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Bride Allison shares her destination wedding at the dreamy Old Wide Awake Planation in South Carolina.

Please meet today’s darling bride, Allison! She and her beau Mike planned a beautiful Charleston celebration that was a destination wedding for both them and their families. And while planing a destination wedding (or a wedding outside of the town where you currently live!) can bring challenges. For Allison and Mike, it actually became one of their favorite things about the wedding planning process. Allison said, “We loved how many mini vacations Mike and I were able to take during the planning process. We visited Charleston 6 times in 19 months, and we had the best time each time we went.” She also recalls a trip where a canceled flight turned into road trip-adventure through a snow storm to make a few very important vendor appointments and some even more important memories. Keep scrolling to learn more about Allison and Mike, and of course, get all the heart eyes for their beautiful day!

Big hugs to Landon Jacob for sharing their South Carolina day with us!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? In the months leading up to the wedding, I collected most of the vessels that the flowers and trinkets (koozies, programs, cards, etc.) went into from flea markets. It was a great way to add a very personal touch to the event and see my vision come to life. My florist, Fern, took my vision and ran farther than I ever thought possible with it. I was SO happy with the way the design of everything came out. Additionally, I incorporated my late grandmother’s veil as my “something old.” She was incredibly special to me, so it felt great having her with me on the day!

I started the dress search about 15 months prior to the wedding date (we had a 19 month engagement). I thought I found the dress of my dreams at my first appointment, Sarah Seven, and after learning that a trunk show where I could receive a sizable discount was occurring one month later, I knew I had to confirm my selection quickly. With that said, I went on a one-month mission to try on any dress that I was possibly interested in so that I could go back to Sarah Seven confident in my selection. Through my search, I realized that the dress I had originally loved was WAY different than anything I was drawn to at my other appointments. Heading back to the Sarah Seven trunk show, I was disappointed that I probably wouldn’t be taking advantage of the trunk show discounts. When I tried on the first dress I fell in love with, I realized it was completely wrong; luckily, thanks to the amazing Sarah Seven staff, they listened to the dresses I was loving at different designers & pulled out the most amazing dress I’d seen yet for me to try on. I knew it was my dress before even putting it on…but I did end up putting it on to confirm!

We chose to have our wedding in Charleston, SC. Mike’s family is in New York and Florida, and he went to University of Georgia, so most of his friends/family were all on the east coast. Alison’s family & friends are all in Illinois, which means that she’d been to almost every venue she would have chosen for someone else’s wedding, which didn’t feel special. Charleston was a pretty random spot as we only had 2 sets of family/friends there, but it was one of our absolute favorite cities and a place that we thought our Midwest friends and family would love to visit. Once we chose Charleston, we thought we wanted to a plantation feel, but booked appointments of a variety of venue types in the city. Old Wide Awake Plantation, which we ended up choosing, was one of the first we saw, and it became the one that we compared every other to. When we first turned onto the driveway & the house came into view, it took our breath away and we could clearly picture our perfect wedding there.

Did you decide to do a first look? Yes, we did a first look. We put so much thought and planning into the wedding of our dreams that we didn’t want to miss a single minute of it. Also, since we had a destination wedding, all of our guests were in from out of town, so we felt strongly about mingling as much as possible with everyone during our cocktail hour.

Although it was quite short (our Midwestern guests aren’t used to being out in the SC heat!), the ceremony was incredibly special to us because of who we chose to preside over it. Mike played baseball at University of Georgia and during his time there, he became quite close to the Chaplain of the team, Mr. Ray Lawrence. The day after Mike asked me what I thought about having Mr. Ray marry us, Mike woke up to an out-of-the-blue text from Mr. Ray, and we knew asking him was right.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? There were SO many, but one of the most memorable was Mike and me sitting down next to each other being served our dinner when the rest of our table was released to go to the buffet. It was such a small amount of time where it was just the two of us, but it allowed us to soak all of our planning efforts and amazing friends and families who had traveled for our special day.

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? I loved how creative I was able to be. I came up with a very clear vision of what I wanted, and I went to work finding the best vendors that could help me execute it. More importantly, I loved how many mini vacations Mike and I were able to take during the planning process. We visited Charleston 6 times in 19 months, and we had the best time each time we went. One of our favorite memories was when our flight was canceled due to a late February snowstorm, and we had such critical vendor appointments to make that we decided to rent an SUV and drive through the snow to make it. In hind-sight, not the best choice from a safety and sanity perspective, but it was such an adventure and great memory.

What was Southern about your wedding? Because most of our guests were from the Midwest, we wanted to make sure we provided a great Southern meal. For appetizers, we had sweet potato & ham biscuits, bacon-wrapped scallops, tomato pies, and mini chicken & waffles. Then for dinner we had a buffet (not at all typical in the Midwest – we normally do seated and served dinners) of shrimp and grits, peach glazed pork tenderloin, smoked chicken, fresh green beans, mashed potatoes (both sweet and normal) and biscuits with herb butter and strawberry basil jam. I still get compliments on our food with many claiming it was the best wedding food they’ve ever had. We also incorporated Southern culture with the venue itself. It had such a great history, and I made sure to include it in the program so everyone in attendance could learn what a special place it was.

I’m convinced we had the best baker in the game! We used Izzabee’s Confectioneries in Columbia, SC. I dream of the sweets table that she made for us to this day! We went with a small (basically just a personal one for Mike and me) lemon cake with strawberry cream and lemon curd icing as well as fresh whipped cream. It was a naked cake, and she combined all of that deliciousness in. For the rest of the sweets table we had homemade s’mores (the marshmallows & graham crackers were all from scratch), chocolate chip cookies with sea salt, homemade Oreos, brown butter Rice Krispie treats, mini apple, blueberry, and pecan pies, mini carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes, lemon curd & blueberry tarts, and homemade Twix tarts. INCREDIBLE! Because I knew the sweets would be such a hit, I made sure to include “Treat Bags” at the table so that guests could take some home.

Our music selections throughout the ceremony and reception were especially important to us – we started compiling a list of must-plays right after being engaged! I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of “Then” by Brad Paisley played by a guitar player and violinist. This song was perfect for us lyrics-wise, it was a great change from the normal “Here comes the bride” and the tempo fit wonderfully. Walking back up the aisle we chose American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life” (again played on guitar & violin). This is one of our absolute favorite songs – it’s super fun, the lyrics fit perfectly, and it got the tone of the night started! To walk into our reception, we chose “This is What You Came For” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris. Being that it was a destination wedding, we thought it fit because let’s be honest, everyone comes for the party! Lastly, our first dance song was “You and Me” by Dave Matthews Band. As long as I’ve known Mike, he’s talked about having this as his first dance song, and after whittling our list down song after song (we compiled and listened to all suggestions on Friday nights while drinking wine) this one persisted. It was the PERFECT first dance song.

Tell us your love story. Mike and I met at work. Mike worked at the company’s Atlanta office and I worked out of Chicago, but our roles had us working very closely. Then once Mike was transferred up to Chicago, the connection was obvious & the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Having recently brought home our beloved English Lab, Clarke, Mike asked me to take a random Friday off work to take the pup out to one of my favorite Illinois nature parks, Starved Rock. After about an hour into the hike, at the most scenic look out point, I turned around to see Mike down on one knee with Clarke sitting at his side. It was such a surprise and just perfect. After getting back to the car and calling friends and family to exclaim the great news, Mike let me know that we were headed to a fun restaurant back in Chicago to celebrate, just the two of us. Upon arriving at the restaurant, however, Mike pulled out his second surprise of the night – he had reserved a large private room at the restaurant and ensured all friends and family were in attendance to celebrate the engagement.
When did y’all get married? October 1, 2016.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 120.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part of planning the wedding was keeping my budget in check and trying to make sure all contributing family members were appeased!
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? My venue didn’t require me to use any predetermined list of vendors, so I was able to go out and find vendors that fit into my budget. I also did a lot of things on my own that many people may have paid for (created guest thank you gifts, addressed invites, paid for design of my programs, maps, etc. but printed them myself).
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? If at all possible, do what will make you and your husband happy and don’t worry about anyone else. It’s your day, and you both deserve for it to be exactly what you want it to be.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? It was the best day of my life. :)

Photographer: Landon Jacob | Planner: Jessica Rourke | Venue: Old Wide Awake Plantation | Florist:
Fern Floral & Event Design | Dessert Baker:  Izzabee’s Confectioneries | Caterer: Southern Way Catering | Rentals: Party Reflections | Lighting: Rob McKenzie | DJ: Other Brother Entertainment | Guitar Player: Gregory Guay | Paper Products: Magnificent Milestones | Bride’s Gown: “Stella” by Sarah Seven | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: MiKel Rumsey | Bride’s Shoes: “Romy Gold” by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Varied Floor Length Tulle Gowns in Graphite by Amsale | Menswear: “Traveler Suit” in Grey by Jos A Bank | Guest Transportation: Coastal Limousine of Charleston | Couple’s Getaway Car: “Caroline” 1950 Bentley Motor Car from Vintage Limousine Service

Jessica Rourke is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    So pretty! Love the dreamy grays and that dessert table…and even though I just see a peek, I pretty much want to buy her mama’s dress and save it for 20-some years, ha!

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While they might have hit a little bump in the road when they first met (be sure to read their interview to get my silly pun!), Monica and Jerrod’s wedding day was as sweet as their amaretto cake. Together with their planner, Meagan Warren, and the talented team at Fern, Monica and Jerrod took the blank space of 701 Whaley and turned it into a pretty, preppy celebration full of pink dogwoods and puffy peonies. I love the juxtaposition of the renovated industrial building and the feminine details!

Thanks to Joshua Aaron for sending this striped day our way!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met on St. Patrick’s Day in Five Points (a local festival in Columbia, South Carolina) through mutual friends. After chatting that evening, Jerrod offered to drive me home. We were sitting at a traffic light talking when Jerrod leaned over to give me a kiss–just as he accidentally took his foot off the brake and bumped into the car in front of us!! After that, we did not see each other for several years, and one night, Jerrod liked a photo I put up on Facebook. I had not seen or spoken to him in so long, so I sent him a message asking him how he was doing. We ended up going out and catching up, and from that night on, we have been together, having fun and creating memories. And there have not been any more fender benders! :)

I went dress shopping in Charleston, South Carolina at a place called Maddison Row. After a couple of dresses, I tried on “THE” dress, and I loved it immediately. I loved the buttons that went down the back of the dress. The fact that my father loved the dress as well sealed the deal!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a bagpiper play “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven when I walked down the aisle with my dad. When Jerrod and I walked back up the aisle, he played “Highland Cathedral” by Roever and Korb along with the organ.

We were married at Mt. Horeb United Methodist, which is the church that Jerrod’s mother’s side of the family attends. Our reception venue was 701 Whaley–I really liked the open floor plan and the uniqueness of the renovated building. We could really make it our own.

Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers were beautiful and colorful. There were pink dogwoods in large vases on the tables at the venue. I love peonies, and had the most beautiful peonies at the wedding. I wanted a colorful palette, and it was beyond what I could have imagined.

Describe your wedding cake. The wedding cake was four tiers in amaretto and lemon flavors, and it had real flowers cascading down the side. It was so good, we only had a few pieces left to take home.

Tell us all about the proposal! I am a nurse and I was coming home from a day shift at the hospital. I usually talk to Jerrod on the way home from work to let him know I’m on the way home. When I pull up to the house, he is usually sitting out on our front porch with my dog, a french bulldog named Bella. Bella always runs to greet me when I am getting out of the car. Just like every other day, Jerrod and Bella were outside and Bella ran to greet me. Jerrod was standing on the porch and came walking towards me. We hugged each other and he said “Say hey to Bella.” As I turned around to look at Bella, the sun hit something on her collar. I then realized what it was and turned around to see Jerrod on one knee. He asked me if I would marry him, and I, of course, said yes!!
When did y’all get married? April 18, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? A little more than 200
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My old and blue item is very special to me. My Aunt Tina made a garter belt for me out of an old blue tie of my Opa’s (which means grandpa in German). He passed away a few years ago and he was definitely there in spirit at my wedding. I borrowed my mom’s diamond tennis bracelet and I had new earrings that were made especially for me.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had koozies made for our guests. We served fried green tomatoes and corn dip, which was amazing. We all sang along to “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams, Jr.–I don’t know if it gets more Southern than that!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would suggest hiring a wedding planner if you are able. This takes so much stress off of you and lets you enjoy the wedding planning experience!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Our home is being built and we will be moving at the end of summer 2015. We are also looking forward to expanding our family and having children.

Photographer: Joshua Aaron / Planner: Meagan Warren / Ceremony Venue: Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: 701 Whaley / Florist: Fern / Cake Baker: Parkland Cakes / Caterer: Southern Way / Rentals: Party Reflections / Lighting: Ambient Media / DJ: Jason Book with Party Time DJs / Paper Products: Byfarr / Bridal Salon: Maddison Row / Hair Stylist: Keri Bailes / Makeup Artist: Daniel Price / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Svendsen reply

    What vibrant colors! I’m in love with the teal blue bridesmaid dresses and how the bride mixes in the coral flowers. I also love the asymmetrical dresses, though I’m partial (I had similar bridesmaid dresses but in nude at my own wedding) :) Great work, SW!

  2. avatar Meagan Warren reply

    Thank you for showcasing one of my FAVORITE weddings we have planned! Loved working with Monica and Jerrod… dream couple to work with. Thank you Southern Weddings and Joshua Aaron Photography! xoxo, Meagan Warren
    Meagan Warren Weddings

  3. avatar Monica reply

    Hi! Was this just submitted online or in one of your actual magazines?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Monica! This wedding was featured online, not in the magazine! :)

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One of the best parts of Kristin’s and my jobs is connecting the amazing vendors the South has to offer with our darling brides through the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! It is also a joy to see our Blue Ribbon Vendors work together to create beautiful events. Molly and Richard worked with four of our delightful members for their wedding day, which was filled with lovely details, nods to their families, and the Southern hospitality to host 400 joyful guests. One of my personal favorite details (beside’s Molly’s super chic gown!) is that they decorated with Molly’s grandmother’s china, silver, and crystal that was passed down to her when she got married. So special!

Big hugs to our friends Landon Jacob for sharing this Columbia wedding day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I had to have my mom and my best friend come with me to find my dress. We went to the most beautiful bridal shop in Charlotte, J. Majors Bridal. It felt just like the movies–I tried on all these wedding dresses and knew exactly which one was the right one the second I put it on. When I walked out in the dress, my best friend started crying, and my mom and I both got teary too. I didn’t want to make the final decision until my dad and sister-and-law saw it, and they both loved it immediately too.

When I went to the church to make the final music decisions, it was truly a magical experience. My parents came with me and we walked up several flights of stairs to the music director’s office of Richard’s church, which has been around for over 200 years. His office was beautiful, complete with huge windows, and the music director played all the songs we liked on the piano so we could get an idea of how it would all sound together. We were all very impressed and left extremely excited for the ceremony, knowing we were in good hands. The song my bridesmaids walked down to was Canon in D–I love this song and I feel like it really sets the mood for a wedding ceremony. My dad and I walked down to Trumpet Tune. We had the hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” played during the ceremony because it is one of my favorites, and it seems so holy when an entire church is singing the same song. The song Richard and I walked out of the church to was Toccata, From Symphony V, which was so joyful!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing Richard in the church for the first time. The aisle in the church is so long and my dad and I waited for what felt like forever before he walked me down the aisle to Richard. It was magical, just liked I had imagined it would be!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My mom and all her siblings got married in the same church, and I have always thought that was so special. When I realized I could get married in the same church my brother and his wife got married in, I knew that’s what I wanted. For the reception, I wished I could have had the entire reception outside, but I didn’t want to worry about the weather during the entire 11 months of our engagement. My mom and I visited several beautiful venues that could hold 400 people, but knew immediately when we walked into Forest Lake that it was perfect. The ballroom is so grand and beautiful, and the outside area looks out over the lake. To me, it doesn’t get much better than that!

The flowers were the most important detail to me out of everything. I grew up going to my aunts house in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and she has the most exquisite garden I have ever seen. I used to spend hours walking around with her outside when I was a little girl, so I wanted the flowers to look like they were fresh out of a garden. I could not have been happier with how they turned out. I wanted as much color as possible and my florist gave me exactly that, while sticking to a fall color palette.

I told the bakery I wanted the cake to be as smooth as possible. I asked the florist to drape flowers down the five tiers, and I placed it on a gold cake stand. A gold cake stand is not easy to find, but my wonderful wedding planner made it happen! The cake was placed in the foyer of the ballroom and it was the first thing guests saw when they walked in. I am a huge lover of chocolate, so it just didn’t feel like my wedding until I finally added the most delicious and beautiful chocolate truffles made by the in-house pastry chef at Forest Lake to our dessert offerings. They were placed on beautiful vintage trays and served to the guests. I made sure I ate three of them while I was at the reception, and I asked my wedding planner to pack some up for the car ride after the reception, too!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Richard and I went to the same high school and college, but we didn’t start dating until after college when we were both living back in our hometown of Columbia, South Carolina. We ran into each other one night and he asked me to go to the South Carolina football game with him the next day. Thinking I would ride with him and meet up with my friends once we got there, I said yes. He picked me up, and our drive was the first time I had ever been with him without our friends around. He was the most interesting person I had ever met. We have been together ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! Richard’s mother had been planning a birthday dinner for him. They invited my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, Richard’s sister and her husband, and one of his best friends. He was living in Charlotte, North Carolina and I was in Columbia, South Carolina at the time. Dinner was planned for Thursday night in Columbia, and then Richard was going to take Friday off so we could go to the beach for a long weekend. He came into town and picked me up to go out for a drink downtown before dinner, since we hadn’t seen each other all week. We were on the way to the restaurant when Richard decided to take a side street by my church to avoid the downtown rush hour traffic. I was on the phone with my best friend, so I wasn’t really paying attention. Richard stopped the car in front of my church and said he wanted to get out for a minute to wait out the traffic. I got off the phone and we walked toward the benches in front of my church. There were cars everywhere, but Richard got down on one knee and proposed in front of my church. After lots of excitement and shock, we went to dinner, where everyone was waiting for us!
When did y’all get married? October 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The ceremony was held at a large, historical, downtown church that has been around since the Civil War. The church grounds have ancient Southern oaks and magnolias all over the property, and Southern generals and Revolutionary War heroes are buried in the graveyards. The menu for the reception consisted of ham biscuits, fried okra, fried chicken, figs, shrimp and corn fritters, and fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, to name a few. The table outside was decorated with my Grandmother’s china, silver, and crystal that had been passed down to me when I got married.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun and be happy. All of the planning is for something that is so joyful, so be happy planning it! I felt so lucky to be able to plan such a special event in our lives.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are living in Charlotte and are excited to finally be in the same city. We are most looking forward to doing normal day-to-day things together, like waking up together and eating meals together at our house!

Photographer: Landon Jacob / Videographer: Caravan / Planner: Jessica Rourke / Ceremony Venue: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral / Reception Venue and Catering: Forest Lake Club / Florist: Fern Studio / Cake Baker: Parkland Cakes / Rentals: Ooh Events! / Lighting: Tony Sharp / Band: CEO / Paper Products: Brian Faulkenberry / Bride’s Gown: “Paz” by Augusta Jones / Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Augusta Jones / Hair and Makeup: Greg Garrett at Metropolis Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo / Menswear: Granger Owens / Calligraphy: Lydia Hendrix / Signage: Lady Letterpress

EastCoast Entertainment, Lydia Robins Hendrix, Fern Studio, and Jessica Rourke are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Alex reply

    So beautiful! Love the florals behind the bar and the deep color palette! And grandmas china, so sweet!

  2. avatar Claire reply

    What a timeless and elegant wedding! That dress!! A sweetheart neckline with a lace overlay has my heart pitter pattering, for sure!

  3. avatar Michael and Carina reply

    This wedding is absolutely stunning, and Landon’s photography captured it perfectly!

  4. avatar Joan reply

    I have had the Augusta Jones Paz dress picked out for me to try on and about twenty minutes ago I decided my colors with my fiancé. Funny thing is when I went to research the dress I came to this page and the colors were exactly the same I picked out. Thought it was neat for the dress and colors to match what I want. I hope I can find this dress in retail.

  5. avatar Amanda DeAngelo reply

    Hi there, these pictures are beautiful. I recently got engaged and am looking for bridesmaids dress ideas. I absolutely love the color and style of the bridesmaids dresses in this wedding. Is it possible to get the name of dress company and color choice?
    Beautiful wedding.
    Thanks

  6. avatar Top Ten Wedding Colors For Summer Bridesmaid Dresses 2016 | TulleandChantilly.com reply

    […] Photo Credits:Eric Kelley Photography via Once Wed/ via B Miller Weddings /via SMP/Vpon Sale Wedding/Julie Cate Photography/Landon Jacob Phtography via Southern Wedding […]

  7. avatar Sonia reply

    Is the bride looking to sell her dress by any chance???

  8. avatar 10 Darling Ways to Dress Up Your Mantle – reply

    […] southernweddings.com […]

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