Having worked with her professional photographer sister and brother-in-law, not to mention being the youngest of three girls, Gracey is no stranger to the wedding world. However, when it came to the details of her and Richard’s big day, Gracey gave her mama a bit of trouble when trying to narrow down exactly what they wanted. From one indecisive gal to another, I completely empathize with how tough those decisions can be! I love that Gracey and Richard ultimately chose to focus on making their wedding day a reflection of who they are as a couple, perfectly balanced with the desire for their wedding to be fun and unforgettable for their guests. And, Gracey’s advice for those planning a wedding is spot on! “Remember what the wedding is about: two people becoming one. Don’t lose sight of the marriage to follow that one day.”
Big SW hugs to Cassidy Dawn for sharing this sweet day with us!
Having worked in the wedding industry for years with my professional photographer sister and brother-in-law, we saw the value of doing a first look. We wanted that intimate moment to be able to see each before all eyes were on us. It was such an amazing moment. Our photographer sat us down on a bench in front of our venue with our eyes closed, told us to hold hands, and then to open our eyes on the count of three. We love these photos of our first look because of how it all went down–Richard misunderstood and thought we were to just hold hands (eyes still closed), so on the count of three, I opened my eyes as Richard just grabbed my hand! The moment was followed by quite a few laughs, and I said, “Richard, you can open your eyes.” His response and face when he saw me makes my heart melt to this day–hearing your soon-to-be husband gush over how pretty you look the moment he first sees you on your wedding day is something you will NEVER forget.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Ready to plan her last daughter’s wedding (I am the baby of three girls), my mom was just as excited as I was to start the search for the perfect wedding dress. I knew I wanted something beautiful and dreamy, but I also wanted something different than the dresses I had ever seen or worn before for styled shoots. My mom and I decided to stop by a local bridal boutique (Loretta’s Bridal) just to start getting an idea of what type of dress I would be interested in. An hour before we got to the store, a special shipment of dresses had arrived (a day early) for a weekend showcase they were hosting. I tried on dress after beautiful dress, but they didn’t quite have what I was looking for. Then, the owner, brought out the dress–a gorgeous strapless, blush Casablanca style. It was far more traditional than what I thought I would be drawn to, but I think the fact that it was blush, rather than white, is what hooked me in the end. We ordered it that day!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My poor mother was so patient with me! I had a hard time narrowing down exactly what I wanted–it was so important to me that each and every aspect truly reflected who Richard and I are as a couple, while also balancing our desire for our wedding to be a fun and unforgettable for our guests. I don’t know what I would have done without my sweet mom there to help plan and guide me through the process. She’s just the best.
It was important to us to focus on the marriage that followed the wedding. We chose to work with a Christian counselor and go through premarital counseling to help prepare us for the changes ahead. This was a really great decision, if you ask me–it’s so important to set your relationship up for success!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Our vows were very special to us. We wanted to make sure they were centered on what we feel our life calling and vision is: loving God and loving people. Though it’s hard to choose one line as a favorite, I think “I promise to create with you a home in which the peace of God is known, and the needs of others are recognized” sums up our hearts’ desire for our marriage.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We adored ALL of the vendors for our wedding, but the most special would have to be our pastor from Florida who married us. He has been my family’s pastor for over 20 years, married all of my sisters, and is now mine and Richard’s pastor!
Travel and great food are two common threads in the history of our relationship. We knew we wanted a destination wedding and narrowed it down to Charleston, South Carolina. The Vendue fit our needs perfectly–it was the perfect embodiment of my artistic side (The Vendue is Charleston’s only art hotel), our love for mixing natural elements with industrial elements (we loved our open rooftop ceremony in the middle of a beautiful city), and of course, there was AMAZING food. We were so happy that we could have both the ceremony and reception in the same location, since all of our guest were traveling from out of town, but loved having a change of scenery by doing the ceremony on the open rooftop, dinner at the beautiful in-house restaurant (The Drawing Room), and heading back upstairs to the rooftop for dancing.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Being in Charleston, it was a no-brainer to include some Southern Lowcountry fare. Chef Jon of The Drawing Room (The Vendue’s in-house restaurant) is brilliant! Not only did he make the entire meal gluten and dairy-free, he also made us the perfect spin on Lowcountry surf and turf that included our favorite foods (grits were a must!). My family is from Kentucky originally, so blackberry bourbon lemonade with cardamom was our Southern signature cocktail. Rather than driving away in a limo or car, we opted for something a little more “Charleston,” and left the wedding in a rickshaw!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. After several years of working and traveling non-stop to build a family-owned startup, I realized I was ready for more in life. After talking to a few of my friends, I decided to join eHarmony. I filled out my profile with the parameters being focused more on the character and Godly leadership I was looking for in a husband, and less on matters like location. In the meantime, Richard also had long work hours and traveled often, and when he decided he was ready to add something more to his life, but wasn’t finding what he was looking for in his area, he signed up as well and then contacted me. Over the next week or so, we messaged back and forth before Richard took a step of faith and asked for a phone date. Though I’m not much of a “phone person,” I accepted on St. Patrick’s Day 2013. That phone call lasted 6 hours; we both quickly realized this was something worth pursuing. After three months of talking nearly non-stop, we finally met face-to-face. Richard drove 21 hours just to meet me. The moment we saw each other, we hugged and instantly knew this was it. It just felt right. That weekend, we officially started the journey of long distance dating, taking turns visiting each other for the next year. Finally, in March 2014, Richard made the big move to be with me.
Tell us all about the proposal! Years before we met, I had a favorite blue vintage bicycle that I took time to restore. Unfortunately, my bike was stolen and I never replaced it. Knowing he wanted to propose, Richard realized my upcoming birthday was the perfect stage to set up a proposal. For the six weeks leading up to my birthday, he tracked down and restored a bike that looked identical to my long-lost vintage one. He told me to be at his house early on the morning before my birthday for a day of birthday surprises. When he gave me the bike, I was so surprised and felt so loved that I was completely oblivious that this was just the beginning! We rode our bikes downtown, where we stopped at a small park for a picnic lunch. Before lunch, Richard wanted to walk around the park. We found a small gazebo, and while we were looking around, Richard asked, “Gracey, how long have we been going out?” I answered with a rough estimate. Richard replied, “How about we make that forever?” I turned around to see him down on one knee with a ring in hand, and he asked me to marry him. I couldn’t stop crying tears of joy as I shook my head yes! Did I mention, he had someone in the bushes taking pictures? Extra points for that! The rest of the day was filled with all of my favorite things. I’d say it was a birthday for the books.
When did y’all get married? March 17, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 45
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Being gluten-free and not really loving cake, we wanted to do something a little bit different. We went with a crepe bar, complete with gluten-free crepes, a variety of berries, bacon, chocolate, goat cheese, and, of course, Nutella! Our guests loved getting to mix up yummy concoctions.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut costs here and there by prioritizing what would truly make our wedding unforgettable and feel like us. Venue, food, music, and hair and makeup were important things for us. The key for us when cutting costs came down to a few things: we were married on a Tuesday (MEGA SAVINGS not having it on a weekend), and we used tables, chairs, and plates that the venue owned, rather than renting them.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Remember what the wedding is about: two people becoming one. Don’t lose sight of the marriage to follow that one day, and make the day as much a reflection of who you are as a couple as possible. Yes, it’s important that your guests have a good time, but they are there because they love you and support you–the more your wedding reflects who you are, the more fun they will have.
Photographer: Cassidy Dawn Photography / Venue, Catering, and Cake: The Vendue / Florist: Branch Design Studio / DJ: DJ David Fox of Bunn DJ Company / Invitations: Paradise Papers / Bride’s Gown: Casablanca / Bridal Salon: Loretta’s Bridal / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Urban Outfitters / Hair and Makeup: Ash and Co. / Bride’s Shoes: BCBG / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Wrap Front Maxi Dress” by ASOS / Groom’s Attire: “Lazio Blue Plain” by SuitSupply / Groomsmen Attire: “SlimFit Suit” in Navy by H&M / Transportation: Charleston Rickshaw
Bunn DJ Company is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!