Bride Allison shares her destination wedding at the dreamy Old Wide Awake Planation in South Carolina.
Please meet today’s darling bride, Allison! She and her beau Mike planned a beautiful Charleston celebration that was a destination wedding for both them and their families. And while planing a destination wedding (or a wedding outside of the town where you currently live!) can bring challenges. For Allison and Mike, it actually became one of their favorite things about the wedding planning process. Allison said, “We loved how many mini vacations Mike and I were able to take during the planning process. We visited Charleston 6 times in 19 months, and we had the best time each time we went.” She also recalls a trip where a canceled flight turned into road trip-adventure through a snow storm to make a few very important vendor appointments and some even more important memories. Keep scrolling to learn more about Allison and Mike, and of course, get all the heart eyes for their beautiful day!
Big hugs to Landon Jacob for sharing their South Carolina day with us!
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? In the months leading up to the wedding, I collected most of the vessels that the flowers and trinkets (koozies, programs, cards, etc.) went into from flea markets. It was a great way to add a very personal touch to the event and see my vision come to life. My florist, Fern, took my vision and ran farther than I ever thought possible with it. I was SO happy with the way the design of everything came out. Additionally, I incorporated my late grandmother’s veil as my “something old.” She was incredibly special to me, so it felt great having her with me on the day!
I started the dress search about 15 months prior to the wedding date (we had a 19 month engagement). I thought I found the dress of my dreams at my first appointment, Sarah Seven, and after learning that a trunk show where I could receive a sizable discount was occurring one month later, I knew I had to confirm my selection quickly. With that said, I went on a one-month mission to try on any dress that I was possibly interested in so that I could go back to Sarah Seven confident in my selection. Through my search, I realized that the dress I had originally loved was WAY different than anything I was drawn to at my other appointments. Heading back to the Sarah Seven trunk show, I was disappointed that I probably wouldn’t be taking advantage of the trunk show discounts. When I tried on the first dress I fell in love with, I realized it was completely wrong; luckily, thanks to the amazing Sarah Seven staff, they listened to the dresses I was loving at different designers & pulled out the most amazing dress I’d seen yet for me to try on. I knew it was my dress before even putting it on…but I did end up putting it on to confirm!
We chose to have our wedding in Charleston, SC. Mike’s family is in New York and Florida, and he went to University of Georgia, so most of his friends/family were all on the east coast. Alison’s family & friends are all in Illinois, which means that she’d been to almost every venue she would have chosen for someone else’s wedding, which didn’t feel special. Charleston was a pretty random spot as we only had 2 sets of family/friends there, but it was one of our absolute favorite cities and a place that we thought our Midwest friends and family would love to visit. Once we chose Charleston, we thought we wanted to a plantation feel, but booked appointments of a variety of venue types in the city. Old Wide Awake Plantation, which we ended up choosing, was one of the first we saw, and it became the one that we compared every other to. When we first turned onto the driveway & the house came into view, it took our breath away and we could clearly picture our perfect wedding there.
Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, we did a first look. We put so much thought and planning into the wedding of our dreams that we didn’t want to miss a single minute of it. Also, since we had a destination wedding, all of our guests were in from out of town, so we felt strongly about mingling as much as possible with everyone during our cocktail hour.
Although it was quite short (our Midwestern guests aren’t used to being out in the SC heat!), the ceremony was incredibly special to us because of who we chose to preside over it. Mike played baseball at University of Georgia and during his time there, he became quite close to the Chaplain of the team, Mr. Ray Lawrence. The day after Mike asked me what I thought about having Mr. Ray marry us, Mike woke up to an out-of-the-blue text from Mr. Ray, and we knew asking him was right.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? There were SO many, but one of the most memorable was Mike and me sitting down next to each other being served our dinner when the rest of our table was released to go to the buffet. It was such a small amount of time where it was just the two of us, but it allowed us to soak all of our planning efforts and amazing friends and families who had traveled for our special day.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? I loved how creative I was able to be. I came up with a very clear vision of what I wanted, and I went to work finding the best vendors that could help me execute it. More importantly, I loved how many mini vacations Mike and I were able to take during the planning process. We visited Charleston 6 times in 19 months, and we had the best time each time we went. One of our favorite memories was when our flight was canceled due to a late February snowstorm, and we had such critical vendor appointments to make that we decided to rent an SUV and drive through the snow to make it. In hind-sight, not the best choice from a safety and sanity perspective, but it was such an adventure and great memory.
What was Southern about your wedding? Because most of our guests were from the Midwest, we wanted to make sure we provided a great Southern meal. For appetizers, we had sweet potato & ham biscuits, bacon-wrapped scallops, tomato pies, and mini chicken & waffles. Then for dinner we had a buffet (not at all typical in the Midwest – we normally do seated and served dinners) of shrimp and grits, peach glazed pork tenderloin, smoked chicken, fresh green beans, mashed potatoes (both sweet and normal) and biscuits with herb butter and strawberry basil jam. I still get compliments on our food with many claiming it was the best wedding food they’ve ever had. We also incorporated Southern culture with the venue itself. It had such a great history, and I made sure to include it in the program so everyone in attendance could learn what a special place it was.
I’m convinced we had the best baker in the game! We used Izzabee’s Confectioneries in Columbia, SC. I dream of the sweets table that she made for us to this day! We went with a small (basically just a personal one for Mike and me) lemon cake with strawberry cream and lemon curd icing as well as fresh whipped cream. It was a naked cake, and she combined all of that deliciousness in. For the rest of the sweets table we had homemade s’mores (the marshmallows & graham crackers were all from scratch), chocolate chip cookies with sea salt, homemade Oreos, brown butter Rice Krispie treats, mini apple, blueberry, and pecan pies, mini carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes, lemon curd & blueberry tarts, and homemade Twix tarts. INCREDIBLE! Because I knew the sweets would be such a hit, I made sure to include “Treat Bags” at the table so that guests could take some home.
Our music selections throughout the ceremony and reception were especially important to us – we started compiling a list of must-plays right after being engaged! I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of “Then” by Brad Paisley played by a guitar player and violinist. This song was perfect for us lyrics-wise, it was a great change from the normal “Here comes the bride” and the tempo fit wonderfully. Walking back up the aisle we chose American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life” (again played on guitar & violin). This is one of our absolute favorite songs – it’s super fun, the lyrics fit perfectly, and it got the tone of the night started! To walk into our reception, we chose “This is What You Came For” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris. Being that it was a destination wedding, we thought it fit because let’s be honest, everyone comes for the party! Lastly, our first dance song was “You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band. As long as I’ve known Mike, he’s talked about having this as his first dance song, and after whittling our list down song after song (we compiled and listened to all suggestions on Friday nights while drinking wine) this one persisted. It was the PERFECT first dance song.
Tell us your love story. Mike and I met at work. Mike worked at the company’s Atlanta office and I worked out of Chicago, but our roles had us working very closely. Then once Mike was transferred up to Chicago, the connection was obvious & the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Having recently brought home our beloved English Lab, Clarke, Mike asked me to take a random Friday off work to take the pup out to one of my favorite Illinois nature parks, Starved Rock. After about an hour into the hike, at the most scenic look out point, I turned around to see Mike down on one knee with Clarke sitting at his side. It was such a surprise and just perfect. After getting back to the car and calling friends and family to exclaim the great news, Mike let me know that we were headed to a fun restaurant back in Chicago to celebrate, just the two of us. Upon arriving at the restaurant, however, Mike pulled out his second surprise of the night – he had reserved a large private room at the restaurant and ensured all friends and family were in attendance to celebrate the engagement.
When did y’all get married? October 1, 2016.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part of planning the wedding was keeping my budget in check and trying to make sure all contributing family members were appeased!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My venue didn’t require me to use any predetermined list of vendors, so I was able to go out and find vendors that fit into my budget. I also did a lot of things on my own that many people may have paid for (created guest thank you gifts, addressed invites, paid for design of my programs, maps, etc. but printed them myself).
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? If at all possible, do what will make you and your husband happy and don’t worry about anyone else. It’s your day, and you both deserve for it to be exactly what you want it to be.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? It was the best day of my life. :)
Photographer: Landon Jacob | Planner: Jessica Rourke | Venue: Old Wide Awake Plantation | Florist:
Fern Floral & Event Design | Dessert Baker: Izzabee’s Confectioneries | Caterer: Southern Way Catering | Rentals: Party Reflections | Lighting: Rob McKenzie | DJ: Other Brother Entertainment | Guitar Player: Gregory Guay | Paper Products: Magnificent Milestones | Bride’s Gown: “Stella” by Sarah Seven | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: MiKel Rumsey | Bride’s Shoes: “Romy Gold” by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Varied Floor Length Tulle Gowns in Graphite by Amsale | Menswear: “Traveler Suit” in Grey by Jos A Bank | Guest Transportation: Coastal Limousine of Charleston | Couple’s Getaway Car: “Caroline” 1950 Bentley Motor Car from Vintage Limousine Service
Jessica Rourke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!