Andell Inn and Kiawah Island, SC

In May of 2016, Joshua and I spent our honeymoon on Kiawah Island, SC! It was lovely and we had beautiful weather the entire time, despite a rainy forecast.

We stayed at the Andell Inn, which is a boutique hotel by Marriot. The hotel is gorgeous and great for couple or small families. It’s in the Freshfields Village area, right after the traffic circle that allows you to head to Seabrook Island or Kiawah Island.

Kiawah Island is notoriously known for being extremely private and exclusive. The island is best known, in my opinion, for the Sanctuary Hotel and Kiawah Island Golf Course that’s part of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. You must have a reservation to enter through the gates unless you’re biking. That’s a little bit too rich for our blood so we were just fine staying down the street.

The Andell Inn has a variety of rooms and we stayed in a studio style, which had a kitchen and living room. The hotel is eclectically decorated, which I liked but was not Joshua’s style. Having a kitchen allowed us to get groceries in Freshfields Village instead of eating out for every meal.

When we first entered our room it was FREEZING cold so we adjusted the thermostat. It never warmed up but the thermostat read 212°F! We call the front desk and they came to look at it and called maintenance for us.

Joshua and I enjoyed the pool and just hanging out around the hotel but the front desk lady kept following us everywhere giving us updates on the maintenance or if they were going to switch us to another room. More than once I thought, “leave us alone!”

The first day we went to Harris Teeter to get some groceries for the stay and take home some dinner.

That night it NEVER warmed up and I was crying in bed because I was so COLD! Awkward.

The hotel has a really nice breakfast spread with a mimosa bar!! The hotel has a bar in the lobby with a porch area that overlooks the pool. There are these huge swings on the porches and those are really relaxing if you can nab one. The pool was good for families or adults.

Maintenance finally fixed our thermostat/AC unit, but it only took two and a half days and many conversations later. The did give us a deep discount, which we appreciated.

The second day, Joshua and I explored the island and went to the beach. You have to pay to enter the public beach area, Kiawah Beachwalker Park, because it’s a protected park. The parking lot limits how many guests can enter here. It was $10 for us since we were there in June, but during the summer it’s $15 on the weekend. We really liked the beach because it was left mostly alone and very quiet. There are lifeguards and changing areas.

There’s a small store on Kiawah Island with the gas station. I don’t really recommend it because Freshfields is just down the street, but if you were in a jam there is that store.

You cannot enter Seabrook Island without a reservation, we learned that the hard way. But we did visit the Bohicket Marina in both the day and evening. During the morning it was a little sleepy but peaceful and it’s fun to look at all the boats. In the evening, it was really hoppin’. There was a live band and people were dancing, kids were playing in the grass, and everyone was lingering to watch the sunset. We ate dinner at Red’s Ice House and their fried fish is AMAZING! Joshua and I both agreed it’s the best we’ve ever had and we want to go back. I had the lobster mac and cheese and that was good too. The sunset was beautiful and it was just a really fun place to be.

I shopped at all the boutiques in Freshfield Village. There’s a Lilly Pulitzer store, Roberta Roller Rabbit (beautiful prints but pricey), a book store, a souvenir shop, a toy store, an outdoor store, and a cute little old timey pharmacy (Vincent’s) with a beautiful Essie nail polish display.

We ate at Le Tela Pizzeria on our third night and it was just alright. We weren’t thrilled. We did have ice cream at the little ice cream parlor though and we just loved the Freshfields community feel. I know they have events during the week for families. It appears some of the places open and close in Freshfields Village quite frequently, as less than a year later there are different options from May 2016.

Kiawah Island is an easy drive to or from Charleston and that was nice too, as we were able to stop on the way to Kiawah. We ate at Sesame, which is a burger place that we are obsessed with! Sign up for the emails to get a free appetizer each month!

All and all, I would recommend the Andell Inn and Kiawah for a sweet little get away!


Easy Flowers for your Wedding

img_5383Okay… confession time: We used NO florist for our May 2016 wedding and the flowers were amazing!

First, my friend Douglas and I handmade all of the corsages and boutonnieres for the wedding with fake flowers from Hobby Lobby. We made four corsages total, for my mum, my great aunt, Joshua’s mom, and Joshua’s grandma. We made nine boutonnieres total with fake orchids (my dad, my step dad, his dad, his grandfather, our four groomsmen, and ring bearer). I’m not crafty, so we had to buy everything like a glue gun. We brought home everything we liked and then just returned all unopen/unused flowers and I would say it was about $50 (~$4 each) and two hours of laughing nonstop trying to make these things. That’s far cheaper than getting these at the florist.

img_0144They looked so good my father in law tried to save his by putting it in a cup of water and storing it in the fridge following the wedding. haha. 🙂

And we did not have to worry about keeping the real flowers looking fresh.

img_0147For my bouquet and my four bridesmaids’ bouquets, we made them as well the morning of the wedding. We went for breakfast around 8am and then headed to Publix around 9:30am for a late afternoon wedding. At Publix, we grabbed all the flowers we liked (but we could have done this more cost efficiently if need be) from the floral section.

Now, my mum, sister, and I scoped this Publix out weeks before the wedding and knew they had a very large flower section that was refreshed every morning. I would not recommend this without some local research.img_5438

Then my bridesmaids and I went home and had a “bouquet making party.” We listened to music on the big front porch of our beach house (where the reception was held) and sorted the flowers by color. It was my vision that we each have bright, multi-colored bouquets but each would be different for each bridesmaid. My bridesmaids each picked their dresses with the only stipulation being that the dress was purple.

Then we each picked the flowers we liked and made our bouquets to our liking. My sister-in-law goes to Clemson and wanted a large orange flower; I wanted a giant bouquet. They turned out lovely and so beautiful!

We used floral tape to keep the bouquets together and tied purple ribbon around to make a handle. I wanted long ribbons on the bouquets that would flow in the wind.


(My bracelet was “something borrowed” and the pin on my bouquet was “something old.”)

All the extra flowers were used as decoration for the reception and we used the bouquets to decorate around the guest book and favors.

It was SO EASY and FUN! If you’re looking to save money and don’t have your heart set on particular flowers, then I would highly recommend this!

My Wedding Dress Story

In the fall of 2016 Columbia, SC had the worst flood they had ever seen. I blogged about it here. Later that fall I got engaged to Joshua, on November 25th to be exact.

I knew I was going to marry Joshua early on and while we was asking my parents for their blessing, I was shopping for my wedding dress. No really, on the same morning I was picking out my dress in secret!

A friend of mine was taking a wedding planning class at U of SC and was working at a large Flood Relief bridal sale. A local bridal shop had discounted hundreds of their past seasons dresses to $199!

They put all of these dresses outside under large white tents. It was a beautiful day. I wasn’t even engaged so I felt a little guilty and silly looking for a dress.

I looked around and one ivory dress caught my eye that had a high lace neck and A-line skirt.

An employee suggested I try it on and because these was part of a special sale, while the store was still open, I had to try it on in a back room…of a warehouse. Not the bridal boutique imagery I had in mind.

I tried the dress on by myself and fell in LOVE. It fit nearly perfectly (just a little too long). I adored the buttons up the back.

I took it off and put it on hold to think about it. Was I really going to by a wedding dress before I was even engaged? What would my mum think? Was this my dress? The price was hard to walk away from!

Then my friend from the wedding class arrived and told me to put the dress back on. She didn’t like it, but her teacher was there and could tell I absolutely loved it.

They brought me a Grecian style dress to try on, which was horrible and I said I didn’t want to try on any more dresses. I had found my dress! It was the first dress I tried on and I only tried on one other dress.

With tax it rang up as $209! (Cost of alterations is a different story) And the funds went to Columbia flood relief.

Do I regret not having the whole bridal boutique experience with my friends and family? A little bit.

But I always felt like it would not be a good idea to shop with my mum for my wedding dress. She hates to shop and I like to look at everything before I even try anything on. It possibly would have been a negative experience for both of us.

I do look forward to having that experience with someone else though, but I’ll be sitting on the couch giving feedback.

I still love my dress and it was so fun to wear on my wedding day. I think it absolutely stayed true to my style.

Allison York Photography