If you followed along with my wedding planning posts last year, you may remember how hard it was for Dave and I to choose our venue–much like today’s bride, Ashton, I grew up moving around, so the decision of where to tie the knot was a challenge for me! For Ashton and Aaron, however, the decision was a bit easier–Charleston was always a place that Ashton returned to for family trips, no matter where in the world she was living at the time. I love that she had that special place as a constant in her life, and once Aaron proposed on nearby Fripp Island, it became all the more meaningful, and the perfect place for their wedding! With the help of the talented ladies at A Charleston Bride, Ashton and Aaron planned their gorgeous, garden-inspired celebration at the William Aiken House–the coolest historic venue hidden in the heart of downtown. Enjoy this look at their lovely day!
Thank you kindly to Catherine Ann for sharing Ashton and Aaron’s wedding with us!
I’m a self-proclaimed shopaholic, so I thought that it was going to take me forever to find the perfect dress. I started my search a couple of months after we got engaged and started shopping at a boutique in Raleigh with just my mother. I thought it was going to be a preliminary shopping experience and tried on all kinds of dresses, but the last one I tried on was the one. It didn’t wow me on the hanger, but I put it on and liked it, and then about a minute into wearing it, I started crying because it just felt right. This is who I want to be when I walked down the aisle. From the floral appliqué on my veil to the champagne color of the Italian tulle, everything about my dress was perfect and effortlessly romantic.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Kind of. Aaron was adamant about not seeing me before the ceremony, but we both agreed that we wanted to have a quick, sweet moment together. We decided to do a “first look,” but he kept a blindfold on the entire time. I’m so glad we did this because we got to keep the element of surprise, while also being able to hug each other and calm our nerves. I did do a first look with my father, because I knew it would mean so much to him.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Matthew 19:6, Song of Solomon 3:4, Ruth 1:16-17, Peter 4:8, and Ephesians 4:2. We did shorter readings throughout the ceremony because each one had a different significance.
Charleston has been my one constant place in life, so I always knew that when I got married, it would be there. The William Aiken House was significant for several reasons. Apart from being beautiful, my family is from Aiken, South Carolina, and the town is named after William Aiken. Aaron works in the railroad industry and William Aiken created one of the first railroad companies in South Carolina. Also, I always wanted to get married outside, but have an admiration for the grandeur of old architecture after living in England. The William Aiken House was the perfect combination.
I wanted my wedding to look like an English garden with lots of rose gold and sage and champagne hues. Our wedding planner and florist did an amazing job coming up with the perfect arrangements. There were topiaries for some rich dark greens around the lounge area and the bouquets had pale pinks and lots of undone greenery, with a few burgundy flowers to break up all of the pastels. I didn’t want the flowers to look too “done” and perfect; I wanted them to look romantic, but not fussy.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What was Southern about our wedding was the location, the families, the history, the pecan pie, the boiled peanuts (my favorite!), the bourbon tasting bar (also my favorite!), and the sense of hospitality.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I cut out a lot of the florals because as much as I love flowers, the venue was pretty enough that we could save some money on those. The florist was very good about helping me come up with options to cut costs, which was much appreciated. We also did stations instead of a sit-down meal to cut costs with table settings and serving.
For our first dance, Aaron and I danced to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Aaron didn’t really care about the wedding details, but this was one thing he had an opinion about. We made a playlist of five songs that were contenders for our first dance and then we danced to all of them, and he got to decide which one he enjoyed dancing with me to the best!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Aaron and I met on New Year’s Eve at a bar in downtown Richmond, Virginia. I was in Richmond for law school and Aaron worked with with CSX in Richmond. Aaron was working night shifts when we first met, so our dates consisted of random, intermittent hang outs, often involving him stopping by in the morning (on his way home from work) to say hi and hang out while I got ready to go to class for the day. Our relationship progressed very quickly because the time we did get to spend together was so precious that we ended up opening up to each other more quickly than normal.
Tell us all about the proposal! I have moved around ever since I was little, so I never really had a constant hometown, but both of my parents are from Aiken, South Carolina and used to go to Fripp Island and Charleston for vacations. When they got married, they kept the tradition alive by scheduling week-long family vacations at Fripp Island every summer. Aaron knew how important Fripp was to me, and my family planned a beach week a year after he and I started dating. My family, our close family friends, and Aaron’s family all came to Fripp that week for vacation. One night, Aaron took me on a golf cart ride right before sunset, and then we went for a walk on the beach. He proposed to me amidst the big sand dunes. Everyone had a big celebration waiting for us when we got back to the house. My ring is so special–it was made with my mother’s diamond and Aaron helped design it himself.
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I am not a sweets person at all. I do, however, have a soft spot for pecan pie, so we had a pie station in addition to a cake. Aaron, on the other hand, has a sweet tooth big enough for both of us and then some. He was in charge of picking the cake, while I was in charge of decorating it. Since the cake was not something I really cared about, I wanted it to go with the decor and be simple and fun. I asked them to do a pale blush solid background with random pieces of gold leafing all over it.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I am very involved in the nonprofit sector, so we had three areas throughout the reception in honor of different charities that we donated to for the wedding, as well as little favors to help bring awareness to the different causes.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When Aaron and I got back to the hotel after the wedding and he couldn’t stop saying how happy he was that I was his wife. That was when we finally got to have a moment alone and just bask in the happiness and excitement that had been building all day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I moved down to Charlotte with our chocolate lab, Campbell, so the three of us are all together under the same roof! We are excited to explore our new city together and to make memories with our new little family.
Photographer: Catherine Ann Photography / Planner: A Charleston Bride / Venue: The William Aiken House / Florist: STEMS via A Charleston Bride / Caterer and Baker: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Ceremony Music: Bob Williams Duo / Reception DJ: Natty Heavy / Paper Products: Studio R / Bride’s Gown: “Style 5867” by Liancarlo / Bridal Salon: Alexia’s Bridal / Bride’s Veil: “Style 9847” by Liancarlo / Hair Stylist: Kacie Faulling Pecora / Bride’s Shoes: Michael Kors / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Tadashi Shoji / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Bow Ties: Collared Greens
A Charleston Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!