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Southern Weddings

Author: Marissa

Though Ashley and William might not be Southern by their home address, I am quite confident that these two should be honorary Southerners. Their destination wedding weekend at Lowndes Groves Plantation was focused on hospitality, and course, a great party–two mighty important aspects of being a Southerner! With the help of Intrigue Design & Events, Ashley and William welcomed their family and friends into Southern culture with grace and heart. I especially can’t get over the sweet sentiment of why they chose their first dance song, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding: “The song symbolized all of the adventures we had experienced together, as well as those that were yet to come.” Amen, y’all!

Big hugs to Britt Croft for capturing their beautiful day!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Since this was a destination wedding to not only our guests, but also for us, we wanted to ensure we had a home base for the week that wasn’t a hotel room. We rented a beautiful historic estate on the Battery that served not only as the home base for the week, but also a place for friends and family to gather with us. We stayed at the house along with six members of the bridal party and our beloved dog, Winston.

I walked down the aisle to “Trumpet Voluntary” and we walked back up the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. We chose this because it was upbeat, but had a classic undertone that sounded beautiful played by The Palmetto Strings.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My borrowed item was from my grandmother on my mother’s side, who gifted me with pearl earrings that had been passed down from generation to generation to females in my family on their wedding day. I’m continuing to borrow them until my cousin gets married and I can pass them down to her. My borrowed and blue item was my best friend from high school’s garter, which had a blue ribbon on it. My old item was my vintage gold Rolex from my grandfather on my father’s side. My new item was from my grandmother on my mother’s side, who gave me a silver sixpence to place in my shoe for good luck (I’m surprised I still have it after all of the dancing!).

Will attended college in Charleston, but I had never been. After viewing a few venues in Connecticut and New York, we quickly realized that our perfect venue was in a city only a plane ride away. Charleston, known for its beautiful setting and Southern hospitality, quickly won our hearts. After viewing a few picturesque estates, Lowndes Grove Plantation was the clear favorite, thanks to its grand estate and waterfront location.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Hospitality and, of course, a great party! We also incorporated Southern touches into details throughout the wedding weekend. Groomsmen wore pastel bow ties from High Cotton (Winston had a matching one!), our wedding cocktail was a bourbon punch, and our custom bar was a bourbon tasting and cigar bar. We included a welcome note in everyone’s hotel rooms with a watercolor map of downtown Charleston and a nip of Firefly sweat tea vodka or bourbon. My gift to Will was a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon engraved with our initials and wedding date. In addition, the palmetto tree was incorporated into all of the details, from the invitation to the menus.

Our first dance was to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. This song has always been on the playlist for our road trips to the beach, on ski trips, and on other weekend getaways. For the wedding, the song symbolized all of the adventures we had experienced together, as well as those that were yet to come.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through friends in Boston in 2008. We first informally met at a summer happy hour with a group of friends. Months later, also through friends, Will attended a BBQ I was hosting at my apartment (I attribute the relationship to my cooking and cocktail-making skills, and Will agrees!). Before leaving the BBQ, Will asked for my number, and he called the next day to ask me out to dinner. We started dating soon after and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’m never one to let anything get by me, so I was tough to surprise! Will purchased the ring months in advance and shipped it to my parents’ home in Connecticut for safe keeping. The proposal was carefully scheduled for the days prior to my mother’s surprise 60th birthday celebration, which I was planning and hosting. The timing was perfect, since we got to celebrate with both friends and family. Will curated the entire evening from start to finish. The proposal happened at our apartment, so our beloved dog, Winston, could be present. On Friday after work, I came home to find Will on one knee, asking for my hand in marriage. After tears of happiness, we headed to our favorite neighborhood restaurant, followed by a large meet-up with friends to celebrate the engagement. The next day, we headed to Connecticut to celebrate with family (and, of course, my mother’s birthday!).
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Since I live in New York City, the possibilities for wedding dress shopping were endless. My mother, grandmother, aunt, and godmother came to the city for a day of shopping. Only two boutiques and five dresses later, I found my dream dress at Kleinfeld’s.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We both agreed that a first look was best for us so that we could celebrate more with all of the family and friends who traveled from near and far to join us in Charleston.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the end of the day, it will be the best day of your life. The only thing that truly matters is being with one another and the family and friends you get to celebrate with.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently looking to purchase a new home in 2016, and are apartment hunting in New York City.

Photographer: Britt Croft Photography | Planner: Intrigue Design & Events | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Loluma | Rentals and Lighting: Distinctive Events | Band: Liquid Pleasure | Paper Products: The Silver Starfish | Bride’s Gown: Custom by Mark Zunino | Bride’s Veil: Peter Langner | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Dinnerware: Polished! | Tent and Additional Rentals: Snyder Events | Farm Tables: EventHaus | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo | Ceremony Music: Palmetto Strings | Babysitting Services: Guardian Angels Sitting Service

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Aunt Annie reply

    Love this wedding and the beautiful photos. Such a gorgeous venue and the day looked gorgeous. Picked up some gorgeous detail in the bride’s gown,simply stunning. All captured by my amazing niece! Love it.

  2. avatar Auntie Bern reply

    Loved the article and pictures and going back to such a happy and special time. You and Will are a gorgeous couple with many happy years to follow.
    XOXOXO

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People often say that opposites attract, but for Chandler and David, their similarities are what drew them together. After meeting online and going on two dates within a mere six days, these two were inseparable. Their common beliefs and ability to see eye to eye fostered a love that quickly grew, and it carried them right through their premarital preparation and into their wedding day. When guest list challenges arose, Chandler and David focused on celebrating with those who loved them as a couple, and kept their focus centered on their relationship by viewing their wedding as “our day” instead of individually. The beautiful Lowndes Grove Plantation was the perfect place for everyone to enjoy their celebration–there was even a place for their tiny flower girl to squeeze in a quick nap!

Thank you kindly to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Virgil Bunao for sharing this sweet day!

I knew I wanted to do a girls trip for my bridal gown shopping, so arrangements were made for family and friends to join me in Charleston exactly one year prior to the wedding. I was joined by my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, my maid of honor, and David’s mother. We went to two salons in the morning, and then after lunch, we moved on to Gown Boutique of Charleston. At GBC, I tried on about four dresses. I was getting a little frustrated and worried that I was going to be talked into a gown I didn’t love, before I finally put on the only dress I tried on in the store that I personally pulled off the rack. I knew as soon as I saw it that I loved it. I looked up and realized my mom was crying, so naturally, I started crying, and so did many of the other girls. We all knew this was the dress. Although not part of the original plan, I was glad I ended up wearing a veil. Initially, I was completely against the idea of wearing a veil, and committed to wearing a flower crown. At my fitting in March, my mom talked me into trying on a simple, cathedral-length veil, and I ended up loving it. Still committed to the flower crown, we ordered the veil and agreed that we would decide later about when each would be worn. After talking with David after the wedding, I was very happy that I was able to combine the flower crown I loved with the beautiful flowing veil that he had hoped for.

While rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, after months of planning an outdoor ceremony, rain was anything but a welcome visitor on our big day. Therefore, when we learned about the Southern tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon to keep the rain away, we were all for it. We were so excited when we received a call from our planner saying we had the “okay” from our venue to bury the bourbon! We were blessed with beautiful sunny skies and temps in the 60s and 70s for our big day.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I first heard “The Blessing of the Hands” in a wedding video I watched early in our planning process. We both loved the words of this poem, so we insisted on having David’s brother’s wife read it during our ceremony. My childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins, who guided us through premarital counseling, also officiated our wedding. Dr. Hawkins incorporated 1 John 4:16 and Colossians 3:12-17 into the service, and did a beautiful sermon on marriage. It was important to us that my maternal grandfather had a role in our wedding–he was a navy chaplain for many years, and officiated the wedding of my parents over 40 years ago, so it was special to us to have him read scripture during our ceremony. He read Ruth 1:16-17 and Mark 10:6-9, which David and I had chosen together.

Our favorite detail was definitely the venue– not only was it a gorgeous backdrop for our wedding ceremony and reception, but it made the events on the day of the wedding flow so easily. My bridal party and I spent the entire morning getting ready in the Lowndes Grove Plantation house prior to the ceremony. After the ceremony, the guests were able to wander around the venue and explore the house, property, and the dock that extends out into the Ashley River. The venue also allowed us to bring in a swing, which was hung from a tree by an attachment point designed by David so that it swiveled to face either the river or the house. We, and many of our guests, captured beautiful photos with loved ones on this swing. Since the swing is ours, it is memento that we can hang at our own home, so it will remind us of our wedding day for years to come. Later in the evening, the house was great for guests who wanted a quiet place to enjoy each other’s company. Our reception was on the back patio under a tent, and once the band started playing, this area got loud (in a good way!), but there was a ton of comfortable seating inside that many of our elderly guests were able to escape to as the night carried on. Our flower girl, who was 13 months old at the time, was even able to take a little nap during the reception on the second floor of the house, which I know her mother appreciated. David and I loved Lowndes Grove from the first time we saw it, but it was especially nice to see how well it accommodated our guests’ needs.

Although we would have loved to have our dog, Olsen, present at the wedding, we knew his playful, and sometimes rambunctious, personality would have never allowed it. At the wedding, David and I, on behalf of Olsen, had pink tennis balls and custom dog treats available for guests to take home to their four-legged friends. For weeks after the wedding, we received photos from friends and family of their dogs enjoying either the treats or their new pink tennis balls. We loved that these favors gave us the opportunity to incorporate our dog into the wedding, but it was also such a privilege to learn more about our guests’ beloved pets.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of the best things you can do is hire a wedding planner who fits your design style and personality, and is able to delegate tasks to family and friends who are offering to help. Ali was organized, assertive, responsive, pleasant to be around, and willing to be as involved as we wanted her to be. Ali and her team saved us an ample amount of money in the long run, not to mention, her team ensured the wedding planning process was always fun and not stressful.

To say I like bows would be a huge understatement–I LOVE them! From the beginning stages of planning our wedding cake, we knew there would be a bow on it. We wanted our cake design to be classic and more traditional in style, so we chose to have a solid white cake. The final product was exactly what we wanted: a four-tiered round cake with a simple quatrefoil pattern on the first and third tiers. The largest tier had a beautiful white fondant bow on the front of it. We had two different flavor options for our guests to choose from: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and vanilla cake with passion fruit buttercream. Luckily for us, Patrick Properties sent us home with two slices of each flavor and an anniversary tier, so we were able to enjoy our tasty cake for many days following the wedding. We can’t wait for our first anniversary to enjoy it all over again!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In July 2013, we had both recently relocated to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for jobs. Being single and knowing very few people in the area, we both decided to create online dating profiles on Match.com. I created my account on a Sunday afternoon, and shortly thereafter, David messaged me. After an email exchange, we agreed to meet in person for dinner in Durham at a small Italian restaurant called Piazza Italia. The connection was immediate. The conversation never stopped and we quickly realized that our personalities meshed perfectly. Before we knew it, the dinner was over, and not being ready to say goodbye, we headed across the street to James Joyce Irish Pub for drinks and trivia. Since we both had to work the next day, the night had to end earlier then we would have liked, so we planned a second date for that Friday. After two dates within a mere six days, we were inseparable and dating exclusively.
Tell us all about the proposal! Many of our friends and family members were speculating aloud that we were going to get engaged soon–even though we had only been dating for eight months. From these conversations, David had learned two important things: 1. I was confident my best friend Jillian wouldn’t know about the proposal ahead of time because she wouldn’t be able to keep a secret like that from me, and 2. I wanted an extended period of time together after the engagement to enjoy the moment (like a vacation or weekend). With that in mind, David knew that in order to surprise me, Jillian had to be involved and that the proposal needed to be on a weekday! On the morning of the proposal (April 24, 2014), Jillian, per the plan, called me and asked if we would like to join her and her boyfriend for a picnic dinner at Duke Gardens. Prior to this, David had told me he would be working late (in an attempt to throw me off) so I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to be a “third wheel.” After hours of persuasion, Jillian convinced me to join her, at which point, David announced he no longer had to work late and would be available to come along. With the picnic basket (complete with the ring) in hand, Jillian was first to arrive at the bench where David was to propose. David and I found her waiting there, and after some quick “hellos,” Jillian announced she had to get her boyfriend from the parking lot. At this point, David suggested we enjoy some wine, pulled a bottle out of the picnic basket, and handed it to me. Etched on the glass wine bottle was “Will you marry me?”, my monogram, a sweet note. I was shocked and immediately began crying tears of joy. David was so excited he forgot everything he was going to say and ended up just reading the message on the back of the wine bottle instead of reciting his memorized speech, after which, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a beautiful engagement ring.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 126
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I actually saw Lowndes Grove Plantation in a magazine years ago and thought it was so gorgeous. Since that moment, I have wanted to get married there. After we got engaged, David was on board with a Charleston wedding. Since we have family spread out all over the US and guests would be traveling from near and far, we wanted to pick a location that guests would enjoy spending a few extra days in, and Charleston definitely fit that criteria. David had planned a trip to Charleston for my birthday three weeks after we got engaged. During that time, we looked at four venues. We went to Lowndes Grove first and fell in love with it, but David was very excited about another venue in the Charleston area, so we wanted to check it out as well before we made any final decisions. All the venues we toured were beautiful in their own way, but just didn’t compare to Lowndes Grove Plantation.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Instead of writing our own vows, we decided to use traditional vows and write each other personal letters to be read prior to the ceremony in private.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had many conversations that began prior to being engaged, during which we discussed many of the topics relevant to marriage. Having nearly identical viewpoints in so many key areas was a major contributing factor to us now being married. Our similarities and common beliefs only fostered the love between us. We also independently took the Prepare-Enrich premarital survey that measures a person’s perceptions on many critical aspects of life, such as finances, religion, family, children, etc. Our answers were used to highlight similarities and differences in our beliefs and was a part of our pre-marital counseling that was done by my childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge to overcome with planning our wedding was putting together the guest list. At the end of the day, we ended up inviting those individuals who knew us and loved us AS A COUPLE. We viewed our wedding as OUR day rather than that of the bride or groom individually, so we wanted people there who had fostered and encouraged our relationship.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are thrilled to finally be married and to be able to move on to the next chapter in our lives, during which we will continue to build our relationship and learn how to conquer the challenges of life together. Memories we are looking forward to in the years to come are taking vacations together, starting our own family traditions, purchasing a house, growing our family with children and puppies, and fulfilling new roles as aunt and uncle. We are also looking forward to having friends and family over for dinner parties, special celebrations, and holidays.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner: A. Caldwell Events | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Tiger Lily Florist | Cake Baker: Jessica Grossman | Caterer: Fish | Rentals: Snyder Events, EventWorks, and 428 Main | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: The Mighty Kicks | Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Virtuosi | Save the Dates: Green Tie Studio | Invitation Calligraphy, Navy and White Wedding Signage, Welcome Sign, Hors d’oevures Cards, and Place Cards: Mason Dixon Designs | Artwork and Calligraphy for Table Numbers, Programs, Menus, Invitations, and Welcome Letters: Cass Deller Design | Paper Goods Formatting and Printing: Ply | Bride’s Gown: Eugenia Couture | Bridal Salon and Veil: Gown Boutique of Charleston | Bride’s Earrings: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair and Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Elehandmade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate | Men’s Suits: The Black Tux | Men’s Shirts, Ties, and Tie Clips: J. Crew | Bridesmaid Robes: Talbots | Custom Dog Treats: Treat Dreams Dog Bakery | Koozies: SplendidSips | Welcome Bags: Welcome Bags Weddings | Cocktail Napkins: Memorable Wedding | Monogrammed Corn Hole Bags: The Lakeside Woodshop | Coral Quatrefoil Pillows: Pillows by Janet | Bride and Groom Chair Signs: Host and Toast Studio | Custom Corn Hole Board Decals: WG Cornhole | Monogrammed Chevron Swing Pillow: Peppermint Bee | Transportation: Lancaster Tours

Virgil Bunao is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Molly reply

    Yay! Congrats Chandler + David! Working with you both was such a wonderful experience! Your globetrotting stationery :) will forever hold a special place in my heart! So happy for you both!

  2. avatar Ali reply

    AW! We LOVE YOU TWO!!! What a fun experience this was and we are so blessed to have worked with two amazing individuals with such a deep love for each other and God! Hands down one of my favorite weddings to-date! XO

  3. avatar Zookbinders Wedding Albums reply

    Such a lovely bride! Gorgeous wedding!

  4. avatar Blavou Photography reply

    Wow, lovely wedding and inspirational photography!

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When it comes to the many things that make a wedding Southern, the most obvious one is the geographical location, of course! Kara and Philip had that in the bag when they chose to tie the knot at Colleton River Plantation on Hilton Head Island. Though a Pennsylvania native, Kara grew up traveling to her family’s vacation home on the island, so to her, it is a place “that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty.” Kara and Philip worked with their planner, Embellished Events, to create an open-air party where no walls could block the beautiful views. I’m sure this day began a whole new chapter of joyful memories on Hilton Head for this sweet couple!

We’re sure happy Tim Will was there to capture this lovely day!

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were untamed and gorgeous! They had an English garden feel, and were full of peaches, sages, and pinks, grounded in soft whites and finished with ribbon I found during my travels to India. The ribbons were used in all the bouquets, garlands, and table arrangements. Branches on Hilton Head Island captured my vision so beautifully.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not; we chose to say the traditional vows instead. We felt these timeless words captured all we wanted to say.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had beautiful readings from the Bible. I particularly loved the Gospel reading from Mark, that included the verse, “They are no longer two but one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Wow, those words have gravity!

On our wedding day, we surprised our guests with the sounds of local Gullah singers harmonizing with joy to “Oh Happy Day” as we departed the church. We also hand-dipped oyster shells in gold and embellished each with a pearl for our escort cards. Guests could take these home as a way to remember the place and the day.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up traveling to my family’s vacation home on Hilton Head Island, so it has always been a place that signifies family, joy, memories, and endless beauty to me.

We chose to avoid the cost of a tent, and with the suggestion of my planner, Jennifer Leiti, we chose to have an open-air party under café lighting. We were so happy we did because the environment was the reason I picked this location. There were no walls to block the beautiful, expansive views of the sunset over the river. Thankfully, despite some early morning rain, we were blessed with good weather that day.

My wedding cake was a simple, white, tiered cake with ruffled fondant and some pretty flowers in the colors of my bouquet placed up each tier. The best part was really what was inside–it was decadent! Each layer had a different filling. Minette Rushing from Savannah Custom Cakes is a baking genius!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college. We lived in the same dorm, and then in the same apartment building. Two years after college, only after a big separation, did we realize our friendship was actually love. This has been true ever since and will be for the rest of our lives!
Tell us all about the proposal! We first talked about getting married around a year or so ago while on a trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It was the first time Phil had ever been there, and I was overjoyed to be talking about our future marriage in this very special place. However, it was not until a very cold visit to Cape May, New Jersey that Phil decided to sneak a ring into my purse to be found at any time. We were sitting in a crowded bar and I was fishing around in my bag for something or other when I felt a little box…I think I knew what it was right away, and quickly looked up at Phil’s smiling face. I told him I wanted to move to our room for some privacy, where, conveniently, there was a bottle of champagne awaiting our arrival. Phil got down on one knee as I had always envisioned and the rest is history.
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress in a shop called Elizabeth Johns Ardmore, Pennsylvania, right outside of my home city of Philadelphia. The dress was designed by Lela Rose and I felt it reflected me and my style, and it would complement the beautiful surroundings and climate of my Southern wedding.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not. Seeing my soon-to-be spouse for the first time at the end of the aisle is a beautiful tradition we wanted to experience.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My shoes had blue soles, I wore a delicate strand of pearls that were given to me as a baby, I borrowed my sister’s wedding garter, and everything else was new.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Communicate with each other early and often, and don’t lose sight of what is important.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We would love to move to a new home, plant some deeper roots there, and start a family.

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner: Embellished Events | Ceremony Venue: St. Gregory the Great | Reception Venue and Catering: Colleton River Plantation | Florist: Branches | Cake Baker: Savannah Custom Cakes | Rentals: Event Haus | Band: Fantastic Voyage Band | Gospel Choir: Voices of El Shaddai Ensemble | Bride’s Gown: Lela Rose | Hair and Makeup: Christine Stephens | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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