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When you combine the word “magnolia” with “plantation” and then throw in an adorable couple, it’s a very safe bet that I’m going to swoon over the wedding! And while I’m not a betting woman, maybe I should be, because McKenna and Matt’s wedding at Magnolia Plantation is the sort of Southern wedding sweetness I can’t get enough of. It might be partially due to their colorful blooms from Branch Design Studio, but while those are stunning, I’m pretty sure it’s their contagious smiles and how smitten they are with each other. I adore how head over heels in love these two are–just look at McKenna’s post-ceremony smile! Pure bliss!

Big hugs to Dana Cubbage for sharing this delightful day!

I found my beautiful wedding dress at J. Major’s Bridal boutique in Charlotte! I was with my mom and my sister, and it was my birthday weekend. I knew in my head what I wanted my dress to look like, but I tried on a few different styles as that was what I was told to do. When I explained what my vision was, CJ at J. Majors pulled the most perfect gown. It was the Dakota from Enzoani, and I LOVED it. I bought it on the spot…best birthday present ever!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did! Our photographer highly recommended it for the timeline to go as smoothly as possible and she was absolutely right! My sweet hubby was so nervous as I walked up to him and tapped his shoulder…he said his knees were shaking! We both had immediate happy tears when we saw one another and it was one of the best moments of the day!

We love Charleston! I am from New Orleans, and Charleston has the historic charm and architectural beauty that reminds me of home. We fell in love with the breathtaking views at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. We truly wanted our guests to have a full experience at our wedding and this was the perfect venue for us!

Describe your wedding flowers. Perfect, stunning, classic, and elegant! I was absolutely obsessed. I even pressed all of the flowers from my bouquet so I wouldn’t have to throw them away! This was one of my splurges and I am so glad that I did….YAY for Branch Design Studios!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended UNC-Asheville from 2006-2010. He played baseball and I played soccer in college, and the athletes tended to stick together! We became friends freshman year and two of my teammates (and later bridesmaids) and I were always hanging out with him and his group of friends. I always seemed to have a boyfriend, and Matt patiently waited until February of our senior year in college when I was finally single, to ask me to dinner for Valentine’s Day. We have been together for five years since then, and I am so lucky that I was able to call Matt my best friend for nine years, my boyfriend for five, my fiancé, and now my sweet hubby!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were spending New Year’s and celebrating a late Christmas in Miami with Matt’s family, as we usually do. Part of my Christmas present from Matt was a trip to Key West because I had never been there before, and he knew I would love it. We planned to go the morning of New Year’s Day. We got on the road early and had a three-and-a-half hour drive. During that drive, I recapped the conversation of the night before, which revolved around people getting engaged and married and so on and so forth. I said, “We just aren’t like everyone else I guess–we aren’t a traditional couple! We will just probably get married later in life.” He quickly changed the subject to our amazing dinner we had reservations for at Latitudes on Sunset Key (because the ring was in the back seat and he was starting to sweat!). We had the best seat in the house at Latitudes–a table about 20 yards from the water, overlooking the sunset and the beautiful sailboats passing by…pure bliss! Matt asked our waiter to take some pictures of us with the sunset.The waiter even told me to fix my hair because it was “sorta messed up” (he knew what was about to go down, thank God!). We took three pictures, and Matt asked him to take just one more. I turned to pose, and when I turned back around again, Matt was on one knee with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen in my life, saying “Will you marry me?” I was in absolute shock! Then the tears came. Finally, he got off his knee and said, “So, is that yes?” I said YES and he put that ring on my finger as the restaurant cheered us on.
When did y’all get married? February 27, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I can’t pick, but I loved our oyster shell escort cards because my mother and I had painted them all!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my veil, which was made by my grandmother and worn by my mother and my sister–so special! I had my new monogram and wedding date sewed into my dress as a tag. I had it made with blue thread. All my jewelry was brand new, J. Crew perfection. For something old, I wore my favorite gold Target sandals–nothing special, but perfect for dancing!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I just started a new job! We are just soaking up being married and loving every minute of it!

Photographer: Dana Cubbage | Videographer: Anchor Films | Planner: Jessica Cruz | Venue: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Cake Baker: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: B. Gourmet | Rentals: Event Works | Lighting: AV Connections | DJ: EPIC | Bride’s Gown: “Dakota” by Enzoani | Bride’s Jewelry and Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson and Target | Menswear: Menguin | Getaway Car: LowCountry Valet

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    It has been just over three months since my wedding, and what I think I’ll always remember most about that day is how gosh darn happy I felt. Looking through these images of Jenica and Dylan’s celebration, it’s so clear that they could say the same! They look so full of joy, from Jenica’s time getting ready with her girls, right down to their fabulous reception. I especially loved reading about their most memorable moments, because they’re probably ones that they didn’t anticipate being favorites. The unexpected moments are what make every wedding totally unique, and the ones Jenica and Dylan experienced are sweet as can be!

    Thanks so much to Robert J Hill for sharing this special day with us!

    I had gone to about four appointments at different bridal salons in Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, always with multiple friends and family. I finally found what I was looking for on a solo outing. Dylan was working that Saturday and I was new to the area and didn’t have many friends, so I went exploring on my own. When I saw the adorable bridal shop in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, I thought, “Why not, I’m engaged and still in need of a dress.” Without an appointment, I found a classic satin, a-line dress with lace details, a big bow, no sweetheart neckline, and in ivory–just what I wanted! With my mother-in-law-to-be in tow and my mom FaceTimed in, I returned a few weeks later to buy the dress.

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! As progressive as we may be, we really value tradition, so this was not an easy decision. But we knew that as soon as we were married, we would be ready to celebrate with our friends and family. We did not want to miss any part of our day, including the cocktail hour. I also wanted taking our wedding pictures to be a great experience–calm and not rushed. It was very relaxing and romantic to have had that quiet time alone to share our excitement and focus on what the day was really about, without the dozens of eyes that were on us at any other point of the day.

    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? As required by the church, we attended marriage prep courses that covered every subject you can imagine and led to constructive conversations that are always fun to have. We liked the class, and we dedicated time the night after each course to go over what we had talked about in the privacy of our home.

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Focus on a few major things–the details that are must. Budget for them first and make sure there is someone, like a planner, there to execute them. Then, let the rest go! Put yourself in a position to just show up at your wedding and be grateful for what your family, friends, and vendors have done for you. Enjoy your day and cherish your groom, let go of your dreams, and live in the moment. In true Southern spirit, be a host with a gracious heart.

    All of our dinner food was Southern: fried catfish, oysters, shrimp, a po-boy station, a grits bar, collards, and cornbread. We also had lots of Southern desserts! Our wedding logo featured our monogram, which we put on as many things as we could: the invitations, cups, napkins, fans, the advice sheet, etc. We had sweet tea with the sign “The South, where love and family are the sugar in our tea” next to it. We decorated with magnolias leaves in all of the arrangements and garlands. And of course, the venue itself was Southern–an old lumber mill on a bayou complete with Spanish moss, rocking chairs on the front porch, and mosquitoes!

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Dylan: I wanted a second to myself to try and let the day sink in, so at one point, I walked out beyond the glow of the tent and stood alone under the willow tree. As I started to light the cigar my new mother-in-law had given me, everyone suddenly fell quiet. I looked up and saw the band leader reach out and help Jenica onto the stage. I knew, we all knew, that this was it, what everyone was waiting for and what I was hoping for: my wife was about to sing! Her “too good to be true” voice rang out into the night, “At last, my love has come along…” My friends finally noticed me in the back and pulled me to the dance floor. My lonely days were over, and in that moment, my life was a song. From Jenica: Honestly, probably leaving our wedding! A family friend let us use his red convertible Mustang as our getaway car. As we drove off, the driver turned up one of our favorite songs. Sitting on the back of the car while driving down the pitch black, windy road felt magnificent after sweating all day. The venue is very secluded and the sky was completely clear; we could see thousands of stars, something we don’t see in the city where we live now. We gazed up at the stars while singing at the top of our lungs, grinning ear-to-ear. We reflected on how perfectly our wedding day had gone and how happy we were to finally be married. It was so magical, and I’ll never forget it!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in graduate school at Florida State University at a mutual friend’s birthday party. I actually had a first date planned for later that night, but was having such a good time with Dylan that I called it off. Best decision ever!
    Tell us all about the proposal! He proposed on Christmas day 2013. He led me to believe that he was going to pop the question on a trip to St. Thomas that we had planned for after the holidays, but instead, he surprised me while I was in my gym clothes at Fort Washington Park as we overlooked a beautiful sunset on the Potomac River. This is a very special place for me, as I always go running there and love to explore the area with my family when I visit my grandparents. He knows that I am very close to my family, and he wanted them to be able to share in our special occasion.
    When did y’all get married? May 16, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” This was a very easy selection for me. It is one of my grandfather’s favorites, so it has always reminded me of my grandparents and the love they shared for 60 years. This song speaks to the central truth about a strong marriage, that not if, but when, hardship comes, as long as we stand by each other, we have nothing to fear. Dylan and I danced to this song many times in our kitchen while cooking dinner together prior to our wedding day, so it also evokes some of our favorite memories. We surprised Dylan’s mother by having them dance to R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” a song that Mrs. Conley has told Dylan his whole life reminded her of him. She was beside herself on the dance floor when it came on, and all the guests joined in by waving their arms and candles.
    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Every detail of our wedding day was pretty perfect, but our favorite component of our wedding was that we celebrated for multiple days. Instead of having only the one day to say a few words to each guest, we rented a huge house in Watercolor, Florida for our families and bridal party. We also arranged other rentals within walking distance for extended family and friends. We celebrated from Wednesday through Monday with pool parties, personal chefs, catering, and games. The neighborhood is truly stunning, and is a place that Dylan and I love very much. Turing our wedding into a huge vacation made our year and half of planning all worth it!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I moved to Rhode Island after graduate school and we recently bought a house! We are looking forward to settling into our new life in Rhode Island. We love to travel, so we look forward to many great trips before we start a family.

    Photographer: Robert J Hill / Videographer: Garrett Dollar / Planner: Kaley Wells / Ceremony Venue: St. Rita Catholic Church / Reception Venue: Eden Gardens State Park / Florist: Events by Nouvea / Dessert Baker: Fatty Patty’s / Caterer: Dee’s Catering / Band: True Soul / Bride’s Gown: Tara Keely / Bridal Salon: The Bridal Garden / Hair Stylist: Misty Lemire / Makeup Artist: Christina Engman / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Ann” in Melon by Little Borrowed Dresses / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    3 Comments
    1. avatar Earcandy reply

      It was probably a magnificent sight for the bride to see her groom standing against the night sky underneath a willow tree. The fact that groom took the time to let it sink it probably made it all the more memorable – not that anyone could ever forget their wedding day.

    2. avatar Abbey reply

      I would love to know where you got the bridesmaid’s monogrammed pajamas? I’m looking for something similar.

      Thanks!

    3. avatar Dana reply

      they are so happy!!! love it!

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    Many of us girls dream about our wedding day for years, myself included! I personally always knew I’d wear the pearl bracelet my grandmother wore on her wedding day. Most grooms, on the other hand, may not have prepared for quite so long. :) However, it’s so important to view wedding planning as a preparation for your marriage, so sharing in decision-making is a great way to get your beau involved. Today’s sweet couple is a wonderful example of this in practice. Amy dreamed of a romantic, timeless, and luxurious-feeling wedding day, so she and her groom, Gabe, planned their special day at The Governor Thomas Bennet House. They chose to make decisions together and compromise often so that they both were happy with the details of their wedding, like their heartfelt ceremony and brightly-colored blooms. Amy said “It is through shared decision-making and communication that a strong marriage is built.” I could not agree more!

    Big hugs to Kelly Dillon for sharing this Charleston wedding with us!

    Gabe and I met in January 2012 at Trio, one of our favorite spots in downtown Charleston. We were there with a group of mutual friends and started talking, and then danced together the rest of the night. We went on our first date the next day and have been together ever since. After dating for eight months, I got an opportunity to teach in South Korea for a year. This was something I had always wanted to do, but I knew it would be hard on our relationship. Gabe was really supportive and wanted me to take advantage of this opportunity. We Skyped almost every day, and both feel that our relationship grew stronger during this time, even though we were half a world apart.

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I tried on so many different dresses from almost every shop in Charleston. I wasn’t sure what kind of dress I wanted at first, but finally decided that I wanted a big princess dress with beading, lace, and some sparkle. I tried on a Justin Alexander dress at The Bridal House of Charleston, and loved the fullness of the skirt, the beautiful underlay of delicate lace, and the beadwork on the bodice. I decided to switch the high neckline to a sweetheart neckline, and added a tulle sash with a sparkly embellishment.

    For the flowers, I chose various shades of pink with accents of gold for the vases and candle holders. The flowers were a mix of coral, blush, and bright pink peonies. We also included accents of dusty miller, pink spray roses, and white hydrangea. I loved the lush, summery feel of the flowers.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we had a family friend be our officiant. She has known me since I was a baby, and it was very special that she was the one to marry us.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My grandmother gave a heartfelt blessing at the start of the ceremony. She is a very special person in my life, and it meant a lot to have her be a part of the ceremony.

    We fell in love with The Governor Thomas Bennett house because of its old Southern charm and history. It was built in 1825 and has been completely restored and beautifully furnished with period pieces. I was immediately enamored with the free-standing staircase, the only one of its kind in Charleston. We also loved the Southern feel of the large live oak tree that spread over the garden where the ceremony would be held. Once we saw the house, it was an easy choice. I didn’t want to get married anywhere else.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I wanted the wedding to have a romantic, timeless, and luxurious feel. To get that feel, we hung a chandelier from the live oak near the ceremony site and three chandeliers in the reception tent. This added so much to the old Southern charm of our venue.

    Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged at the end of January 2014. Gabe is a pilot in the Air Force, and he had just gotten back from a two-month deployment. It was so exciting to be back together after what felt like forever. The day we got engaged was unseasonably warm for January, so we decided to take a walk on the beach at Sullivan’s Island. We walked all the way down to the point where you can see Fort Sumter. He stopped, turned to me, and said, “A lot of amazing history has happened in this spot, and I’m excited to make more amazing history with you. I love you so much. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.” He then got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” It was a very sweet moment. I was so happy a bystander got a picture of the moment we got engaged.
    When did y’all get married? June 6, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Gabe and I didn’t want to lose the excitement of seeing each other for the first time at the altar, and we love the tradition of waiting. We were very happy with our decision.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose to use traditional songs for the ceremony: the bridal party walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and I entered to “Here Comes the Bride.” For the first dance, Gabe and I danced to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, which has been our song since it came out. My dad and I danced to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. This was special for us because Gabe and I are moving to Hawaii at the end of August, since he is being transferred to an Air Force base in Honolulu.
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My dad lent me a blue diamond ring that is a family heirloom, and I wore my sister’s veil. My dress and shoes were new.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We made many decisions together and compromised to make sure we were both happy with each aspect of the wedding. It is through this shared decision-making and communication that a strong marriage is built.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We shared some rental items with the wedding that was held the night before.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Gabe said his most memorable moment was seeing me walk down the aisle. I would have to say my most memorable moment was our first dance, and walking down the aisle and seeing Gabe with tears in his eyes. It was also so much fun getting ready with my beautiful bridesmaids in the gorgeous house.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are moving to Hawaii and are hoping to have many adventures there!

    Photographer: Kelly Dillon / Videographer: George Street Photo / Planner: Cory Winn Lambert / Venue: The Governor Thomas Bennett House / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Artistic Cakes by Linda / Caterer: Hamby Catering / Rentals: EventHaus Rentals / Lighting: Thomas Smith / DJ: Epic Charleston / Bride’s Gown: Justin Alexander / Menswear and Bride’s Jewelry: Ralph Lauren / Hair and Makeup: Lashes and Lace / Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Mori Lee

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    1 Comment
    1. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

      Absolutely gorgeous! The Thomas Bennett House is an amazing venue!

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