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Bride Catherine shares her outdoor Charleston wedding!

Catherine and Thomas’s wedding was one of the first we accepted for our tenth-anniversary issue, and can I tell you a secret? It wasn’t even officially submitted! I happened to see it on Elisa Bricker’s website when she unveiled her redesign, and instantly inquired because I was so enamored with what I saw.

And can y’all blame me? Even though their wedding took place at the loveliest venue and not their family home the Father of the Bride vibes are unmistakable, and I am a forever fan of anything that reminds me of that beloved movie.

Of course, our bride and groom made their celebration their own, from the mint green details of Catherine’s dress, the inclusion of family heirlooms, and a unique route down the aisle. Friends, I think you will love this one! If you’d like to see even more detail, pick up a copy of our newest issue!

Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how your husband chose it. Thomas has a great eye and knew exactly what I would like. My mom has a friend in New York who is a jewelry designer who made it for me. I was so lucky to have someone who has amazing taste and a mom who could turn his ideas into reality.

We got married right outside of Charleston, SC in April. The weather in April in Charleston is perfect for an outdoor wedding. I’ve always wanted a Charleston wedding, and having been to many, we both wanted to find a venue a little different. The view of River Oaks really sold us on the location. The ceremony was at 5:30, which was perfect timing with the sunset at the beginning of cocktail hour and reception, and gave us a long time to celebrate with friends and family.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted to go shopping in New York. I went to a few boutiques but just couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere. I left New York disappointed and not sure what to do next, when the associate at Monique Lhullier emailed me to let me know they were having a trunk show for their new collection and if I found something that day I could have it in time for my wedding. I flew back up and it was the first one I tried on. I loved it immediately. I always said I wasn’t a sparkly wedding gown kind of girl, but as it turns out I am. I fell in love the second I put it on. My favorite part was probably the skirt. It poufed out just enough but it wasn’t heavy at all. And maybe also the mint green beadwork. The sun picked up the color and it was just beautiful.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. They were all white with lots of green. I wanted loose and natural flowers that looked like you could’ve just picked them from the garden. My bouquet was amazing, it was oversized and pouring over, loosely hanging. I tied an antique handkerchief with a broach from my Grandma on it.

The most special part was walking down the aisle. It’s kind of surreal. You plan for so long for this moment, and it’s crazy walking up to the person you’re going to marry when it’s time to say I do. My dad and I actually walked from the front of the guests instead of down a traditional aisle in the back and it was kind of a long walk. It gave me time to soak everything in and see everyone I love there.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? I love color and lots of it. But for some reason, for our wedding I really wanted to tone everything down and just let the beauty of River Oaks stand out. It’s such a beautiful property, we wanted to keep to greens and whites and let the scenery really stand out.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? I can’t pick just one! The flowers, the band, the food, my family and friends!

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used for your reception. We had so much greenery and flowers and natural elements. I loved the property itself so much, we played off of their landscape. We also did a different dance floor and floral back drop which were some of my favorite things, it wasn’t like a lot of other weddings I had been to.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? A little bit of everything! Lots of shrimp, that was Thomas’s big request.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was beautiful and mimicked the lace on my dress. We also had cotton candy passed around later in the night because it’s my absolute favorite thing.

How did the two of you meet? Thomas and my sister went to college together, so we met at a party for my sister’s grad school graduation. I was actually moving to New York the following Monday, so it definitely wasn’t something either of us thought would work out. After about a year, it just felt right to move back to Charlotte to be with him.
Describe the proposal! We were set to go on this amazing vacation, to Antigua, where I had a feeling he was going to propose. A few days before, we met at our house (we had just started to renovate and it was pretty gutted inside) to see what it looked like. It was dark and chilly and Thomas stood in front of me talking about the future that this house would have for us. That’s about all I remember, other than fussing at him about getting dirt and mud all over his pants if he knelt down. It was, to me, very us. No big production, just us.
How many guests attended your wedding? 225
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Getting everyone on the same page. Thomas and I really wanted most of the same things, and he trusts my style enough that it wasn’t an issue between us. I think between my mom, wedding planner, and myself it was hard for me personally to stay organized.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? There were so many! One of our favorites was that one of my best friends was due any day and wasn’t able to make it. When we were walking down the aisle as husband and wife, I saw her mom and she was facetiming her and it was just a random sweet moment that she could be there!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. It was so stressful! I hate being in front of crowds, and I’m not a great dancer. Thomas is an awesome dancer so that took a little stress off of me.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? Just all the dancing. Our band was spectacular. At the end, because we had a later noise ordinance, Marianne asked if we wanted to keep going and I almost cried and said yes, thank you! We didn’t want the night to end.
Tell us about your grand exit. I always loved the idea of Chinese wish lanterns and seeing them floating off as we leave. We chose to do those and sparklers (in case of bad wind). We ended up with both, which was kind of crazy but it was so fun. The look on everyone’s faces watching the lanterns float away was pretty special. And to top it off, as a total surprise from my wonderful planner Marianne and her husband, as we were pulling out there were fireworks. We were so surprised, it was really sweet.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it, and don’t let the pressure from other people get to you. It’s supposed to be fun

Photographer: Elisa Bricker | Planner: Marianne Caldwell | Venue: River Oaks Charleston | Florals: Blossoms Events | Caterer: Cru Catering | Wedding cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal | Bride’s gown and veil: Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid dresses: Lela Rose | Hair stylist: Modern Salon and Spa | Paper goods: Feast Fine Art and Calligraphy | Rentals: Ooh! Events | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo

Elisa Bricker is a lovely member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory.

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Pixie Wedding Websites reply

    Love the simplicity of this wedding, just beautiful. The detail on the brides dress is stunning!

  2. avatar Megan reply

    Did they have a videographer? I’d love to see all of this in motion!! 😍

  3. avatar Elisa reply

    Thanks so much for sharing. This wedding, and the feelings and memories it created, is one of my favorites! xo

  4. avatar Introducing Alder: modern botanical wedding invitation inspiration – Bella Figura reply

    […] setting | wedding dress | flowers | cake | boutonniere | rings | greenery […]

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After looking at their fair share of wedding venues (eight!), Dani and Andrew knew that Legare Waring House was the one for them. They were drawn to the pristine beauty of the plantation, and especially loved the Avenue of Oaks (how could you not?)! With this beautiful backdrop chosen, they worked with their planner and florist, Fox Events, to create wild and natural florals that were not only sweetly feminine, but also the perfect complement to the glamorous mix of metallic elements in their design. And how fun is it that their officiant was the same friend who introduced them on a blind date five and a half years prior?

Big SW hugs to Aaron & Jillian for sharing their sweet day with us!

I probably tried on close to 50 dresses from at least five bridal boutiques before I found THE ONE at Sarah Seven. I went with my sister-in-law and a close friend, and the minute I walked out of the dressing room, they both screamed, “THAT’S IT!”

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, there was no question whether or not we were going to do one! First look photos are my favorite pictures from weddings–they’re always so sweet.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, who ended up officiating our wedding. I knew Andrew’s sister prior to meeting Andrew, but it wasn’t until a Christmas party when this mutual friend suggested to Andrew that he had to meet “this girl, Dani” that we were set up.

We each wrote our own vows, which was fun, but challenging! It’s hard to express those feelings in just a few sentences. We think our videographer’s favorite line from the vows was Andrew’s line: “The joy you have given me over the past five and a half years has saturated my soul, and I promise for the rest of my life to try with every fiber of my being to repay you.” He included it in both our trailer and full video!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? After Lauren Fox took us to eight wedding venues, we knew that Legare Waring House was the one for us. We couldn’t get over the pristine beauty of the venue–so stunning and green, and we ESPECIALLY loved the Avenue of Oaks!

Our wedding flowers were wild and natural, yet utterly feminine, and fit the outdoor plantation perfectly! The color scheme played nicely with the grays and natural wood elements of our wedding, while the mix of metallic elements added the perfect amount of glamour.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The florals were stunning and the food, superb. The band, Super Deluxe, nailed every song; we’ve received so many compliments about them! Cru Catering provided the best wedding food we’ve ever tried, period. Overall, we could not have asked for a more perfect day!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take care of all the big things first (find a wedding planner, book photographers, videographers, a band), and then take your time choosing all of the smaller details. But don’t procrastinate too much–the last thing you want is to be stressed about things close to your big day!

Tell us all about the proposal! Andrew’s sister was going to be in Chicago for a visit to see friends. Recognizing the opportunity, Andrew set the wheels in motion. He flew to St. Louis to ask my father for my hand in marriage, put the finishing touches on the ring, and invited family to Chicago for the weekend to (hopefully) celebrate. After planning an elaborate ruse revolving around a fake Cubs game, brunch, and a photographer, Andrew’s plan was thrown into chaos when I realized I needed to work most of the day on Friday, April 17. Panicked (even more than he already was), Andrew proposed in our apartment, just the two of us. He had arranged for a celebratory brunch at a restaurant, where the entire family was there to surprise me! Later that night, Andrew invited all of our closest friends/family over for the perfect engagement party.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We repurposed the “blessing over the wine,” which was read by my great uncle and his wife. It was a beautiful tribute to both of our heritages.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Wild Flour did the most beautiful-two layer cake. The larger bottom tier was vanilla cake with dulce de leche buttercream and salted caramel; the smaller top tier was vanilla cake with lemon curd, coconut buttercream, and toasted coconut.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It can be challenging to stay within a budget. It’s great to have wedding planners (like ours) who are there to help guide you to stay within your budget, and to advise you on areas where you can make cuts that won’t jeopardize the look you’re trying to accomplish!
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 just got back from a delayed honeymoon in Antigua, which was incredible! We look forward to enjoying time together before we add to our family in a few years :) We also look forward to celebrating with all of our friends with weddings around the corner!

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography | Videographer: Dock House Digital | Planner and Florist: Fox Events | Venue: Legare Waring House | Wedding Cake: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: Cru Catering | Rentals: Snyder Events | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: Super Deluxe | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: Sarah Seven | Bride’s Accessories: Katherine Jessica Collections | Hair and Makeup: Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Bride’s Shoes: “Lovely” Embellished Wedge Sandal by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Alana” in Sea Glass, Palest Pink, and Dusty Pink by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Custom by Trunk Club | Men’s Bow Ties: The Tie Bar

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

    Yay for this feature! Stunning photos! We loved capturing this special day for two incredibly sweet people XoXo

  2. avatar Cyprus wedding photographer reply

    Wow these are really amazing shots! And the location is just perfect!

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We see a LOT of Charleston weddings around here (not surprising considering it’s one of the loveliest destinations in the South!). That means that when we’re choosing real weddings to feature each year in print, we have to be extra selective–otherwise, it would be all too easy for half the weddings we shared to be Charleston celebrations! When Stephanie and Johnston’s wedding photos landed in our inbox though, we knew we had a gem that our readers would love as much as we did. Stephanie and Johnston teamed up with A Charleston Bride with a meaningful goal in mind: to make their wedding feel as though it was a fabulous party at their home. Every detail was completely true to their classic style, and the reception even incorporated some of Stephanie’s beloved blue and white china. A few of my favorite personal touches were the ones that paid special tribute to how important their families are to them, from the boxwood family photo display, to the lace from her mother’s wedding dress Stephanie wrapped around her bouquet, to the custom crest they included as a nod to the new family they were starting on their wedding day!

We’re so thrilled Olivia Griffin shared this day with us for V9! We got to celebrate with both Olivia and Stephanie in person at our issue launch party, which was such a treat!

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? We wanted to incorporate lots of whites, ivories, and natural greens. I started to share some ideas with Lindsey on Pinterest and she and I brainstormed for months to get the combinations just right. She helped me see past just the appeal of the colors, but to think about the feeling and texture that certain varieties can have. She also made sure to create an overall design plan that was lush and full without being too over the top. My bouquet included tulips, peonies, and hyacinths. The construction was a modern take on the traditional with block groupings instead of the flowers being mixed evenly throughout. The bouquet was wrapped with lace from my mother’s wedding dress that she had kept preserved all these years!

We were married in Charleston, South Carolina at the end of February, and luckily, it felt like spring! Charleston is a special destination for us as a couple. We have traveled there together several times, and we love all of the restaurants, shopping, and the history of the town. I had always envisioned getting married outside by the water and Johnston and I wanted a destination wedding. Lowndes Grove gave us the Southern feel we were looking for, was right next to the water, was a large white plantation, and was also in a city we love! Being that we both wanted a black-tie affair and wanted the sun to be setting when we said “I do,” we spoke with our photographer and videographer to see what time of day would be best for our ceremony.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. We had a gospel choir sing guests into the ceremony, where they were greeted with a glass of champagne. We decided to have our ceremony facing the Ashley River on the backside of the property, instead of on the grand front lawn, to make the atmosphere feel more intimate. It was such a beautiful and peaceful backdrop. I also had a trumpet player for my entrance into the ceremony with my father. It was a really special way to come into the space, and made me think of all the weddings I had watched when I was a little girl.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? Johnston: The first look and Stephanie walking down the aisle. Stephanie: Walking down the aisle and saying “I do!” During the ceremony itself, when my dad and I started walking down the aisle toward Johnston, I was overwhelmed with all the love felt. Seeing people we have known our whole lives who traveled to witness Johnston and me get married was a feeling I will never forget.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved dresses and getting dressed up for events! Given my extreme love of fashion, shopping, and clothes, I knew that my wedding dress had to be the most stunning, gorgeous, timeless dress I had ever seen. I wasn’t even looking for dresses (since I was not engaged at this point) when I came across a picture of the Oscar de la Renta “Caroline” dress. I immediately called Oscar de la Renta in New York and inquired about the dress. They informed me that this dress was not in stores yet but would be by the spring (perfect timing on the engagement). I called the only store in Atlanta that would be carrying this dress and made sure they called me the day it arrived. We got engaged, and the timing was perfect because three days later, the dress was in! My mom and I went to see it and I tried it on and that was it! I knew instantly this was the dress I had always dreamed I’d wear when I walked down the aisle! The lady at the store told me that this was the last dress that Oscar himself created for his bridal collection before he passed away! I have such a love and passion for fashion that this dress exceeded my wildest dreams of any wedding dress I’ve ever seen!

We had a large focal point of a live greenery wall, where I gathered wedding pictures from Johnston’s and my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great grandparents. This meant so much to us because our families are extremely important to us and we are fortunate to have parents who are still as in love as they were when they were married over 35 years ago!

Our cocktail hour was perfect, and since we did a first look, we got to spend as much time as possible with our family, friends, and guests. We had the band play during the entire cocktail hour and had amazing hors d’oeuvres passed, which we had spent so much time picking out. We wanted each guest to feel welcome from the second they stepped off of the trolley and entered our wedding evening. Each guest was greeted with a glass of champagne to toast to the evening to come. Once the ceremony was finished, everyone went inside the house. We had a greenery-covered bar and blue and white ceramic lamps in the entry to greet everyone. They then walked into the main house and saw our cake on display under the spiral staircase, and smaller separated rooms they could walk in for chef-attended short ribs and oysters on ice. We also had a focal wall, in greenery of course, and hung our family wedding photos underneath our guest book.

The wedding exuded the same design and style of our house, which everyone remarked upon. People said they felt like they were at a party at our home (albeit a slightly larger house with a view of the water). We incorporated as many personal items from our home as we could carry in all of our trips up to Charleston. The blue and white china and monogrammed pillows are back in our home today, and seeing them on a daily basis reminds us of the wonderful wedding day!

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: Walking into the wedding process, I had a good idea of things I was naturally attracted to and liked. Once Lindsey and I got started on what elements we wanted to bring in, she and the ACB team asked a lot of questions about us as a couple, our family, our style, and our interests. Somehow, all of that came into the design and we loved it all even more than clippings or pictures we had seen before. Inspiration was the soft palette of natural ivories and greens with accents of gold and dark charcoal. I wanted to incorporate a black and white dance floor, large focal bars, crystal chandeliers, and lots of boxwood and flowers. Once we got started, we incorporated blue and white china, which I collect, and it really finished out the design. There was a little something to discover everywhere.

The wedding cake was a three-tier hexagon cake covered in ivory fondant with a gold-covered vintage lettered monogram on the middle layer and a few delicate white flowers placed at the top. It was simply stunning. The stand was polished silver and was a gift from a dear friend. The silver cake server and knife were heirloom pieces Johnston’s parents used at their wedding to cut their cake!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met at a mutual friend’s 30th birthday party. I had recently moved home to Atlanta from Florida, where I had lived since graduating from Alabama in 2007. One of my best friends convinced me to attend the party, as I had originally planned to stay home for the night because I was in a boot from a running injury. Johnston had been living in Atlanta since he graduated from Ole Miss in 2007. I lived a few doors down from Johnston’s cousin at Alabama, and thought I had recognized him, as they look very much alike. I introduced myself and there was an immediate connection. It is crazy to think about all the mutual friends we shared and all of the parties and weddings in college and after that we were both at and never once met. Johnston was in the background of a picture I found from a friend’s wedding four years before, which we attended with other dates! We realized that everything happens in God’s time and happens for a reason! We both knew immediately this was something special, and several months later, we were engaged!
Describe the proposal: Johnston had arranged for both of our families and a few close friends to meet at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. The weather was near perfect in mid-March, warm without being overwhelming. We walked through Piedmont Park and then into the main courtyard of the Botanical Gardens, where all of the tulips, one of my favorite flowers, were in full bloom! Johnston took a knee and I began crying and said “yes!” Having our families and best friends there cheering for us was such a special touch that Johnston organized. We then went to a wonderful dinner with everyone to celebrate!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? With the advice from some friends, who were married a few months before us, we attended several sessions of marriage counseling. While we did not have any serious issues to discuss when we started going, we found it very helpful to talk through many of the matters the counselor said cause problems down the line in most marriages. We also met with the minister who married us for several premarital sessions as well. Spending time with him going over our backgrounds and views on marriage and our parents’ marriages was very special, and he made our ceremony incredibly personal from our discussions. When we were first engaged, my mom also gave me the Southern Weddings Planner! She knows I like to stay extremely organized, and this planner had amazing advice and tools to use while planning a perfect Southern wedding. With the ability to add our information into it, I brought this to every meeting and referred to it daily while planning the wedding and keeping myself organized in the process!
How many guests attended your wedding? 165
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Mu grandparents, who have been married for 61 years!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? For now, we are readjusting to the real world and enjoying newlywed life: traveling for a few weddings, catching up with friends, and spending plenty of time with our dog, Oliver. We look forward to hosting dinner parties, redesigning rooms in our home, and possibly searching for a new house down the line. In the future, we plan to start a family and look forward to everything marriage has to offer.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Never lose sight of what the day is really about. There are so many moving parts and you put a lot of pressure on yourselves, but remember that this is about the two of you and the decision you have made to spend your lives together. Enjoy the day and hire a great videographer so you can relive this day for the rest of your lives!

Photographer: Olivia Griffin Photography | Videographer: Kickstand Studio | Planner, Designer, and Decor: Lindsey Shanks of A Charleston Bride | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florals: Jonie LaRosse of A Charleston Bride | Caterer: Fish Restaurant | Wedding Cake: Patrick Properties | Bride’s Gown: “Caroline” by Oscar de la Renta | Bridal Salon: Joan Pillow Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid Dresses: Style 450248 in Slate by Monique Lhuillier | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Ash and Co. | Groom’s Tuxedo: Sid Mashburn | Groom’s Shoes: Stubbs and Wooten | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Paper Goods and Invitations: MADE Papier | Crest Design: Arabella June | Rentals: Snyder Rental, A Charleston Bride, Ooh! Events, and TEC Lighting Company | Linens: BBJ Linen | Reception Pillows: Number Four Eleven | Transportation: Absolutely Charleston | Bride and Groom Exit: Classic Boat Charleston | Lighting: IES Productions

A Charleston Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa

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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