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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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We’re starting this week on a seriously lovely note, thanks to today’s Boone Hall wedding! Amanda and Jason’s story is nothing if not serendipitous–she runs a stylish boutique, he owns an antique wholesale company, and after meeting at his store and falling in love, they became partners in crime at antique festivals around the country and across the globe. It’s no surprise, then, that their wedding was chock-full of the prettiest vintage finds, most of which they pulled from their own collections. I can only imagine how special it is to now have these same pieces in their newlywed home!

Thanks so much to Whitney Neal for sharing this sweet day with us!

I had recently moved back home to the Kentuckiana area (Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana) from Chicago for my next adventure in life. I had always dreamed of opening a boutique, and while planning my store opening, I also helped my mom redesign her hair salon. One day, while scouting for display products, my mom suggested we go to a place called Blue Ocean Traders that sold all kinds of interesting things. My mom, her business partner, Dyan, and I went one March afternoon, and were totally amazed by all the beautiful antiques! While shopping around, the owner, Jason, started helping us and showing us around the warehouse. Dyan said after leaving, “That’s your man, Amanda, he is the one!” Jason and I proceeded to email about product details, and of course, I had to go back for “more wall sconces to finish my mom’s hair salon project”…and more wall scones and more wall sconces. On one of those trips for more wall scones, Jason asked if I was available for dinner that night! Of course, I agreed. We quickly learned how much we had in common–we are both entrepreneurs, always looking for that next best antique. We quickly joined each other for 5 A.M. wake up calls to antique markets across the country!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did, and it was the best! The whole day, I was anxious, and I didn’t feel like myself until our first look. I will never forget that moment. We laughed, we cried, and we sweated a lot…Charleston is really hot in mid-June!

Describe your wedding flowers. They were gorgeous! The flowers and decor were one of my favorite things to plan. I have an obsessions with fresh flowers, and we used lots of coral and minty green colors.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My aunt and godmother, Donna, read the Irish Blessings. It was beautiful and so meaningful.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. We both cried the entire ceremony, and never would have never made it through it if we had!

Y’all, how gorgeous is Amanda’s swiss dot veil? Love!

My family has always traveled to Charleston for vacations and I have always had a love for the area. We both knew we wanted to do a small destination wedding there with our favorite people in attendance!

Boone Hall Planation is undeniably Southern! Our wedding had an old Southern glam feel, complete with lots of beautiful antiques. We brought all of our own farm house tables, settees, lighting, and decor, all the way from Louisville. Our meal was served family-style, and we had a biscuit bar at the end of the night! It was so yummy!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Working with amazing vendors! We were also able to provide a lot of our own decor.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a small cake and cake pops. They were so cute and delicious! The cake was coral (of course!) and we used my own jadeite cake stands for the display.

We both loved our first dance so much!! Our song was “Bonfire Heart” by James Blunt. It was fun, fast-paced, and really showed our love and the spark that we create for each other. We truly have so much fun together.

Tell us all about the proposal! I tagged along with Jason on one of his buying trips to Europe, and we had an amazing trip, hopping fences to be the first at the antique markets, and enjoying great dinners in small villages throughout eastern Europe. On the last leg of our trip, Jason took me to Eger, Hungary, where we spent a day enjoying wine and visiting the charming wineries. He proposed to me at one of the wineries, telling me how he knew we were meant to be. He said, “There was time in my early 30’s when I wasn’t sure I was suppose to be married. and I was okay with it. I had a wonderful life and got to do what I loved every day. I never felt what my friends had talked about with their wives until I met you. I now know that I am meant to get married, and that person is you.”
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We love spending time together, helping each other grow, and pushing each other to new levels with our careers. Hopefully, we’ll be starting a family soon!

Photographer: Whitney Neal / Videographer: Low Country Wedding Films / Planner: The Burlap Elephant / Venue: Boone Hall Plantation / Florist: Jaclyn Journey / Wedding Cake: Cakes by Kasarda / Caterer: Salthouse Catering / Rentals: Dress & Dwell, Blue Ocean Traders, and Ooh! Events / Band: Calhoun’s Calling / Paper Products: Blue Glass Designs / Bride’s Gown: Matthew Christopher / Bride’s Veil: HeadCandi / Bride’s Jewelry: Dress & Dwell and Lulubelles / Hair and Makeup: Meg Workman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN and Dress & Dwell / Menswear: Banana Republic and Collard Greens

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Cambron reply

    I love the invitations! Where are they from?!

  2. avatar Amy reply

    Oh, just beautiful. Loved looking at the smiling bride and groom. Look at all the love – Many happy wishes for lifetime of beautifulness – in every way.

  3. avatar Jess Petrie reply

    What such an adorable couple and wedding. The photography is simply outstanding too. Gorgeous work

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Every detail is seriously gorgeous, but my favorite might be the seating chart board – perfection!

  5. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

    The bride is stunning! Congrats to the happy couple!

  6. avatar 10 Gorgeous Blue Bridesmaids Dresses from Real Weddings | Mine Forever reply

    […] Whitney Neal Photography via Southern Weddings […]

  7. avatar Kaitlyn reply

    Beautiful wedding! Where are your shoes from??

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As y’all may know, every summer, we welcome a lovely intern to our office! Erin, our current intern, is a Texas girl from Princeton University, and she’s been a huge help to us with everything from photo shoot prep to working on the blog over the last month. Since she has a soft spot for colorful outdoor weddings, we thought she’d be the perfect person to write today’s post! -Lisa

Even though Elizabeth and Greg call Chicago home, their destination wedding at Charleston’s Boone Hall Plantation was a true Southern affair! By using vintage Boone Hall postcards as escort cards and displaying gorgeous peaches throughout the reception, Elizabeth and Greg captured the visual beauty of the South, while little touches, like providing fans to the ladies and offering tours of historic venue during cocktail hour, captured Southern hospitality at its best. But the best parts about Elizabeth and Greg’s wedding were the heartfelt details: personal vows written by the bride and groom, naming their first dog Boone after their venue, and choosing to wed in Charleston so that they have many reasons to return to the beautiful city!

Thanks to Amelia + Dan for sharing Elizabeth and Greg’s big day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old was a locket with a photo of my grandparents inside, which I wore on my garter. My something new was my wedding gown. My something borrowed was a bracelet from a close cousin of mine, and I wore Something Bleu shoes, which have a blue gemstone in the sole.
Describe your wedding flowers. Branch Design Studio did the most incredible job on my flowers. At the end of the altar were two rustic wooden wine barrels with vintage peach crates containing peach spray roses, coral peonies, peach ranunculus, white stock, yellow finesse roses, daisy feverfew, and scabiosa pods. My bouquet was made of mostly peonies and peach Juliet garden roses. It also included ranunculus, dusty miller, and a few yellow craspedia pods. The bridesmaids’ bouquets had white and yellow peonies with peach garden roses as well. Since their dresses were yellow, I added scabiosa pods to their bouquets in place of the yellow craspedia.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look to enjoy a moment alone together before the ceremony began. This way, we were also able to enjoy more time with family and friends during the cocktail hour, as we took a majority of our photos before the wedding started.

While planning our wedding, I made three trips to Charleston. For all three, it was raining when I visited Boone Hall. Therefore, I knew that on the day of the wedding, the weather was going to hold out for us, and the plantation was even more stunning in the sunshine.

We had rustic wooden wine barrels with clusters of peach arrangements on them at each of the four doors as you stepped into the Cotton Dock. In addition, each of the doors had lush rectangular wreaths covered in peach roses and peach stock. Mason jars hung from the ceiling containing peonies and ivory tea lights at varying heights. Above the sweetheart table hung more mason jars containing ivory tea lights and peach blooms strung from twine. Peach garden roses lined the tables, as well as wooden boxes of peonies, roses, dusty miller, and craspedia. Each window in the Cotton Dock had a cluster of vases and mason jars with coral peonies and ivory tea lights.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We wanted to make Charleston’s rich history a focal point of our wedding celebration. The mansion was opened during the cocktail hour for guests, where they were able to take tours and learn about Boone’s history. For seating assignments, we used black and white vintage postcards of Boone Hall. Since Boone Hall was once known for growing cotton, we had puffs of raw cotton strung along the back wall. They also were known for growing pecans, which we had incorporated into our desserts. We had fresh peaches in vintage peach crates throughout the venue, in addition to sugared peaches on the hummingbird cake. We gave out vintage fans to the ladies before the ceremony–as my mother in law put it, a Southern gentleman endures the heat! We were sure to have our DJ play many of our Southern favorites to complete the picture!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We chose hummingbird cake, as it was a favorite of ours from our first visit to Charleston. It brought another Southern aspect to our wedding for our guests to try. The cake was decorated with fresh sugared peaches to go along with our peach theme for the wedding weekend, and it was absolutely delicious! Greg was so excited about the cake that he fed himself first when we cut it! In addition to the cake, we had a dessert table with bite-sized desserts including s’mores bars, lemon tarts, caramels, and chocolate pecan bites. We also had a groom’s cake decorated like a Jameson bottle.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our friendship began in high school and continued on as we both attended Indiana University. While our friends attempted to set us up from the beginning, it wasn’t until I was back home for the summer in Chicago that sparks started to fly. Greg’s profession is with the Chicago Blackhawks, and with a little encouragement from my close friend, our new story began the summer night they won the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Greg: When we first started dating, Elizabeth made it clear that the key to her heart was sushi with a side of spicy mayo; it was her guilty pleasure food and we would enjoy it often. As I began to think of different ideas that encompassed our early dating for a proposal, I kept coming back to sushi. I finally came up with the idea of a custom fortune cookie detailing our fates and fortunes and, although fortune cookies are not traditionally served at sushi restaurants, I hoped it wasn’t too much of a stretch. I made a reservation at one of the nicest Japanese restaurants in Chicago and delivered the fortune cookies and a bottle of Dom Perignon earlier in the afternoon before dinner that night. When we arrived at dinner, the plan was to have them bring out the chocolate-covered strawberry (another favorite of Elizabeth’s) and fortune cookies as an amuse bouche. They eventually brought the appetizers without having brought the fortune cookies, and I had to convince Elizabeth to visit the restroom so I could track down the wait staff to get the cookies out. Thankfully, they did, and while she thought something was amiss, she played along as we opened our customized cookies. I read mine aloud, saying “Mine says ‘You will find a girl who will make you want nothing more in life than to make her smile,’ what does yours say?” Her message said, “You will be with a man who will love you, respect you, and care for you for the rest of your life.” Then, I got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes and we celebrated over sushi and champagne before meeting friends out later that night.
When did y’all get married? May 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We wrote our own vows in order to be able to say what we really wanted to give to one another in our marriage. My favorite phrase was “I promise to laugh with you, encourage you and inspire you,” as these are things we wish to maintain as our love grows over time.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I chose to walk down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” It is such a lovely, classic song, and it was especially beautiful played on the strings by Classical Charleston. For our first dance, we chose “Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore. The song’s lyrics really resonated with Greg and how he saw our relationship unfolding. Before we opened the dance floor to everyone, we danced to “Dancing in the Moonlight” with our immediate families. This was “our song” long before we started dating, going back to our early high school days. It was the perfect song to get the dancing started on such a beautiful night.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are working on decorating our new home in the city and look forward to getting our first dog together (named Boone)! We have recently done some traveling in Europe and are excited for a tropical getaway for our honeymoon once the cold arrives in Chicago. From there, we look forward to starting a family!

Photographer: Amelia + Dan / Videographer: Life In Rewind / Planner: Pure Luxe Bride / Venue: Boone Hall Plantation / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: D’lish / Caterer: Cru / Rentals: Event Works / Lighting: PDA / DJ: Dream House Productions / Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon: Ultimate Bride / Paper Products: “Carolina” by Bella Figura / Bride’s Veil: Weddings 826 / Hair and Makeup: Ash & Co / Bride’s Shoes: Something Bleu Oyster Bed D’Orsays from BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D564” in Daisy by Dessy / Groom’s Attire: De Louice / Groom’s Shoes: Russell & Bromley / Groomsmen Attire: Tommy Hilfiger / Calligraphy: Write By Mike / Men’s Salon: Old South Barber Spa / Ceremony Musicians: Classical Charleston / Pastries: Wild Flour Pastry / Transportation: FingerSnappin’ Entertainment Trolley, Charleston Style Limo, Vintage Limousine

Pure Luxe Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
4 Comments
  1. avatar Olivia Cox reply

    In love with everything about this wedding — from the warm and welcoming color scheme to the simply elegant place settings and gorgeous floral arrangements everything is perfect. Definitely sharing this post with my bride-to-be cousin!

  2. avatar amelia + dan reply

    thank you so much for sharing this sweet couple’s wedding day! :)

  3. avatar d’lish reply

    Hey there! Great post and so happy to see the wedding cake in all it’s glory :) Hoping maybe the creator of the groom’s cake can get some credit (not sure who it was) because it’s a great cake and they deserve to be recognized, too! :)

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Elizabeth and Greg are Chicagoans, but they couldn’t resist the charm of Charleston for their wedding! Chelsea and Will fell in love with their venue, Castleton Farms–it was right in the middle of their two home states. Sarah and Mike incorporated family members into their wedding in the (literally) sweetest way. Leah and Tripp‘s wedding was so sweet and Southern, and we love the story of how they met! […]

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