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Caroline and Wyatt are exactly the type of couple who make working at Southern Weddings so much fun! Their wedding was deeply inspired by their love story and their families, so it was packed to the brim with meaningful details. They cared about creating a beautiful and hospitable celebration for their loved ones, but always kept the real reason for the day at heart, and stayed true to themselves every step of the way. They weren’t afraid to be playful and break tradition, but they also enjoyed partaking in the traditions that truly meant something to them. C+W, it was a joy to share your wedding day in V8–thanks for sharing with us!

We’re so grateful to Perry Vaile for sending this beautiful celebration our way!

Oh my goodness, let’s talk about the greatness that is Katherine McDonald for a minute! After trying on a number of dresses in Charlotte, I finally traveled to Charleston to visit Lula Kate. It was there that I met Katherine McDonald and began to grow a friendship with her, even before trying on one of her designs. When I put on her “Lamour” gown, I knew it was the right number for me! Katherine and I discussed adding a custom removable skirt, as well as deepening the back of the dress. In that moment, the dress became everything I was looking for. In addition, working with Katherine and her team was such a dream; it made sense to employ her to craft a unique mother of the bride dress and a modern bridesmaid gown.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? My bouquet was hand-tied and filled with roses, peonies, leaves, clematis, and lily of the valley. The bouquet was all whites and greens with some lavender, and was fashioned with a vintage ribbon that changed color in the light–I adored this detail. I attached my dad’s wedding band onto the ribbon during our wedding ceremony so that I could slide my ring finger through the band when walking down the aisle. My sister, Sloane, had a maid of honor bouquet made of blue bird roses, peonies, umbrella leaves, and geranium leaves that was fastened with lavender grosgrain. All bridesmaids carried similar bouquets that were slightly smaller. The groomsmen and groom wore a small bunch of lily of the valley as boutonnieres to match the sleeves of my wedding dress.

The overarching flowers dedicated in memory of my late father were pretty much everything to me. While there were many small details woven into the wedding to remind me of the love my father poured out during his time on earth, the flower arch was the most prominent note. I feel so fortunate we were able to use a watercolor illustration of the arch in both the wedding invitations and our miniature ceremony programs. I can’t help but smile when thinking about how overwhelmingly blessed I felt to commit a lifetime of happiness to Wyatt while standing under that flower arch.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our wedding ceremony was sweet and succinct. The part most special to the me: having my brother walk me down the aisle.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We kept the processional and interlude simple with traditional songs, and then had a gospel choir soloist sing The Lord’s Prayer a capella. The gal totally rocked it! During the recessional, while guests exited the chapel, the gospel choir ensemble sung everyone out of the chapel while singing our favorite praise and worship song, “Let it Rise.”

For cocktail hour, a long bar sat along the river with a base made out of green leaves. Small lounge seating arrangements were set up under large oak trees for guests. Wyatt and I chose to serve our favorite cocktails as signature beverages. His was called “Slow + Low” and hers was “Lowcountry Lemonade.” The gospel choir sang throughout the cocktail hour and even encouraged guests to sing with them on stage.

What was your reception like? For our reception, we went for different and dimensional. With high-hanging leafy greens, a flower waterfall dangling above the cake, a triangular dance floor, and salutes to our sign language history in every nook and cranny, the reception proved to be a great celebration.
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We both loved the idea of a “lounging garden;” with that, Tara and I worked together to take that concept and bring it to life. Tara sourced beautiful furniture, incorporated many textures, and hit the nail on the head when hanging greenery garlands overhead. Wyatt and I especially loved the lavender poufs that sat around the dance floor. Keeping things funky!

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was a two-tiered strawberry shortcake that featured real strawberries inside the cake. The groom’s cake was a round chocolate espresso cake topped with a laser cut wooden cake topper displaying the “I love you” in sign language.

Planning a wedding while missing a large piece of my family entirely changed the way I approached our big day. From the floral arch, to the use of purple sprinkled throughout the evening, to the wedding bands Wyatt and I chose together, my dad’s memory and character was woven into the details. We planned so that both me and my family would be reminded of my father’s love, and so that I could move forward and commit a lifetime to a man my father would have loved wholeheartedly.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on our first day of sign language class at Clemson. As semester-long partners, our conversations were limited to strictly signing, as students were not allowed to verbally speak during class. Months later, we began hanging out outside of the classroom and became close friends. We didn’t begin dating until about three years later, but those foundational best friend years made our “Oh snap, I think I like you” moment all the more fruitful and exciting.
Describe the proposal: Wyatt proposed in sign language one summer evening on the Greenville Liberty Bridge. On the night of the proposal, we had traveled to Greenville to meet Wyatt’s family for an impromptu dinner. I felt everything was normal on the ride down, but noticed that things started to get strange rather quickly when we got out of the car and the usually-calm Wyatt forgot to lock the car doors. He also shared that we “didn’t have time for a selfie,” which he usually enjoys. Seconds later, I noticed our sign language professor on the bridge ahead and thought to myself, “Oh no, I’m going to have to dust off my signing skills, this could be embarrassing.” Never did the concept of a proposal enter my mind. We then stopped to say hello to the man who had partnered us up years ago, and with that, our professor began to ask us questions in sign: “How long have you been dating,” “do you plan on getting married,” “when will you get engaged,” and finally, “what about an engagement right now?” With that, Wyatt began to hover down on one knee where I, out of shock, jumped back and replied with, “Duh! You know it!” Not the words I expected to say, but it most certainly happened!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? While we didn’t seek tangible counseling during our engagement, my mother gave us each a copy of the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for Valentine’s Day. Wyatt and I both learned a great amount and recognized pockets of our relationship we needed to spend more time on.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Intimate, reflective, jubilant

How many guests attended your wedding? 140
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I’m a big fan of “different” and hoped to find an option that was neutral, yet modern. I went to Katherine McDonald with a high-neck design fashioned in a neutral color in mind. Katherine added a rockin’ thick belt and pushed for the “high ponytail” idea, and with that, we had our answer! I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Wyatt chose to gift his groomsmen with white dinner jackets. All the groomsmen kept things simple on the bottom with basic tux pants and tux shoes.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Wyatt and I chose to spend our entire wedding day together, as we felt like Palmetto Bluff was so special, we should enjoy every minute with each other and friends! We rode bikes and kayaked with dolphins. Wyatt also loved playing golf early in the morning with my younger brother, Miles.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? For me, it was the moment I walked into the chapel the morning of our wedding day and took a minute to sit in a pew and watch the flower arch being built. For Wyatt, it was the sweet few minutes together during our first look.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We nixed the father/daughter and mother/son portion of the reception, as we felt like we need not dote on the concept of a missing father. Instead, we worked with our band (Perfect 10) to create a mash-up version of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” that would allow us to dance alone for a few verses, then invite our bridal party and family members onto the floor for the last verse. It was epic!
Tell us about your grand exit. When staying at Palmetto Bluff, guests are given a bike to get them around the resort. We left on a tandem bike to pay tribute to this special place we’d so easily fallen in love with. I also saw an added perk in exiting in Converse and a comfortable white romper. Gotta stay true to self!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Be kind and treat the other with patience if tensions ever rise when planning your wedding.

Photographer: Perry Vaile Photography | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner, Designer, and Florals: Tara Guérard | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Palmetto Bluff | Bride’s Gown and Veil, Bridesmaid Dresses, and Mother of the Bride Dress: Katherine McDonald | Bridal Salon: LulaKate | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Bracelet: Haute Bride | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Bride’s Wedding Band: Catbird | Bride’s Headband: Twigs & Honey | Hair Stylist: Tammy Dalton of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Anna Fedan of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Menswear: Joseph A. Banks | Paper Goods: The Lettered Olive | Assistance: Cacky’s Bride Aid

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    Walking down the aisle shot is perfect!!

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When you combine the word “magnolia” with “plantation” and then throw in an adorable couple, it’s a very safe bet that I’m going to swoon over the wedding! And while I’m not a betting woman, maybe I should be, because McKenna and Matt’s wedding at Magnolia Plantation is the sort of Southern wedding sweetness I can’t get enough of. It might be partially due to their colorful blooms from Branch Design Studio, but while those are stunning, I’m pretty sure it’s their contagious smiles and how smitten they are with each other. I adore how head over heels in love these two are–just look at McKenna’s post-ceremony smile! Pure bliss!

Big hugs to Dana Cubbage for sharing this delightful day!

I found my beautiful wedding dress at J. Major’s Bridal boutique in Charlotte! I was with my mom and my sister, and it was my birthday weekend. I knew in my head what I wanted my dress to look like, but I tried on a few different styles as that was what I was told to do. When I explained what my vision was, CJ at J. Majors pulled the most perfect gown. It was the Dakota from Enzoani, and I LOVED it. I bought it on the spot…best birthday present ever!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did! Our photographer highly recommended it for the timeline to go as smoothly as possible and she was absolutely right! My sweet hubby was so nervous as I walked up to him and tapped his shoulder…he said his knees were shaking! We both had immediate happy tears when we saw one another and it was one of the best moments of the day!

We love Charleston! I am from New Orleans, and Charleston has the historic charm and architectural beauty that reminds me of home. We fell in love with the breathtaking views at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. We truly wanted our guests to have a full experience at our wedding and this was the perfect venue for us!

Describe your wedding flowers. Perfect, stunning, classic, and elegant! I was absolutely obsessed. I even pressed all of the flowers from my bouquet so I wouldn’t have to throw them away! This was one of my splurges and I am so glad that I did….YAY for Branch Design Studios!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended UNC-Asheville from 2006-2010. He played baseball and I played soccer in college, and the athletes tended to stick together! We became friends freshman year and two of my teammates (and later bridesmaids) and I were always hanging out with him and his group of friends. I always seemed to have a boyfriend, and Matt patiently waited until February of our senior year in college when I was finally single, to ask me to dinner for Valentine’s Day. We have been together for five years since then, and I am so lucky that I was able to call Matt my best friend for nine years, my boyfriend for five, my fiancé, and now my sweet hubby!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were spending New Year’s and celebrating a late Christmas in Miami with Matt’s family, as we usually do. Part of my Christmas present from Matt was a trip to Key West because I had never been there before, and he knew I would love it. We planned to go the morning of New Year’s Day. We got on the road early and had a three-and-a-half hour drive. During that drive, I recapped the conversation of the night before, which revolved around people getting engaged and married and so on and so forth. I said, “We just aren’t like everyone else I guess–we aren’t a traditional couple! We will just probably get married later in life.” He quickly changed the subject to our amazing dinner we had reservations for at Latitudes on Sunset Key (because the ring was in the back seat and he was starting to sweat!). We had the best seat in the house at Latitudes–a table about 20 yards from the water, overlooking the sunset and the beautiful sailboats passing by…pure bliss! Matt asked our waiter to take some pictures of us with the sunset.The waiter even told me to fix my hair because it was “sorta messed up” (he knew what was about to go down, thank God!). We took three pictures, and Matt asked him to take just one more. I turned to pose, and when I turned back around again, Matt was on one knee with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen in my life, saying “Will you marry me?” I was in absolute shock! Then the tears came. Finally, he got off his knee and said, “So, is that yes?” I said YES and he put that ring on my finger as the restaurant cheered us on.
When did y’all get married? February 27, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I can’t pick, but I loved our oyster shell escort cards because my mother and I had painted them all!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my veil, which was made by my grandmother and worn by my mother and my sister–so special! I had my new monogram and wedding date sewed into my dress as a tag. I had it made with blue thread. All my jewelry was brand new, J. Crew perfection. For something old, I wore my favorite gold Target sandals–nothing special, but perfect for dancing!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I just started a new job! We are just soaking up being married and loving every minute of it!

Photographer: Dana Cubbage | Videographer: Anchor Films | Planner: Jessica Cruz | Venue: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Cake Baker: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: B. Gourmet | Rentals: Event Works | Lighting: AV Connections | DJ: EPIC | Bride’s Gown: “Dakota” by Enzoani | Bride’s Jewelry and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson and Target | Menswear: Menguin | Getaway Car: LowCountry Valet

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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    Allison and Will may not be able to remember exactly how they first met, but I’m positive they remember exactly how they felt when their lives became one on their beautiful wedding day! I’m sure their family and friends won’t soon forget their generous Southern hospitality, either. Starting with their tradition-filled ceremony, right into their Kentucky-inspired reception celebration at Keeneland, Allison and Will made it a very important goal to anticipate needs and make sure their guests felt comfortable and special throughout the day. So sweet!

    We’re so glad Lang Thomas was on hand to capture Allison and Will’s Kentucky day!

    We decided to do a first look for two reasons. The first reason was because we knew it would be better for our timeline and our photos. We didn’t want to be rushed after the ceremony to get some shots because we wanted to spend that time with friends and family! The second reason was that we wanted to take away some of the nerves of the ceremony by talking with and loving on each other beforehand.

    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings during our ceremony, 1 John 4: 7-19 and 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13. We chose the scripture from John because it helped us remember why we were able to love in the first place. As for the Corinthians verses, we were hesitant about sounding cliche; however, it was a passage we studied in our premarital counseling that became really meaningful to us.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” by Pachelbel. It mimicked the way the moment felt perfectly–sweet and tender. During the ceremony, we had a friend’s mom sing “Be Thou my Vision” by Saint Dallan. Her daughter, who is a good friend of mine, was serving in ministry outside of the country, and we felt like it was a great message for all of us. (She made a surprise return just in time for the wedding that resulted in lots of happy tears!)

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our families felt like it was really important to be married in God’s house, so we followed tradition and got married in my church, Second Presbyterian Church. The reception was at Keeneland, a place that we both love and admire. My family is in the thoroughbred industry, and Will has come to love this emblem of our state.

    When we think of what it means to be Southern, we think of hospitality. We were so thankful that our guests took time out of their weekends to come celebrate us, so we wanted them to feel comfortable and special. Our seated dinner was served in courses with synchronized service that was fit for a king. In the same room, we had lounge areas with couches so people who wanted a more comfortable place to mingle or didn’t feel like dancing could relax there. We tried to think of everyone’s wants and needs!

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We wanted to embrace everything that being a Kentuckian embodies, and we loved the way it turned out! Keeneland Hospitality did an amazing job helping us realize our vision with the food and drinks. We put Kentucky bourbon in anything that was acceptable (including the salad!) and tried to hit the other notables, like Kentucky hot browns, pimento cheese with cornbread, and fried green tomatoes.

    We had a local artist on site painting the reception as it occurred. This is typical to see in the paddock at Keeneland on a beautiful spring or fall day, and we thought it was a fun way to carry on the Kentucky feel in our reception. At Keeneland, patrons can buy the artist’s painting, but lucky for us, we got to keep this one. It hangs in our house today, and we love thinking about it being passed on through our family as the generations go by.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Will and I can’t really remember when we first met, but it was during our early years of high school. We both played competitive golf and trained at the same facility in Lexington. We knew of each other, but never really talked. Our moms were friends through Bible study fellowship, and Will’s mom volunteered him to play golf with me after school when my mom mentioned I needed a partner. We started dating in the summer of 2008 and the rest is history!
    Tell us all about the proposal! It had been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me after graduating college, being in a friend’s wedding, and a beach vacation. I hadn’t seen Will in quite some time, and he came over to my house the day I got home. He had dinner with my family and me, and then we decided to go on a walk. I live on a horse farm, and we had started walking to one of the barns and feeding the mares some sweet feed. When we got to the barn, he got the feed, and when he handed me the bucket, the ring box was opened inside. It literally took my breath away! My brother was there to snap some pictures of the moment.
    When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 290
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was a debutante a few years back and found my dress at Bridal and Formal with the most amazing consultant. I knew I wanted to go back to see her, and it just so happened that the shop had a dress I was very interested in. It was just my mom and I who went up to Cincinnati that day to look, and I ended up picking the first dress I snagged off the rack (and of course, it was not the one I went to the store for in the first place!).
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We really wanted our wedding to feel traditional, so we did not write our own vows.
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Champagne cake with raspberry filling… yum! We decided to go with one flavor to avoid that awkward moment when the person sitting next to you has the cake you wanted instead of the one you were served!
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, and I was lucky enough to bundle borrowed, blue, and old into one! I wore my mom’s gorgeous sapphire and diamond ring that she received from my dad before I was born. My new was everything else, I suppose!
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Having a lot of flowers can get expensive, but it really helped that our wedding designer and coordinator did flowers, as well! Since she was so involved, she knew exactly where we could reuse flowers from the ceremony in the reception without having to create a whole new arrangement.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It is so easy to get upset over the little things, whether it is not getting your first choice of a vendor or having a difference in opinion on the details of your wedding. My advice would be to often remind yourself the purpose of the wedding–so you can marry your love–and if it will matter after your date. If it won’t, then it’s probably not important enough to get worked up over!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are just so excited to be coming home to each other every day and experiencing day to day activities. Since we had not even lived in the same city before our wedding, it really is a treat.

    Photographer: Lang Thomas Photography | Videographer: Reel Special Productions | Planner, Florist, and Lighting: Refined Social Events & Design | Ceremony Venue: Second Presbyterian Church | Reception Venue and Caterer: Keeneland | Cake Baker: Martine’s Pastries | Rentals: Canvas Event Furniture | Band: Jimmy Church Band | Paper Products: Claudia Engle Lettering & Designs | Bride’s Gown: Eve of Milady | Hair and Makeup: Mickey Salon/Spa | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Menswear: Joseph Abboud | Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridal and Formal | Bride’s Earrings: Saks Fifth Avenue | Rings: Walter Childress

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    1. avatar Ryan + Brittany Worthen reply

      Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful wedding! Unfortunately the link above to our website is broken, but you can find us at Also, if you enjoyed these photos check out Will + Allison’s wedding video here:

    Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

    Reply to: