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Author: Catherine

Bride Katey shares her fun Lowcountry wedding weekend with us!

With so many couples having destination weddings these days, I love the way that weddings have become weekend-long vacations to spend with friends and family! I have rarely heard of a couple doing that as well as Katey and Bill, who spent the entire week before the wedding spending quality time with friends and family all over the Lowcountry!

Katey explains, “We spent the week before the wedding at Disney’s Hilton Head Island resort with our family and almost our entire wedding party. We led bike trips around Hilton Head, spent days on the beach and at the pool, and were generally treated like royalty by the Disney staff. On the Thursday before our Saturday wedding, the Mother-of-the-Bride and Maid of Honor planned a girls day in nearby Savannah, GA. All the women guests attending the wedding were invited for historic horse drawn carriage tours through Savannah (with custom to-go cocktails), and then we lunched in the garden at The Brice. While the women were lunching, the guys did a pub crawl around Savannah. Katey’s mom also rented a beautiful house with a porch overlooking the chapel. It became the place all week to sit and watch the guests biking around the resort, and to call down and say hi.”

That relaxed pace and focus on fun memories made together sounds like a great wedding week to me! Read on to hear about the special guest who made an appearance at Katey and Bill’s reception!

Tell us how you picked your wedding venue! We grew up in the northeast and live in San Francisco, but we had vacationed in Hilton Head and absolutely fell in love with it. It was our first week-long vacation together, and was a time when we fell even deeper in love. There was something about the pace of life in the South that caused us to slow down and be present in a way that we rarely could be back home.

The incredible landscape of the South Carolina Lowcountry was the inspiration for our design. We wanted the natural beauty of our surroundings to be reflected in and enhanced by our design, and our wedding planner and florist executed the vision perfectly. We mostly worked with colors that could be found in the landscape, so lots of greens and blues.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? The advice that we received was to stay together during the wedding, and just enjoy it together. We followed that, never really being apart for more than a few minutes. It really made the evening feel like an evening for the two of us, instead of just a bunch of friends and family. We’d give that same advice to anyone else getting married.

Bill tried on his wedding ring the day before the wedding, only to find that in the South Carolina humidity, it no longer fit! His brother & best man Kyle took him to 3 different jewelers before they found one that could resize same-day… crisis averted.

Finding the right wedding dress was much more of a challenge than I expected! I knew I wanted something with clean lines, but that wasn’t plain or boring. I pretty quickly decided that silk crepe was the material that suited my vision best, but most dress options seemed to be of the lace and tulle variety. When I tried on my dress, I knew instantly that it was the one. Just the right amount of simplicity and elegance from the material with unique and detailed beadwork on the back and on the cap sleeves.

What was your reception like? In order to fully soak in the beauty of the surroundings, we held dinner al fresco on the village green. We had lights strung over the dining area and candles adorning the historic ruins on the lawn. We had speeches from the father of the bride and the best man. We also decided to say a few words too, to thank all our friends and loved ones for traveling so far to celebrate. As we told them, the wedding ceremony was for us, but the reception was for the family and friends who supported us and loved us throughout our lives. Later in the evening, Bill arranged for a surprise visit from Boston College’s mascot, Baldwin the Eagle – who charged into dinner to the BC fight song. Katey was stunned! Baldwin then lead everyone upstairs into the River House for coffee and dessert, and the Steel Toe Stilettos started the dance party. Upstairs revolved around a central dance floor, but we had couches and seating on the wraparound porch for people to eat dessert and chat.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We both went to Boston College (Class of 2007), but never met during our 4 years of college. On the first night of our 5-year reunion, at the infamous college dive bar, Mary Ann’s, we finally met. Bill bought a round of drinks. Katey responded with a Game of Thrones quote about Lannisters always paying their debts and then bought him a drink in return. The rest was history. We dated long distance between Boston and Palo Alto, CA for two years before settling together in California, where we’ve lived ever since.
Describe the proposal! Bill invited me to join him last minute for a weekend before a “work trip” to Las Vegas. When we got there we “realized” that all the hotels were sold out because it was the weekend of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, so we made a “last minute” trip out to Zion National Park for the weekend. We went for a hike, and Bill started sweating a little more than usual (it looked like it was about to start raining!) We paused for a moment on a ridge with a commanding view, and Bill set up his tripod to take a picture, but to my surprise, he didn’t pose – instead he got down on one knee. Then he dropped the ring, but managed to stop it from rolling off the cliff. I said yes! Then we went to dinner that night, and “just happened” to run into our parents (from Massachusetts and New Jersey) at the same restaurant right outside Zion National Park! After a great dinner, we spent the night and then a family weekend in Las Vegas.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Our officiant, Saral, was kind enough to host us for a long weekend at her house in Ojai, California. She walked us through three days of reflection and exercises on marriage and developing a shared family mission – we’re so glad we did that! Over that time, Saral became a close friend and mentor to us, and we’ve planned trips back to visit her as we float through an incredible first year of marriage.
How many guests attended your wedding? 140.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Since we live in San Francisco and don’t have family in South Carolina, the logistics of getting everything there were quite challenging and involved more than a few trips to FedEx! Luckily our amazing wedding planner Ashley gladly volunteered to be our “wedding warehouse” for a few weeks.
Tell us about the rehearsal dinner. We held a rehearsal dinner for the bridal party and family where we had a Lowcountry boil and the requisite speeches (including the presentation of the Groom’s Cake!). We followed that up with a welcome party, featuring the Cluster Shucks, who played some great bluegrass and got everyone excited for the festivities to come. Towards the end of the night, they played a few crowd-pleasers, ending with a massive sing-along to “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. The sing-along continued with them on the trolleys home.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? The groomsmen (and the dads) went skeet shooting in the morning, followed by a few cocktails and lunch. Bill sent over a wedding gift to Katey: a set of hoop diamond earrings custom-made by Cresalia Jewelers in San Francisco. Katey opened them as her mom looked on.
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. Early in the ceremony, our officiant Saral asked us to turn around and just look at our friends and family. This was pretty untraditional. In most wedding ceremonies you face forward, towards the officiant. It was a special moment to be able to look out at all our friends and family who had traveled so far to celebrate with us.
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? We drank from the Sullivan family chalice, which has been used in family ceremonies for over 50 years. (Bill finished the whole thing.)
Did you have a cocktail hour? Our cocktail hour was right outside the church overlooking the candlelit ruins, and thanks to our fantastic wedding planner, it was timed perfectly for sunset. Katey and Bill escaped for a bit down to the dock to share a quiet moment alone – it couldn’t have been timed better, because “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was playing across the water, and a pod of dolphins swam past.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to Beyonce’s “Love On Top.” In our true style, we scheduled a very last minute, single dance lesson to prepare the week before the wedding… but in our opinion, we crushed it!
Did you take a honeymoon? We went to beautiful French Polynesia, where we spent a week touring islands on a catamaran chartered by Tahiti Yacht Charters, followed by a week at the St Regis, Bora Bora.
What’s next for you as a couple? Thirty days before our wedding, we bought our first house together in San Francisco. (And we moved in the week before we left for the wedding!) So a lot of our downtime together these days is in doing home fix-ups and just settling in. We also have lots of friends’ weddings to celebrate!

Photographer: Perry Vaile Photography | Videographer: Life in Rewind | Planner and designer: Ashley Rhodes Event Designs | Ceremony venue: May River Chapel at Montage Palmetto Bluff | Rehearsal dinner and reception venue, caterer, and wedding cake: Montage Palmetto Bluff | Florals: Em Creative Floral | Bride’s gown: Rosa Clara | Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bride’s earrings: Cresalia Jewelers | Bridesmaid dresses: Newport Crinkle Chiffon by Jim Hjelm | Hair and makeup: Bride’s Side Beauty | Men’s fashion: Indochino | Paper goods: Lowcountry Paper Co. | Rentals: EventHaus Rentals | Linens: Nuage Designs | Sound: Stage Front Production Services | Ceremony music: Charleston Virtuosi | Reception band: Steel Toe Stiletto | Photobooth: EPIC Charleston | Transportation: Old Savannah Tours

Written with love by Catherine
4 Comments
  1. avatar Zookbinders reply

    Great images. Looks so fun! Beautiful wedding!

  2. avatar Neza Reisner reply

    Stunning wedding!!

  3. avatar Peter Kiral reply

    So happy to be a part of this awesome wedding ceremony with the Charleston Virtuosi string quartet! Good luck guys !

  4. avatar Liana – AisleMemories reply

    Wow what a lovely wedding! I absolutely love the wedding colors – that shade of blue is perfect. All of their decorations were just wonderful. Congratulations to Katey and Bill!

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It’s been a busy and exciting week for the Marks family, as we just moved into our first house yesterday! This might explain why the first goal on my 2018 PowerSheets is to create a life-giving home. One of the most exciting things about newlywed life is getting to plan what kind of household you’re going to run together! This goes much deeper than the decor or furniture arrangement. We want our home to be inviting and cozy: a place where people feel like they can be themselves and make a mess. And yes, nothing gives me life like our home being organized, simplified, and beautiful too!

As long-time apartment renters, we’re still getting used to the idea that we’re allowed to change major things! Now please note that I’m a firm believer in your ability to do more than you think in a small space and rental. You can see the beloved apartment we just said farewell to (with its bold navy paint and many heavy things on the walls) here for proof! But now that the only thing holding us back is our budget, we’re especially busy planning, making lists, and most importantly, digging into the Southern Newlywed archives for inspiration.

Today I’m having a ball sharing some of the gorgeous and brilliant ideas I want to borrow from our Southern newlyweds!

The Kitchen

Obviously I love Megan and Jeremy’s blue, white, and gold home with its plentiful ginger jars, pops of green and pink, and a bedroom that looks VERY familiar. But what I can’t believe is how her kitchen looks just like my plan for our new kitchen’s “after” as well! We have a very similar backsplash and countertop color except that our cabinets are currently ivory. This photo is my proof that white cabinets will blend in beautifully!

The Front Porch

While our front porch is not as generous as this one, and we won’t have room for this delightful sectional sofa, we do have a front porch! Christine and Drew’s cozy couch with its pillows and throw blanket are along the lines of what I’m thinking. I want our porch to be a relaxing place to sip an Arnold Palmer and watch the world go by once the warm weather comes back!

The Exterior

I can sense my husband getting nervous now, so I will note this is a long-term dream, but someday I would love to paint the house white and the shutters black like Sarah and JB’s classic home!

My Office

One of the biggest selling points for our new house was the room for me to have a designated office! No more working in our bedroom! I’m just thrilled about my new sunny workspace. The plan is to make it cheery and colorful (with all my Write the Word journals on display for starters!) like Maghon’s!

The Living Room

I am all about adding comfortable seating for conversation, and these buffalo check armchairs are everything! Also, note Jillian and Hayden’s well-styled bookshelves.

The Dining Room

Our dear Kristin and Kyle have moved back to the tar heel state, and I sincerely hope this amazing farmhouse table and colonial chairs came with them. We don’t need a new dining room table, but I’m going to try to find a smaller version of both for our breakfast nook!

The Master Bedroom

We both really loved our moody, navy walls, but I think I’m ready to try an all-neutral bedroom with just some pops of pink, gold, and blue! Luckily, we have everything we need already to make that happen. But, I have always wanted to update our bedding to something monogrammed just like Megan and Josh’s duvet cover and shams!

The Nursery

Last, but not least, I can’t forget our sweet little girl’s room! Her nursery will be pretty identical to what it was in our old place since we just set it up six months ago, but it was inspired by a Southern Newlywed column! Our dear friends Erin and Ryan have since moved back to their beloved South Carolina into a darling Old Village of Mount Pleasant home, but they let us borrow these amazing Lilly Pulitzer curtains!

Needless to say, this is a very long-term project, even if we focus on it all year! That’s one of my favorite things about married life: the ongoing project of tending to your home together.

Written with love by Catherine
2 Comments
  1. avatar James Wedding Photography Ireland reply

    I’m building up my new home and as a photographer I loved the images and ideas, thanks for sharing ;)

  2. avatar Denise reply

    Is this feature ever coming back? It was my favorite!

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Bride Maggie shares her waterfront wedding at her groom’s family home!

I have a real soft spot for weddings hosted at the bride or groom’s family home. After all, there isn’t a venue much more personal than that, and you’re unlikely to have already been to someone else’s wedding there before! That’s why the sentiment behind today’s couple’s perfect ceremony location is so sweet. Bride Maggie shared, “After looking at several out-of-town venues, we both felt that something was missing. We wanted something personal, special and unique to the two of us that we could make our own. We wanted something that felt like home. Then we realized that our venue was in right in front of us: between two coconut palms in the backyard of Michael’s childhood home on Davis Islands, overlooking the the Hillsborough Bay. Home to Michael’s parents with his grandmother residing next door, this property has been in Michael’s family for nearly 70 years and been the backdrop for family celebrations and gatherings for six generations. With the help of Ian Prosser and Zoe Gallina of Botanica, our dream became a reality.”

Maybe the best part is that while the groom and his groomsmen proceeded out of his family home, Maggie and her dad were able to hide away and make their entrance from his grandmother’s home right next door! Read on for more of the lovely details behind this waterfront wedding!

Big hugs to Justin Demutiis for sharing this celebration with us!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. Growing up in Atlanta, we would always drive by an adorable, vintage bridal store called Kelly’s Closet. I always dreamed of getting my dress there one day, but never really thought it would happen. Kelly’s Closet was our first stop when we went dress shopping, and I tried on a beautiful Tulle NY gown. It was the perfect dress: simple elegance and a great skirt for a good twirl. My mom, my mom’s best friend, and my two best friends were with me and we all agreed: it was the one.

We did a first look and wouldn’t have a changed a thing about it. It was important to us to have an intimate moment between just the two of before the wedding, and it truly did ease our nerves. We will never forget how special that time was together.

Our ceremony was incredibly special. For starters, my bridesmaids, my dad and I walked to the procession from Michael’s grandmother’s home, and Michael, his groomsmen, and our family walked out from his parent’s home. My Uncle Nelson is an amazing musician. He joined the string quartet with his mandolin and played Rod Stewart’s “Maggie Mae” as my Dad and I walked down the aisle. Our officiant, Reverend Kathy Conner, performed a meaningful and special ceremony. Before we said our vows, Kathy asked that we turn around and face our guests. She told us to look at everyone there to support us. She told us to remember the moment as these are the people that love you and will continue to love us and support us for the rest of our lives. We were able to take in the moment and it is a part of our ceremony that was so moving for both of us. At the end of the ceremony, as Michael and I were announced as Mr. & Mrs, Michael’s brother-in-law coordinated a celebratory cannon salute from a friend’s boat in the bay. They even had binoculars to watch for our kiss as their cue. It was pretty spectacular.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? It is so hard to pick the most memorable moment because the entire day was filled with incredible ones! One of my favorites was the gardenias in my bouquet and flower crown and on Michael’s boutonnière. The Gardenia flower is my mom’s favorite.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I can’t write about the songs without writing about the band. We chose Yacht Rock Revue from Atlanta, my home town. I had seen them perform numerous times in Atlanta. They play the smoothest hits from the 1970s and 80s, dress the part, and have the ability to connect with anyone aged 9 to 90. They are incredibly fun, wildly talented and really entertaining. We walked toward the dance floor as the band introduced us as Mr. and Mrs. to “Silly Love Songs.” It’s just a feel good song that we both love, it has a great beat, and fits with the theme we wanted to create for the evening. Our first dance was to “God Only Knows.” We were listening to The Beach Boys Pet Sounds album one weekend and this one spoke to us. It’s just a classic, sweet, beautifully composed song that we both love. I danced with my dad to Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey.” It’s his favorite song by his favorite artist. In his welcome speech at the reception, he dedicated the song to his Tupelo Honey, my mom. Michael and his Mom danced to “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Michael’s grandmother used to sing this to him when he was a child.

Tell us all about the proposal! When I got home from work on a Friday afternoon, Michael was waiting for me on the dock at our house where he proposed! It was absolutely perfect. After he proposed, Michael told me to get ready and that there was another surprise waiting. We got in the car and drove to his parents’ home. Michael surprised me with both of our families and our closest friends waiting to celebrate with us. It was one of the happiest days of our lives.
When did y’all get married? December 10, 2016.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300.
What did you serve for your wedding cake? Our wedding cake was vanilla chiffon cake with raspberry buttercream and cream cheese icing (Michael’s choice) and amaretto chiffon cake with cream cheese icing and toasted almonds.
What was Southern about your wedding? We had an emphasis on family and tradition. They shaped our lives, and made us who we are. Also, there is nothing more Southern than having your first dance under a grand oak with lanterns hanging from the beautiful branches.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was the anticipation of having all of our friends and family together in one place.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The guest list. Michael and I come from very large families and both cast a very wide net of friends so it was definitely hard making the cuts and tough decisions.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? One of my most memorable moments was just before the ceremony. From Michael’s grandmother’s house, my Dad and I had a perfect view of all of the guests arriving, my mom being walked down the aisle by my two brothers, Michael and his groomsmen, and my bridesmaids walking in the procession. My dad and I shared a special, tearful moment, as we prepared for our walk to my soon-to-be husband. Walking down the aisle on my Dad’s arm, and seeing Michael at the end of the aisle was breathtaking and a moment I’ll never forget.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Do not think too hard about the details. Remember that the most important thing is your the ceremony, and y’all being together with your dear family and friends. It will be the best night of your life.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? It was magical.

Photographer: Justin Demutiis | Videographer: Voila Cinematic | Planner and Florist: Zoe Gallina | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Palori Family Home | Wedding Cake Baker: Hand’s On Sweets | Caterer: Puff n’ Stuff | Rentals:
AFR Furniture Rentals, A Chair Affair, US Tent Rental | Lighting: The Production Crew | Band: Yacht Rock Revue | Paper Products: A&P Designs | Bride’s Gown: Tulle NY from Kelly’s Closet | Jewelry and Shoes: BHLDN | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Elena Joseph | Groom’s Attire: SuitSupply | Transportation: Ambassador Limos | Parking: 717 Parking

Justin Demutiis is a lovely member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory!

Written with love by Catherine
6 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Those bridal party and groomsmen shots are pure gold!! So joyful and sweet!

  2. avatar Tegan reply

    love love LOVE the black and white dance floor – its on the ‘must’ list for our wedding

  3. avatar Sheffield Wedding Photographer reply

    Great Photos Justin! Beautiful inspiration

  4. avatar Maria reply

    What a gorgeous wedding! And great photography.

  5. avatar Sheffield Wedding Photographer reply

    Wow! Lost for words. What a great post!

  6. avatar Maggie + Michael – Justin DeMutiis Photography reply

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