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Bride Abigail shares all the details behind her gorgeous Charleston wedding!

We’ve sure featured a stunning collection of real weddings through the years, and this one is no exception. Abigail and William’s day is just full of gorgeous flowers, beautiful dresses, and breathtaking scenery. But I love that Abigail shared the moment during their ceremony when a plane flew overhead and almost knocked their flower arrangements over, coupled with this advice: “Something is going to go wrong. I guarantee it! Just embrace it, and know that it will be a great story later (we actually wish we had pictures of the best man catching the flower arrangement during the ceremony)!”

The best thing about our bride interviews is that no matter how perfect these wedding photos are, the real relationships behind them are better! Abigail’s focus on what mattered during her wedding day — the time spent celebrating with loved ones — led to an evening centered around good food, great stories, and heartfelt toasts. I can’t think of better advice for brides-to-be than to follow suit! (But also, can you even believe her escort card display?)

Thank you to Aaron and Jillian for these picture perfect images!

When did y’all get married? May 7, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 65.

What was Southern about your wedding? To us, nothing could be more Southern than Charleston. The culture, food, and architecture are second to none in our minds, making it one of the quintessential Southern cities. Following suit, our wedding included many Southern foods, such as chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, hush puppies, and fried green tomatoes to name a few. For our specialty cocktails, the groom’s pick was a John Daly (Arnold Palmer with Vodka) and the bride’s was a lemon and ginger-based cocktail from her favorite bar in Chapel Hill, NC. And of course, Lowndes Grove, with the plantation house and the Ashley River, are classically Southern too!

I am a professional artist, and I was lucky enough to work with the team at The Silver Starfish, who supported my desire to do all of the artwork for the wedding! For me, that was an incredibly personal and essential aspect of the wedding. The visuals that I had dreamed up for the suite were the basis for all of the creative and design decisions I made for the entire day. Another personal element of the wedding was creating the welcome bags that greeted guests in their hotel rooms. In the boxes, we included a personal card, a wedding map with our recommended locations to visit around Charleston, as well as other goodies that were relevant to us as a couple and our life together. They were a hit!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. The first dress that I tried on while wedding dress shopping was what I always thought I would wear; Monique Lhullier, lots of lace, very fitted and in the trumpet/mermaid category. What I didn’t take into account when dreaming was my body type! I took one look in the mirror and started laughing because I just looked like a rectangle in a dress! We immediately moved to the modified ball gown style, and I found my dress the very first day we started looking. I have always been a huge fan of classic style, and the lace veil and princess levels of tulle made me feel like Grace Kelly. The dress reflects my personal style and aesthetic so well, I am relieved the other dresses looked horrible!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? The ceremony as a whole was incredibly meaningful because we were married by my uncle, who had quite a few tidbits about me tucked away that I hadn’t even remembered. He also made us a very special wooden box to keep letters from our friends and family to be opened on our one-year anniversary! We wrote personal vows to each other that we opened while we were getting ready, along with our wedding presents to each other (I painted him an oil painting of our dog, Lilly, and he gave me a sapphire and diamond necklace for my something new & blue!). Reciting the traditional vows that so many other couples have also repeated was incredibly meaningful to us, and we didn’t want to miss either experience. There is also the now infamous story of the flower pillars almost falling during the ceremony while a plane flew a little too close for comfort! It was just a tad bit windy right by the river, and even though the flowers and pillars were weighted down, it was a close call! Luckily, our best man, Will’s twin, caught it!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We decided on the traditional wedding march music to go with the rest of the ceremony. It was what always played in my mind when wedding planning! Our first dance was to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. We both love oldies and for some reason, that song has followed us since we first started dating. Even though neither of us can sing to save our lives, we always sing the main verses to each other! Neither of us are sure how it started, but it is a song that has been part of our relationship for years now. Another very meaningful song was “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Sufjan Stevens. My father surprised us by passing out the lyrics to everyone in the ceremony to sing while we had our last dance of the evening. I have to admit, I definitely teared up! It was so moving to have our friends and family singing these special words to us to close out the evening. For me, it was one of the most memorable parts of the wedding!

The inspiration for our day was family. As I mentioned, my uncle married us, it was a small gathering of our closest friends and family, and the focus of the evening was, again, stories. Food is very important to my family as my parents started and owned a French restaurant for years, and I grew up eating phenomenal meals every day during long conversations at the dinner table. Because of this, having a seated dinner with intimate table settings so everyone could easily be heard was non-negotiable. Everything else centered around the simple fact that one of our favorite things to do is just sit with loved ones and eat great food!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We knew without a doubt that we wanted to get married in the Carolinas. We think that they are so beautiful, we love the Southern hospitality there, and Will’s family is mostly in South Carolina. We settled on Charleston because that’s where we took our first trip together, and we just fell in love with the city. Also, our friends and family are spread throughout the country and Canada, so we wanted an easily-accessible airport. As far as the venue, my mom and I went on a trip to find locations (even before we were engaged), and I absolutely loved Lowndes Grove. The beautiful, white plantation house, green lawns, and the incredible view of the Ashley River made it an obvious choice. We also were just head over heels for the decorations inside the house, which is part of the reason why we decided to have a sit-down dinner inside. All of the antiques and Persian rugs are exactly what I wanted for the “feel” of the wedding!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? I am a very adventurous eater while Will is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so we needed something for both of us! I opted for a ginger cake with vanilla frosting while he got hazelnut and chocolate. We also served blush and gold macarons to pull in our how we met story! Cupcakes are also my favorite dessert, so they were included as well.

When one friend stood up to use the restroom, we all joked that he was standing up to give a speech. To our surprise, he accepted the challenge and gave a truly heartfelt and spontaneous speech to the entire table. From there, we went around the table, with random people giving speeches about us individually and as a couple and how we had played a part in our their lives. We could not be more grateful for those hours spent on the upstairs balcony of Lowndes Grove that left everybody laughing, crying, and clapping.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in French class, began dating a few months later, and have been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! In order to tell you about the proposal, I first have to rewind a bit and start with engagement ring shopping. One time, while eating with my college best friend at my favorite restaurant, Rise-n-Dine in Atlanta, I looked over and saw the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen on a fellow diner. I immediately but not so subtly nudged my friend to point it out. Luckily for me, she has a great eye for these things and told me the exact style of the ring. And so, my heart was set. When Will and I first started to seriously shop for engagement rings, nothing looked right. We went to the big, fancy, name-dropping brands and the diamonds just weren’t right! Absolutely defeated because poor Will thought we were going home with a ring that day, he called up a family friend at Lugano Diamonds. Next thing I knew, we had perfectly set diamonds arriving at our doorstep ready for me to pick from! Now, Will being Will, I knew he would want to propose immediately (I regularly receive gifts months in advance of when I should be receiving them because he can’t wait to see my face). I have to admit that when he casually suggested I get a little bit dressed up, I knew what was going to happen, and I would not have had it any other way. He took me to my favorite restaurant in Chapel Hill (food is obviously a big part of my life), Bin 54, and then started driving towards Raleigh. Now I was a bit confused. What was in Raleigh? It turned out he had planned to take me to the historic governor’s mansion and propose at the front gate. I wish I could say I remember every single wonderful thing he said, but I think what sums it up the best was a passing driver honking and yelling “Wahoo!” as Will got off his knee!
Did you decide to do a first look? We did not do a first look. That was actually one of Will’s very few requests while wedding planning! We wanted that moment that you always visualize when thinking about your wedding, the moment when you lock eyes while the bride walks down the aisle. There is something so special about that and sharing it with everyone else. We didn’t want to change it!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was designing a cohesive vision that allowed me to be creative and express who we are! I love tiny details, like the mint julep and boxwood table numbers that pulled together the overall boxwood theme, and getting to insert our personality into such a big event was so much fun!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? As an artist and detail-oriented person, I had a hard time when vendors didn’t immediately produce something that was exactly what I wanted right off the bat. I just wanted everyone to read my mind!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We kept our guest list to just our closest friends and family, which is fortunately what we wanted anyway, but that helped to keep our costs down.

Photographer: Aaron & Jillian | Planner: Mac & B | Ceremony and Reception Venue, Caterer and Dessert Backer: Lowndes Grove | Florist, Rentals, and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Additional Rentals and Lighting: Snyder Events | DJ: David Fox | Special Details and Paper Products: Abigail J. Studio | Additional Paper Products: The Silver Starfish | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Pronovias | Bride’s Jewelry: Tiffany & Co and Lugano Diamonds | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Rory” in Bellini by Amsale | Menswear: Brooks Brothers

Written with love by Catherine
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    After looking at their fair share of wedding venues (eight!), Dani and Andrew knew that Legare Waring House was the one for them. They were drawn to the pristine beauty of the plantation, and especially loved the Avenue of Oaks (how could you not?)! With this beautiful backdrop chosen, they worked with their planner and florist, Fox Events, to create wild and natural florals that were not only sweetly feminine, but also the perfect complement to the glamorous mix of metallic elements in their design. And how fun is it that their officiant was the same friend who introduced them on a blind date five and a half years prior?

    Big SW hugs to Aaron & Jillian for sharing their sweet day with us!

    I probably tried on close to 50 dresses from at least five bridal boutiques before I found THE ONE at Sarah Seven. I went with my sister-in-law and a close friend, and the minute I walked out of the dressing room, they both screamed, “THAT’S IT!”

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, there was no question whether or not we were going to do one! First look photos are my favorite pictures from weddings–they’re always so sweet.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, who ended up officiating our wedding. I knew Andrew’s sister prior to meeting Andrew, but it wasn’t until a Christmas party when this mutual friend suggested to Andrew that he had to meet “this girl, Dani” that we were set up.

    We each wrote our own vows, which was fun, but challenging! It’s hard to express those feelings in just a few sentences. We think our videographer’s favorite line from the vows was Andrew’s line: “The joy you have given me over the past five and a half years has saturated my soul, and I promise for the rest of my life to try with every fiber of my being to repay you.” He included it in both our trailer and full video!

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? After Lauren Fox took us to eight wedding venues, we knew that Legare Waring House was the one for us. We couldn’t get over the pristine beauty of the venue–so stunning and green, and we ESPECIALLY loved the Avenue of Oaks!

    Our wedding flowers were wild and natural, yet utterly feminine, and fit the outdoor plantation perfectly! The color scheme played nicely with the grays and natural wood elements of our wedding, while the mix of metallic elements added the perfect amount of glamour.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The florals were stunning and the food, superb. The band, Super Deluxe, nailed every song; we’ve received so many compliments about them! Cru Catering provided the best wedding food we’ve ever tried, period. Overall, we could not have asked for a more perfect day!

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take care of all the big things first (find a wedding planner, book photographers, videographers, a band), and then take your time choosing all of the smaller details. But don’t procrastinate too much–the last thing you want is to be stressed about things close to your big day!

    Tell us all about the proposal! Andrew’s sister was going to be in Chicago for a visit to see friends. Recognizing the opportunity, Andrew set the wheels in motion. He flew to St. Louis to ask my father for my hand in marriage, put the finishing touches on the ring, and invited family to Chicago for the weekend to (hopefully) celebrate. After planning an elaborate ruse revolving around a fake Cubs game, brunch, and a photographer, Andrew’s plan was thrown into chaos when I realized I needed to work most of the day on Friday, April 17. Panicked (even more than he already was), Andrew proposed in our apartment, just the two of us. He had arranged for a celebratory brunch at a restaurant, where the entire family was there to surprise me! Later that night, Andrew invited all of our closest friends/family over for the perfect engagement party.
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We repurposed the “blessing over the wine,” which was read by my great uncle and his wife. It was a beautiful tribute to both of our heritages.
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Wild Flour did the most beautiful-two layer cake. The larger bottom tier was vanilla cake with dulce de leche buttercream and salted caramel; the smaller top tier was vanilla cake with lemon curd, coconut buttercream, and toasted coconut.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It can be challenging to stay within a budget. It’s great to have wedding planners (like ours) who are there to help guide you to stay within your budget, and to advise you on areas where you can make cuts that won’t jeopardize the look you’re trying to accomplish!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just got back from a delayed honeymoon in Antigua, which was incredible! We look forward to enjoying time together before we add to our family in a few years :) We also look forward to celebrating with all of our friends with weddings around the corner!

    Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography | Videographer: Dock House Digital | Planner and Florist: Fox Events | Venue: Legare Waring House | Wedding Cake: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: Cru Catering | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: Super Deluxe | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: Sarah Seven | Bride’s Accessories: Katherine Jessica Collections | Hair and Makeup: Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Bride’s Shoes: “Lovely” Embellished Wedge Sandal by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Alana” in Sea Glass, Palest Pink, and Dusty Pink by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Custom by Trunk Club | Men’s Bow Ties: The Tie Bar

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    2 Comments
    1. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

      Yay for this feature! Stunning photos! We loved capturing this special day for two incredibly sweet people XoXo

    2. avatar Cyprus wedding photographer reply

      Wow these are really amazing shots! And the location is just perfect!

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    There are a lot of fun things about working at Southern Weddings, so I don’t say this lightly: reading each couple’s story is one of the very best parts of our jobs. As the grand finale of our Most Memorable of 2014 series (see bridal style, bouquets, menswear, bridesmaids, moments, details, and sweets), here are some of the stories that found permanent places in our hearts this year.

    Sally Ward and Patrick: “I grew up loving to climb trees, and I was especially fond of a great big magnolia tree that sat to the left of my childhood home, so I thought, how cool would it be if I picked leaves from THAT tree and made them the place cards at the wedding? I wanted every detail to hold meaning, and that house is so special–it made me so delighted to see a piece of my childhood with us on our wedding day.” (Gene Oh)

    Abby and Cameron: “There were so many sweet moments I’ll never forget, like seeing Cameron tear up at the end of the aisle or the time with my immediate family the morning of the wedding. However, one of the funniest moments happened with my dad only minutes before we walked down the aisle. All of my bridesmaids had gone before me and my dad and I were waiting inside the farmhouse to go next. I stood up to peek out the window and snagged my dress on something on the floor! The whole bottom hem of my dress was hanging off. My dad looked at me to see how I was going to react and then we both just started laughing–what else can you do? He ended up cutting the hem off and we walked on out and down the aisle. We said we wouldn’t tell anyone (sorry, Dad), but it really helped me realize that not everything had to be perfect in order to have a perfect wedding day.” (Jess Barfield)

    Alix and Dodd: “We met one lovely, crisp, fall evening–October 5, 2009 to be exact, at the historic Triad Theatre in New York City. We were individually invited by a mutual friend to an industry show. Dodd noticed me there, and after the show, he approached me and asked me to join the group next door. Once in the light, I immediately noticed the small red bicycle pin Dodd was wearing on his sport coat and said, “I like your pin,” to which Dodd responded, “You mean, my MOATCH.” “Your what?” “My moatch. My man brooch!” That made me laugh, and I knew that I had to talk to this guy some more. We left the group and began our first three-hour conversation at the bar, and in those moments, we knew the other was very special. Dodd took me home in a cab, 150 blocks out of his way. At my door step, he kissed me goodnight (it was absolutely the most perfect first kiss), and then took the train home. I walked calmly through my lobby and into the elevator. When when the doors shut, I threw my purse against the wall and yelled, “I’m in love!!” Thankfully, I was the sole passenger in this elevator!” (Kat Braman)

    Laura and Mason: “I lost my mother to breast cancer about two and half years ago, so planning a wedding without her was definitely a challenge. She was such a talented organizer and planner! I tried to incorporate her memory into as many wedding decisions as possible. For example, I found the best picture of my mom and dad covered in birdseed as they left their own wedding reception, which made it easy for me to decide that we should have birdseed tossed during our exit as well. I was so thankful to have my incredible father, sisters, and fiancé, who all put in so many hours helping me plan!” (Paige Reaux)

    Megan and Ryan: “My dad recently passed away, and he had always talked about looking forward to my wedding day. In place of a father-daughter dance, I chose eight men that knew my daddy and loved Jesus like daddy. I wrote them each a letter several weeks before the wedding, asking them to be a part of my day. In the letters, I wrote about things I remembered about them and how they influenced me while I was growing up. They all agreed, and I chose the song “I Loved Her First,” which was sung by my daddy’s favorite cousin. The men had asked if they could pray a blessing over me and Ryan, and so they laid their hands on us and prayed for us and our marriage. My daddy would’ve been so happy!” (Happy Everything Co.)

    Sarah and Andy: “This past November, we went with a group on a mission trip to Argentina. By the time I returned home, we realized that being together was God’s plan for us. In January, Andy came to Charleston and we decided to marry. At our ages, we didn’t want to waste any more time apart. We set the date for March 15 and then proceeded to surprise a lot of people who had no idea we’d even been seeing each other! It was hilarious!” (Aaron and Jillian)

    Blaine and Brian: “We met at the Liberty Tavern in Arlington, Virginia in the spring of 2007. It was the hip new place in Arlington, and Blaine was working as a bartender/cocktail waitress. It took me a little while, but after several chats at the bar, some casual flirting, and some help from my best friend’s wife, I worked up the guts to ask her out and she said yes. Our first ‘real’ date was at Old Ebbitt’s Grille in Washington D.C. The dress she wore on that date was woven into different fabrics at our wedding (her wedding dress, handkerchiefs for her wedding party, my suit, pocket squares for the groomsmen, the fabric flowers for each guest). It was a symbol of beginnings.” (Abby Caldwell)

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
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      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!

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