Amy and Joseph’s wedding blended both of their families’ traditions to give their nearly 400 guests an experience filled with sweet Southern hospitality and a heap of joy! Just one of the many reasons I love reading Real Wedding interviews is finding out gems about why a couple chose a certain detail. In this case, I love how Amy’s cascading bouquet was inspired by an old portrait of her great grandmother that her mother had seen. Amy had also dreamed of having a Southern gospel choir at her wedding–I know that our own Editor in Chief would have been singing away with them!
Big SW hugs to Elisabeth Millay for sharing this lovely day with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This was actually very easy for me! My mom and aunt saw my Monique Lhuillier dress in a magazine and sent me a picture text that said “This is your dress!” I love bows, and I also knew I didn’t want anything strapless. We went to Joan Pillow in Atlanta specifically to try it on and our consultant, Susan, was wonderful. She made me try on two other dresses before my dress to ensure I had seen others. As soon as I put it on, we knew it was the one.
The only real vision I had for the flowers was a neutral palette and lots of them! My mom also had a wonderful vision of a cascading bouquet–an idea she got from an old portrait of my great grandmother. Other than our initial vision, we entrusted the details to Heather and Kristin and they did a fabulous job. I was so happy with how everything turned out.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The ceremony was held at our temple in Charleston, which is the oldest reform temple in the country. It has a lot of special significance to my family, who have been members for several generations and are actively involved in the congregation. I was actually a flower girl in my aunt and uncle’s wedding there! We knew we wanted to be inside and downtown, so we didn’t have very many options that fit our guest count. The Charleston Marriott was a perfect choice, and it exceeded our expectations. The service and staff were exceptional.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We really wanted people to feel the Southern hospitality in Charleston. Our graphic designer created an image of a plantation oak tree that we used on several of our printed materials, including our save the dates. Charleston is known for its sweetgrass baskets, so my mom had the idea to have sweetgrass napkin rings made for our table settings at the wedding. We got 400 made by a local Charleston basket maker, Nakia Wigfall, and it was such a special touch for the tables. We also had a Southern gospel choir singing outside the temple as people exited–I had been envisioning that for a while, and I think our guests really enjoyed it! We also were fortunate to be able to include all of our out-of-town guests in our rehearsal dinner, which I think was a great way to welcome people to Charleston. It was held at Lowndes Grove Plantation and was a Southern dinner, complete with a Lowcountry boil, fried chicken, and boiled peanuts!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We were really fortunate and had a very easy wedding planning process because we surrounded ourselves with a fabulous team. I think the biggest challenge for me was putting the wedding out of my mind and making myself focus on studying and passing the bar exam. I graduated from law school in May and sat for the bar in July, so I had periods when I couldn’t do any wedding stuff, even though it was all I wanted to do.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were so fortunate to have Kristin and her team, who made everything so seamless and beautiful. Not a beat was missed!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This sounds so cheesy, but the whole weekend was just incredible. If I had to describe the weekend in one word, it would be humbling. Having all of our family and so many of our close friends come from so far to be with us was such a special feeling, and Joseph and I will never forget it.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? When you get overwhelmed, take a break, because everything all works out. It is sometimes easy to loose sight of the end result, which is that you get to get married. Be sure to take the whole weekend in and celebrate each other.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both living in Washington, DC and met at a mutual friend’s house. We had actually lived in the same apartment building for about a year, but didn’t meet until after Joseph had moved out. We ended up having a great conversation the day we met and Joseph called me the next week to ask me out to dinner.
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the 4th of July. We had been out on the boat with some of our friends during the day and had plans to go to my aunt and uncle’s house that night to celebrate with family and fireworks. I was sitting on the sofa trying to motivate myself to get ready when Joseph just came over and asked me to marry him. It was a really special moment, and I was happy that it was just the two of us there for the proposal. Our families and friends knew it was going to happen, so they were all waiting to celebrate with us, which was so great!
When did y’all get married? November 2, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 380
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did, for a couple reasons. We are an interfaith couple but had a Jewish wedding. In the Jewish religion, you sign a ketubah before the marriage ceremony, so once we decided to have a Jewish wedding, we knew we would be seeing each other beforehand. Our wedding was also in November, so we wouldn’t have gotten daylight pictures if we hadn’t seen each other before. Truly, seeing each other before turned out to be a real blessing. I was so much more relaxed because we got to ride a trolley to the temple together with our families and wedding party and hang out together before the ceremony. I completely understand why people choose not to, and it’s a personal choice, but for us, it worked out perfectly!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I have a very close friend from law school who is a classically trained singer. I wanted to walk down the aisle to something different, and I have always loved Alison Krauss’ song “When you Say Nothing at All.” Kaitlyn said she would sing it for me accompanied by the temple’s organ and a guitar player. I thought it sounded beautiful and was really unique. For our first dance, we danced to Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We actually had a cake bar! My mom had seen a picture in a wedding magazine and got the vision for not just one, but five cakes, and Jim Smeal executed it perfectly.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my earrings. My something blue was a sapphire stone on the pearl bracelet I wore. My something old was an old family Bible that is covered in white lace. Every woman in my family has signed it on their wedding day, so it was really special to put our names in it. My something new was my dress!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Married life is great! Joseph and I are getting settled in our new home, and we are really enjoying life being able to spend more time together now that I’m done with law school.
Photographer: Elisabeth Millay / Videographer: Hart to Heart Media / Planner: Kristin Newman Designs / Ceremony Venue: Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim / Reception Venue and Catering: The Charleston Marriott / Florist: Gathering Floral and Event Design / Cake Bar Baker: Jim Smeal / Rentals: Synder Events / Band: Simply Irresistible / Bride’s Gown: “Champagne” by Monique Lhuillier / Paper Products: Oscar & Emma Designs / Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones / Hair Stylist: Stuart Laurence / Makeup Artist: Anne Lauren Jolly / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Pronovias / Men’s Attire: Grady Ervin