Please meet today’s bride, Jillian! I’m not sure if it’s the season we’re in, the dreamy light blue and white color palette, or the gorgeous floral detailing, but her wedding to Edwin will have you feeling all the spring feels (even though it took place in October!). And for you classic brides out there, like myself, it’s hard not to swoon over Jillian’s perfectly preppy Oscar de la Renta gown.
And don’t even get me started on those magnolia leaf garlands… I could get lost in their Charleston wedding all day. Keep scrolling to read all about the sweet surprises her mama pulled off, how they chose their venue, and much more goodness!
What was Southern about your wedding? Our whole wedding really played on the overall theme of Charleston and the South. Since Edwin is from California, about half our guests traveled from out west and had never spent time in the South. We had a lot of fun giving them a taste of the South during our wedding weekend! Everything from our wedding paper to the menus at each of our events was focused around Southern imagery, flavors, florals, and more. However, my favorite Southern tradition that we included in our celebration was burying a bottle of bourbon. Edwin, my sister who was also my maid of honor, and I went to our wedding venue a month before our wedding date with a shovel and a bottle of bourbon. We buried the bourbon on a gorgeous sun-filled day along with little prayers for beautiful weather on our wedding day. Fast forward to October 28th. It was a picture perfect sunny morning but as the afternoon rolled in, so did the clouds. About an hour before our outdoor ceremony was supposed to start, the skies opened up to a complete downpour. We finished our wedding photos just in the nick of time and ran inside the house. As guests arrived, they were escorted into the Legare Waring House, although this was never part of the plan… One of the groomsman took over the piano and the waiters started serving trays of champagne while the bridesmaids and I danced upstairs and watched through the windows as the guests arrived. The best part is that the bottle of bourbon worked! Five minutes before our wedding ceremony was set to start, the sky grew quiet and all the rain stopped! Our planners wiped off the ceremony seats, fluffed the flowers, and everything went off without a hitch. The clouds slowly parted and we said our vows against a beautiful sunset! Everyone said the rain added such a fun and dramatic element to the evening and, to this day, I credit the buried bottle of bourbon for stopping the rain five minutes before show time! It was then a blast to dig up our good luck charm and drink straight from the muddy bottle with all our bridesmaids and groomsmen!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My mom pulled off so many special surprise details for our wedding, including the embroidery she had done on the inside of my wedding dress, the vintage earrings she gifted me to wear on our wedding day, and the embroidered hanky she gave me before our ceremony started. In addition, I’d say our wedding paper. I absolutely adore every piece of paper we designed for our wedding, from the save the dates to the invitations to the menu cards and everything else in between.
We did do a first look on our wedding day. We were married on October 28th, and our venue regulated that weddings start at 6pm before Daylight Savings. So, we had to do a first look in order to capture our photos in the light. I have to say, it wasn’t my first choice, but we loved the venue so much that it didn’t matter. The first time we saw each other was more meaningful than anything I could have dreamed up and I know that would have been the case with a first look or if we had first seen each other when I walked down the aisle.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 198
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. It could be argued that I found my wedding dress by accident. We live in Charleston now, but at the time, we were still living in Los Angeles, so I researched when all the designers were holding their trunk shows in LA following bridal fashion week. Unfortunately, the LA trunk shows just so happened to take place on a weekend when my mom was already committed to be at a big Alabama football game and my sister was already set to be in Europe visiting friends. I still wanted to go because it was the only opportunity to shop that season before my wedding, so both my best friend from college and my cousin flew in for the day (both were bridesmaids in our wedding!). We had a beautiful champagne-filled lunch at The Polo Lounge and then headed to our three appointments. At each appointment, I told the bridal stylists that I had no plans of actually finding my wedding dress without my mom or sister, and that we were just there for fun and inspiration. Well, lo and behold, we walked into Oscar de la Renta and my dream dress was waiting for me. I honestly felt like it was designed with me in mind, it was that perfect! ODLR was so amazing and flew the dress back to Los Angeles in December so my mom and sister could see me try it on.
What made you choose your venue? I grew up going to Sea Island to visit my grandparents, so I wanted to find the history, romance, and charm of Sea Island somewhere special in Charleston. From the time I was a little girl, I always said I wanted to get married under a live oak tree. I knew right away that our venue was the one. The live oak tree we got married under was hauntingly beautiful and everything I ever envisioned. We now call Charleston home and absolutely adore the fact that we will always hold the city near and dear as the place we tied the knot.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite part of wedding planning was, without a doubt, planning with my mom. We had so much fun together throughout the whole process and I really leaned on her to help me make some of the tougher decisions. My mom and I were on the same page the whole time and she is 100% the person to credit (along with our amazing planners!) for making my vision come to life!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Believe it or not but the hardest part about planning our wedding was getting a venue in Charleston! Deep down, I really knew that Legare Waring House was the venue for us but I called and toured multiple other spots too. On all the tours, I was the only bride-to-be with a connection to Charleston and family in Charleston. Charleston has become such a popular wedding destination that it was a challenge to get a Saturday wedding date that wasn’t in the dead of summer. In fact, we only secured our October date, which was 17 months after we got engaged, because a couple had a hold on the day but decided to call off their engagement. I really couldn’t believe it!
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We served the most beautiful, elegant, and delicious wedding cake I’ve ever seen or tasted. We went for different flavors with each tier of the cake. I always gravitate toward fruity flavors over chocolatey flavors, so our wedding cake was coconut, orange, and lemon blueberry flavored! In addition, my grandmother was from Mississippi and was a tremendous Southern cook. My favorite dish she made was an ice cream banana parfait dessert. Our amazing caterers took my grandmother’s recipe and put a modern twist on it, creating “Grandma Peggy’s Chocolate Banana Parfait Pushpops.” They were delicious!
Tell us your love story in one sentence. One fortunate summer, our two best friends (who are now engaged to be married!) introduced us at a party and, from that moment on, we lived out a quintessential summer of love up and down the Southern California coast before falling in love and choosing to be together for 8 years and counting.
Tell us all about the proposal! Edwin gave me the surprise of my life when he proposed to me outside the Santa Monica apartment I shared with my best friend (yes, the one who introduced us!). Edwin and I had spent a beautiful, sunny day in Malibu. Edwin knew I never wanted anything showy for a proposal, though, so he waited until we got back to Santa Monica to pop the question. My roommate was home at our apartment when we returned from Malibu but she was supposed to leave shortly for a dinner date. Edwin was planning to propose to me in my apartment. However, my roommate’s plans kept getting pushed later into the night, so Edwin panicked and claimed he was suddenly starving. Reluctantly, I went along with him to get a bite. Edwin opened the car door for me and, as I sat down in the car, he got down on one knee and said the sweetest, most loving, and supportive things I could ever imagine. He then pulled out a beautiful round cut diamond ring. To this day, I wish I remembered everything he said so I could hear it in my head over and over again! We ran inside and shared the news with my best friend, called our families, popped multiple bottles of champagne and headed to a dinner Edwin planned at the intimate restaurant Giorgio Baldi. Our friends who introduced us came and met us after dinner for more champagne and for a night of dancing. It was everything and more!
When did y’all get married? October 28th, 2017f
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? This might sound silly, but the most meaningful part of our ceremony was holding hands while saying our vows and “I do.” We both wanted a very traditional wedding so we opted for traditional wedding vows. The readings during our ceremony were done by my uncle, who is also my god father, and Edwin’s sister, who was also a bridesmaid.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. When the band introduced Edwin and me into our wedding reception tent, they played “Going to the Chapel” by the Dixie Cups, which is just about the happiest wedding song I can think of. Our first dance song was an easy pick. We both love classics so there was no other song choice than “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. My dad and I did our father daughter dance to “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison. All my memories of childhood have Van Morrison playing in the background, so that was one of the easiest decisions we made during the whole wedding planning process. Edwin and his mother danced to “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon because Edwin was raised on Paul Simon. Every song was chosen because it was the music that defined the relationship! I knew I wanted to be super traditional for many aspects of our ceremony, so when I walked down the aisle with my dad, we walked to Cannon D. However, we knew we wanted the celebration to begin the moment we said “I do!” so we walked back up the aisle as a newly married couple to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. It set the tone for the whole night to come!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? What an impossible question! There are so many! First and foremost, the moment I saw Edwin at our first look was a moment I’ll never forgot. I’ve never seen him look so handsome and I will always cherish my memory of the way he looked at me. Another memorable moment was when my sister helped me into my wedding dress and shoes. It still brings happy tears to my eyes. As I mentioned, I kept my wedding dress a surprise so the moment I put it on and stepped into a room full of my beautiful bridesmaids was also incredibly special and memorable. I also loved seeing my dad for the first time on my wedding day. He came upstairs to see me in my dress and to take photos; it was so lovely and meaningful. During our wedding week, my dad was everything and more that a girl could ask for.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Yes, the dance floor! My, what a party! Our band brought the house down so much so that one guest exclaimed that he felt like he was at a concert instead of a wedding! The dance floor was packed all the way up until the last possible moment. I know I’m biased, but it was the best party I’ve ever been to! Our recipe for keeping the dance floor so full of life was to avoid modern music (except for about three songs) or tacky 80’s songs and to keep it strictly to the classics that every generation loves. Our set list was full of Van Morrison, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, and the Rolling Stones.
Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: East West Production | Planner: Lindsey Boyce of A Charleston Bride | Venue: Legare Waring House | Florist: Out of the Garden | Wedding Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal | Caterer: Cru Catering | Drape: The Social Spool | Linens: Pressed Fine Linens | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, and Skyline Tent Company | Restroom Trailer: Nature’s Calling | Lighting: Av Connection | Band: The Atlanta Showstoppers | Monogram Pillows, Napkins, and Bride’s Wedding Bouquet Ribbon: Number Four Eleven | Escort Card Boards: TEC | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: Oscar de la Renta | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Saks Fifth Avenue | Hair Stylist: Ash & Co. | Makeup Artist: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid Dresses: Styled by Cynthia Cook Brides | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Welcome bags: A Signature Welcome