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Crystal shares her sweet, meaningful wedding at Boone Hall’s Cotton Dock!

The weather at our office in North Carolina took a definite turn towards fall last week (hooray!), which had me anticipating all of the beautiful cooler-weather weddings to come! Crystal’s late winter/early spring celebration is a perfect one to share in this transitional season. Or really, any season: “It was really important to both Brandon and me that our wedding felt authentic to who we are as people and that it was a celebration of who we are every day,” she says. We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves :)

From their adorable meet-cute (grandmothers are involved!) to the gracious hospitality touch they included via their rentals, I loved learning more about Crystal’s sweet South Carolina celebration! Thanks to Taylor Rae for sharing!

We decided on a first look because we wanted plenty of time to take pictures, and we didn’t want to miss cocktail hour or pull guests in and out of cocktail hour to get in group shots. We both also knew that seeing each other for the first time was going to be emotional, so we enjoyed having our own moment together to feel all the feels before all eyes were on us.

Our dog Bingo was our ring bearer (Brandon’s little cousin walked him down the aisle). We found a service in Charleston that picked him up from our house a few hours before the ceremony, walked him around the plantation with us so that he could be in as many pictures as he would stay still for, sat with him through the ceremony, and then took him home! Brandon and I love Bingo probably a little too much, so having him there to celebrate and be in our photos was one of my favorite things that we were able to do.

Leading up to my first weekend of dress shopping, I was heavy on Pinterest trying to decide what I wanted. I texted a photo of a dress I really liked to my bridesmaid group text, and they all agreed it was totally fitting for my style. I found a store in Charleston that carried that exact dress, and that’s the one I ended up wearing!

We had a pretty traditional Jewish ceremony and that was very important not only to Brandon and me, but to our families, as well. Before the ceremony, both Brandon and I as well as our Rabbi and two witnesses (two of our groomsmen), gathered around a table and signed the Ketubah (Jewish marriage license) together. I started crying immediately, just thinking about how lucky Brandon and I were to have found each other, and to have such amazing friends and family surrounding us. That moment seemed so real and binding for me.

We framed our Ketubah once we got back from our honeymoon and we hung it right above our headboard in our room so we’re always reminded of what it says and of that moment.

Our ceremony took place under a chuppah made from driftwood. To cover the top of the chuppah, we used a tablecloth that my great-grandmother needlepointed as a special touch. The sides stay open to symbolize the home you are going to build together. My favorite tradition is that instead of sitting down, Brandon’s parents and my grandparents stood at the front with us beneath the chuppah, each one of them touching a corner of the structure. It symbolized the strength in family and the strength that they provided to us as we were growing up.

We walked back up the aisle to an instrumental version of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We found ourselves dancing our way up the aisle instead of just walking!

Our first dance was to “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris. I haven’t met a ton of people who know this song, but it used to be on a Sam Adams commercial (of all things) that aired when Brandon and I were still in college. The first time I saw the commercial I was like, wait, this song sounds really sweet! When Brandon came over that night we listened to it, immediately fell in love with it, and from that day on, it has always been our song.

Our table settings had mason jars instead of regular glasses, which I loved because we actually use mason jars instead of regular cups at our house! It was another detail that was authentic to us. We also used big wooden farm tables that we set without tablecloths, and arranged them in two long rows so everyone was sitting together. We left a few empty chairs at the ends of each table so people could move around and talk to each other easily.

We didn’t want it to be a big fancy day where people felt like they had to sit or go where they were told, but like they were just at home with their family. We also made sure the food matched our Southern venue: fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese biscuits, mashed potatoes… all the good Southern staples!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. I think Brandon and I were destined to be together since the moment we met on the horseshoe at USC, after our grandparents plotted to get us together by asking him to give me a tour of campus when I was trying to decide where to go to college.
Tell us all about the proposal! Brandon and I moved to Charleston, SC together after I graduated college and after two years of being long distance. On our first night in Charleston after a full day of moving, we decided to stop for take-out on the way home from a Target run. We stopped at Shem Creek Park where there is a long dock that runs out into the ocean, and we walked to the end. It was so beautiful, and I remember that we just kept saying how glad we were to be back together in the same city and in such a beautiful place. A few months later, Brandon proposed at that same dock.
When did y’all get married? March 26, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? We served a wedding cake for our dessert – it was four tiers, two of lemon cake with vanilla frosting and lemon curd (my absolute favorite) and two of vanilla cake with raspberry frosting and chocolate ganache (Brandon’s favorite). It was iced as a naked cake and had fresh sugar berries on it. It was beyond perfect and exactly what we wanted!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was how much it brought everyone together! Both of our families and all of our friends were so excited to take a trip to look at dresses or even come visit us and help us put stamps on all of our invites, and we loved how happy everyone was to be a part of our planning process. It was also really fun when we finally got to the big day to see all of the hard work come together. You picture it in your mind over and over, so getting to the end and finally being able to share it with our friends and family was really fulfilling.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t hire a videographer which I don’t regret at all, as well as using a DJ instead of a live band. Our favors were little wine bottle corkers that had our initials and wedding date etched into them – they were from Etsy and really affordable. We also didn’t go too crazy on the flowers and table arrangements. The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall is a work of art even when there’s absolutely nothing in it, which is one of the things we loved most about it. We wanted decor that would complement that, not completely take it over. At the end of the day, it’s not the flower arrangements or the number of tea lights or how expensive our favors were that we wanted people to remember. We wanted the focus to be on all the love and light that comes from all the people who are important to you gathering in one spot to watch you devote yourselves to each other.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Remember what your wedding is actually about. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things other people want for your wedding and all the details that you have to choose, especially if you’re planning it yourself. When it gets overwhelming, I’d say that’s the perfect time for a date night with your hubby, turn off your phones, don’t talk about the wedding, and just spend time with each other. Every time Brandon and I did that, that’s when the planning became fun again because my focus would be on celebrating that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend instead of what color the napkins should be. Also, make sure you at least get a day-of coordinator! The day goes by so quickly, you don’t want to be worrying about the schedule or the glass someone dropped on the dance floor. It’s so worth it to have someone there to make your day as easy as possible!

Photographer: Taylor Rae Photography | Day-of Coordinator: Natalie Knox at Boone Hall Plantation | Venue: Boone Hall Plantation | Florist, Rentals, and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Wedding Cake: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: Cru Catering | DJ: Austin Haney via Pinnacle Charleston | Bride’s Gown: “The Magnolia Tree” by Lela Rose | Bridal Salon: Maddison Row | Hair Stylist: Chris Piraino of Studio Piraino | Makeup Artist: Jonny Cosmetics | Bride’s Shoes: “Hamptons Sandal” in Platinum by Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Seaglass by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Tuxedo: Indochino

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Jessica Downs reply

    I love this! Would love to know what vendor they used for the dog as we’re hoping to do the same thing, but don’t want to make it the responsibility of someone we’d like to have with us for all of the festivities.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Jessica! I’m not sure which service Crystal used, and she may very well chime in, but I just stumbled across a Charleston-area service which advertises “wedding nanny” services: Dog Tired! Might be worth checking out :)

  2. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    Oh my goodness! I love that Crystal and Brandon included Bingo in the celebration. Yay dogs! My husband and I have a dog named Banjo, and he and Bingo look like they could be twins :)

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Can y’all believe there are just TWO sleeps until Christmas? I still have a few more gifts to wrap, but a few days ago, I spent the evening wrapping gifts and watching Gone with the Wind with my mama–it was the perfect #SouthernHoliday evening! Given my love for Gone with the Wind, it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of plantation weddings, and Jillian and Marc tied the knot at one of my very favorites, Boone Hall! With a venue that is so lovely on its own, it’s a joy to see this understated decor style, complete with sweet Southern details. As an interior designer, Jillian sure knew how to visualize the space, and I’m certain they made the right decision to go with natural accents to complement the gorgeous surroundings.

Cheers to Paige Winn for sharing this beautiful day with us!

I decided I wanted Marc to be my something blue, since he was in a blue suit. My something old was my vintage beaded clutch from the 1950’s that I received as a bridesmaid gift at my best friend’s wedding. My something borrowed was an embroidered handkerchief from my mother that had belonged to my grandfather’s aunt. Last but not least, my something new was a ring my mother gave me that she had made. She has one made for her too, so we have matching mother-daughter rings.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Marc: As Jillian and her mother started their walk, the music changed and my emotions overcame me. The moment was ideal and the weather was perfect. I will never forget watching her walk towards me and thinking about spending the rest of our lives together.

We wanted to have a destination wedding that was still intercontinental. We planned a trip to Charleston to check out some places and fell in love with Boone Plantation. We loved that it was rustic, on the water, and told a story.

Marc and I are definitely a traditional couple in terms of design. We wanted everything to look natural and complement the gorgeous surroundings of the Plantation. Our flowers were a mix of succulents, dusty miller, silver brunia, crane kale, white chrysanthemums, lots of magnolia leaves, and some cotton.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was being in Buffalo, New York, planning a wedding in Charleston. As an interior designer, I am able to visualize a space, but I still wanted to be at the Cotton Dock all the time, thinking about draping, seeing flowers in person, etc. Thankfully, we had a great team of people who we worked with closely to bring our vision come to life. Marc and I were able to make a few trips to Charleston for tastings and meetings–we couldn’t possibly miss a tasting, especially when it came to our cake!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We served fried green tomatoes, a raw bar, shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, and mini chicken and waffles, and Firefly sweet tea vodka and lemonade was passed at the guests arrived. Since we had a destination wedding, we wanted our food to reflect the South and really create an experience for our guests.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. From Marc: I had just joined Facebook when I came across a post from a college friend. I “liked” it, and one other person did as well: Jillian. We were not friends, but I clicked on her picture from my phone. There were a few visible pictures, and one in particular was a great picture of her holding a live octopus from the ocean. I messaged her about how neat I thought it was and we started up a conversation. A week later, we met in person, and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! We went skiing in our neighboring ski town, Ellicottville, NY, on December 23, 2012. It was a crisp, clear winter night, and after a few hours of skiing, we stopped at the top of a mountain. It seemed Marc was just looking for chapstick, but once he started talking about love, I knew something was up. The next thing I knew, he was down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. Marc had skied for two hours with the ring in his pocket, but after the proposal, we were both extremely nervous to get down the hill safely–I actually took it off, put it back in the box, and made Marc carry it down!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 60
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to NYC for the weekend with my mom to look for a dress–it was a good excuse for a girls weekend in New York, and a chance to see one of my best friends. We had a ton of appointments crammed into a few days, and I ended up with a dress I never thought I would like. It seemed so busy, but my consultant was right. I knew it was the one when I put it on, even if I didn’t want to admit it at first!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We didn’t do a first look. I really wanted Marc to see me for the first time on the day of our wedding when I was walking down the aisle. It just felt very romantic and sweet to me, and I am happy we didn’t do a first look.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had our close friend read a poem, “The Art of Marriage,” by Wilferd Arlan Peterson.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was a simple and delicious two tier-ed cake, decorated with fondant. It was vanilla and alternate layers were filled with hazelnut filling and white chocolate mousse.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are enjoying being married and looking forward to starting a family.

Photographer: Paige Winn / Planner: Natalie Knox of Boone Hall Plantation / Venue: Boone Hall Plantation / Florist and Rentals: Tailor and Table Event Design & Styling / Catering and Cake: DuVall Catering and Events / DJ: DJ Ben Felton / Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas / Bride’s Gown: “Sofia” by Matthew Christopher / Hair Stylist: Carly Militello / Bridesmaid Hair Stylist: Ash & Co Bridal / Makeup Artist: Makeup by Nicole / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “7243” in Emerald by Alfred Angelo / Menswear: Kenneth Cole

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    The photo of them dancing is the sweetest :) And I LOVE her necklace!

  2. avatar Caleb reply

    Beautiful photos! I love the venue.

  3. avatar Nicole reply

    I was lucky enough to watch these two beautiful people get married in this amazingly gorgeous location! I’m getting married soon and only hope my wedding turns out half as successful as theirs did!

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Wedding days fly by faster than ice melts on a Southern summer night (trust me!), and are filled with so many wonderful moments that it’s hard to choose a favorite. Reading through each interview, I’m always so amazed at how different and incredibly touching each couple’s favorites are. I tend to cry reading each one, but I haven’t cried in about a week. Well, that record came to an abrupt stop because Josh’s favorite memory just got me good! He said “In that moment, I knew how lucky I was to call her my own for the rest of my life. In such a gorgeous setting, time stood still as she walked toward me.” Swoon!

Now can we talk about Ms. Melody and her amazing style? Between the top knot and the fur stole, I think she took chic to another level, not to mention, made me question my haircut choice last week!

Hugs to the darling Courtney Dox for capturing such a pretty day!

She’s working it–what a beauty!

Describe your wedding flowers. This was one of my favorite meetings I had while planning my wedding. Josh actually didn’t attend, which I was thankful for, as he was a VERY involved groom! My planner, Ashley, and I had the opportunity to create some surprises for him with the wonderful Sara York Grimshaw of SYG Designs. Josh and I both loved the rustic look of The Cotton Dock, and Sara was able to create the romantic, rustic atmosphere I wanted with beautiful blue hydrangeas, white anemones, and pinecones.

Bookmarking the photo below for our annual favorites posts–that cotton!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We both decided early on that we wanted to do a first look. Josh was so nervous about messing up the vows and he knew that if he could just see me first, he would be able to say them mistake-free. It ended up being emotional for both of us, so it was nice to have some time to ourselves before the ceremony.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up outside of Charleston, and always wanted to get married at plantation. Boone Hall was a perfect location and had everything we were looking for–Southern charm, rustic appeal, and plenty of opportunities for us to create a wedding that was better than we could have dreamed.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? From Josh: We did not. I would have been even more of a mess if I had to memorize anything!

Getting married at a historic Charleston plantation definitely gave us the perfect backdrop for a fairy tale Southern wedding. We tried to incorporate several things we love about the South for our out-of-town guests to soak in. We had an oyster bar with freshly shucked oysters from various regions, boiled peanuts on our bar, and a Southern classic for our signature drink–Coca-Cola glass bottles with a runner of Jack Daniels on top. Josh also offered up his homemade jalapeño dill pickles to be served with our BBQ sliders, and we had hot spiced wine to help keep our guests warm by the fire!

Our favorite detail of the wedding would have to be the decor. We were stunned when we saw how the lighting, flowers, and furniture all came together. Each table was decorated with flickering candles, sparkling mercury glass, and gorgeous floral arrangements. Rustic Edison bulbs dangling from the ceiling gave the whole venue a totally different feel then when we saw it at first.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My MOH, Mallory Imlach, took charge of all of these items and it was a complete surprise to me! She gave me a new sixpence for good luck that I wore in my shoe. My blue item was a “bride” tank to wear en route to our honeymoon. My something old was so special–it was a photo of my parents on their wedding day that she tied to my bouquet. Along with their photo, she tied a little piece of her wedding dress to it. My something borrowed was her cuff bracelet she wore on her wedding day that had the saying “And she lived happily ever after” inside of it.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was a beautiful three-tiered cake by the amazing Jim Smeal. He used our color palette of blues to create a stunning ombre ruffled cake with three large flowers to add a little more detail. I chose all the flavors, as Josh is not the dessert type–key lime coconut, chocolate kahlúa, and pecan praline. I would be lying if I said the thought of opening up our anniversary cake a little early hadn’t crossed my mind a time or two!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were so lucky on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, when we bumped into each other at a local pub. Introductions were made by a mutual friend and I instantly knew this guy was something. Ten days later, at the Carolina Cup horse race in Camden, SC, Josh made it “official” and we have been together ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! Josh always had a special place in his heart for fall. One beautiful day in October, we made plans to meet our long-time friends outside of Greenville at a farm that had a pumpkin patch. We started walking through the pumpkins, looking for the perfect one. Little did I know, a few steps away, Josh had arranged to have “M-A-R-R-Y-M-E-?” painted out on on a row of pumpkins. Just as he got down on one knee and I said yes, a hayride of people went by and joined in our excitement with cheers. It was perfect!
When did y’all get married? December 28, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. During a last minute trip to visit my matron of honor in Greenville, SC, she surprised me with a trip to look for dresses. We walked into The Poinsett Bride in downtown Greenville and I just had a good feeling. A few dresses later, I had found the dress! With the help of the amazing seamstress at The Poinsett Bride, she and I were able to customize a one-of-a-kind dress that I absolutely loved. We added thin spaghetti straps and deepened the back to give the dress a little more drama, while still being classy and elegant.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Honestly this was the last thing on my mind. All I cared about was the handsome guy standing at the end of the aisle! But, to make sure everyone heard lovely sounds, we had a guitarist and my cousin played her viola. Our first dance was picked out by Josh, “To Love Somebody” by The BeeGees/Michael Buble. When he played it for me for the first time, I just melted. It was perfect!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list! This is the hardest thing people don’t always tell you about. We decided early on that we wanted a smaller wedding, and after we had our lists from both sides of the family, the hard work began.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I think one way we really saved so much was hiring a wedding coordinator. I know there is a cost for this service, but I also know without a doubt that we would have spent more without the help of Ashely Wenz, our incredible planner!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Cru Catering did all of the food and drinks at our wedding. It was fantastic! We wanted Southern-inspired food and drinks, and they really took that notion and ran with it. They were able to blend classic Southern dishes with some flair–like collard green wontons, pulled pork sliders with Asian slaw, and shrimp and grits that were to die for!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Melody: The moment I saw Josh for the first time is my most cherished memory. His face was just so priceless and the time we got to spend together, just the two of us, took all the nerves away. My second favorite moment was when my Daddy and my uncles serenaded me, barbershop quartet style, with a song they had written together all about me! It was a complete surprise and it was so sweet and unexpected–absolutely something I will never forget! Josh: My most memorable moment would have to be when I saw Melody coming down the aisle toward me. Even though it wasn’t the first time that I saw her in her wedding dress, it was the first time that everything sunk in for me. In that moment, I knew how lucky I was to call her my own for the rest of my life. In such a gorgeous setting, time stood still as she walked toward me. Even though we were surrounded by our family and friends, it was like it was the two of just us.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s easy to immediately agree to a lot of additions and extra things you want, but things add up. There were a few things in our planning process that we thought we couldn’t live without, but when the day finally comes, you will be surprised by how easily you forget about them. At the end of the day, its about being in the fellowship of your closest family and friends, and celebrating the commitment you just made to one another.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Right now, we are enjoying spending time with our two puppies, and in the future, we are planning on buying our first home and starting a family together.

Photographer: Courtney Dox Photography / Planner: Ashely Wenz of Boutique Planning / Venue: Boone Hall Plantation / Florist: SYG Designs / Wedding Cake: Jim Smeal / Caterer: Cru Catering / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band or DJ: Nu South Playas / Bride’s Gown: “Gobi” by Watters / Bridal Salon: The Poinsett Bride / Paper Products: Spencer Syfrig / Hair and Makeup: MiKel Rumsey / Bride’s Shoes: Loeffler Randall / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Gardenia” by Watters / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Their most memorable moments are so incredibly sweet! Also can’t get enough of their style–the bow ties, the hairstyle change, her dress…I love it all!

  2. avatar Robyn Van Dyke reply

    Oh my word, I LOVE this wedding!! Everything is absolute perfection and the bride is soo beautiful~! I love how she changed her hair to party at the reception afterwards too! :)

  3. avatar Julie reply

    May I ask, is there any way to find out what kind of wedding dress this is? I absolutely love it and am having a hard time choosing one… Thank you!

  4. avatar jessica reply

    This wedding is BEAUTIFUL! I love your take on a guest signing book/board. Where did you get this from?!

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