Kira & Kyle | An Intimate Brookgreen Gardens Wedding by Pasha Belman

Wedding Photography

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Tell us a story behind your most special wedding accessory

“It sounds so painfully cheesy, but my wedding band is definitely the most special. Kyle and I purchased simple, slender Cartier 1895 bands — his gold, mine platinum. We bought them together two weeks before the wedding and I have loved wearing it from the moment I put it on. We’re waiting for our one-year anniversary to have something engraved on the inside of each. I’m selecting something for his and vice versa.” – Kira and Kyle

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Tell us your love story

“Kyle and I met in high school. We started dating when I was a junior and he was a senior, right before Thanksgiving in 2008. Though we took it slow in the first few weeks, we quickly became inseparable. Before we knew it, Kyle was off to college to play football at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. A year later, I went to Bucknell University, also in Pennsylvania, which was about four hours from where he was. We managed the long-distance with no problems, but decided to take time apart my junior year … I was going abroad my spring semester and he was focusing on his senior year and his football career.

Although I was nowhere near where I needed to be in my faith at that point, I had prayed once during our year apart, asking God to bring us back together if that was what was supposed to be. I truly just surrendered it without expectation. We had kept in touch and, after about a year apart, decided that we wanted to shift our attention back to each other, ultimately getting back together after I graduated from Bucknell.

Right as Kyle and I were getting back together, I found out my mom, my very best friend in the whole world, had been diagnosed with of cancer. We were blindsided and devastated. It was one of those moments when everything changes. But we found courage through faith and through my mom’s example of faith. We trusted that God would see us through and it gave us the strength to continue living boldly.

At this point, Kyle was an NFL free agent and I was newly pursuing my career in fashion in NYC at Ralph Lauren on a buying team. While it wasn’t ideal, we made it work and treasured the time we did have together. Kyle came to visit me in the City on the weekends and I’d venture to see him on the weekends too.

As Kyle and I talked about, I had always planned to ultimately move back to South Carolina. I’m originally from here and I have a quite a bit of family around; but I had planned for it to be after I had spent at least five years in NYC and after we had a better idea of what was happening with Kyle’s career.

About a year into my stint in the City in 2015, while Kyle was still a free agent,  God dropped a job opportunity in my lap that would bring me back to South Carolina. My mom was doing really well at this point and really pushed me to pursue my career dreams; but my most pressing dream was to be there with her and for her. It all happened very quickly; but long story short, I moved back to South Carolina, started my job as Creative Producer for Blossoms Events, and Kyle moved to South Carolina just a few months later. To this day, it is one of the best decisions we have ever made.

In spring of 2017, just two months apart, we lost Kyle’s cousin, Craig, and then we lost my mom. We had to lean into our faith and into our relationship in a way we never had before. We always knew we’d end up together and this just further solidified it. We were hand-in-hand in the valley together, experiencing a level of grief nothing can prepare you for. Those were the hardest years we’ve ever experienced and I hope that we ever will. That said, they were also profoundly formative years. God truly uses everything if you let him.

Fast forward to one Sunday afternoon, September 2nd, 2018. After Kyle and I had gone to church and grabbed to-go Chinese food, we came home. Kyle asked me if I wanted to take our dog Bella for a walk. I said, “Sure,” threw on cutoff jeans and white t-shirt, and off we went. We decided to walk a path along the river. It was cloudy and started to thunder so I suggested that we head back toward the car. Kyle insisted we keep going just a bit further (which is totally unlike him, so I should have known) and before I could process what was happening, I was holding Bella in one hand and Kyle was putting my mom’s ring on the other. Kyle knew there was nothing I would love more than to wear my mom’s ring, but he wanted to give me something he had gotten on his own too. After getting up from one knee, he pulled out a Cartier Love bracelet and locked it on my wrist. I’ve only had to take it off one time since. I truly had no idea he was going to do it that day.

Kyle and I have always made our own rules and we knew putting together a big, traditional wedding wasn’t something either of us personally wanted. I truly couldn’t imagine doing any of that without my mom. Knowing this and, in the interest of keeping the focus on each other, we decided to elope. It was another one of the best decisions we ever made.” – Kira and Kyle

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What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you?

“Kyle and I were focused on simplicity and sincerity for our elopement. We knew we wanted both of our pastors to officiate the ceremony, so we wanted to keep it close by. Brookgreen Graden’s Live Oak Allee is the first place both of us thought of. We really never considered anything else because it’s just absolutely breathtaking. After making a quick call to a dear friend (and an incredible wedding planner), Della Ramsey, she put me in touch with the Director of Private Events at Brookgreen, Charlene Sitas (also incredible), and the rest is history. We capped the evening at Frank’s Outback and have reveled in how truly sublime the day was ever since.”

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How was the experience of finding your wedding dress? Did you know what you were looking for?

“I knew I wanted to have a little fun with my dress choice and didn’t want to go and try on dresses in the traditional by-appointment fashion. I had been looking online and had found a dress I really loved; but I didn’t place the order because there was something about ordering a dress online that didn’t feel quite special enough. I had plenty of time at this point (and no date or place in mind yet), so I wasn’t feeling pressure to find the dress. I just figured I’d book a trip to New York when we had more concrete details and begin the search.

Around this same time, in March, my friend needed her car serviced in Charleston and so we decided to make a girls trip out of it. We stayed the night at the Dewberry and popped in and out of shops along King the next afternoon. Right as we were called pick up her car, I asked if her if we could make one last pit stop at Hampden Clothing. We browsed around a bit and, as we were leaving, I saw the dress (literally) out of the corner of my eye. It was practically camouflaged among other like-hued items; but I knew right away from the sleeve. It was the same dress I had found online — the one that was idling in my cart on my computer at home. I tried it on right then and there and walked out with my dress (and earrings to match!) in-hand that same day.”

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What were you looking for in a your wedding photographer?

“A great eye and warm demeanor. After being in the wedding industry and seeing how vital it is to hire a seasoned photographer, I knew that I wanted to use Pasha. Not only are he and his wife Natalia local, but they are insanely talented. I knew they would capture moments packed with sincerity and that the finished product would demonstrate how beautifully an expert photographer can use light.”

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What advice would you give to the newly engaged couples about planning for their big day?

Do what feels right to you. Tune out the noise and listen to your gut. Hire a great photographer.

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An Intimate Brookgreen Gardens Wedding

Wedding Ceremony: Brookgreen Gardens | Flowers: Blossoms Events | Reception: Franks Outback in Pawleys Island | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Photographer: Pasha Belman Photography

Are you engaged? Do you want creative engagement photos, so everyone can go WOW? Call us today to book your engagement portrait photography or wedding day photos with one of the best wedding photographers in South Carolina.

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