Wedding photographer and bride Lauren shares her Old Wide Awake Plantation wedding.
When you photograph beautiful weddings as your job, I can only imagine that it would become a bit challenging to narrow down all the lovely inspiration you’ve seen as you plan your own wedding day. That’s why I am excited to introduce y’all to our bride for today, Lauren! Not only is she a wedding photographer herself, but she knew exactly what she wanted! She says, “ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to get married on a plantation in Charleston. Once we stumbled upon Old Wide Awake Park and Plantation, we both just knew it was the perfect venue for us.” With friends and family traveling in from their home state of Maryland, she and Eddie knew they wanted to give their guests the full Lowcountry experience. After all, South Carolina is their new home! One other thing she also knew right off the bat: that she would wear that ever-amazing Hayley Paige gown! Two stellar choices I’d say. Keep reading to learn more about her sweet (and sparkly!) celebration.
Thanks to Natalie Franke for capturing Lauren and Eddie’s wedding!
Our welcome bags included treats that were local to the Charleston area in grit bags that read “Grits and Gratitude.” We wanted our guests to feel welcomed to our new home state the second they arrived! We also served Southern comfort food to our guests so they could have the full Charleston experience while they were in town: shrimp and grits, BBQ, pecan pie tarts… all delicious!
Since I am a wedding photographer, I had my eyes set on the Hayley Paige “Carrie” gown for quite some time. I had it all over my Pinterest board and even cut out of magazines hanging on my inspiration boards in my office. I knew that was the dress I wanted to get married in! The second I walked out of the dressing room, my mom started tearing up and my dad said, “Yep, that’s the one.”
Describe your wedding flowers. We wanted everything to have a just-picked-from-the-garden feel. Nothing rounded or tight, very organic feeling.
Eddie and I experienced a lot throughout our wedding planning process. It was filled with so many laughs and wonderful memories, but also some heartbreaking ones. Our wedding was rescheduled due to the hurricane, and we lost my grandfather two weeks before the wedding. Those experiences really tested our marriage before we were even married, and I can honestly say I couldn’t have picked a more understanding and kind man to do life with. This process strengthened us and I know we can get through anything together!
My first dance with my dad was Zac Brown Band’s “I’ll Be Your Man.” I am 100% a daddy’s girl (my dad even surprised me and took dancing lessons for our dance!), so it was extra sweet to dance with him to such a special song.
Eddie was so nervous but his vows were so beautiful. A verse from my vows: “Your kind heart, gentle smile, and unconditional love are things I adore endlessly. You always put others before yourself, can always see the positive in any situation, and are the hardest-working person I know. I always wanted to find a husband who had the traits of my father and with you, I know I have. I never knew someone could love me the way you do – without any hesitation and unconditionally.”
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was having to reschedule our wedding due to Hurricane Matthew. Our wedding date was originally October 7, 2016, but we cancelled everything the Tuesday before. My heart was broken and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. We had been planning the most incredible day to begin our marriage, and in a matter of hours, it had been completely rescheduled to a month and a half later. Thankfully, we had incredible wedding vendors and one incredible planner (thank you Margaret!). Everything was taken care of and our wedding day was unbelievable!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail from the wedding would have to be the cigar boxes that were used at the cigar bar. They were my grandfather’s, who passed away two weeks before the wedding, so it was very special that we could incorporate him and his memory into the wedding.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy the process! I always tell that to my brides! It goes SO fast, especially the last four months, so take time to slow down and enjoy each day together! It’ll be wedding day before you know it!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” being played by live violinists. It’s always been such a classic wedding song, and it always makes me cry at weddings, so I knew I wanted to have that same experience at our own wedding. Our first dance was Dan and Shay’s “From the Ground Up.” The first time we heard this song together, we knew it was perfect for us.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was a simple one tier cake for Eddie and me to share. It was a vanilla cake with wildberry whipped filling and a blackberry drizzle.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Eddie and I met through mutual friends at a local bar called The Greene Turtle in our hometown of Westminster, Maryland. After that night out, we randomly kept running into one another, and finally he had the courage to ask for my number. The rest, as they say, was history!
Tell us all about the proposal! We moved to South Carolina at the end of 2015, when Eddie accepted a job that would let us live five minutes from the beach. In March of 2016, the day before Eddie proposed, he woke me up before the sun was up and said, “We are going to the beach to watch the sunrise.” Since we had never gone to watch the sunrise, I knew something was up and I got so many butterflies. Once we got to the beach, he laid out our towels, had our favorite coffee and bagels ready to share, and I could tell he was acting differently. We sat there for about an hour and watched the most incredible sunrise… Then before I knew it, we were packed up in the car and headed home! He never proposed because he got so nervous! The next morning, he told me to get dressed up for dinner that evening because we would be going down to the Marshwalk for dinner and drinks. After we had a glass of champagne at our favorite place, we decided to walk down to the marsh to watch the sunset. As we were walking down, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” started playing over the speakers and when we reached the edge of the pier, he got down on one knee and proposed! So even though his plan was to propose at sunrise the day before, it turned out to be absolutely perfect!
When did y’all get married? November 26, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided on doing a first look! As a wedding photographer, I always love capturing first looks so I knew it was something I wanted to incorporate into our wedding. I also knew Eddie would be super nervous for our ceremony, so I thought us seeing each other before the ceremony would help calm some of his nerves – I was right!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did this blessing of the hands: “These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? I didn’t! Ah! What was I thinking?!
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 did a buffet-style dinner which definitely helped with the cost of the food!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Oh my gosh… I was incredibly happy with ALL of my vendors. I have to say though, I did fly two of my vendors in from Maryland, and I was so appreciative that they made the haul to Charleston for us. Natalie Franke (our photographer) and Jacob Jensen (our DJ): these two MADE our wedding absolutely everything I dreamed of. My planner, Margaret, truly made sure everything was taken care of and that I didn’t have to worry about a single thing the entire day – such an incredible and sweet lady!!!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When I danced with my mom, brother, and aunt to honor my grandfather’s life. It was a beautiful moment that I surprised them with – I know he would have loved it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We have another fun year of traveling planned, and Eddie will be joining me as an assistant for some of my destination weddings! I’m also looking forward to slowing down at some point and making more memories here in SC. We are definitely not ready for babies yet, but the idea of little Eddies running around does make me happy!
Photographer: Natalie Franke Photography | Second Photographer: Madison Short | Planner: Margaret McKenzie | Venue: Old Wide Awake Plantation | Florist: WildFlowers Inc. | Wedding Cake: Ashley Brown Cake Design | Caterer: Hamby Catering and Events | Rentals: EventHaus and Snyder Rental | Officiant: Christy Loftin | Ceremony Music: Bob Williams Duo | DJ: Jacob Jensen of District Remix | Paper Products: Shine Wedding Invitations | Bride’s Gown: “Carrie” by Hayley Paige | Bridal Salon: Coastal Knot Bridal | Bride’s Engagement Ring: Shipley’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry | Wedding Bands: Kay Jewelers | Hair and Makeup: Ash and Co. | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids | Getting Ready Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Men’s Attire: Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse | Transportation: ACW Limo | Favors: Mr. and Mrs. Match Boxes from For Your Party