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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
3 Comments
  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! dogtiredsc.com 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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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
2 Comments
  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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When Hurricane Matthew caused a mandatory evacuation in Charleston, Hayley and Richard were forced to cancel their original wedding plans and notify all their guests–something made even more challenging by the destination aspect of their celebration. However, with the help of their planner Victoria, their entire wedding was rescheduled within an hour! While this challenge could have left Hayley in tears, thanks to a supportive fiancé, loving family and friends, and a fast-working planner, she felt nothing but loved and supported. Though I’m sure this was not the easiest of planning experiences, I admire Hayley and Richard’s strength through adversity and encouragement for couples to “enjoy the planning together,” even when unexpected challenges arise

We’re sure happy Virgil Bunao was there to capture their sweet (and sunny!) Charleston day!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did, and I was terrified. I had my best friends read my vows the day of the wedding while we were getting our hair and makeup done. They all approved, so I went with them. Rick’s vows were perfect. He managed to make them very sweet, while still poking fun at several of my traits, including my love of kale.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We agreed to let the officiant surprise us with readings of his choice. He knew that I had lost my father and was very emotional about him not being a part of the wedding. The poem he read was written from a father in heaven’s point of view to his daughter.

The dress I wore was my second pick. When I went with several friends and family to pick my dress, I chose a long-sleeved lace Stella York dress. When I went to pick it up, I did not like it on me, so my wedding planner made an appointment and we went together, just the two of us. I chose a completely different dress–it was sleeveless and had no lace or beading.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew I wanted everything to be outside. I was born and raised in Naples, Florida and spent virtually all of my free time at the beach, so a beach wedding was out for me. We traveled to Colorado and looked at the Broadmoor, but decided against it. One night, we were watching a movie set in the South. The oak trees and Spanish moss reminded me of family vacations to Southern towns–Savannah, Charleston, and Louisiana. We ultimately picked Charleston because of all the activities. We thought a destination wedding should be a mini-vacation for not just us, but for our guests. Charleston met all of our requirements.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun with it. It is an important day, but it is just a day, so don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Rick and I decided on certain details individually and bigger decisions together. For example, he picked the food and I picked the flowers. We chose the band, budget, and weekend activities together. My advice is to enjoy the planning together; it really is a fun and exciting time for a couple.

Rick was in charge of all of the food. We had a three-tiered cake with different flavors for each layer: raspberry cake with a white chocolate and buttercream frosting, carrot cake with a lemon buttercream, and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we faced was when our wedding was canceled. Our original wedding date was October 7, 2016. We prepared and looked forward to this date for over a year. At the beginning of October, Hurricane Matthew began taking aim at the Carolinas. On October 4, we made the decision to cancel our wedding. An hour later, Charleston issued a mandatory evacuation. We had to contact all guests and notify them to cancel their flights and hotel accommodations. We had to cancel our honeymoon and contact all our vendors. It was very hard, and for some reason, I felt embarrassed–I knew that everyone was going to be put out by this. Fortunately for Rick and I, we have the most amazing friends, family, and wedding planner. Our wedding planner (Victoria) took control–she had the entire wedding, including all vendors, rescheduled within an hour. My friends and family stepped up and helped notify other guests. On a day I thought I would cry all night, I ended up feeling blessed. Rick brought home two bottles of my favorite wine and a ridiculous amount of roses. Between the support of Rick, family, friends, and our planner, it was impossible to be sad.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The guests. Our friends and family booked flights, took off work, and made hotel accommodations not once, but twice. We felt very loved and supported.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both work in the medical field, and met while working together.
Tell us all about the proposal! We love to run together in our neighborhood. One Saturday, Rick insisted we run at sunset instead of in the morning. He is much faster than me, so he was about a quarter of a mile ahead of me. When I finally caught up to him, he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was in shock at first, since I had waited five years for this. It was not until I realized he was tearing up that it hit me. I loved that he proposed during an activity we enjoy together. It was not the typical romantic story, but it was us. I drive by the proposal spot each day and it reminds me of that day and how lucky I am.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 55
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to The Beatles’ “In My Life.” My father loved the Beatles and the song reminded me of him. Our first dance was to Michael Buble’s version of “Feeling Good.” We wanted the dance to be fun, not the typical slow dance. We took dance lessons for several weeks and incorporated lots of spins and lifts. We wanted our friends and family to be excited during the dance.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I only had something blue: a piece of my father’s favorite blue shirt cut into the shape of a heart and sewn into my wedding dress.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We set an overall budget for the wedding and then set budgets for each individual item, from wedding invites to the band. We made sure that the budget we set for each item and vendor was followed and not broken.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited to continue to grow as a couple. We plan on traveling a lot over the next few years and really enjoying this time in our lives.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Cinema 843 | Planner: Victoria Wolanin of TopNotch Entertainment Corp. | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Caterer: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, Polished!, and Nuage Designs | Lighting: TEC Lighting | String Quartet: Palmetto Strings | Band: Palmetto Soul | Paper Products: DM Paper Designs | Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Accessories: Bel Aire Bridal | Hair Stylist: Jamie Stuart of Blue Dahlia Salon | Makeup Artist: Elina Mille of Bellelina | Bride’s Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent | Groom’s Tuxedo: Canali | Groom’s Shoes: Prada

Bellelina is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Maggie Sottero is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Ashlee reply

    What a great testament to the couple’s resilience through less than ideal circumstances with Hurricane Matthew! And the reception looks dreamy (those chairs!).

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