There are so many richly historic towns in the South, and since Grace and Bobby are lucky to be from one of them, they embraced the opportunity to be married in their hometown. They filled their Southern garden party wedding with nods to Aiken, South Carolina’s equestrian and golfing traditions, combined with details that were particularly meaningful to them. Grace’s biggest must-have, for example, was lily of the valley–her grandmother grows the sweet-smelling blooms in her garden and couldn’t be at the wedding, so Grace’s lily of the valley bouquet was a beautiful way to honor her. It also looked so elegant against the crisp blue and green wedding color palette!
Big SW hugs to Ashley Seawell for sharing Grace and Bobby’s lovely wedding with us!
I was very lucky to work for Karin Jeffcoat of Cote Designs after college. Karin is truly talented, and I knew from the start that I was not going to have to worry about the flowers as long as they were in Karin’s hands. I love the classic blue and white look, so my mother and I collected blue and white Chinese porcelain jars, vases, and bowls to use throughout the reception. The only detail that I was adamant about was that I wanted lily of the valley in my bouquet and Bobby’s boutonniere. My grandmother on my father’s side has a beautiful garden with lily of the valley that blooms in early May every year. She was unable to make the ceremony due to illness, but incorporating lily of the valley in my bouquet was my way of having her presence there that day. I just love how delicate and classic lily of the valley is, and they smell amazing.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I really pushed to do a first look before our ceremony because I knew I would be a ball of nerves–it was Bobby who really wanted to keep the ceremony traditional. In the end, I was so happy that we decided against it because having the doors open and seeing Bobby down the aisle was so special. It felt we were the only ones in the room for that brief moment.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The ceremony location was the church that I grew up attending with my family and grandmother, so it felt right for us to be married there. The reception venue was chosen because we really wanted to have an outdoor reception. Bobby is an avid golfer, so we started thinking about local clubs. The Palmetto Golf Club is a beautiful, historic club, and it was the perfect location for our wedding.
Bobby and I both grew up in the beautiful town of Aiken, South Carolina. Aiken has a great equestrian community, as well as a rich golfing history, being located just 30 minutes from Augusta. We wanted our wedding to really play to those unique aspects that Aiken has to offer. From the beautiful Episcopal church that I grew up attending, to a horse and carriage to take us to the reception, to our reception at Palmetto Golf Club that is one of the ten oldest golf clubs in America, we tried to take advantage and emphasize all these fantastic things for our “Southern garden party” wedding.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony featured the traditional songs of an Episcopal wedding, but one of the first things we did after we got engaged was to start researching bands. We love to dance and knew that the band would be one of our favorite things about our wedding. Our biggest requirement was to have a horn section, which is crucial for our first dance song, “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We both love that song, but more importantly, I love that it is something that Bobby sings along to, which is exactly what he did during our first dance. Thinking about that still makes me smile. The father-daughter dance was “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison, and Bobby danced with his mother to Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately.”
My mother, a few dedicated family friends, and I built Tavern on the Green-inspired Japanese lanterns in assorted chintz fabrics to line the dance floor. It was a labor intensive process, but the lantern clusters really helped create our garden party atmosphere.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Bobby and I are both from Aiken, South Carolina and we met in high school. As cliché as it may sound, a date to prom was the start of our relationship. I went off to College of Charleston my freshman year of college and Bobby went to Clemson. After countless visits to Clemson that year, I decided to become a Tiger as well. It proved to be a great decision in all respects. Even after graduation took us to different states, we stayed together.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was in Italy for work the week before Bobby proposed, and as we talked throughout the week, he started throwing out very romantic ideas for his visit to Greenville the next weekend. They were very “un-Bobby-like” ideas, so I started to feel like he was up to something. That Friday, Bobby went to Atlanta (unbeknownst to me) with my aunt and uncle to go ring shopping. The ring must have been burning a hole in his pocket because he proposed within minutes of arriving to Greenville! I was so shocked, he had to tell me over and over again that it was not a joke and he was serious! My favorite part of our proposal was later hearing my aunt tell the story of looking for the ring. When he first arrived, Bobby kept saying that he was planning to propose around the holidays. After they started looking, the proposal date started to move earlier and earlier. After the ring was picked out, Bobby started planning a trip less than a month away so that he could ask. By the time the ring was sized and in his hand, he couldn’t wait and ended up asking that same weekend.
When did y’all get married? June 15, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I have always loved classic gowns and knew that I wanted mine to have lace accents. My mother, sister, and a family friend came with me to a Brides Against Breast Cancer showroom. After a day of trying on gowns, we all fell in love with a gorgeous Anne Barge dress that featured beautiful ornate lace on the bodice. I absolutely loved the dress, and it felt great that the money went towards breast cancer research.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. We followed the traditional Episcopal wedding ceremony.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We worked with Kyndra Shedd of Kyndra’s Cakes to create a dessert table with a variety of smaller cakes, in all different sizes and flavors. My mother, who is an interior designer, had collected a number of these wonderful antique wooden capitals that we used to display some of the cakes. That was one of my favorite details–it really gave their entire dessert table the charm that we were looking for. In addition to traditional layer cakes, Kyndra also created pound cakes with lemon cream to serve with fresh strawberries as a play on one of my favorite desserts growing up–strawberry shortcake.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: From the start of wedding planning, I knew I wanted to incorporate my love of Prosecco and all other bubbly cocktails into one of our bars. Bobby had his own bar that served wine and craft beers on a vintage barn table under a beautiful tree off the dance floor, but it was the Bubbly Bar in the porch rotunda area that we really had some fun with while decorating. Since we were outside, we also wanted to incorporate an outdoor grilling element for the food. We met with Christian Carlisle of Plum Pudding, who had a wonderful idea for grilled gourmet pizzas. Bobby and I love grilling pizzas in the summer, so we fell in love with the idea. His port poached pear and blue cheese pizza with port reduction sauce was hands down one of our favorite food items.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Since we were planning the reception outdoors, we made sure that we adhered to the Southern tradition of burying a bottle of Jack Daniels as fair weather insurance. My maid of honor and I had a great time digging a hole, then reciting the following poem: “There once was a groom and a bride, who planned a wedding outside. Their friend said, “Get Jack and bury him out back” to keep the rain aside. So they dug a hole with vigor to bury the bottle of liquor. There it will stay until the right day, and they’ll rejoice with a jigger!” It is only crazy if it doesn’t work, right? Well, Jack did his job! I highly recommend it for any couple planning an outdoor wedding or reception. Bobby is looking forward to digging up Jack soon, too.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Each and every one of our vendors was fantastic and I cannot say enough good things about them. Cote Designs helped bring our vision to life. Ashley Seawell was amazing at capturing moments throughout the day. Our caterers, Donna Jannik and Christian Carlisle, were fantastic and really helped create a menu that reflected our tastes for guests to enjoy.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Other than the ceremony itself, the most memorable moment was walking hand in hand into our reception, decorated just as we had imagined, and seeing our dear friends and family there to celebrate us. It is maybe the only time in your life that all your friends and family are in one place, so we made sure to have a great time and really celebrate the day with everyone.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Spreadsheets will become your best friend. The biggest advice I have for my friends going through the wedding planning process right now is to not stress over all the small details. In the end, everything will be wonderful.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Bobby and I have enjoyed settling down in Greenville, South Carolina and are looking forward to buying a house in 2014. We are ready for an exciting future together that will hopefully include many trips and wonderful new memories with family and friends.
Photographer: Ashley Seawell Photography / Planner and Florist: Cote Designs / Ceremony Venue: St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church / Reception Venue: Palmetto Golf Club / Wedding Cake Baker: Kyndra’s Cakes / Caterer: Donna Jannik Catering and Christian Carlisle / Rentals: All Star Tents and Events / Band: Flashback, the Party Band / Bride’s Gown: Anne Barge / Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas / Bride and Bridal Party Earrings: Graffito / Hair Stylist: Kelsey McDonald at Regency Salon and Spa / Makeup Artist: Gallery J Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew / Men’s Attire: Lionel Smith, Ltd, Aiken, South Carolina / Linens: Cote Designs and Material Things