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For Maggie and Jim, Charleston was the perfect place to celebrate yet another milestone in their story. Not only did they fall in love in the Holy City, they also felt that it embodied all of the qualities of the South that they hoped to share with their guests. With the help of their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor A Charleston Bride, Maggie and Jim planned an elegant day that was filled with classic white florals and beautiful, neutral details that somehow made the Gadsden House even more lovely than it already is!

Big SW hugs to Ashley Seawell for sending along this chic, Southern day!

I found my dress after a 14-hour work day with one of my closest friends, totally on a whim. My dress ended up being the first one I tried on. After trying on about 50 more dresses over the next month or so, I went back and bought the first one. I loved how different it was.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? A Charleston Bride. Without their patience and knowledge of all things wedding, we would have been so lost. My planner (Lindsey) and the ladies of A Charleston Bride are worth their weight in gold! I did not have to worry about a thing the day of the wedding.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a pocket bible that has been passed down in my family at each wedding ceremony for 100 years. My something borrowed was a diamond tennis bracelet my father had given to my mother, and my something new was a gold bracelet my mother-in-law gave me while getting ready for the wedding. My something blue was an undergarment!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Carrying my grandmother’s bible. My grandmother is 103 years old and was unable to make the trip to Charleston for the wedding. Carrying the Bible that she carried and that my mother carried meant the world to me.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We had originally planned to do a first look, but decided about one month before the wedding not to do one. It seemed so special to have the first time my husband saw me on our wedding day be when I walked down the aisle to meet him.

Charleston, South Carolina has a lot of meaning to both of us. Charleston is where we dated and where we fell in love. It has all of the qualities that embody the South. It is about great food and drinks, and beautiful, kind people. We tried to pull little pieces of the South into all aspects of our wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t worry about the small stuff. It does not matter if you get the perfect napkins or fabric, or even the perfect dress. The only thing that matters is that you have your closest friends and family there to celebrate the best day of your life with you. Because your wedding day is just that…the BEST day of your life.

Our wedding cake was my favorite part of the whole wedding (aside from winning the best groom). We had a local bakery make a three-tier wedding cake with three different flavors. The first layer was a coconut cake, the second was strawberry with fresh strawberries in the filling, and the top tier was pistachio. It was the best tasting wedding cake I have had, and you could really feel the baker’s passion for baking.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jim and I met at a friend’s beach house on New Year’s Eve. I was newly single and in medical school, and Jim was in law school about two hours away. I decided that there was no better way to start a new year fresh than to spend New Year’s with a fun group of people I had never met. They had all known each other for years and I felt slightly awkward and out of place…until I met Jim. Jim is the kind of guy who makes everyone feel at home, and the sparks started flying almost immediately. We spent the remainder of the night stargazing on the dock over the creek.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was living in Dallas doing an OB/GYN residency and Jim was living in Columbia for medical school (yes, you read that correctly, he went to both). Seeing each other could be quite difficult with two very demanding schedules. One weekend in January when Jim came out to Dallas to visit, he brought a diamond along with him! I had planned a big dinner with a group of residents and friends at a great Mexican restaurant, and Jim was supposed to get in around 8. While waiting for the plane to leave, the conveyor belt ran into the gas tank on Jim’s plane and everyone was asked to evacuate. Jim was told there were no more flights out for the night and that his only option was to be put in a cab to catch a flight out of a nearby city (100 miles away). Jim got in a cab with two strangers and rode to Charlotte, North Carolina–he was a man on a mission! He ultimately got into Dallas around midnight, long after dinner was over. Jim casually said, “Let’s go up on the roof and have a drink and take the puppy.” We tried to go on the roof, but it was locked because it was after midnight. Instead, we decided to take the dog on a walk. I was in yoga pants and bedroom slippers when Jim got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I immediately started crying and dropped the dog’s leash in my excitement, and she took off running down the street! After I got myself together and said YES, we went and found the puppy sitting patiently outside of the dog park gate. It was the most special proposal for us.
When did y’all get married? May 21, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I grew up in South Carolina eating boiled peanuts like they were an entrée! We had several little buckets of boiled peanuts on the bar top. We also had several Southern touches on our menu. Cru Catering does a perfect job of making special little Southern dishes. We had little ham biscuits and pimento cheese spreads, as well as fried oysters served on a seashell.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently living apart finishing up our training. We look forward to being able to travel as a couple, and eventually settle down in the South to grow some roots and start a family.

Photographer: Ashley Seawell Photography | Planner: Lindsey Shanks of A Charleston Bride | Ceremony Venue: French Huguenot Church of Charleston | Reception Venue: Gadsden House | Florist: Charleston Stems | Wedding Cake: Twenty Six Divine | Caterer: Cru Catering | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: IES Productions | DJ: Natty Heavy | Paper Products: Sweet Magnolia Paper | Bride’s Gown: Rosa Clara | Bride’s Jewelry: Maddison Row | Hair Stylist: Lindsey of Blushing Brides | Makeup Artist: Megan Grant via Bobbi Brown | Bride’s Shoes: Loeffler Randall | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Natalie Deayala | Men’s Attire: Berlin’s

A Charleston Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Rosa Clara is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    With so many beautiful weddings in our print issues, it’s always hard to pick a favorite. However, when the bride emulates Jackie O’s elegant style, describes her wedding day look as “Kennedy-inspired,” and then calls their wedding day theme “Southern elegance” with personal touches, it’s hard not to choose it as my favorite! Lauren and John knew that fall in the South was just too pretty to pass up, so after consulting both the SEC football schedule and the Farmer’s Almanac weather projections, they decided it was the perfect time to celebrate with their family and friends. Their wedding at the Rye Patch pairs a beautiful and romantic color palette with the crisp air of fall in such a way that is as classic as Jackie O. herself! With the help of her sweet mama, a talented artist, Lauren incorporated hand-painted floral watercolors into their details that added even more beauty and meaning to their day.

    Big SW hugs to Ashley Seawell for sharing her beautiful work with us in V8!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I emulate Jackie O’s crisp, elegant style and wanted something structured and architectural. I knew lace or ruching (though beautiful!) was not me, and the “no ruche, no lace” rule left some boutiques with literally nothing to show me. The Amsale Jane dress caught my eye immediately at The House of the Bride in Augusta. It was the second dress I tried on, but being a “researcher,” I did not make the decision until after I hit the Boston boutiques. As I’ve learned, first loves are hard to beat! My Kennedy-inspired “simple with a twist” look was answered by the Amsale gown, complete with the classic bateau neckline and streamlined silhouette, and the unexpected organza train in the back made my heart flutter. I’ve always been a big shoe lover, so when I found my white Chanel shoes with white soles (and thick enough heels so as to not aerate the outdoor lawn location), the look was complete. I wish I could wear it again!
    Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I let my bridesmaids select their own dresses, and I gave them guidance of a neutral color palette. They are each such beautiful, special women; I wanted to see those unique personalities come through in their dress selections and have them feel comfortable in a dress of their choosing. I loved the differing textures and colors, and each woman looked stunning! I couldn’t have picked out better dresses if I tried.

    Our two biggest themes were “Southern elegance” and “personal,” so we wanted our fingerprints all over the wedding. The ceremony was one of the most intimate and important details to us. We wrote our whole ceremony together, and the judge John clerked for was the officiant. Since we wrote the ceremony ourselves and are both music lovers, we viewed the ceremony and the music as our readings. We borrowed a line from a Native American blessing that we still love, as it speaks both the individuality and plurality of marriage: “Now you are two persons, but there are three lives before you: his life, her life and your life together.” Judge Cothran also imparted words of wisdom to “always have fun,” and we bring up his advice to provide perspective when we need it.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you?The venue was very important to ensure our classic Southern theme would come to life. Since we both grew up in Augusta, we wanted to get married in that area. We established two criteria: an outdoor venue with live oaks for the ceremony, and the ceremony and reception sites being within walking distance, so people only had to park once. When my mom sent pictures of Hopelands Gardens and The Rye Patch, we immediately fell in love with the location. It was the perfect venue for us.

    We wanted the menu to scream Southern, but also include some family recipes. We had a carving station with beef tenderloin, Augusta green jacket salad, charcuterie and cheeses, shrimp and grits, and grilled pimento cheese with tomato soup, to name a few dishes. Boiled peanuts were strategically placed outside on various tables for people to snack on.

    Tell us about your wedding flowers. Karin Jeffcoat of Cote Designs has exquisite taste, and incredible vision and execution. I wanted organically shaped bouquets, maidenhair ferns, and the feel that the flowers had been plucked from a Southern grandmothers’ beautiful garden for an afternoon party. Even though it was a fall wedding, we wanted a soft color palette for the wedding: moss greens, pale peach and whites. In the reflecting pool at the ceremony location, Karin built floating magnolia leaf wreaths around lanterns that shifted when the wind blew — it was stunning. She nailed that natural, simply elegant look, accented with vintage gold, brass and cut glass vessels. My mom’s hand-painted watercolors of botanicals and flowers echoed this theme and added extra personal touches to our décor. All the boutonnieres had flies tied on by the groom, in honor of his favorite pastime of fly fishing.

    Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My mother is an artist, and she hand-painted watercolors of flowers/ferns/succulents to hang on the ceremony chairs and be placed at the reception tables. They also served as the artwork for the printed materials (gift bags and ceremony program), and the guests could take them as a parting gift. She also made pillows for the benches that screen grafted botanical prints. She’s incredibly talented, and I cannot thank her enough. My dad passed away from cancer in 2007. We celebrated him with meaningful details, which reminded me throughout the day that he is always with us: a surprise small framed picture in my bouquet so he could still “walk me” down the aisle, his famous mashed potato recipe served at dinner, and my brother and I’s dance to “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” by The Four Tops, which was my dad’s favorite song. My mom, Todd, and I all danced together and had everyone laughing. Finally, we made a donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of guests “in loving memory of those who have fought and lost, in loving appreciation of those who have fought and won, and in loving support of those who are still fighting.”

    Our thought was that if one cake is good, 10 is better. We wanted the look of handmade treats brought in by many people, so we had several cakes, both naked and frosted, in different flavors. Cote Designs made sweetgrass pedestals and also placed some in bell jars. Coconut cake was the main cake, and displayed a topper from John’s parents’ wedding. We also served red velvet, seven-layer caramel as the charm pull cake, a German chocolate torte, pound cake with fresh berries and cream (John’s favorite), and my grandmother’s famous chocolate cake recipe.

    How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. In 2000, before heading to high school soccer practice in our hometown of Augusta, John approached me on the tennis court to introduce himself. At that moment, a 15-year road started. We reconnected as a couple in 2010 during a trip home to Augusta. We survived long distance between small town South Carolina and small town New Hampshire, until John made the ultimate romantic gesture: taking the Massachusetts Bar. That is probably the first and only time the Massachusetts Bar exam has been described as being romantic! John very graciously took his second state law exam so I could pursue my career in health care in Boston. After three wonderful years (and an engagement!) in New England, we moved back to Charleston the week before our wedding for John’s new job at a law firm downtown. Through our decade and a half of adventures, we have come to believe in the old saying: “Good things come to those who wait.”
    Describe the proposal: In September 2013, John took me on a “mystery trip” (an activity we try to surprise each other with a few times a year) to Woodstock, Vermont. Woodstock is a classically charming New England town that has a special place in our history, as we visited for dinner and skiing several times during his visits to see me in business school. September in Vermont meant beautiful foliage–the perfect backdrop for a very memorable day. We went for a walk after breakfast, and John asked me to marry him in front of a classic Vermont covered bridge. After sharing the news with friends and family, we went for a hike and had dinner at our favorite spot, where (knowing how sentimental I am) he had pre-selected handmade wine glasses ready for us to enjoy during the meal and take home as a keepsake. We are still enjoying those glasses at dinners at home in Charleston.
    Tell us all the basics of your wedding! On October 11, 2014, we had outdoor ceremony in Hopelands Gardens and a reception at the Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina. The 4:30 P.M. ceremony and beautifully sunny day took us into a gorgeous, dance-filled night under the stars (no tents! Which was a nervous gamble, but it paid off when the weather cooperated!). Both being huge SEC fans, I always joked that no self-respecting Southern woman would get married on a Saturday in the fall…which I promptly did anyway because the time of year for an outdoor wedding was too good to pass up. When picking a date, we consulted both the football schedules and the Farmer’s Almanac weather projections. In retrospect the “not too bad” game weekend ended up being closer/bigger than we had originally thought, but people were too busy dancing the night away to be missing the Dawgs or Crimson Tide too much!
    Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, Southern, elegant
    How many guests attended your wedding? Approximately 170 of our favorite people from all over the country gathered in Aiken for the weekend. We were able to rent out The Willcox, a historic, charming inn less than a mile away from Hopelands for most of our family and wedding party to stay in.
    Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Having the judge John clerked for and remains close to officiating was very personal and special to both of us.
    What was the design inspiration for your reception? The Rye Patch is a historic estate maintained by the city of Aiken. I wanted our reception to feel like it was a backyard reception at an elegant Southern grandmother’s home. The natural landscape and the pristine interior were a stunning backdrop, to which Karin at Cote Designs and my crafty mom added special details throughout. We risked it and went no-tent (not going to lie, that did cause a lot of anxiety in the days leading up to the event!), but the layout helped transition from sunset into the nighttime dancing. It was a magical garden dinner and dancing party under bistro lighting hanging from the huge oak tree. We loved it!
    Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? We included family recipes and favorite dishes into the menu, including my dad’s famous mashed potatoes, John’s favorite cake, and my grandmother’s frosting recipe. We also had the wedding pictures of our parents and grandparents near the parting birdseed and vintage postcards that served as our guest book.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Moving 1,000 miles from Boston to Charleston the week before the wedding and John starting a new job meant a lot of exciting change in October. We are looking forward to exploring our new hometown of Charleston, finally being within driving distance of family in Augusta, and enjoying our time as husband and wife.
    What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If you are having an outdoor wedding, the rental costs for the space can be lower, but don’t forget about all the rentals you have to bring in (chairs, tables, linens, lighting, etc.). Don’t forget to check how much power you’ll need for lighting and a band…you may need an extra generator at the last minute!
    Who was your favorite vendor and why? My mom is the MVP–she was incredibly patient, creative, and dedicated. We could not have had the wedding of our dreams without her support and love. Thank you to her, all our vendors, and to all our friends and family who made this day so special for us.

    Photographer: Ashley Seawell | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Florals and Event Design: Cote Designs Floral and Event Designs | Ceremony Venue: Hopelands Gardens | Reception Venue: Rye Patch | Caterer: Tastefully Yours, LLC | Cake Baker: Donna Jannik | Bride’s Gown: “Jane” by Amsale | Bridal Salon and Veil: House of the Bride | Bride’s Shoes: Chanel | Hair Stylist: Hair by Robbin | Makeup Artist: Alexandria Taylor | Groom’s Fashion: Brooks Brothers | Rentals: Goodwin Events and All Star Events | Vintage China, Flatware, and Glassware: Southern Vintage | Linens: Nuage Designs and Cote Designs | Transportation: Lewis Bus Line | Videographer:Cinema Couture | Strings Ceremony Music: The Henrys | Gospel Trio: The Pinckney Sisters | Reception Music: The ATL Groove Factory | Bride’s Bouquet Ribbon: Silk and Willow | Rings: Boston Platinum | Calligraphy: Ann Erickson

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
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      Friends! We’ve been carefully adding talented new folks to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory all spring, many thanks to your recommendations! This time around, we’re introducing you to a few of them through their answers to some of our favorite BRV interview questions. Click through to their listings to find out more about them!

      Photo by Katelyn James

      Name: Amore Events by Cody
      Where you call home: Charlottesville, Virginia
      Favorite part of a wedding day? When the bride and groom come in and see the reception all set up before any of the guests come in. They get to see everything they dreamed about and planned for all put together and beautiful!

      Name: Ashley Seawell
      Where you call home: Aiken, South Carolina
      Favorite Southern city? I was married in Savannah so it will always be my favorite city!

      Name: Brita Photography
      Where you call home: Atlanta, Georgia
      Best piece of advice for brides and grooms? Don’t let the little obstacles get in the way of what really matters on your wedding day (and in your journey together). Cherish the entire day! It goes by entirely too fast!

      Name: Butterfly Gap Retreat
      Where you call home: Maryville, Tennessee
      How I got into weddings: Funny story! My parents owned 900 acres of undisturbed mountain property, and I was engaged! After building a 12-acre lake for their private use, we decided the peninsula on the water would be the perfect backdrop for my outdoor wedding. Not wanting to have a reception in a tent, we contacted my uncle, a local architect, to build a special events building. After my wedding, we decided to start a family special events business and bed and breakfast. We started with the reception facility and three guesthouses. Now we also offer an indoor wedding facility and are under construction on our seventh guesthouse. Our little family of five has come a long way!

      Name: Christina Banner Cakes
      Where you call home: Newland, NC
      Favorite part of a wedding day? The part of a wedding day that I enjoy the most is actually a part that the bride and groom rarely see. It happens one or two hours before the reception begins, when all of the vendors are busy doing their thing. The band is rehearsing, the cake is being set up, last minute touches are being added to the table settings, and so on. There is so much energy and anticipation in the room, as all of the hard work and preparation starts to come together for the big event!

      Name: Courtney Dox
      Where you call home: Columbia, South Carolina
      Favorite part of a wedding day? I have two! One of my favorite parts of a wedding day is the moment right before a father walks his daughter down the aisle. I love to watch Dad’s eyes well up as he breathes deeply, trying to keep it together, because he just realized he’s about to give his baby girl away. Gets me every time! I also love to watch the bride and groom cut a rug on the dance floor!

      Name: Dark Roux
      Where you call home: New Orleans, Louisiana
      How we got into weddings: We eloped and have no photographs from our very special day. We didn’t mind at first, but once we had children and realized we had no images to share with them, it really bummed us out. The very first wedding we shot was an elopement on Mardi Gras day, and we were very excited to have the opportunity to give the couple the photos that we missed out on. We really fell in love with preserving those special moments for people on one of the most important days in their lives, so we made wedding photography our priority!

      Photo by Landon Jacob

      Name: Fern Studio
      Where you call home: Columbia, SC
      Best piece of advice for brides and grooms? Work hard at the beginning to find vendors who compliment your style and understand your vision. Hire them. Give them some loose inspiration but the freedom to do their best work. You’ll get it.

      Name: Fresh. Local. Good. Food Group
      Where you call home: Greensboro, NC
      Favorite thing about weddings in the South? There are so many! Warm nights and fireflies. The charm that comes with bow ties and bluebonnets. A gathering of friends and family in wide open spaces. The “y’all’s” and the prayers and the “bless your hearts”. More than anything, it’s the comfort of easy love: no fuss, definitely frills, and lots of fun.

      Name: Floral & Bloom
      Where you call home: Always been a Maryland girl
      Things you’d write home to your Momma about: I love sharing exciting news with my momma… oh, and I can’t forget about my grandma! Having my work featured on Southern Weddings and Style Me Pretty is such an honor! I would be really proud to tell them that I am following my dreams and doing something I truly love, and that their support means the world to me.

      Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings – namely, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email emily at southernweddings.com!

      emily Written with love by Emily
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        Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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