We feature our fair share of Southern weddings around here. ;) And while there are so many styles of Southern weddings, today’s would fall into my personal favorite subcategory…the classic Southern wedding! Hannah and Ryan chose to celebrate at the historic Rose Hill Mansion, surrounded by Spanish moss. Filled with elegance and history, it was the perfect place for Hannah and Ryan to achieve the romantic atmosphere they had envisioned. Vibrant pink paisley linens, sweet hospitality from the moment guests arrived in town, and time-honored traditions round out their magical Lowcountry wedding weekend. We’re sure glad Rebekah Senter was there to capture all the beauty!
P.S. Curious about the saber arch and other Southern traditions they included? Our e-book is here to help!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was in eastern Maryland one weekend and my mother and brother were visiting so we could look at different styles together and get some ideas. My brother and I went to one boutique in Baltimore, Garnish Boutique, and waited for my mother to arrive. Unfortunately, it was pouring down rain and many roads were washed out, so my mother was late arriving to the store. We had the entire place to ourselves, so while we waited for her, my brother and I wandered around the store, just getting a general feel for the overwhelming number of styles they carried. We started making some selections to try on, just as my mother arrived and we kicked off what I expected to be a long afternoon. After I tried on Amsale’s “Troy” gown, the third dress, I was in love and knew it was the one for the big day! We ordered it right then and there.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we wanted the authentic reaction of seeing each other for the first time on the biggest day of our lives as I was walking down the aisle. It was one of my favorite moments from that day and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
We chose to have a string quartet play “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” from Cantata #147 by Bach for the bridal party processional, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” for the bridal processional, and “Hornpipe in D” by Handel for the recessional. We felt that these songs contributed to the classic environment we desired for the wedding.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We loved the idea of a classic Southern wedding. We looked around the Charleston area and fell in love with the Rose Hill Plantation House in Bluffton, South Carolina. The elegance of the historic mansion surrounded by the beautiful Spanish moss seemed like the perfect place for us to tie the knot.
We were always raised to be welcoming and hospitable, and I wanted to project that to our guests from the moment they arrived in town. We held a less formal, all-inclusive rehearsal dinner with all of our guests, and it really set the tone for the whole weekend by giving everyone a chance to meet before the big day. With most of the introductions and connections made on Friday, everyone could get right to celebrating on Saturday. However, I think the nostalgic look that the moss-covered oaks lent to the area was the most quintessentially Southern aspect of the weekend. There were decorations and adornments that defined the wedding all across the property, but somehow, those ancient trees provided an atmosphere that perfectly encapsulated the quiet and romantic setting I had always envisioned.
Describe your wedding flowers. Gorgeous! The ceremony had greenery across the back of the chairs with floral clusters on each aisle end. The centerpieces were vibrant with large coral charm peonies paired with eucalyptus and other floral elements to tie the design together. The long tables mimicked the ceremony design, with greenery that cascaded down the center and over the sides with pops of candles and bright florals. The cake, chandeliers, and escort card display also had floral accents. The bridal bouquet was incredibly lush and smelled amazing, thanks to those peonies!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Laughing our way through our first dance and looking around to see all of our closest friends and family together, celebrating our love and commitment to each other.
We chose a tiered cake with four flavors: almond white on the base, banana on the next tier, coconut on the third tier, and almond white again on the top tier. It was delicious!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our story began in January 2008. We were both seasoned freshmen, yet strangers to each other, at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Upon arriving to the first day of health class, our teacher assigned seats in alphabetical order. I walked past Ryan’s seat, immediately noticing how attractive he was, and silently prayed for him to not be weird. Class proceeded without a single exchange between us. The bell rang and we moved on to our next class, English. The students’ names were written on little sticky notes stuck to each desk–unsurprisingly, our teacher assigned seats in alphabetical order, which meant Ryan and I would spend the entire semester sitting next to each other in two classes. Two days passed without a single exchange or glance in my direction. After days of staring at the back of Ryan’s head, I finally got the ball rolling and introduced myself. We spent the next two years being “just friends” and dating each other’s peers before I agreed to go on a date with Ryan in the fall of 2009. We spent the remainder of our high school career living up our team-captaining, best-smile-winning, popular couple days. However, as graduation approached, we were unsure how our relationship would manage being several hours apart. In August of 2011, I went off for soccer pre-season at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Ryan joined the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech. Since the schools were only four hours away from each other, it was fairly easy to get away and spend weekends together. In 2012, Ryan was accepted at and transferred to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Despite the doubled distance, we both were determined as ever to continue to support each other’s dreams and grow even more in love. After knowing each other for eight years, Ryan (FINALLY) asked me to be his wife in August 2015. Throughout the past few years, we have worked hard at our respective goals, but we were ready to move towards the future together.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Ryan: I decided to ask on August 15, 2015, the last free Saturday of summer before I had to return to the Academy for my fall semester. Coming up with a location was difficult, but I kept going back to her home in South Carolina. I love the water, and Lake Murray seemed like the perfect spot! The first step was to find a way to realistically get my family down to South Carolina without ruining the element of surprise I desired. My brother and sister were responsible for asking Hannah if my family could come down for the last weekend of the summer. Hannah was delighted, as we had been talking about getting our families together at the lake for a few years, and it seemed like this year would finally be the one. However, her brother Patrick was going to be in Virginia, and I intentionally left it unclear whether I would be permitted to leave from my training in Maryland. Hannah grew increasingly frustrated with me until I sadly informed her that I would be unable to come down for the weekend. Hannah did not know Patrick was coming after all, so we capitalized on his surprise arrival to throw her off the scent. His surprise worked beautifully! He presented her with a beautiful dress, which she promptly changed into so they could all “go” to a downtown restaurant called the Oak Table. While everyone prepared to “go to dinner,” I hid on the bottom floor of the house with my parents, who had brought the ring. The last piece of the puzzle was figuring out how to get Hannah down in my direction. Right before they left for the restaurant, my mom claimed to have misplaced her camera lens. Poor Hannah was the last one to use the camera and promptly panicked. She remembered having used it on the dock, and ran downstairs to search for it. As soon as she stepped outside, Hannah saw me and realized what was happening. She froze, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. With a little shove from Patrick, she starting moving and made her way down to the dock. I, thrilled to have pulled off the element of surprise, could not stop smiling. For a few perfect moments, it was just Hannah and me on the dock. I will never forget them. On a flawless sunny afternoon on the lake with both of our families there to witness the big moment, I asked Hannah Lee Carlson to be my wife.
When did y’all get married? June 11, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I combined my something borrowed and old and wore my grandmother’s ring on my right hand. I used my great-grandmother’s blue handkerchief as my something blue. My something new was my Paul Andrew heels.
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 bought our own alcohol. Since we bought it wholesale, we received a massive discount and asked our catering staff to serve it during the cocktail hour and reception.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Ryan and I are starting our married life in Houston, Texas. We look forward to living together for the first time, strengthening our relationship with Christ, and starting a family with new traditions.
Photographer: Rebekah Senter Photography | Planner and Florist: Eventi Floral & Events | Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Wedding Cake: Ronnie’s Bakery & Cakes by Lou | Caterer: Downtown Catering Company | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: JLK Events | DJ: Henry Race via JLK Events | Paper Products: MLC Designs | Bride’s Gown: “Troy” by Amsale | Hair and Makeup: Eye Do Makeup & Hair | Bride’s Shoes: Paul Andrew | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Leah” in Blush by Jenny Yoo | Flatware and Vintage Glassware: Ooh! Events | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Vintage Car: FX Limousine
I’m so glad I saved this post until I had time to read through it. This wedding is a DREAM. Each photo made me think “this is my favorite piece” and then the next one topped it. (Although, the picture of the groom holding her bouquet might have been the best part! But, also…the beautiful proposal!)
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us, Hannah and Ryan!
Such a stunning setting for a wedding!