get as much work done as I can.  I brainstorm ideas, write new workouts, develop online programs and local programs.  Programs usually take the most of my time.  Once I come up with an idea and plan, I begin to put all of the details into play and have to advertise it.  The day time usually goes by quickly, and my work starts when everyone else is getting off.  At 4:00 we start our afternoon classes.  We offer classes at 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm, and 6:15 pm.  In one day at Studio S, we average seeing anywhere from 100-150 people between our two locations.  My Amazon Prime workouts average over 1000 people in one week.


What sets your gym apart from others? 

The atmosphere I create in my gym and in my workouts is what creates such a unique experience.  I set the stage for real life expectations and a “come as you are” motto.  A lot of people don’t go to fitness classes because they aren’t in shape yet and don’t want to be embarrassed.  The atmosphere we have set at Studio S is welcoming to anyone and everyone.  I wouldn’t have a job if everyone was already in shape.  When I write workouts, I write them to be doable for a beginner and challenge the most advanced person.  All of my exercises can be modified or can be amped up.  As an instructor, it’s my job to know which one to push you to do.  I don’t have unrealistic expectations from my clients.  My goal for all of them is to be healthy.


What fitness advice would you give to a bride wanting to get in shape for her wedding day? 

My biggest piece of advice would be don’t crash diet and don’t burn yourself out.  Develop a new lifestyle so once you are married, you continue on with your new lifestyle.  Exercise is a great stress reliever and will be a healthy addition to your new marriage.   Don’t make exercise a stress factor.  It’s okay to miss a day and you don’t have to spend three hours at the gym.  45 minutes is plenty of time to get a great workout in that WILL give you results. 

What diet advice would you tell a bride or any other person that is wanting to shed some lbs.?

When people ask me for diet tips, my first question is always “what did you eat for breakfast?”  Once they answer with what they ate, my second question is always “why?”  The answers usually fall in the category of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.  This opens the door for discussion about eating to eat.  If you are only eating because you think it’s time to eat, your problem usually lies here.  I am a firm believer in intermittent fasting.  I have started hundreds of people on this lifestyle (NOT a crash diet, NOT a 3 day thing).  This has been the most effective way I have ever seen weight lost.  It’s not so much about WHAT you eat, but WHEN you eat.  It’s done 7 days a week.  This will not work if you do it for 5 days and take weekends off, etc.  The way it works is:



            This means nothing but water or black coffee during this fasting window.  If you take your last bite at 7:30pm on a Sunday night, you will FAST for the next 16 hours.  This will be until 11:30am on Monday. 



            In this window, you aren’t as restricted to what you eat.  The same concept goes to eating just to eat.  If you aren’t hungry as soon as your 16 hour fast is up, it’s ok to wait thirty more minutes and just have a 7 and a half hour eating window.


The majority of my clients begin seeing a significant weight loss around the two week mark.  Stay strict to your time windows and you can not cheat in your fast window, or it will not work.  There’s an app on the iPhone called “zero” and I use it to track my fasting. 


How can brides and others be trained by you if they are not local to you?  

I have a lot to offer online and it doesn’t take much from you.  Everything I offer can be done at home with weights and a mat.  Here is what I offer:

Amazon Prime workouts: Search “Studio S Live” on prime.  This is free if you have prime or you can purchase an episode.

Fitness App: Search “Studio S Fitness” in the Apple Store or just “Studio S” in Google Play

Studio S Elite: I train people in my program to teach at gyms in your town!

Studio S Livestream: I offer LIVE classes streamed to your phone/smart tv currently through Facebook

Studio S at home workouts: I have individual workouts for sale in PDF form by category  (arms, abs, legs, full body, workout of the day, 30 day challenges, booty blitzes)

Facebook challenges: I love to do Facebook challenges where people can join a group and do exercises I tell them to do for X amount of days.

All of this information can be found on my website:

Facebook: Sara Moreland Fitness; Instagram: sara_moreland_fitness

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FAQ From of our Brides

Is it better to do 30 min of weightlifting or 30 min of cardio?

In my experience and style of working out, the best way to shed fat and lose weight the fastest is to do HIIT.  This is short for high intensity interval training.  We focus on getting our heart rate up and learning to control it to get it back down.   In our style of working out at Studio S, we do a lot of repetition with a lower number in weight.  The method I try to instill in clients is that the more muscle you have, the faster you will start to lose fat.  People don’t have the best concept of how this works.  When you work out, you have to tear tiny little microfibers in your muscles.  This is what causes your soreness.  If you feed your muscles correctly (healthy food intake and protein), the muscle fibers will grow back bigger.  If you do NOT feed them correctly (fast food and junk), they will grow back the same size as before.  Once you start having muscle added, it will start eating the fat that surrounds that muscle.  Hence the more muscle you have, the faster you lose fat.  A lot of times people do not see gains when only lifting weights because they are lifting weights too heavy, causing poor form, and using momentum instead of muscles to lift.  On the other hand, only doing cardio will not help you make muscle gains.  This will help you to burn calories, but if you want a tight, toned, sleeker body, try combining the two!  Use lighter weights that you can control with your muscles and high repetitions to help get your heart rate up.  Check out my workouts to understand what I am talking about. 


Is there a favorite diet that you use with your workouts? 

Intermittent Fasting has been the best combination with my workouts.  So far, there has not been a better “time frame” to work out as far as working out during the fast or eating window.  It’s been a split of when people preferred to do their workout.  Some preferred to workout after they had eaten, while some preferred to workout while fasting.  Both preferences see results. 


How would you tell one to get motivated to get up, find the time and get to the gym?

Motivation is hard.  Motivation is the number one cause for all things fitness, good or bad.  When you see people with results, it’s because of motivation.  When you see people fall off, it’s because of lack of motivation.  This is something no one can give you.  You have to search and find your why.  Once you establish your why, you need to write it down and keep it and always go back to it.  There are so many reasons why people NEED to workout.  It’s not just for the tight and toned body.  There are so many benefits of exercise.  Some of the most important ones are mental health, increased energy, memory, reduce your risk of chronic disease, helps with relaxation and sleep, and so many more.  Anyone can come up with a million reasons of why they “can’t” go workout.  But if you find your one reason of why you should, it may spark some motivation and keep you on track.  Develop a habit.  Make yourself go on the days you really don’t want to, and all the other days will become much easier to go. 

Will I get bulky and lose weight if I lift weights and do weight machines? 

Most of the time bulkiness comes into play when you are lifting extremely heavy weights.  If your goal is not bulkiness, I would not lift anything heavier than 10s.  In my workouts, most clients alternate with 5 lb. and 8 lb. dumbbells.  Doing my workouts, you will do a lot of body weight exercises mixed in with these exercises that include dumbbells.  If weight machines are what you insist on doing, I would advise you to do a weight that you can control and do a high number of reps in it.  Another factor in bulkiness is eating too much or consuming too much of a protein supplement.  If you are not looking for bulkiness, stick to fasting and eating healthy and natural.  You don’t need a bunch of supplements to lose weight.

Is it better to do cardio or weight lifting first? 

Mix it up! Don’t get monotonous with any workout.  Add challenges to your workout.  If you are going to do cardio and lift, try to do some sprints/fast run and then grab some weights and lift while your heart rate is still up.  Try to keep things changing.


How often should one workout? 

4-5 times a week would be a healthy amount of time to spend doing high intensity workouts.  There is no need to spend hours and hours at a gym.  Get in, go hard, get it done, and get out. 


Complete the number of reps next to each exercise.  Write your time down and challenge yourself to beat it each time you complete this workout.

o  100 Plate Squats

o  90 Frog Lunges

o  80 Jumping Jacks

o  70 Crossovers

o  60 Bicep Curls

o  50 Exploding Squats

o  40 crunches

o  30 6 in ankle to ankle

o  20 wide pushups

o  10 Lunge Jumps

o  20 Leg drops

o  30 Burpees

o  40 Chinees

o  50 Chin Pulls

o  60 Star Jumps

o  70 OH press

o  80 Bridges

o  90 Overhead pushjacks

o  100 Heel touches

TIME __________


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*Leave a comment telling what you will try to adapt or leave motivation for those who are getting in shape for their wedding or in everyday life! Let’s support one another!