Island Weddings

June 9, 2011

A classic Hatteras wedding with a surprise guest


Cena Meekins and Wayland Jennette Jr. were married on Thursday, June 2, in a classic island wedding.

The bride is the daughter of Linda and Michael Hilton and Doug and Anne Meekins, and the bridegroom is the son of Dee and Wayland Jennette Sr.

The couple, both Hatteras natives, chose an outdoor setting for their informal, vintage-style wedding. They were married under one of the largest and oldest gnarled live oaks on the soundside in Frisco at the family home of the bridgroom’s mother.

The typical island house, weathered but neat and painted white with a cheerful, bright green trim, is where several generations of the Whedbee family have lived and worked and played. It is currently occupied by the bridegroom’s uncle, W.L. Whedbee.

Potted plants and rockers line the porch that runs all across the front of the house. An American flag flies from a corner of the porch.

The bride wore a strapless, layered silk organza gown by a Spanish designer, and her attendants wore short dresses in shade of red that some called “honeysuckle.”

The bridegroom and groomsmen were neatly and informally dressed in khaki slacks, white shirts, and ties.  They all wore navy canvas Vans, a shoe favored by surfers, which they all are.

The invited guests were attired in Hatteras-style informal, fitting for a late afternoon wedding on a hot and sunny early summer day.

The uninvited guest just came as himself -- a handsome white-tailed buck that obviously considered himself part of the wedding party.

He had attended the rehearsal dinner the night before with his family – a doe and a fawn -- but came “stag” to the wedding.

As the wedding party was getting ready, the deer walked up on the porch and peered at them through the screen door, “just like the family dog,” said the bride’s mother.

As the mother of the bride and the bridegroom walked from the porch to their places under the old oak tree, the deer, which some call “Bambi,” checked out their floral bouquets.

As the bride and her father stood on the porch, ready to take their turn in the procession, the deer stood up on his hind legs to check out the bridal bouquet.

He mingled happily with the guests, sniffing and greeting them.

“He seemed to like the music,” said the bride.  The music was played by her stepfather, Michael Hilton.

“The deer definitely helped break the ice,” she added.

Photographer Daniel Pullen said he thought the tame deer was really cool when he first arrived to take photos of the nuptials, but he quickly got over his excitement at the opportunity to take some really unusual wedding pictures.

The deer, he said, was everywhere and showing up in every photo.

“After 20 minutes, I was saying, ‘Okay, deer that’s enough. Go away.’ He came right up to me when I was shooting and sniffed my forehead.”

After the ceremony, performed by the Rev. Dwight Burrus, the couple posed for photos with the wedding party and their families.

In keeping with the classic theme, they left the ceremony in vintage cars, owned by the bridegroom’s father.

First, they headed to the beach near the Frisco Pier for the oceanfront photos that all brides want.  The classic cars, parked in a sand-covered parking lot, looks like it is right on the beach in the pictures. It could not have been a more perfect day at the beach.

Then, the new Mr. and Mrs. Jennette went to the reception at the Hatteras Marlin Club, which was decked out in a vintage décor.

Pullen very creatively kept the vintage theme in his photography, taking many of the photos in black and white.

“It was the happiest day I’ve ever had,” Cena said in an interview a few days later. Everything, she said, was perfect.

Now, she said, she’s known in some circles on the island as “the bride who had a deer at her wedding.”

Cena, 28, and Wayland, 33, have known each other for most of their lives and dated for eight years before they set a wedding date.

She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and works as a personal assistant to Realtor Trisha Midgett.  He was graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a degree in architecture. He manages the Fox Watersports store at Stowe on 12 in Hatteras village.

The couple live in Hatteras village with their chocolate Lab, Sadie.


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