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Many of us girls dream about our wedding day for years, myself included! I personally always knew I’d wear the pearl bracelet my grandmother wore on her wedding day. Most grooms, on the other hand, may not have prepared for quite so long. :) However, it’s so important to view wedding planning as a preparation for your marriage, so sharing in decision-making is a great way to get your beau involved. Today’s sweet couple is a wonderful example of this in practice. Amy dreamed of a romantic, timeless, and luxurious-feeling wedding day, so she and her groom, Gabe, planned their special day at The Governor Thomas Bennet House. They chose to make decisions together and compromise often so that they both were happy with the details of their wedding, like their heartfelt ceremony and brightly-colored blooms. Amy said “It is through shared decision-making and communication that a strong marriage is built.” I could not agree more!

Big hugs to Kelly Dillon for sharing this Charleston wedding with us!

Gabe and I met in January 2012 at Trio, one of our favorite spots in downtown Charleston. We were there with a group of mutual friends and started talking, and then danced together the rest of the night. We went on our first date the next day and have been together ever since. After dating for eight months, I got an opportunity to teach in South Korea for a year. This was something I had always wanted to do, but I knew it would be hard on our relationship. Gabe was really supportive and wanted me to take advantage of this opportunity. We Skyped almost every day, and both feel that our relationship grew stronger during this time, even though we were half a world apart.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I tried on so many different dresses from almost every shop in Charleston. I wasn’t sure what kind of dress I wanted at first, but finally decided that I wanted a big princess dress with beading, lace, and some sparkle. I tried on a Justin Alexander dress at The Bridal House of Charleston, and loved the fullness of the skirt, the beautiful underlay of delicate lace, and the beadwork on the bodice. I decided to switch the high neckline to a sweetheart neckline, and added a tulle sash with a sparkly embellishment.

For the flowers, I chose various shades of pink with accents of gold for the vases and candle holders. The flowers were a mix of coral, blush, and bright pink peonies. We also included accents of dusty miller, pink spray roses, and white hydrangea. I loved the lush, summery feel of the flowers.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we had a family friend be our officiant. She has known me since I was a baby, and it was very special that she was the one to marry us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My grandmother gave a heartfelt blessing at the start of the ceremony. She is a very special person in my life, and it meant a lot to have her be a part of the ceremony.

We fell in love with The Governor Thomas Bennett house because of its old Southern charm and history. It was built in 1825 and has been completely restored and beautifully furnished with period pieces. I was immediately enamored with the free-standing staircase, the only one of its kind in Charleston. We also loved the Southern feel of the large live oak tree that spread over the garden where the ceremony would be held. Once we saw the house, it was an easy choice. I didn’t want to get married anywhere else.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I wanted the wedding to have a romantic, timeless, and luxurious feel. To get that feel, we hung a chandelier from the live oak near the ceremony site and three chandeliers in the reception tent. This added so much to the old Southern charm of our venue.

Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged at the end of January 2014. Gabe is a pilot in the Air Force, and he had just gotten back from a two-month deployment. It was so exciting to be back together after what felt like forever. The day we got engaged was unseasonably warm for January, so we decided to take a walk on the beach at Sullivan’s Island. We walked all the way down to the point where you can see Fort Sumter. He stopped, turned to me, and said, “A lot of amazing history has happened in this spot, and I’m excited to make more amazing history with you. I love you so much. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.” He then got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?” It was a very sweet moment. I was so happy a bystander got a picture of the moment we got engaged.
When did y’all get married? June 6, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to do a first look. Gabe and I didn’t want to lose the excitement of seeing each other for the first time at the altar, and we love the tradition of waiting. We were very happy with our decision.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose to use traditional songs for the ceremony: the bridal party walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and I entered to “Here Comes the Bride.” For the first dance, Gabe and I danced to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, which has been our song since it came out. My dad and I danced to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. This was special for us because Gabe and I are moving to Hawaii at the end of August, since he is being transferred to an Air Force base in Honolulu.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My dad lent me a blue diamond ring that is a family heirloom, and I wore my sister’s veil. My dress and shoes were new.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We made many decisions together and compromised to make sure we were both happy with each aspect of the wedding. It is through this shared decision-making and communication that a strong marriage is built.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We shared some rental items with the wedding that was held the night before.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Gabe said his most memorable moment was seeing me walk down the aisle. I would have to say my most memorable moment was our first dance, and walking down the aisle and seeing Gabe with tears in his eyes. It was also so much fun getting ready with my beautiful bridesmaids in the gorgeous house.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are moving to Hawaii and are hoping to have many adventures there!

Photographer: Kelly Dillon / Videographer: George Street Photo / Planner: Cory Winn Lambert / Venue: The Governor Thomas Bennett House / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Artistic Cakes by Linda / Caterer: Hamby Catering / Rentals: EventHaus Rentals / Lighting: Thomas Smith / DJ: Epic Charleston / Bride’s Gown: Justin Alexander / Menswear and Bride’s Jewelry: Ralph Lauren / Hair and Makeup: Lashes and Lace / Bride’s Shoes: Betsy Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Mori Lee

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

    Absolutely gorgeous! The Thomas Bennett House is an amazing venue!

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Throughout my 4+ years of writing here on Southern Weddings, I’ve written about couples BDK and I have been wedding date twins with, who have similar stories as us, and even a groom that played on the same baseball team as my beau. But, Wendla and Thomas are a very special couple to me, as they’re the very first reception venue twinsies I’ve had the pleasure of writing about! I have always adored the Lakeside Inn for its charm, location, and beautiful porch, and seeing it decked out in gold glitter is so unique! BDK and I had a very traditional reception in the lobby of this historic hotel, and seeing its front lawn transformed into Wendla and Thomas’ pretty navy celebration has me planning a trip to Mount Dora in my head. I can assure you, the adorable town is as magical as their celebration makes it look!

Thank you so much to Kt Crabb for sharing this sweet soiree with us!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The bridesmaid dresses! I knew I wanted gold sparkly dresses, but was having a hard time finding exactly what I wanted. My neighbor, who is also a seamstress, offered to help make them. We searched through many fabric stores and ordered countless fabric swatches until finally finding the winner. Each girl sent her a dress they already had that fit them well, and the seamstress recreated the dresses in my fabric. I was very nervous about how they would look all together, but it turned out perfectly. They glimmered and sparkled all day long!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We wanted our wedding to be traditional, so a first look was just not for us. I was so excited to see Thomas’ expression at the front of the church when I walked down the aisle. And I’m so glad we waited–his face at that moment was my favorite part of the day!

Knowing we would both be anxious on our wedding day, repeating traditional words seemed more realistic for us. As simple as repeating vows seems, I was so excited on our wedding day that I blurted out “I will” before the correct time, much to the amusement of our guests! Thomas’s father is a Methodist minister in Tennessee, and was able to perform half of the ceremony, along with my church’s minister. His homily was perfectly tailored to us and our relationship.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I am from Mount Dora, Florida, and my family has lived here for many generations, so it was important for us to share that with our guests. We were married at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church. My great-grandparents owned the house that used to stand on the property of the church, my grandmother played the piano there many years ago, I was baptized there, and I spent many summers and lots of time after school there with the youth group. With all of those memories, it was the perfect place for Thomas and I to say “I do.” For our reception, we went to the Lakeside Inn during our search and immediately knew that we would have our reception there. It is a historic hotel on the water in the heart of Mount Dora with a large yard in front. Our planner suggested putting a white tent there and making the place exactly what I wanted. I melted at that thought!

I absolutely love hydrangeas. My grandmother had blue ones in her garden when I was growing up, and they were always so gorgeous! I chose whites and light pinks in order to not overpower the striking bridesmaid dresses (my favorite part of my entire wedding, other than my groom). My bouquet was made of white hydrangea, light pink garden roses, and a dusty miller collar. My reception flowers were very special, because they were arranged by my mom’s good friend and nursery operator, who volunteered to make my floral dreams come true. She set up all of the white hydrangeas in my multiple tall and short vases.

We met at a coffee shop to taste cakes made by an adorable lady who works out of her home. Thomas chose two flavors for the head cake: a pink champagne cake (her custom flavor) with cream cheese filling, and white chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I chose the edible gold glitter for the outside of the cake.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in medical school in July 2012. I was an incoming second year student assigned to Thomas, an incoming first year, to be his “big.” I helped him move into his new place and get ready for his first year. I was immediately infatuated by his Southern charm and good looks. I am so grateful for my dear friend who set up the big-little matching! Soon after school began, we started studying together daily. That eventually led to me giving Thomas an ultimatum: either we go on a date, or I had gone too far beyond my big-little responsibilities. He was a true gentleman and won me over on our first date. By the end of the year, we had introduced our families to each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! Thomas completely surprised me! He got my father’s blessing and my family heritage diamond, picked out the setting, and waited for a good time. We were living in different cities and had hectic schedules, and he came into town one weekend for a local gala fundraiser. When I got home from my shift, he was already there with flowers and wine. That wasn’t too out of the ordinary, since he always went above and beyond during the times that we could see each other. He took me out to my family home’s back porch to “look at something in the backyard.” When I turned around to ask what he was looking for, he was down on one knee. I couldn’t believe it! He asked me to marry him and I said “Absolutely!”
When did y’all get married? March 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our parents and bridal party entered to a piano rendition of “A Thousand Years,” which we heard on the radio months before the wedding and flagged it to be a part of our big day. Our first dance was to “Come to Me” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Thomas used to sing it to me every time it came on in the car, and one day, I said “Can this be our first dance?” He was very excited!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Nothing says Southern more than family! From the pre-wedding parties to the after-reception soirée, mine and Thomas’ families mixed and mingled like old friends. The people in my hometown went above and beyond to make sure our wedding day (and the whole weekend) was just what we wanted.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Studying for medicine is a task in itself, but adding a wedding to the mix is something else. We truly learned how to communicate and listen during our engagement. We were living in different cities for rotation purposes, and had to schedule and reschedule wedding planning opportunities. This taught us a lot about each other, and even more, it taught us about balancing our careers and marriage.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I matched into pediatrics in Orlando, so we will live together for a year. He will match next year in a military residency program, and will most likely have to move out of state to be on an Air Force base. We will live apart for a few years apart while our careers start, but eventually will be reunited to start a home together. With his military commitments, we have no idea where we will be, but we are excited for the adventures that come with that!

Photographer: Kt Crabb Photography / Ceremony Venue: St Edward’s Episcopal Church / Reception Venue and Caterer: Lakeside Inn / Florist: Terri’s Flower Shop / Cake Baker: The Cake Lady / Rentals: Grand Rental / Lighting: Grand Rental / DJ: Accent Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Mikaella Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Pure Aveda Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Vera Wang / Groom’s Coat: itailor / Menswear: Michael Kors / Bow Ties: The Tie Bar

Kt Crabb is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Catherine Sensing reply

    Your article has captured the truly beautiful wedding that it was. The bride and groom are a perfect couple.

  2. avatar Wendla Sensing reply

    thank you Marissa for your beautiful post of our wedding day! So happy we are reception venue twinsies!

  3. avatar Jillian Pottkotter reply

    Love this wedding. The hints of navy and gold are just wonderful. As a fellow married medical school student, I know how hard juggling everything can be. Good luck on your residencies!

  4. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #195 – Floridian Social reply

    […] If gold glitter is your bag, you'll adore this bit of lovely in Mt. Dora. […]

  5. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #194 – Floridian Social reply

    […] If gold glitter is your bag, you'll adore this bit of lovely in Mt. Dora. […]

  6. avatar Andrew Szopory reply

    I’m loving all the bright vibrant weddings on this blog so different to what every other blog seems to be doing these days :) Keep up the great work

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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