2014 means a whole new year of beautiful, oh-so-Southern couples, love stories, and weddings on the Southern Weddings blog, and I can’t think of a more perfect kickoff than the lovely Alix and Jon. These College of Charleston sweethearts were married at RiverOaks Charleston–the perfect setting for their romantic, vintage-inspired wedding (and one of our beloved Blue Ribbon Vendors!). I love Alix’s amazing boho bridal style and the dreamy RiverOaks views, but the thing that really stopped me in my tracks was reading that their officiant, Alix’s uncle, also officiated her parents’ wedding. I can’t even fathom how deeply meaningful this must have felt to their entire family!
Thank you kindly to Clay Austin for sharing Alix and Jon’s wedding with us!
After dating for three years, Jon proposed on July 15, 2012. It was a Monday and I awoke at my parents’ house at 6:30 a.m. to find Charlie, our dog, bounding into my room. Disoriented, I could not figure out why Charlie was there, since I had not taken him with me the night before. Upon further examination, I noticed that Charlie had a red bow tied to his collar with a note reading “Follow the Arrows.” Outside my door, I found arrows leading me downstairs. On the way, I found a picture of Carrie, who first introduced us, a picture of the movie Waiting, commemorating the first night we met, a picture of a staircase, commemorating the night I fell down the stairs after our movie date, and other pictures encapsulating the relationship we had built over the last three years. The arrows led oddly to my parents’ laundry room. When I went in, there was a last note reading, “Just Kidding, Turn Around,” and in the living room across from me, Jon was on his knee holding a ring. Needless to say, I said “yes!”
Describe your wedding flowers. Gorgeous. They were all designed by Jennigray Hewitt of RiverOaks. She ordered them from California and incorporated RiverOaks’ own English Garden Roses from the property. The entire color palette for the wedding was very simple and neutral, so the flowers were really the only pops of color. Jennigray outdid herself by creating bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and ceremony decor from peach, cream, and pale pink garden roses, with pops of deep burgundy flowers and succulents. All of her arrangements were stunning.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No first look for us. We wanted seeing each other to be more of a surprise, and thought waiting until that moment when I came down the aisle made it more significant.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. The officiant, my uncle Dave Collings, is the pastor of Christ Church Cleveland (Ohio), so he was able to personalize our vows for us. It was very special to have him do that for us. He also married my parents, which made it even more sentimental. He did an amazing job of keeping all of our guests comfortable, and making the ceremony light-hearted, sweet, and intimate.
RiverOaks was such a unique venue and Marianne literally runs the venue out of her home (true Southern hospitality). It is the perfect Lowcountry setting, located on the Wando River out in Awendaw, with its gorgeous oak trees and Spanish moss. All of our vendors were unbelievable and great to work with, but the creme de la creme was a two-way tie between our amazing photographer, Clay Austin, assisted by his wife, Kate Austin, and all of the wonderful women (Marianne Caldwell, Laura Heuber, and Jennigray Hewitt) at RiverOaks Charleston.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It really is difficult to pick just one thing. The RiverOaks staff ensured every detail of the wedding went off without a hitch, and they even surprised us by sending us off in style with a fireworks display. Our guests all loved the music and the cigars we provided for guests to smoke by the river, which RiverOaks coined “Puff by the Pluff.” Being with all of our friends and family made the night perfect. By the end of it, we also felt that the vendors became part of our friends and family.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a three-layer wedding cake from Publix. The base was white cake with raspberry filling and cream cheese icing, the middle was chocolate/vanilla marble cake, and the top tier was strawberry. We also served pies late in the evening from Sugar Bakeshop in Charleston. We included an array of fall-themed flavors: chocolate coffee caramel, pecan, chocolate pecan, pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We first saw each other on August 22, 2006. It was our first day of classes as freshmen at College of Charleston. We waited across the hall from each other for our respective lab instructors to show up, though unbeknownst to us, labs were not starting until the following week. I noticed Jon’s Flogging Molly t-shirt (which he still wears today) and we struck up a brief conversation about our mutual interest in the band. I had, more or less, rolled out of bed to get to lab, and was wearing bright red sweatpants and a less than flattering t-shirt. Regardless, after this brief encounter with a Charleston girl, Jon remembers thinking, “I think I am really going to like college.” Fast forward to 2009, my dear friend Carrie met Jon in a drama class. Eventually, Carrie brought to Jon’s attention that he was both tall and Greek, and she had a girlfriend who was also tall and Greek, so the two of us should meet. At a small gathering of friends at my house, Carrie brought Jon over and we bonded over beer and the thought-provoking Ryan Reynolds classic, Waiting.
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress at J. Crew. Even though I have always admired elaborate dresses, I knew I wanted something super simple and elegant that I would be comfortable in. The only alteration I made to the dress was adding a “V” in the back to make it a little more “me.”
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? The officiant read “Marriage Morning” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, along with some traditional readings from the Bible.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. It was important to us that the music was very non-traditional. I walked down the aisle to “Moon River.” It has always been a favorite of mine (and a gentle nod to the theme song from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is one of my favorite movies), and it was also my grandfather’s favorite song. He passed when my mother was very young, and knowing that it was his favorite solidified my decision to walk down the aisle to it. We walked back up the aisle together to “At Last,” for obvious reasons. :) Our first dance was to “I Go to the Barn Because I Like The” by Band of Horses. The band has always been a favorite of ours, and the song has always held meaning for us. My father and I danced to “Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips, Jon and his mother danced to “What a Wonderful World,” and my brother and I danced to “Green Eyes” by Coldplay.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was my late grandmother’s wedding ring. My something old and blue was material from my late grandmother’s wedding dress (a blue lace suit), which one of my bridesmaids made into a garter. My something new was my dress and shoes.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The FOOD. Epicure of Charleston served up traditional Carolina shrimp and grits, steak, chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, chicken salad sandwiches, crab and artichoke dip, and two varieties of salad.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had a bit of a roller coaster with our budget. We knew that an outdoor wedding was expensive, but it seemed like we went back and forth with our budget weekly. One day, it would seem like we were right on the mark, and the next day, it would seem like we were going to have to cancel the whole wedding. We even went so far as to tour an indoor venue that we knew we didn’t want. It quickly made us realize that RiverOaks was worth every penny.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Jon: The ceremony. Our pastor performed an amazing service that touched everyone in attendance. Of course, it was also the first time we saw each other that day. Alix: The dancing!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Jon: Make sure that when you’re shopping for venues, you know your budget and ask the owner what the cost of the average wedding is at that venue. Also, figure out as a couple which parts of the wedding are really important to you and put more thought/finance into those aspects of the wedding. It also helps to have parents who are involved and supportive–we could never have done this without them. Alix: Never forget what the wedding is about; it is the covenant made by two people joined in love. Planning is stressful, and can often bring out the worst in each other, but that usually only happens when you lose site of the purpose and the reason for all of the planning.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We currently own a home in downtown Charleston, which we share with a very spoiled dog. We both work close to home and enjoy what we do. Kids are on our minds but it will likely be a few years in the future. At the moment, we’re just thrilled to be starting our lives together!
Photographer: Clay Austin Photography / Venue: RiverOaks Charleston / Planner: Marianne Caldwell and Lauren Heuber of RiverOaks Charleston / Florist: Jennigray Hewitt of RiverOaks Charleston / Cake Baker: Publix / Pie Baker: Sugar Bakeshop / Catering: Epicure of Charleston / Bar Service: Squeeze on Site / Glassware: Polished Tabletop / Rentals: EventWorks / String Musicians: Palmetto Strings / DJ: Ryan Neal of Party on Wheels Entertainment / Paper Products: Megan Elger / Bride’s Gown: J. Crew / Bride’s Hair Accessories and Shoes: BHLDN / Hair Stylist: Lara Lovitt at Tabula Rasa Salon / Makeup Artist: Casey Bramhall at Tabula Rasa Salon / Bridesmaid Dresses: Dani Short, Blair Short, Newbury Short, and Lacey Short by Joanna August / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Ceremony Program and Menu Calligraphy: Lydia Robins Hendrix
RiverOaks Charleston is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!