One Mount Pleasant couple took the adage literally this New Year’s Day and said “I do” at the Polar Bear Plunge
Written by Molly Hutter
“Here is the bride-to-be â€¦ taking the ‘plunge’ into the sea,” read a placard on the back of Allyson (“Allie”) Harter January 1, 2012, as she walked toward the breaking waves on Sullivan's Island. “Getting married today, feelin’ pretty frantic, think I‘ll go Dunleavy's and jump into the Atlantic,” read groom John Golden’s. Yes, indeed, the two—joined by five wedding party members and some 13,000 Dunleavy’s Pub Polar Bear Plungers—traded “I do’s” minutes before taking a diving into the chilly winter waters.
Allie and John first met while living two states away—he in Virginia and she in Mount Pleasant. Working for the same company, they chatted often over the phone and formed a friendship despite never having met. A year later, when John was asked to take a business trip to Charleston, he jumped at the chance. After meeting Allie in person, he moved to Mount Pleasant, and the couple dated for two and a half years before getting engaged. Although Allie had a hunch John was planning to propose she says it was a total surprise and “so endearing” when he actually dropped to one knee in February of 2008.
Allie says inspiration for the Big Day date and venue struck years ago, when she witnessed another pair of polar bear plungers tying the knot. “It was so exciting to watch this couple share their vows on a beautiful day, with so many people and such incredible energy in the air,” she says. A traditional—and fairly private—gal on most fronts, Allie says her family was shocked when she revealed their very public venue. But after explaining the event’s cause (fundraising for the South Carolina Special Olympics) and both her and John’s love for it (she was a 12-year alum, he, a participant since 2006), Allie says, “They were thrilled!”
So at noon this past New Year‘s Day—thankfully, a warm one—Allie, dressed in an above the knee white dress and a vintage-inspired birdcage veil, and John, in a lightweight khaki suit, joined the costumed masses on the Sullivan’s Island shore. And after saying “I do,” they, along with Allie’s stepfather, took their second plunge of the day—this time, a literal one, straight into the Atlantic Ocean.
To see more photos from Allie and John’s Polar Bear Plunge ceremony, click here.
Want to Plunge, Too?
If planning to hold your ceremony on a local shore, be sure to contact the beach’ s corresponding city hall to learn its policy on wedding photography. Most around the area simply require that the photographer have a business license registered within the city, but others have more specific regulations (i.e., Isle of Palms has a one-hour per day limit on beach photography).
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