Southern Weddings

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When Julie from Elysium Productions emailed me with the reel from Sierra + Lennie’s Charleston wedding, I jumped at the chance to feature it on the SW blog.  The entire Elysium team is ridiculously talented (truly one of the best in the industry), and this particular clip is just gorgeous. 
But on to the wedding!  Sierra + Lennie’s celebration could not be more perfect for Classic Wedding Week.  All-white florals and planning and design courtesy of A Charleston Bride, a perfect mix of elegance and history for a venue with the William Aiken House, and a gold-laurel-wreath-topped cake by Jim Smeal.  Of course, Sierra’s Reem Acra gown and Vera Wang veil didn’t hurt, either.  But Sierra’s (and my!) favorite part?  The South African details – a zebra skin, carved wooden giraffes, native wine – these ex-pats incorporated into the reception to bring a taste of their country of choice to their US celebration.
Enjoy the clip, and another big thanks to Julie for sending it our way!
How did the two of you meet?  Tell us your story.  We are both Tarheels, and our college roommates introduced us!  Lennie played men’s tennis at UNC, and my roommate knew a couple of his teammates, including his Argentinean roommate. Eventually, we went out as a group and were introduced. Lennie phoned and asked me out the next week, and over the next couple months, we became inseparable. I am from California and Lennie is from South Africa, so we literally are from opposite sides of the world. The fact that we crossed paths in North Carolina solidifies that we were meant for each other. 

Describe the proposal. We went on safari at Singita Lebombo in the Kruger National Park for Lennie’s father’s birthday, or sso I thought.  At the last minute, Lennie’s folks had to change their travel plans, and we ended up going solo. We took a private plane to a remote dirt landing strip adjacent to our camp. Shortly after our arrival, Lennie told me we would be going on a late afternoon game drive, and would be stopping for cocktails at sunset. Thirty minutes into the drive, we approached a breathtaking canyon and a full view of the park. We got out to enjoy the sunset and saw a spread of champagne, sushi and hurricane lamps awaiting our arrival. As we sat along the edge of the cliff and took in the sunset, he proposed. I loved that we had that moment just between the two of us, in an isolated locale at the bottom of Africa.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The authentic South African items we incorporated. We wanted to create a chic African lounge in the after-party tent, while still keeping with the look and feel of our Southern wedding. We brought over a beautiful zebra skin, carved wooden giraffes, local South African wine and handmade sweets. Although it was only a handful of things, they had a huge impact and allowed us to share a little local flavor with our guests.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration?  We met in the South and it was a destination wedding, so we wanted our guests to experience Charleston to the fullest. Our hospitality kits had pralines, benne wafers and Firefly sweet tea vodka. We also created a starter called  “A Taste of the Low Country” that was a trio of South Carolina’s culinary stand-outs: fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, and shrimp & grits. Since nothing is more Southern than bourbon, we also re-created our favorite cocktail from The London Hotel in NYC called The Wild Belle.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Finding my dress was a breeze. Before we were engaged, I had ripped out a picture of Ali Larter at the 2007 Golden Globes in an ivory Reem Acra gown that I pictured myself getting married in. After the proposal, I scheduled a trip to New York to visit the Reem Acra salon in search of the gown. I quickly scanned the dresses on the floor and only saw it in red. I then described it to the sales associate, Holly, and she brought out an updated version of the dress with the embellishments on the straps. It was exactly what I wanted, plus a bit more glam and sparkle.
Describe your wedding flowers: Our flowers were white and ivory with one type of bloom per arrangement. It was a beautiful mix of hydrangeas, peonies, ranunculus, and roses all in silver vases and julep cups.  After dinner the party moved to the tent where we to created an “African chic” lounge vibe. We continued with the white floral, but incorporated orchids, banana leafs and potted palms to give it a lush, jungle feel.
Describe your wedding cake: Five tiers, including carrot cake, almond buttercream, and chocolate ganache with kaulha. Each tier had a beautiful design that we borrowed from elements of the wedding. Our designer even created the topper of a gold laurel leaf wreath that matched our wedding logo. 
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing how much fun everyone was having. Every time I looked at our guests, they were smiling, dancing, drinking and enjoying the evening. It was an amazing feeling to have all your favorite people together celebrating.

Congratulations, Sierra + Lennie!


Written with love by Southern Weddings
7 Comments
  1. avatar Lily reply

    Gorgeous video clip and great interview, especially the part where they met, if you're the romantic type you can't not love it. Do you have more pictures?

  2. avatar Carina reply

    This wedding is beautiful!! Love all the details. Do you mind sharing where the bridesmaids' dresses are from?

  3. avatar Sierra reply

    Thanks! I had the bridesmaid dresses made in South Africa by a fabulous seamstress. Let me know if you want her details. I designed them based on a Priscilla of Boston design. If you are doing color, there are lots of options, but off-white was hard to find so I had them made. Fabric was from Mood in NYC and the flowers were from MJ Trimmings in NYC.

  4. avatar Amanda reply

    This video captures everything about this wedding beautifully! What an amazing day I'm sure it was! Do you perhaps know the name/artist of the song?

  5. avatar Lily reply

    I would like to know where the bridesmaids dresses are from, as Carina does. Can you share that with us?

  6. avatar Emily @ Southern Weddings reply

    Hi Lily and Carina! As Sierra said, her bridesmaid dresses were custom made in South Africa. The name of her seamstress was Scarlett Smith Couture. I hope that helps!Emily @ SW

  7. avatar South Florida Wedding Inspiration Film from Cabana Pictures « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] can also see more of Cabana’s work on their site here! P.S. A few previously-featured films: A stunning white Charleston wedding by Elysium A gorgeous tented wedding by Inkspot Crow xo Emily September 24, 2011 | view Emily's blog […]

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