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Southern Weddings

I have to agree with Carissa, her wedding to Ryan at Boone Hall Plantation WAS coastal Southern to a “T.” From the oyster wreathes to the yummy pies, each detail that went into their big day not only fell in line with the their theme, but was created as a labor of love by themselves or their family and friends. Even her stunning Justin Alexander gown fit perfectly into the feel of their wedding — the lining of the dress was called “oyster”! But Carissa’s favorite detail makes my heart happy: the table that held photos of all their grandparents.

Big hugs to our sweet friend Paige Winn for not only capturing the gorgeous details, but the fun that C + R’s guest had!

My mama, sister and some bridesmaids came into town one weekend to go dress shopping. It was a long weekend and I must have tried on over 20 dresses. I had flagged a Justin Alexander dress in a magazine early on in our engagement and after the unfruitful weekend, I kept thinking about it. I looked up where the designer was sold, went with one of my lovely bridesmaids and tried it on. It was perfect and exactly what I was looking for with a vintage feel, Venetian lace and the color of the lining of the dress was even called “oyster.” That sold me and I purchased the dress that afternoon.

Holy cow, those rows of oak trees at Boone Hall are certain to make you swoon!

Did you write your own vows? Our preacher, a dear friend, gave us a template of what he usually uses and we customized it. My favorite part of our vows was not a line, but when we took communion together and had a couple minutes just to the two of us. The violinists and guitarists played “Come Thou Font” (one of our favorite songs).
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? One of our dearest friends read Eccles. 4:9-12
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding.  Our moms walked down the aisle to “Calico Skies,” my bridesmaids walked down to “Stand By Me,”  I walked down to “Young at Heart” (one of our songs), and exited to “Here Comes the Sun.” We first danced to “Le Vie En Rose” by Louis Armstrong. Some other songs that we requested because they were special to us were “Let My Love Open the Door” and “Stir It Up” by Bob Marley. We left to “Your Love is Liftin’ Me Higher.”

Our wedding was coastal southern to a “T.” We had oysters everywhere, from the food to the décor. We had mason jars for everyone to grab, write their name on the tag strung to it, use and take home. We also used mason jars for decoration. We got married outside under one of my favorite century-old oak trees by the water and then had our reception in the Cotton Dock. We got married at Boone Hall Plantation, a Charleston institution run by a dear friend and one of the sweetest men in town.

The wedding was a labor of love not only from my family but from close friends in the area as well. We had so many helping hands in preparation for and during the day. Two dear family friends coordinated the day-of details and set up, Mama, myself and various bridesmaids made all the decorations, Stono Café are dear friends and were tremendously helpful, as well as the plantation owner and band. All in all, Ryan and I were overwhelmed by all of the help, love and support we received from countless people. The wedding truly would not have happened without them. Despite its growth, Charleston is still a “small town” full of big hearted, close-knit people.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We had a dear friend make several different cakes and pies. They were delicious! The cake topper was made by my sister.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many to choose from. My mother and I spent months on the details. I spent hours and hours on wrapping wine bottles in burlap, twine and lace, making oyster centerpieces and collecting old books and mason jars. I suppose my favorite detail was the table with pictures of our grandparents. My Nanna was the only grandparent that was able to physically be there and it meant a lot to us to have every grandparent there in photographs.

My most memorable moment about the wedding day was the private oyster roast that we had for Ryan, myself and the bridesmaids and groomsmen after the ceremony and before we were all introduced at the reception. I just remember thinking how wonderfully happy I was to be married to my best friend and surrounded by all of the friends we accrued throughout our lives and who will be by our side for many years to come. It was just a moment of pure joy to have my husband by me, with our friends surrounding us shucking oysters.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Ryan and I met while we were in school at the University of Georgia. We started to catch each other’s eyes in the first semester of our junior year. One night after hanging out with friends, Ryan asked if I wanted to “borrow” some wood from a construction site on the way back to his apartment to build a table together, as he knew we both enjoyed building things. We started building the table but it was really an excuse for us to hang out together. One night in November, it was too cold to stay outside and work on the table so he asked me on our first date.
Describe the proposal. Ryan picked me up from work to take me on our third anniversary date. He took me to see the movie “Hugo” and then we were going to dinner. After the movie, he took me by his neighborhood’s clubhouse we were shared our first kiss three years ago to the day. I still was not expecting anything because we had revisited the spot many times before. We got out of the car and the porch where we first kissed was decorated with flower petals, lanterns, and candles. He led me up onto the porch to a canvas picture of Boone Hall Plantation’s Avenue of Oaks (a very special place to my family and the place where we got married!). He knelt down and I immediately started bawling. He had one of our dearest friends hiding, taking pictures of the whole proposal. After the proposal, I tried to call my family but no one picked up. Ryan drove us back to his house where all of our family and close friends were waiting to surprise us. That is why we went to the movie, so he could kill time as my family drove in from Charleston, South Carolina. It was the most amazing thing to share the moment with them!
In what month did you get married? January
How many guests attended your wedding?  150 guests
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes, we did decide to do a first look. We wanted to get beautiful pictures of just the two of us that weren’t rushed after the ceremony. We were hesitant to do the first look, but it was a great move for us as it really calmed us down before the ceremony and gave us a moment to soak up each other before things got crazy.
Describe your wedding flowers: I wanted a very natural, meadow-like look to all the flowers. They were beautiful and consisted of a lot of wildflowers like lavender, mums and bells of Ireland.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My father has had health issues for years now but got very sick during the period of planning the wedding. We were unsure about whether or not he would be able to walk me down the aisle. It put a lot of stress on our family but it also put the wedding in perspective and made us aware that, while the day is important, it’s about Ryan and I coming together first and foremost.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$20,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? My shawl that I wore day of. It was an Etsy purchase that I did not budget for. The Etsy designer made it custom for my dress and it was my favorite accessory that day.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Pick one, two or even a handful of things that are really special or important to you. The rest is negotiable.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We just bought a house and started new jobs recently. I’ll think we think concentrating on nesting and relaxing for a while. Who knows, the world’s our oyster!

Paige Winn is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Sukey (Dress For The Wedding) reply

    Loving that dress and the beautiful and creative use of oysters – especially those fantastic wreaths! The picture with guests lined up with the sparklers is such an amazing, treasured moment to have captured! Beautiful!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    Her gown is gorgeous, and it looks incredible against that dreamy Spanish moss!

  3. avatar Wedding Invitations reply

    Gorgeous, gorgeous wedding. Loving all the details. That picture down the road, with the beautiful bride looking back – wow, blew me away. Were those willow trees. Sensational. Also, what a beautiful dress. I love the detailing in it all. Love the aspects of the union. Congratulations and all the very best to you both!

  4. avatar Elise reply

    What a stunning wedding! Paige is such a talented photographer, she captured their day so perfectly!!

  5. avatar Brooke reply

    I love the etsy lace shawl the bride wore for her wedding. I purchased the same dress and would love to know the etsy shop she used to create the shawl.

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