For just a moment, before being escorted down a makeshift aisle lined by about 20 friends and relatives to say 'I do,'" Amy Niblock paused - to slip off her flip-flops.
With a banner plane touting "Pirates Voyage" overhead and lounging, bikini-clad sunbathers just feet away in the sand, Niblock and Donavan Kellams, both from Statesville, N.C., said their vows and exchanged rings in a 20-minute ceremony under a sunny Saturday sky, complete with their flower girls tossing seashells from buckets instead of the traditional blooms from a basket.
"It's something different, something easy, affordable because of the economy," the groom said before the ceremony. "We come here every year. Let's just do it where we are comfortable. And it's just kind of sweet."
But this type of simple ceremony - thousands of them conducted yearly along the Grand Strand - has led to complicated laws along local beaches that have confused couples and frustrated some of the preachers who preside over the nuptials.
"It does (create confusion) for the brides and grooms because they don't know anything about the laws," said Richard Martin, owner of The Myrtle Beach Wedding Chapel.