As y’all know, I can get a little (or a ton) excited over engagements! There is just something so special about that moment a handsome beau asked the girl he’s in love with to be his wife! Gah, it always gives me chills! Well, today’s sweet groom, Coley, definitely did me proud on his proposal to Kinsey! Grab a tissue because this video might make you cry! Don’t forget to read their proposal story in the text below.
Now dry your eyes because you’ve got to take a good look at Kinsey + Coley’s lovely South Carolina wedding. Starting with the historic setting of the Lowndes Grove Planation, our friends (and Blue Ribbon Vendor members) Ooh! Events worked with Kinsey to create a meaningful day full of nautical details and Southern traditions. We’re so thankful that Jared Lister was along to capture their big day!
Oh heavens, Kinsey’s dress is some kind of ruffly perfection!
After reserving our venue and wedding coordinator at Ooh Events, finding my wedding gown was one of my first priorities. I was thrilled to make an appointment at White on Daniel Island. While I had a ball trying on over ten gowns, my mom and I quickly narrowed down our favorites. The one I loved became very apparent when I could not stop smiling. It was the second gown I had tried on. I knew this was the one Coley would love the most. We immediately decided on an outdoor ceremony on the front lawn of Lowndes Grove Plantation as soon as I chose the Amsale silk taffeta ball gown with a ruched bodice, ruffle neckline, and easy pockets. I knew we were meant to have a Southern, traditional outdoor ceremony when I chose this dress.
That little flowergirl praying? I die!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. The ceremony music was very important to me, as I had grown up in the Presbyterian Church and its wonderful tradition. I knew we needed to make a statement on the large lawn and set a reverent tone for the outdoor ceremony. We found a bagpiper to play traditional music as guests arrived and then transition into a moving arrangement of “Highland Cathedral” followed by “Amazing Grace” for the seating of the mothers and grandmothers. We then found a local a cappella gospel singing group to be a surprise for both our wedding party and our guests. The Plantation Singers burst out of the main house to lead Coley and our wedding party across the lawn and down the aisle with a vibrant Gullah rendition of “This is the Day.” The choir transitioned to more subdued, worship version of “Holy Ground” for the bridal procession with my father. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Plantation Singers broke into a joyous adaption of “Amen” for the wedding party recession and then led the guests over to the cocktail hour. They continued to entertain the guests with Gullah spirituals and hymns until the reception began. The choir was one of our favorite ways to celebrate our South Carolina low country setting. The band at our reception was also from South Carolina and was based on the shows of one of our favorite bands, The Original Tams. The Mighty Kicks had non-stop choreography and energy. They kicked off the evening by singing our first dance song, “To Love Somebody,” performed by The Tams during our first date five years earlier in Charleston.
Describe your wedding flowers: Ooh Events created incredible arrangements of my favorite flowers. I knew from the beginning that all of our wedding flowers would be white. The bridal bouquet was a lovely, full bouquet of gorgeous white peonies, my favorite flower, wrapped with ivory lace from my mother’s veil. Each bridesmaid chose her own white flower for her individual bouquet, and our mothers and grandmothers carried a spray of white peonies with a touch of dusty miller in a tussy mussy engraved with our wedding date. Boutonnieres were fashioned from a white freesia or dedrobium flower and tied with a charcoal silk ribbon. Flowers placed in wooden planters at ceremony site were filled with white hydrangea, agapanthus, casablanca lilies, dusty miller, dendrobium orchids, white delphinium, freesia, and cascading seeded eucalyptus. Mercury glass vessels held white hydrangea, roses, tulips and ranunculus at the cocktail hour and reception.
Our wedding cake was a five-tier design highlighted with a cascade of magnolias, my favorite Southern flower. Each layer was a different flavor and filling. We also passed a traditional hummingbird layer under the reception tent outside. I created the base on which the cake sat from a ship wheel with a glass base on top. I had a gold plate engraved with our names and wedding date so that we could hang the wheel in our new home. It is surrounded with framed wedding photos behind our dining room table today.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Coley and I both love to remember leaving on the boat from the long dock at the end of the evening. The moon was completely full and the water was like glass. We could not have planned a more perfect way to end our reception as we cruised around the harbor, enjoying wine and reliving our wedding day together.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. (From the groom) We were introduced in the fall of 2006 in Columbia, SC when I came to visit a best friend who was in grad school with Kinsey at the University of South Carolina. I continued to drive three-hours from Blowing Rock, NC each weekend hoping to see her until we had our first date in Charleston for New Years. We danced to the same Tams song we used as our first dance at our wedding five years later.
Describe the proposal. (From the groom) Kinsey works for the University of South Carolina Alumni Association. One of her responsibilities was to plan the Ring Ceremony on the historic Horseshoe each semester during which students are awarded their Carolina class rings from the President of the University. I knew it was her favorite Carolina tradition. I managed to get in touch with her boss to help me with the process. Kinsey’s boss contacted the President of the University and got his assistance and permission to allow me to be a part of this prestigious ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, after the final student had been called to the podium to receive their ring, President Pastides called my name and invited me to the stage. Kinsey’s family and my family were all on the back row, out of sight from where Kinsey was standing throughout the ceremony. I walked to the stage, stepped up to the podium and announced that one more person was here today to receive a ring. Thankfully, being in front of 400 people and on bended knee, Kinsey said yes.
In what month did you get married? June 2, 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 250+
Did you decide to do a “first look”? While we did not plan to do a first look, our photographer staged and documented a private first look with my father. This was one of my favorite memories of our wedding morning. Seeing my father for the first time on my wedding day was a priceless moment.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We shared Colossians 3:12-17 with our pastor to use during the ceremony. I had marked and saved these verses in my Bible during a women’s Bible study years ago. We both loved its message of forgiveness and love above all else.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail of the wedding was the life ring we had our guests sign as an alternative to a guest book. It is hanging by our front door today to welcome friends and family to our new home!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Coley and I are both from the Carolinas, though very few of our wedding guests were from Charleston. We wanted to celebrate the low country setting of our wedding while highlighting the picturesque location on the Ashley River. Lowndes Grove is billed as Charleston’s last great waterfront estate circa 1786. The combination of Southern heritage and the water was a perfect venue for us. We included lots of nautical details while fully embracing Southern touches such as tussy mussies for our mothers and grandmothers and magnolias on our cake. We created a low country menu to allow our guests to fully appreciated the Southern setting, including passed shrimp and soft gouda grits, a crab cake station, “Palmetto Pale Ale”, and late night snacks – sweet potato fries and hot pralines! Our band pleased our guests with shag music and Motown favorites all night long.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was planning the wedding in Charleston while I lived in Columbia, my mother in Greenville, and my sister in Kansas City. We did not have many personal connections with local vendors, though Ooh Events was incredibly helpful in recommending and coordinating meetings with our wedding vendors when we were in Charleston. We were able to set up back-to-back meetings each time we visited, and it worked out perfectly.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? We were immensely pleased with our band, the Mighty Kicks. The dance floor was completely full the entire night, and they truly set the fun, celebratory tone for the entire reception. We did not stop dancing! The band can set the mood for both the wedding couple and your guests.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I love to tell brides to enjoy every minute of the planning process. While it can seem overwhelming, it is such a wonderful way to celebrate who you are as individuals and now as a new couple. Finding creative ways to incorporate a nod to your shared tastes and unique interests makes it so much fun for your friends and family! Make sure to include your fiancé in the planning process as much as possible.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?
We are enjoying building our new home together in Charlotte, North Carolina. We are excited to celebrate the holidays together and to be living in the same city during the week. We are already looking forward to returning to Charleston to celebrate our first anniversary next summer!
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