Perhaps the most inexpensive wedding ever performed in the Golden Isles was mine and Tink at the Cloister’s gorgeous chapel. It included us, the preacher, three guests, the adorable photographer Nancy Reynolds (with her “assistant”

Bobby Haven) and a bouquet that cost $186. Its dried remains are plopped in a clear vase on a red corner kitchen cabinet to serve as a precious reminder.

But other weddings on the islands are usually grander or, at the very least, more populated. I wanted to share the weddings of three friends, all of whom married on St. Simons Island.

Sara Thompson and Bryce McKinnon

Sara grew up on the island and faithfully attended Christ Church with her brothers and parents, Shannon and Bess Thompson. At age 14, she was confirmed in the church which was rebuilt in 1886 by the legendary Anson Dodge.

“She always knew she wanted to married at Christ Church because it meant so much to her,” recounts her mother. “She served as an acolyte, was Mary in the Christmas play, and participated in all the Episcopal youth programs.”

The inside of the invitation envelope had a watercolor rendering of Christ Church.

“It was the most perfect day ever on the island,” Sara recalls. “It was crisp, cool, and sunny.”

Sara and Bryce had known each other since elementary school, but never dated until after college when they bumped into each other while both were visiting home for Thanksgiving.

For the bride, the perfect moment came when she stepped to the door, on the arm of her father, smelled the fragrance of the flowers (by longtime friend Edward Armstrong), heard the music, saw her heart’s most special people, and her beloved waiting at the altar.

All weddings call for some problem solving but for Sara and Bryce, it was unique: Sara’s “uncle” is Uga, the bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia; a tradition begun by her grandfather, Sonny Seiler. Since the McKinnons were marrying in the autumn, that meant they had to choose the only “off weekend” for the Bulldogs — October 22. Uga did not attend because he was resting up for the Georgia-Florida game.

Kelly Bennett and Robbie Ross

Kelly, the granddaughter of the island’s much beloved Roy and Anne Hodnett, grew up at St. Simons United Methodist Church near the village. Her first wedding, at Cabin Buff, had been large and grand. Robbie’s first wedding in Augusta was big enough that an entire street had to be shut down to accommodate the crowd.

For this second marriage, the pair agreed that they wanted a small, meaningful event with close family and friends. They chose the picturesque chapel of the church. In the main sanctuary, one of the beautiful stained windows was placed in memory of her uncle and namesake, Kelly Hodnett, who died in a traffic accident at age 14.

Everything from flowers to the bride’s non-bridal grown was simple and tasteful. I was among the handful of invitees and can attest to the power of the simplicity, enhanced by the participation of Kelly’s son, Colton, and Robbie’s children, Ginna and Ray.

“We both had the big weddings,” explains Kelly. “But nothing could compare to the beauty of a simple wedding attended by the people we love most. It was perfect.”

Jules Foxworthy and Brendan Corley

Jules is a young woman who is a perfect blending of her parents. She is gregarious and fun like her father, comedian Jeff Foxworthy, and pretty and thoughtful like her mother, Gregg. Though raised in Atlanta, she always knew that she want-

ed a destination wedding to marry her longtime sweetheart.

“I chose Sea Island because it was a special place to Brendan, who grew up going there with his family,” Jules explained. “It had everything I could have imagined plus it was still in my home state of Georgia.”

Jules, her mother, wedding planner, Suzanne Reinhard, and the Cloister folks went to work to create a wedding that was the opposite of mine and Tink’s at Sea Island — glittering, fantastical, and unique. One special detail was the guests’ room key card with a photo of Jules and Brendan rather than the Cloister logo.

Despite the best-laid plans, rain threatened to upset the evening. “The Cloister folks leapt into action,” Gregg recalls with appreciation. “In six hours, they transformed one of the ballrooms into a garden feel. It was stunning. It was a joyful experience working with the Cloister staff.”

“Did you cry?” I asked Jeff a few weeks after the wedding.

He nodded. “Yeah, I did.”

Jules and Brendan still cry when they rewatch the video of that night. “The Cloister at Sea Island made all my dreams come true,” Jules says. “It was everything I had dreamt of since I was a little girl.”