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Bride Abigail shares all the details behind her gorgeous Charleston wedding!

We’ve sure featured a stunning collection of real weddings through the years, and this one is no exception. Abigail and William’s day is just full of gorgeous flowers, beautiful dresses, and breathtaking scenery. But I love that Abigail shared the moment during their ceremony when a plane flew overhead and almost knocked their flower arrangements over, coupled with this advice: “Something is going to go wrong. I guarantee it! Just embrace it, and know that it will be a great story later (we actually wish we had pictures of the best man catching the flower arrangement during the ceremony)!”

The best thing about our bride interviews is that no matter how perfect these wedding photos are, the real relationships behind them are better! Abigail’s focus on what mattered during her wedding day — the time spent celebrating with loved ones — led to an evening centered around good food, great stories, and heartfelt toasts. I can’t think of better advice for brides-to-be than to follow suit! (But also, can you even believe her escort card display?)

Thank you to Aaron and Jillian for these picture perfect images!

When did y’all get married? May 7, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 65.

What was Southern about your wedding? To us, nothing could be more Southern than Charleston. The culture, food, and architecture are second to none in our minds, making it one of the quintessential Southern cities. Following suit, our wedding included many Southern foods, such as chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, hush puppies, and fried green tomatoes to name a few. For our specialty cocktails, the groom’s pick was a John Daly (Arnold Palmer with Vodka) and the bride’s was a lemon and ginger-based cocktail from her favorite bar in Chapel Hill, NC. And of course, Lowndes Grove, with the plantation house and the Ashley River, are classically Southern too!

I am a professional artist, and I was lucky enough to work with the team at The Silver Starfish, who supported my desire to do all of the artwork for the wedding! For me, that was an incredibly personal and essential aspect of the wedding. The visuals that I had dreamed up for the suite were the basis for all of the creative and design decisions I made for the entire day. Another personal element of the wedding was creating the welcome bags that greeted guests in their hotel rooms. In the boxes, we included a personal card, a wedding map with our recommended locations to visit around Charleston, as well as other goodies that were relevant to us as a couple and our life together. They were a hit!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. The first dress that I tried on while wedding dress shopping was what I always thought I would wear; Monique Lhullier, lots of lace, very fitted and in the trumpet/mermaid category. What I didn’t take into account when dreaming was my body type! I took one look in the mirror and started laughing because I just looked like a rectangle in a dress! We immediately moved to the modified ball gown style, and I found my dress the very first day we started looking. I have always been a huge fan of classic style, and the lace veil and princess levels of tulle made me feel like Grace Kelly. The dress reflects my personal style and aesthetic so well, I am relieved the other dresses looked horrible!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? The ceremony as a whole was incredibly meaningful because we were married by my uncle, who had quite a few tidbits about me tucked away that I hadn’t even remembered. He also made us a very special wooden box to keep letters from our friends and family to be opened on our one-year anniversary! We wrote personal vows to each other that we opened while we were getting ready, along with our wedding presents to each other (I painted him an oil painting of our dog, Lilly, and he gave me a sapphire and diamond necklace for my something new & blue!). Reciting the traditional vows that so many other couples have also repeated was incredibly meaningful to us, and we didn’t want to miss either experience. There is also the now infamous story of the flower pillars almost falling during the ceremony while a plane flew a little too close for comfort! It was just a tad bit windy right by the river, and even though the flowers and pillars were weighted down, it was a close call! Luckily, our best man, Will’s twin, caught it!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We decided on the traditional wedding march music to go with the rest of the ceremony. It was what always played in my mind when wedding planning! Our first dance was to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. We both love oldies and for some reason, that song has followed us since we first started dating. Even though neither of us can sing to save our lives, we always sing the main verses to each other! Neither of us are sure how it started, but it is a song that has been part of our relationship for years now. Another very meaningful song was “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Sufjan Stevens. My father surprised us by passing out the lyrics to everyone in the ceremony to sing while we had our last dance of the evening. I have to admit, I definitely teared up! It was so moving to have our friends and family singing these special words to us to close out the evening. For me, it was one of the most memorable parts of the wedding!

The inspiration for our day was family. As I mentioned, my uncle married us, it was a small gathering of our closest friends and family, and the focus of the evening was, again, stories. Food is very important to my family as my parents started and owned a French restaurant for years, and I grew up eating phenomenal meals every day during long conversations at the dinner table. Because of this, having a seated dinner with intimate table settings so everyone could easily be heard was non-negotiable. Everything else centered around the simple fact that one of our favorite things to do is just sit with loved ones and eat great food!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We knew without a doubt that we wanted to get married in the Carolinas. We think that they are so beautiful, we love the Southern hospitality there, and Will’s family is mostly in South Carolina. We settled on Charleston because that’s where we took our first trip together, and we just fell in love with the city. Also, our friends and family are spread throughout the country and Canada, so we wanted an easily-accessible airport. As far as the venue, my mom and I went on a trip to find locations (even before we were engaged), and I absolutely loved Lowndes Grove. The beautiful, white plantation house, green lawns, and the incredible view of the Ashley River made it an obvious choice. We also were just head over heels for the decorations inside the house, which is part of the reason why we decided to have a sit-down dinner inside. All of the antiques and Persian rugs are exactly what I wanted for the “feel” of the wedding!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? I am a very adventurous eater while Will is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so we needed something for both of us! I opted for a ginger cake with vanilla frosting while he got hazelnut and chocolate. We also served blush and gold macarons to pull in our how we met story! Cupcakes are also my favorite dessert, so they were included as well.

When one friend stood up to use the restroom, we all joked that he was standing up to give a speech. To our surprise, he accepted the challenge and gave a truly heartfelt and spontaneous speech to the entire table. From there, we went around the table, with random people giving speeches about us individually and as a couple and how we had played a part in our their lives. We could not be more grateful for those hours spent on the upstairs balcony of Lowndes Grove that left everybody laughing, crying, and clapping.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in French class, began dating a few months later, and have been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! In order to tell you about the proposal, I first have to rewind a bit and start with engagement ring shopping. One time, while eating with my college best friend at my favorite restaurant, Rise-n-Dine in Atlanta, I looked over and saw the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen on a fellow diner. I immediately but not so subtly nudged my friend to point it out. Luckily for me, she has a great eye for these things and told me the exact style of the ring. And so, my heart was set. When Will and I first started to seriously shop for engagement rings, nothing looked right. We went to the big, fancy, name-dropping brands and the diamonds just weren’t right! Absolutely defeated because poor Will thought we were going home with a ring that day, he called up a family friend at Lugano Diamonds. Next thing I knew, we had perfectly set diamonds arriving at our doorstep ready for me to pick from! Now, Will being Will, I knew he would want to propose immediately (I regularly receive gifts months in advance of when I should be receiving them because he can’t wait to see my face). I have to admit that when he casually suggested I get a little bit dressed up, I knew what was going to happen, and I would not have had it any other way. He took me to my favorite restaurant in Chapel Hill (food is obviously a big part of my life), Bin 54, and then started driving towards Raleigh. Now I was a bit confused. What was in Raleigh? It turned out he had planned to take me to the historic governor’s mansion and propose at the front gate. I wish I could say I remember every single wonderful thing he said, but I think what sums it up the best was a passing driver honking and yelling “Wahoo!” as Will got off his knee!
Did you decide to do a first look? We did not do a first look. That was actually one of Will’s very few requests while wedding planning! We wanted that moment that you always visualize when thinking about your wedding, the moment when you lock eyes while the bride walks down the aisle. There is something so special about that and sharing it with everyone else. We didn’t want to change it!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was designing a cohesive vision that allowed me to be creative and express who we are! I love tiny details, like the mint julep and boxwood table numbers that pulled together the overall boxwood theme, and getting to insert our personality into such a big event was so much fun!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? As an artist and detail-oriented person, I had a hard time when vendors didn’t immediately produce something that was exactly what I wanted right off the bat. I just wanted everyone to read my mind!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We kept our guest list to just our closest friends and family, which is fortunately what we wanted anyway, but that helped to keep our costs down.

Photographer: Aaron & Jillian | Planner: Mac & B | Ceremony and Reception Venue, Caterer and Dessert Backer: Lowndes Grove | Florist, Rentals, and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Additional Rentals and Lighting: Snyder Events | DJ: David Fox | Special Details and Paper Products: Abigail J. Studio | Additional Paper Products: The Silver Starfish | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Pronovias | Bride’s Jewelry: Tiffany & Co and Lugano Diamonds | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Rory” in Bellini by Amsale | Menswear: Brooks Brothers

Written with love by Catherine
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    I’ll be honest, this wedding inspiration had me at “dogwood bouquet,” friends! Add in the gorgeous tulle wedding gown, the chic bridesmaid look (love those cap sleeves!), and the sleek gold accents, and I knew I had to share these photos with y’all. Big hugs to Hannah Lane for sending them over and to the sweet real-life married couple who posed as our bride and groom!

    Photographer:  Hannah Lane Photography | Invitation Designer: Catharine Perry Design | Jewelry: Everistta Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Danna Breaux, Lashes and Lace; Hillary Parker; and Mirror | Mirror | Dress Shop: Ivory and Beau | Handmade Goods Designer: Lovely Retro Renos | Menswear: Menguin | Event Planner: Mingle | Cake Designer: Sablée | Linens and Coverings: Snyder Event Rentals | Event Venue: Sunshine Oaks Retreat | Floral Designer: The Purple Magnolia | Tulle skirts: Whimsy Luxxe

    emily Written with love by Emily
    8 Comments
    1. avatar Ann Cunniffe reply

      Thank you, Emily, for including us as an inspiration for spring weddings! Hannah’s photos are beautiful!

    2. avatar Hannah reply

      THANK YOU! This is such an honor and I’m so very blessed to have worked with all the incredible vendors involved :)

    3. avatar Stephanie reply

      Beautiful! Love Whimsy Luxxe skirts!!

    4. avatar Lindsay Everistta Bridal reply

      Thank you so much for sharing our beautiful Charleston shoot! Every detail was so gorgeous! I loved designing jewelry for this shoot.

    5. avatar Adrienna reply

      Thank you so much for featuring our gown!

    6. avatar Danna reply

      Thanks so much for this gorgeous shoot Hannah Lane!!!

    7. avatar Catharine Perry reply

      Thank you, Southern Weddings! It was so fun to contribute the invitations & laser cut signage to this beautiful shoot. :-)

    8. avatar Southern Spring Inspired Wedding | Charleston Wedding Photographer reply

      […] shoot with me. (I seriously couldn’t have done it without her). PLUS we were featured on Southern Weddings!!! Ahhh! You can check out that post […]

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    I’m sure that none of our love stories happened exactly the way we may have grown up expecting them to, and in Elisa and Craig’s cases, Instagram certainly wasn’t where they imagined they’d someday meet their future spouse! When they finally met face to face, however, their connection was undeniable–Craig knew as soon as he asked Elisa to be his girlfriend that he’d someday ask her to be his wife. While these two are no stranger to the challenges of a long distance relationship, it made their Gatsby-inspired Chapel Hill wedding day all the more special and sweet…though their chocolate wedding cake, passed cupcakes, and milkshake shooters certainly contributed to the sweetness factor, too!

    P.S. If Elisa and Craig look familiar, it may be because they’re gracing the back cover of V8! So fun!

    Thank you so much to Grain & Compass for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I don’t think either one of us expected to meet in such a unique way. In 2013, my husband, Craig, and I met on Instagram, as crazy as that sounds. He was living in Los Angeles at the time and I was interning in New York City. We had one mutual acquaintance on Instagram, and from the follow, to likes, to comments, our interest grew. In fact, we still have the screenshot of our first exchange. After texting turned into phone calls and phone calls turned into “FaceTime dates”, Craig flew from Los Angeles to NYC to meet me in person and take me on our first real date. That weekend was its own fairy tale. Without a dull moment, we spent our days exploring museums, going to a Mets baseball game, kayaking on the Hudson River, and eating our way through the Big Apple. Craig asked me that weekend to be his girlfriend. I would later find out that in that moment, he knew he was going to marry me. After a year of dating 3000 miles apart, I finished school and moved to Los Angeles to be with him. Our long distance journey to marriage has given us such beautiful perspective, because we now know that simply being in each other’s company is a blessing to treasure each day we are together.

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was something I had always imagined doing with my mom. However, my living across the country from her in Los Angeles did not make this easy, as traveling back and forth was not very ideal or cost-effective. Since we got engaged right before Thanksgiving, Craig and I spent the holiday in North Carolina and my mom was able to reserve just one bridal appointment at Tre Bella in Durham, an hour before our engagement session was to begin. At one point, I tried on the dress I had not pulled and was weary about, stepped out, and saw my mom’s face. This dress was so classic, elegant, and simple in comparison to what I has walked in thinking I would want. But from the classic silhouette, to the soft, flowing fabric, to the Gatsby-esque beading up the back and on the shoulders, I realized this was it. I never expected to find my wedding dress after only 45 minutes of looking!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We chose to do a first look and we wouldn’t have had it any other way! To be able to share an intimate moment before the wedding just talking, laughing, and treasuring the time leading up to becoming husband and wife allowed us to share the whole day together. It also allowed us to take most of our formal pictures before the ceremony, which gave us more time to sneak away after and share a quiet moment eating some small appetizers and sharing our first drink as a married couple together. It was perfect.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My mom handmade two amazing wreaths for the doors we stood in front of for the ceremony out of gold-painted magnolia leaves she collected from the yard. She put so much love and time into them and they were stunning!

    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I knew that I wanted to walk down the aisle to a song that pointed to the reason for our marriage and the importance of the covenant we were about to make. Craig’s talented groomsmen, Justin Gaston and Ben Schofield, performed the song “I am Set Free” by All Sons and Daughters. After the unity candle lighting, we had both families, as well as the bridal party, surround us in prayer. During this moment, Craig’s brother and sister-in-law performed Craig’s favorite hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” reminding us and everyone that our faithfulness to each other is based on how ever faithful God is to us. We were so thankful to have so many friends share their amazing musical talents with us to make our day so special.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Using my parents’ vows as a guide, we wrote our own version of their wedding vows. We really value those vows because we admire both sets of our parents’ commitment and love for each other, and also how their marriage points to their individual relationships with God. A line from our vows that I love is, “to give my life to you by listening and empathizing with you, encouraging and enabling you, believing in you and in what Christ is doing through you.”

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were both raised in the South–Craig in New Orleans and me in North Carolina. We really wanted a venue with rich Southern history and beautiful grounds for our guests to enjoy! With guests traveling from all over, many from LA, we also wanted to minimize any travel between hotels and venues. We decided on the most amazing place that has it all: The Carolina Inn. As soon as we stepped into the Old Well Room (after we booked it from LA, I might add–another win for pictures and my amazing mom!), we knew it really was perfect for our elegant, Gatsby affair!

    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Craig has an amazing friend and pastor from college who really walked us through the goal and meaning of marriage leading up to our wedding. We were challenged to identify how our parents influenced us, as well as our own experiences, habits, and expectations. The greatest thing we focused on was preparing to become a unified team founded on love and respect–when a wife is loved, she feels respected, and when a husband is respected, he feels loved.

    Tell us all about the proposal! From Craig: I knew I wanted to create a really special moment for the proposal. We had been planning on going to a Christmas tree lighting at the Grove here in LA with a few friends when one of them mentioned that they do an epic fireworks show there, too. If anyone knows my wife, they know she LOVES fireworks. Since there was a group of us going, I told a few of our friends my plan: distract her for long enough to get in position, pull out the ring, and drop on one knee in front of everyone as soon as the fireworks started to go off. I knew this was going to be really tough because we would be hanging out for a while and I didn’t want anyone to break down and give it away–not to mention, being a wreck trying to keep the secret myself. The night came and went like a flash. Before I knew it, the tree was lit and it was time for the fireworks show. There I was, in the center of a sea of thousands with booming lights all around, asking the girl of my dreams to marry me. Several stutters later and not without plenty of iPhone photos and videos from both strangers and friends, I was an engaged man.
    When did y’all get married? April 17, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just under 200
    Describe your wedding flowers. My vision for the day was a classic, elegant, Gatsby affair. We chose black, gold, and white as our colors–this made my husband and in-laws, who are from New Orleans, very happy, because they just so happen to match the New Orleans Saints colors. It was a win-win for everyone in my book! I knew I wanted to keep the florals elegant and simple, with light yellow and white bouquets and a touch of greenery.
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I wanted our wedding cake to be classic and match our aesthetic, but most importantly, I wanted the inside to be chocolate! We designed a two-tiered cake with a hand-painted gold base and a white top, joined by a fondant black stripe and white geometric piping. In addition, we passed out plates and plates of chocolate and yellow cake cupcakes with white frosting and gold dust sprinkled on top, letting everyone know it was party time! Our love of desserts did not stop there–milkshake shooters and hot cookies were enjoyed by all to keep the sugar rush high and the feet on the dance floor!
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my sister-in-law’s veil, as well as my bridesmaid’s earrings. I also had my grandmother’s diamonds with me. We had always talked about my wedding when I was growing up, and she passed away the day after my wedding.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Our greatest advice would be to trust the experience of the vendors you have chosen and give them freedom to shine in their skills. Our vision was clear for each selection that was made, but the results of our planning, decoration, hair, makeup, photography, florals, stationery, etc. was because we let our vendors run with our ideas instead of keeping them bound by only are ideas or concepts.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For us right now, it’s building our life together in Los Angeles. We are both pursuing our passions and there’s no telling what the future holds. I’m sure there will be many trips back to our Southern roots in Louisiana and North Carolina, as well as abroad–we are excited for our 2016 trip to Europe!

    Photographer and Videographer: Grain and Compass / Planner: Erin McLean Events / Venue and Caterer: The Carolina Inn / Florist: Barbara Long / Cake Baker: Once in a Blue Moon / Rentals: CE Rental / DJ: The Local DJ / Paper Products: Alissa Bell Press / Bride’s Gown: “Selia” by St. Patrick / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Yes Dear & Co. / Hair and Makeup: Lula Hair and Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Nina / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sleeveless Lace Cocktail Dress” by Aidan Mattox / Menswear: “Slim Fit Tuxedo” in Black by Calvin Klein

    Erin McLean Events and Lula Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    1 Comment
    1. avatar Dana reply

      The Carolina Inn looks like the perfect venue for a Gatsby inspired wedding!

    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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