I was so excited to meet Amber and Mike because they met in Fayetteville, NC just like my husband and I (this is Katie writing)!  And I was so impressed that the bride Amber, is also a female paratrooper meaning that she jumps out of planes for a living- talk about an amazing job!  Here’s a bit of Amber’s story of how they met!

Mike and I met in South Carolina in 2013, while at brunch. Mike had just finished his first year of Law School,  and I was stationed at Fort Jackson, for the Captain’s Career Course. Right after the Career Course, in 2014, I got stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, which meant I had the opportunity to go to Airborne School; something I had been trying to do for the last 10 years. I was absolutely ecstatic. Mike and I both absolutely love being paratroopers, and we jump as often as possible. My favorite jump is one we got to do together this past Spring!

Since Amber and Mike have friends from all over the country, they decided to have their wedding at Stone River along the Congaree River.  Here’s a view of their ceremony setup on the porch.

We chose South Carolina as the location for our wedding because we absolutely love it there. The weather is perfect, the scenery is gorgeous, and the people are friendly. When I retire from the military, we are moving back to Columbia.


Stone River ceremony setup

The Tiffany blue and pink color scheme had a perfect springy look!

Tiffany blue and pink wedding theme

Amber’s bridesmaid, Anna, actually made this amazing wedding cake!  Amber said it was the most beautiful part about the reception.

Anna, designed and baked our 4-tier wedding cake from scratch. Before going to Law School (with Mike), she was a baker.

Talk about multi-talented!  She’s a lawyer and a baker!

Amber has such a fun style.  After the wedding Amber mentioned,

Even 2 weeks after my wedding, I’m still receiving compliments on my shoes! Mike’s sister (and one of my bridesmaids), Amedee, completely surprised me with these beautiful things! She purchased a pair of Converse shoes, and, using craft paint, jewels, beads, and tulle, she designed some amazing shoes that I was able to dance in, and be completely comfortable!

Comfortable dance shoes can be totally cute!

bridal shoes converses

The couple chose to do a first look on the Riverwalk so that all the bridal party photos would be done before the ceremony.  Gotta love the two-toned color scheme!  Who says all the dresses have to be the same?

Bridal Party
Stone River wedding photos
Stone River Ceremony

The groom’s father conducted the wedding ceremony.  The bride and groom did a really neat “branding ceremony” which I had never seen before.  They had a personalized brand created and made their union permanent by burning these initials into a sign that will hang at their home.

Mike grew up on a cattle ranch in CA, and actually has his own brand that he’s very proud of, so I wanted to incorporate something into the ceremony for him. I’ve seen branding irons for sale at feed stores out here in NC, so I started looking on Etsy and Pinterest for ideas on how to bring the branding concept together. We have a friend, Laureltree Dsigns, that does woodwork, so we asked her to craft our board for us, and it came out beautifully! It was incredibly unique, and everyone loved it!

Branding ceremony
Stone river wedding
Bride and groom at Riverwalk

My favorite part about planning the wedding was how much Mike wanted to help. He was amazing! I was deployed to Iraq for half the year, leading up to our wedding day, so having his input was an absolute blessing. He picked out the wedding venue (Stone River), and caterer (Anna Cline), the live band, and came up with the idea of offering local craft beer at the reception.

Here’s a few highlights of the yummy spread put out by the caterer, Anna Cline.

Anna Cline catering at stone river
Band at stone river

There were a lot of personal touches at this wedding.  For example, the couple had one of their favorite Fayetteville bands come to Columbia to play for the reception.

We met Bill and JD about a year and a half ago in Fayetteville. We were at a local bar, and Bill and JD were playing some amazing music, so we sort of became groupies, and went to a couple other gigs they played in the following months, and we all became pretty good friends. We begged them to travel to SC to play our wedding, and they agreed! They were awesome.

They also had their favorite local beers featured at the bar.

Both of our families are from California, and very few have actually been to the Carolinas, so we wanted to give them a taste of some local brews, while they were in town. We offered two beers from River Rat, a brewery located just up the road from Stone River, and a beer from Aviator, located in Fuquay-Varina, NC. Keeping in mind that it was going to be warm on our wedding day, we wanted to choose beers that were light and crisp, that everyone could enjoy. My absolute favorite was the Cucumber-Lime Saison from Aviator Brewery. Funny story about this beer: Mike knew that I absolutely loved this beer, so he contacted the brewery, and was told this beer is not typically sold to customers in kegs, because it’s a limited release, available only at the brewery. Mike was able to purchase a half-keg, and since we were headed down to SC a week before the wedding, and we’d be staying in a hotel, we had to be creative-and patient- in keeping this beer cold. We bought a bucket to put the keg in, and had to add ice to the bucket twice daily: dump the water out of the bucket in the morning and late afternoon, and add ice again. This was a 7-day procedure, and Mike said he did it all for me, so I could have my favorite beer on our special day. It was an absolute hit at the wedding, too!

Between the band, the beer and a few porch games on the patio, this wedding reception had a truly home-y, comfortable feel so the guests- a lot of whom were military and  came from all over the world- could enjoy some South Carolina hospitality!

Stone River Reception

Congratulations Amber & Michael!  Best of luck in your travels and thank you both for your service!

Check out more highlights in the gallery below!

Other Vendors-

Wedding Planner- Lori Anna with Meagan Warren Weddings
Hair StylistMetropolis Salon
Anna Cline Catering
Flowers– American Floral
DJPartytime DJs
DrapingAmbient Media
LinensParty Reflections