Caroline and Wyatt are exactly the type of couple who make working at Southern Weddings so much fun! Their wedding was deeply inspired by their love story and their families, so it was packed to the brim with meaningful details. They cared about creating a beautiful and hospitable celebration for their loved ones, but always kept the real reason for the day at heart, and stayed true to themselves every step of the way. They weren’t afraid to be playful and break tradition, but they also enjoyed partaking in the traditions that truly meant something to them. C+W, it was a joy to share your wedding day in V8–thanks for sharing with us!
We’re so grateful to Perry Vaile for sending this beautiful celebration our way!
Oh my goodness, let’s talk about the greatness that is Katherine McDonald for a minute! After trying on a number of dresses in Charlotte, I finally traveled to Charleston to visit Lula Kate. It was there that I met Katherine McDonald and began to grow a friendship with her, even before trying on one of her designs. When I put on her “Lamour” gown, I knew it was the right number for me! Katherine and I discussed adding a custom removable skirt, as well as deepening the back of the dress. In that moment, the dress became everything I was looking for. In addition, working with Katherine and her team was such a dream; it made sense to employ her to craft a unique mother of the bride dress and a modern bridesmaid gown.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? My bouquet was hand-tied and filled with roses, peonies, leaves, clematis, and lily of the valley. The bouquet was all whites and greens with some lavender, and was fashioned with a vintage ribbon that changed color in the light–I adored this detail. I attached my dad’s wedding band onto the ribbon during our wedding ceremony so that I could slide my ring finger through the band when walking down the aisle. My sister, Sloane, had a maid of honor bouquet made of blue bird roses, peonies, umbrella leaves, and geranium leaves that was fastened with lavender grosgrain. All bridesmaids carried similar bouquets that were slightly smaller. The groomsmen and groom wore a small bunch of lily of the valley as boutonnieres to match the sleeves of my wedding dress.
The overarching flowers dedicated in memory of my late father were pretty much everything to me. While there were many small details woven into the wedding to remind me of the love my father poured out during his time on earth, the flower arch was the most prominent note. I feel so fortunate we were able to use a watercolor illustration of the arch in both the wedding invitations and our miniature ceremony programs. I can’t help but smile when thinking about how overwhelmingly blessed I felt to commit a lifetime of happiness to Wyatt while standing under that flower arch.
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our wedding ceremony was sweet and succinct. The part most special to the me: having my brother walk me down the aisle.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We kept the processional and interlude simple with traditional songs, and then had a gospel choir soloist sing The Lord’s Prayer a capella. The gal totally rocked it! During the recessional, while guests exited the chapel, the gospel choir ensemble sung everyone out of the chapel while singing our favorite praise and worship song, “Let it Rise.”
For cocktail hour, a long bar sat along the river with a base made out of green leaves. Small lounge seating arrangements were set up under large oak trees for guests. Wyatt and I chose to serve our favorite cocktails as signature beverages. His was called “Slow + Low” and hers was “Lowcountry Lemonade.” The gospel choir sang throughout the cocktail hour and even encouraged guests to sing with them on stage.
What was your reception like? For our reception, we went for different and dimensional. With high-hanging leafy greens, a flower waterfall dangling above the cake, a triangular dance floor, and salutes to our sign language history in every nook and cranny, the reception proved to be a great celebration.
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We both loved the idea of a “lounging garden;” with that, Tara and I worked together to take that concept and bring it to life. Tara sourced beautiful furniture, incorporated many textures, and hit the nail on the head when hanging greenery garlands overhead. Wyatt and I especially loved the lavender poufs that sat around the dance floor. Keeping things funky!
Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was a two-tiered strawberry shortcake that featured real strawberries inside the cake. The groom’s cake was a round chocolate espresso cake topped with a laser cut wooden cake topper displaying the “I love you” in sign language.
Planning a wedding while missing a large piece of my family entirely changed the way I approached our big day. From the floral arch, to the use of purple sprinkled throughout the evening, to the wedding bands Wyatt and I chose together, my dad’s memory and character was woven into the details. We planned so that both me and my family would be reminded of my father’s love, and so that I could move forward and commit a lifetime to a man my father would have loved wholeheartedly.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on our first day of sign language class at Clemson. As semester-long partners, our conversations were limited to strictly signing, as students were not allowed to verbally speak during class. Months later, we began hanging out outside of the classroom and became close friends. We didn’t begin dating until about three years later, but those foundational best friend years made our “Oh snap, I think I like you” moment all the more fruitful and exciting.
Describe the proposal: Wyatt proposed in sign language one summer evening on the Greenville Liberty Bridge. On the night of the proposal, we had traveled to Greenville to meet Wyatt’s family for an impromptu dinner. I felt everything was normal on the ride down, but noticed that things started to get strange rather quickly when we got out of the car and the usually-calm Wyatt forgot to lock the car doors. He also shared that we “didn’t have time for a selfie,” which he usually enjoys. Seconds later, I noticed our sign language professor on the bridge ahead and thought to myself, “Oh no, I’m going to have to dust off my signing skills, this could be embarrassing.” Never did the concept of a proposal enter my mind. We then stopped to say hello to the man who had partnered us up years ago, and with that, our professor began to ask us questions in sign: “How long have you been dating,” “do you plan on getting married,” “when will you get engaged,” and finally, “what about an engagement right now?” With that, Wyatt began to hover down on one knee where I, out of shock, jumped back and replied with, “Duh! You know it!” Not the words I expected to say, but it most certainly happened!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? While we didn’t seek tangible counseling during our engagement, my mother gave us each a copy of the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for Valentine’s Day. Wyatt and I both learned a great amount and recognized pockets of our relationship we needed to spend more time on.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Intimate, reflective, jubilant
How many guests attended your wedding? 140
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I’m a big fan of “different” and hoped to find an option that was neutral, yet modern. I went to Katherine McDonald with a high-neck design fashioned in a neutral color in mind. Katherine added a rockin’ thick belt and pushed for the “high ponytail” idea, and with that, we had our answer! I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Wyatt chose to gift his groomsmen with white dinner jackets. All the groomsmen kept things simple on the bottom with basic tux pants and tux shoes.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Wyatt and I chose to spend our entire wedding day together, as we felt like Palmetto Bluff was so special, we should enjoy every minute with each other and friends! We rode bikes and kayaked with dolphins. Wyatt also loved playing golf early in the morning with my younger brother, Miles.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? For me, it was the moment I walked into the chapel the morning of our wedding day and took a minute to sit in a pew and watch the flower arch being built. For Wyatt, it was the sweet few minutes together during our first look.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We nixed the father/daughter and mother/son portion of the reception, as we felt like we need not dote on the concept of a missing father. Instead, we worked with our band (Perfect 10) to create a mash-up version of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” that would allow us to dance alone for a few verses, then invite our bridal party and family members onto the floor for the last verse. It was epic!
Tell us about your grand exit. When staying at Palmetto Bluff, guests are given a bike to get them around the resort. We left on a tandem bike to pay tribute to this special place we’d so easily fallen in love with. I also saw an added perk in exiting in Converse and a comfortable white romper. Gotta stay true to self!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Be kind and treat the other with patience if tensions ever rise when planning your wedding.
Photographer: Perry Vaile Photography | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner, Designer, and Florals: Tara Guérard | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Palmetto Bluff | Bride’s Gown and Veil, Bridesmaid Dresses, and Mother of the Bride Dress: Katherine McDonald | Bridal Salon: LulaKate | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Bracelet: Haute Bride | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Bride’s Wedding Band: Catbird | Bride’s Headband: Twigs & Honey | Hair Stylist: Tammy Dalton of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Anna Fedan of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Menswear: Joseph A. Banks | Paper Goods: The Lettered Olive | Assistance: Cacky’s Bride Aid