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Bride Lilly shares her Charleston plantation wedding to Bobby!

One of my favorite wedding details to check out is how the bride and groom choose to create a guest book! I’ve seen some pretty creative keepsakes, but never had I heard of Lilly and Bobby’s idea! “Instead of doing a typical guest book, we decided to collect post cards from places that we traveled throughout our engagement and have guests write little notes or advice on them. My mother-in-law has them all and she is sending them to us throughout the whole first year of our marriage. It is a great way to extend the wedding fun throughout the whole year and we love being reminded of all the fun memories when we get one in the mail!” I absolutely love this idea! Not only are the postcards themselves keepsakes from their travels, but now they are full of love and advice from their wedding guests!

I’m so thrilled to hand it off to Lilly to share all the meaningful details of their day, and I know you’ll especially love the wedding favor that is now a family tradition!

Thanks to Rach loves Troy for these lovely images!

When did y’all get married? April 15, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 143.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I knew that I wanted to shop for my wedding dress at 1-2 places in Charlotte, NC and that I wanted to only bring my mom and my best friend to keep from having too many opinions. The first stop was Hayden Olivia and I thought it was such a beautiful spot – we felt so special! I tried on 7 or 8 dresses, but I knew I wanted a dress that had lace sleeves and I ended up choosing the 2nd or 3rd dress I tried on. I didn’t cry at first, but as soon as we put the veil on, I looked at my mom and started crying and we all knew it was the one!

My something new, borrowed, old, and blue: My something new was the earrings my husband gave me on our wedding day, my something borrowed was my mom’s pearl bracelet, my something old was the lace from my mom’s wedding dress that I wrapped around my bouquet, and my something blue was my mom’s garter from her own wedding.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look in order to save time after the ceremony for celebrating and mingling with our guests that had come from near and far to share our special day with us. We are so happy that we did this because it really helped to calm our nerves and it even gave us some extra time to take a few cute pictures with our sweet dog!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Did you write your own vows? (If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line?) Have any special readings, traditions, or participants? Our ceremony felt so magical because it was set in the middle of the Avenue of Oaks with all of this beautiful moss blowing in the wind – it was such a peaceful setting. We both felt it was really important to write our own vows so that we could really make them unique to us as a couple. My favorite line from his vows was: “I will forever be your biggest fan, supporting your passions and desires, because I know that the world is a better place with you by my side.” His favorite line from my vows was: “I promise to build a home and a family with you that is full of laughter, patience, acceptance, and love so that our children can witness firsthand how wonderful life can be if you have your best friend by your side.” My cousin also gave a beautiful reading of “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd Arlan Peterson. We thought the words really served as important lessons and reminders of the type of marriage we wanted to create together.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Instead of doing a champagne toast for all of our guests, we brought a few bottles of champagne to have the bartenders hold on to just for us and our wedding party to use during the toasts. This was a great way to save money because often whenever the toasts start, people already have a drink in hand and the champagne goes to waste. But of course as the newlywed couple, we still wanted to have a little champagne on hand to celebrate!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? There were a few reasons that we thought Legare was the perfect spot for us. I am from North Carolina and Bobby is from New Hampshire, and we live in Boston now. I grew up vacationing in Charleston and it really felt like my home away from home. Once Bobby and I started dating, he would visit Charleston with me and he fell in love with it too. I knew I wanted to have a Southern wedding, and we wanted to share one of our favorite places with all of our friends and family. As soon as we saw Legare Waring House with its beautiful landscape and stunning oak trees, we knew we had found the perfect place!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? My favorite memory is the feeling I felt when we were all seated at dinner and the light was just turning to dusk, and I saw all of our family and friends talking and laughing. Having my new husband by my side and seeing all of our favorite people in the same place getting to know one another was a feeling and a memory I will never forget.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met our freshman year at UNC on my birthday (of all nights) and our friendship eventually turned into something more because we were always seated next to each other in classes (both our names begin with H), and we also played on the same intramural soccer team. It was fate!
Tell us all about the proposal! Bobby proposed on a beautiful fall day in October 2015 when we were in town for UNC’s homecoming football weekend, which we’ve been going to every year since we graduated. We live in Boston now, and I had actually flown down early on Friday to meet up with a friend and have lunch on campus. I didn’t think he was arriving until later that night because he had been gone all week on a work trip. My friend and I were walking around campus and as we approached the Old Well, he came up behind me and surprised me! He proposed in front of the Old Well and I can barely remember anything he said because I was so surprised. The best part about it (other than the proposal) was that my parents and a lot of our friends were in town so we had the whole weekend to celebrate with them!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The songs that we used for the ceremony and first dances were really important to me because I wanted them all to have sentimental value. For the seating of the grandmothers and mothers, the musicians played “Your Song” by Elton John. I loved this choice because my dad used to play that song for my mom on the piano when I was growing up. I walked down the aisle to “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol (a personal favorite) and for the recessional we chose “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles because it had a great lively beat to it which indicated to our guests at the end of the ceremony that it was time to celebrate! For our first dance, we danced to “You and I” by John Legend which my husband suggested and I absolutely loved. And for the father-daughter dance, we picked “My Girl” by the Temptations. I’ve been dancing with my dad to that song all my life after seeing “Father of the Bride” with him and it only made sense to dance to it together on our wedding day!
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? For our wedding cake, we wanted something classic, Southern, and a little unique. One of my favorite Southern desserts is banana pudding so when our cake baker offered that flavor as one of our choices, we had to say yes! It had real bananas and vanilla wafers inside it and was absolutely delicious. And the presentation of the cake could not have been more lovely with its classic white icing and beautiful sugar magnolia blooms. It was perfection!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail was the favors for our guests. My mom baked homemade pecan chewies for each of our guests with the pecans from my great-uncle’s pecan farm. This was a nod to my great-grandmother who gave my mom and dad homemade pecan chewies on their wedding day as they were leaving for their honeymoon “so that they wouldn’t go hungry.” So we wanted to pass that same sentiment and tradition on to our guests!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was all the special moments I got to share with my parents and my in-laws. Putting on my wedding dress for the first time with my mom, practicing the first dance with my dad, and making welcome bags with my mother-in-law were truly wonderful memories that I will always treasure. My husband and I also took dance lessons and it was a great way for us to make time as a couple during our busy week and just have fun together!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part of planning our wedding was having to do it from afar. Since we live in Boston and the wedding was in Charleston, SC, we really had to rely on our planner and our family to help us stay organized and get through all of the logistics. We even picked out our venue by having my parents visit it and take videos – we didn’t see it in person until 10 months into the planning process!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? It is very easy to get caught up in the details of planning a wedding and forget why you’re getting married in the first place. Make time for yourself, your family, and your significant other because those are the people that make this special time so memorable. Your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye, and what you end up remembering the most are the moments you shared with all of the people you love and care about – not the little details that go into planning a wedding.

Photographer and Videographer: Rach Loves Troy | Planner: A.Caldwell Events | Venue: Legare Waring House | Florist: Tiger Lily | Wedding Cake: Sugar Magnolia Cake Boutique | Caterer: B. Gourmet Catering | Bar: MIX Bartending | Rentals: EventWorks | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Ceremony Music: Classical Charleston | DJ: DJ Josh via OtherBrother Entertainment | Invitation Suite: Scotti Cline Designs | Bride’s Gown: “Estelle” by Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hayden Olivia Bridal | Bride’s Veil: Jennifer Leigh Couture Veils | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Ciel Blue by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Tuxedo: Loro Piana from Julian Style | Groom’s Shoes: Tom Ford | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Getaway Car: Lowcountry Valet and Shuttle | Wedding Nanny for Dog: Dog Tired

Written with love by Catherine
1 Comment
  1. avatar L+ B | Legare Waring House | B. Gourmet Catering reply

    […] One of our favorite venues of all time.. Legare Waring House! This venue just screams Southern elegance, and we’re so excited to unveil this wedding on our blog! We worked with our good friends from A. Caldwell Events, who without fail creates the most beautiful, Pinterest worthy weddings.. This one just so happened to be published in Southern Weddings Magazine! […]

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Though Catherine and Will did give a lot of thought to eloping, they ultimately decided they wanted to celebrate their marriage with their friends and family, so a wedding weekend it was! After a whirlwind search that ended with lots of great venues but none that felt exactly right, they found themselves on a tour of Blue Ribbon Vendor RT Lodge. The peaceful atmosphere and opportunity to have the property all to themselves for the weekend sealed the deal!

String lights, bales of hay covered in family quilts, and s’mores by the fire helped create the magical, “grown-up summer camp” feel Catherine and Will were hoping for. And judging from the joy in these photos, I’m thinking they’re pretty glad they didn’t decide to elope!

Thanks to Cody Myers for sharing their sweet Tennessee day with us!

The wedding dress wasn’t a detail of planning that I was especially excited about, so I put off looking until a ways into our engagement. Because we were on a tight timeline, I knew we needed to find something that day. After trying on a few dresses that were definitely not the one at different shops, we went to The Sentimentalist. The dress I ended up going with was flowy and relaxed with great lines. It had the perfect feel for our wedding, and I couldn’t have been happier!

I was very against the idea of not seeing Will until I walked down the aisle, so we both had breakfast at the lodge with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. Seeing him that morning was so nice, and it set a great tone for the day. If it was supposed to be one of the most important days of our life, it didn’t seem right not to spend most of it together! After breakfast, we went our separate ways to get ready with our friends, and then we had a first look in our wedding clothes in the woods at the Lodge.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We gave a lot of thought to eloping, but once we decided to have a wedding weekend, we decided to get married in the mountains in North Carolina. After a whirlwind search, we decided to go look at RT Lodge in Tennessee. It isn’t what I thought we were looking for, but as we toured the property under umbrellas, the peaceful atmosphere pulled us in! It really felt like grown-up summer camp in the woods.

We used traditional Presbyterian vows, and we loved the simplicity and significance of those words that have been said time and again…”in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.” And it was so meaningful to use the words “husband” and “wife” for the first time!

The only readings we had at the ceremony were two Bible verses. One of our officiants read Romans 12:1-2, 9-18, and our other officiant read Colossians 3:12-17. We wanted our ceremony to be simple, meaningful, and very centered on God.

We wanted our ceremony music to be traditional, but walking down the aisle made me nervous, and listening to traditional processional songs made me even more nervous, so we decided to go with a more contemporary song for that part! One of our officiants suggested at an early meeting that we have everyone sing a hymn during the ceremony, and we chose one of our favorites (“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”). We chose to have the hymn be played right after communion, so we were still sitting down in the seats with everyone, which was so sweet.

Will and I danced to Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” for our first dance. Our bluegrass band played a shortened version of it and it was really fun! My dad and I danced to Elvis’s “Sweet Caroline,” a song he would sing to me when I was a baby.

Our cocktail hour site was a grassy area just behind the ceremony site that had strung lights from trees Alex had planted and hay bales covered in family quilts around a fire. One other really sweet detail we loved was that after our rehearsal dinner, everyone hung out by the fire making s’mores and relaxing. It was the perfect ending to a really great day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Will and I met on my first day of work at the Tennessee governor’s office (I give him a hard time because he doesn’t remember meeting me!). We slowly became office friends, and after a while, things began to shift into the possibility of becoming more. Will finally asked me out on an October Friday to go watch a Braves playoff game after work. After a somewhat bumpy first date (I was really nervous and didn’t even have my ID!), the rest of our story has been an amazing adventure!
Tell us all about the proposal! As soon as our busiest season of work ended, Will planned a trip to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville for a weekend getaway. On Saturday, we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to find a place to hike. After a lot of discussion with locals about where to go, we ended up at the summit of the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle trail with 360-degree views. After enjoying the view for a few minutes and taking some pictures, Will began saying some amazing things, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We were able to enjoy the rest of the day up on the mountain, and then we celebrated with a perfect dinner in downtown Asheville. We didn’t tell anyone the news that day (except for every stranger I encountered!), so on Sunday, we spent the drive home calling friends, and even stopped in Knoxville to tell my mom on Mother’s Day (my dad already knew).
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 105
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: For me, the paper aspect of the wedding were something I was very excited about! I was able to create the save the dates and I painted the fireplace at the lodge and did the calligraphy, and we had Chelsea Petaja create the most wonderful invitation suite. I loved working with her and I couldn’t have been happier with the way everything turned out. I love vintage stationery and stamps, so I started collecting old stamps as soon as we got engaged. Each envelope had six or seven vintage stamps on it! One of our favorite details of the actual wedding was the ceremony and cocktail hour sites–Alex (our coordinator) made those blank canvases come to life!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Making sure I was wearing each category was one of the details that ended up not happening in the chaos of the weekend, so I only had a borrowed veil and new dress/shoes. BUT, there was a lot of “old” strung throughout the wedding, like the old (and blue!) Chevy truck, the cake topper, the film photography, the Super 8 video, my paternal grandparents’ wedding guest book that we used as our guest book. We laugh that our wedding was straight out of the 50s!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Will had a special bourbon bar during the reception, which was made up of a selection of bourbon from Southern distilleries. For our rehearsal dinner (which took place on the front lawn of RT), we ate barbecue, drank Cokes in glass bottles, and had banana pudding served in the sweetest Spode Woodland bunny bowls. Most of our food had a Southern base, from fried chicken at my bridal luncheon Friday to collards at the reception!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We tried to be very intentional about the fact that the wedding was only one day in the scope of our entire marriage, so we went to a marriage seminar, had counseling with our minister, and read a lot of books together like Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage.”
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We had Campbell Brewer film our wedding in Super 8 video. The nostalgic feel of our video is incredible, and all of our details fit perfectly with that medium. He edited amazing videos for us. Because we had an amazing film photographer (Cody Myers) shoot the weeding, the video truly feels like our photos came to life! I loved using the wedding as an excuse to hire really talented people I know. My friend, artist James Worsham, created our altar–it was so perfect! He really set the scene with the wood altar, the fabric draped over, and the copper flower stands he made! Also, I had an artist I know from high school, Adele Yonchak, paint small canvases for my bridesmaids; they turned out so perfectly, and I loved being able to give them to my closest friends.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was really important to us that the day be centered around the ceremony. Communion was served during our ceremony, and being able to experience that sacred moment with our closest family and friends while rain lightly fell was so special.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Will loves old trucks, and I was able to borrow an amazing 1960s Chevy pickup truck from a couple I know in Knoxville. There was a road next to our ceremony site, so Will drove us away from the ceremony in that! Our videographers got amazing Super 8 footage from the bed of the truck, and even running alongside while we were driving.

Photographer: Cody Myers | Videographer: Campbell Brewer of Clark Brewer Photography | Planner, Venue, Catering, Rentals, and Lighting: RT Lodge | Florist: Lisa Foster Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Cheryl McMillan Cake Design | Cake Topper: The Delightful Crow | Ceremony Music: Tim West and Adam Cromer | Band: Sweetwater Road Band | Paper Products: Chelsea Petaja | Save the Dates: 23Postcards | Printing: Midtown Printing and For Your Party | Invitation Stamps: Bride and Verde Studio | Bride’s Gown: “Kerry” by Theia | Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist | Hair Stylist: Eric Patterson and Elisabetta Proietto of Twisted Scissors | Makeup Artist: Patty Watson | Bride’s Shoes: Tali Grand Waterproof Bow Wedge in Canyon Rose by Cole Haan | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Shadow Grey, Mist Grey, and Blush by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar | Welcome Bags: Bradley’s | Transportation: Big Love Bus | Altar: Handy Dandy Productions | Bridesmaids’ Gifts: Adele Yonchak

RT Lodge is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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When Hurricane Matthew caused a mandatory evacuation in Charleston, Hayley and Richard were forced to cancel their original wedding plans and notify all their guests–something made even more challenging by the destination aspect of their celebration. However, with the help of their planner Victoria, their entire wedding was rescheduled within an hour! While this challenge could have left Hayley in tears, thanks to a supportive fiancé, loving family and friends, and a fast-working planner, she felt nothing but loved and supported. Though I’m sure this was not the easiest of planning experiences, I admire Hayley and Richard’s strength through adversity and encouragement for couples to “enjoy the planning together,” even when unexpected challenges arise

We’re sure happy Virgil Bunao was there to capture their sweet (and sunny!) Charleston day!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did, and I was terrified. I had my best friends read my vows the day of the wedding while we were getting our hair and makeup done. They all approved, so I went with them. Rick’s vows were perfect. He managed to make them very sweet, while still poking fun at several of my traits, including my love of kale.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We agreed to let the officiant surprise us with readings of his choice. He knew that I had lost my father and was very emotional about him not being a part of the wedding. The poem he read was written from a father in heaven’s point of view to his daughter.

The dress I wore was my second pick. When I went with several friends and family to pick my dress, I chose a long-sleeved lace Stella York dress. When I went to pick it up, I did not like it on me, so my wedding planner made an appointment and we went together, just the two of us. I chose a completely different dress–it was sleeveless and had no lace or beading.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew I wanted everything to be outside. I was born and raised in Naples, Florida and spent virtually all of my free time at the beach, so a beach wedding was out for me. We traveled to Colorado and looked at the Broadmoor, but decided against it. One night, we were watching a movie set in the South. The oak trees and Spanish moss reminded me of family vacations to Southern towns–Savannah, Charleston, and Louisiana. We ultimately picked Charleston because of all the activities. We thought a destination wedding should be a mini-vacation for not just us, but for our guests. Charleston met all of our requirements.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun with it. It is an important day, but it is just a day, so don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Rick and I decided on certain details individually and bigger decisions together. For example, he picked the food and I picked the flowers. We chose the band, budget, and weekend activities together. My advice is to enjoy the planning together; it really is a fun and exciting time for a couple.

Rick was in charge of all of the food. We had a three-tiered cake with different flavors for each layer: raspberry cake with a white chocolate and buttercream frosting, carrot cake with a lemon buttercream, and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we faced was when our wedding was canceled. Our original wedding date was October 7, 2016. We prepared and looked forward to this date for over a year. At the beginning of October, Hurricane Matthew began taking aim at the Carolinas. On October 4, we made the decision to cancel our wedding. An hour later, Charleston issued a mandatory evacuation. We had to contact all guests and notify them to cancel their flights and hotel accommodations. We had to cancel our honeymoon and contact all our vendors. It was very hard, and for some reason, I felt embarrassed–I knew that everyone was going to be put out by this. Fortunately for Rick and I, we have the most amazing friends, family, and wedding planner. Our wedding planner (Victoria) took control–she had the entire wedding, including all vendors, rescheduled within an hour. My friends and family stepped up and helped notify other guests. On a day I thought I would cry all night, I ended up feeling blessed. Rick brought home two bottles of my favorite wine and a ridiculous amount of roses. Between the support of Rick, family, friends, and our planner, it was impossible to be sad.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The guests. Our friends and family booked flights, took off work, and made hotel accommodations not once, but twice. We felt very loved and supported.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both work in the medical field, and met while working together.
Tell us all about the proposal! We love to run together in our neighborhood. One Saturday, Rick insisted we run at sunset instead of in the morning. He is much faster than me, so he was about a quarter of a mile ahead of me. When I finally caught up to him, he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was in shock at first, since I had waited five years for this. It was not until I realized he was tearing up that it hit me. I loved that he proposed during an activity we enjoy together. It was not the typical romantic story, but it was us. I drive by the proposal spot each day and it reminds me of that day and how lucky I am.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 55
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to The Beatles’ “In My Life.” My father loved the Beatles and the song reminded me of him. Our first dance was to Michael Buble’s version of “Feeling Good.” We wanted the dance to be fun, not the typical slow dance. We took dance lessons for several weeks and incorporated lots of spins and lifts. We wanted our friends and family to be excited during the dance.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I only had something blue: a piece of my father’s favorite blue shirt cut into the shape of a heart and sewn into my wedding dress.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We set an overall budget for the wedding and then set budgets for each individual item, from wedding invites to the band. We made sure that the budget we set for each item and vendor was followed and not broken.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited to continue to grow as a couple. We plan on traveling a lot over the next few years and really enjoying this time in our lives.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Cinema 843 | Planner: Victoria Wolanin of TopNotch Entertainment Corp. | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Caterer: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, Polished!, and Nuage Designs | Lighting: TEC Lighting | String Quartet: Palmetto Strings | Band: Palmetto Soul | Paper Products: DM Paper Designs | Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Accessories: Bel Aire Bridal | Hair Stylist: Jamie Stuart of Blue Dahlia Salon | Makeup Artist: Elina Mille of Bellelina | Bride’s Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent | Groom’s Tuxedo: Canali | Groom’s Shoes: Prada

Bellelina is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Maggie Sottero is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Ashlee reply

    What a great testament to the couple’s resilience through less than ideal circumstances with Hurricane Matthew! And the reception looks dreamy (those chairs!).

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