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Wedding planning is filled with so many decisions, some more stressful than others. But, of course, the biggest choice you’re making is to spend your life with one another! Diane’s favorite part of the ceremony she and Mark crafted themselves was “You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice. You both are choosing each other.” Another wedding decision that fell in the easy-to-make category was their venue–Diane and Mark never looked at any other places, but knew The Bleckley Inn was they one for them. They personalized the beautiful space with DIY pieces created by Diane and her maid of honor, including that amazing ceremony backdrop–they handmade it to be over seven feet tall!

Thanks to Ryan & Alyssa for sharing Diane and Mark’s wedding with us!

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I had tried on over 50 dresses and couldn’t find a dress that reflected my personality. I finally decided to try on dresses that were over my budget and came across a designer named Leanne Marshall. I tried on my dress and instantly fell in love. As I tried on more and more dresses, I found myself comparing every one to this dress. It was the perfect mix of romantic and fun, but best of all, IT HAD POCKETS!! It was unlike any dress I have ever seen. When people saw it, they all said the same thing: “That is such a Diane dress.” I felt like it was made for me.

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Describe your wedding flowers. I love greenery and bouquets that look like you just walked through a garden and picked up flowers to bring home to your mother. My florist took my vision and ran with it. We used white spray roses, pale pink stock, seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar eucalyptus, dusty miller, hypericum berries, baby’s breath, wax flower, and spirea.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to write the majority of our ceremony script, and while we were doing research, we came across some sweet lines to incorporate into the script. A personal favorite was, “You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice. You both are choosing each other. You’ve chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter”.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Five years ago, I was a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding, which took place at The Bleckley, and I fell in love with it! When we got engaged, we did not look at any other venue. This was our first and only choice.

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Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a bracelet from a bridesmaid. Another bridesmaid brought a blue garter that she had been worn at her wedding (which I was a part of and caught the bouquet at). My something old was a pair of antique earrings given to me by Mark’s mother, which had been worn by his grandmother. The new item I wore was a wedding gift from Mark. He surprised me with a Clemson class ring, which I have always wanted.

My matron of honor is the most amazing baker and cake artist. She came up with a remarkable design based off of my love of Aztec and geometrical design. There were three separate cakes, and each tier differed in size, texture, and technique. My favorite feature was the way she hand-painted a beautiful watercolor design on wafer paper, which she then transferred to the bottom tier of one cake. The cake we cut in to was a vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with a white chocolate drip. The other cakes were a mix of vanilla cake with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate cake with dark chocolate fudge buttercream.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It all started in the summer of 2007. Mark and I were both students at Clemson University and applied for a bartending position at a bar/restaurant that was opening up in downtown. We worked side by side for two years and casually hung out with the same crowd. One day, a coworker jokingly sent a flirtatious text to me from Mark’s phone, which sparked an exchange of messages and funny conversations. Over the course of a few weeks, we started seeing each other in a different light. We began dating in early 2009 and became inseparable. We maintained a long distance relationship while I finished my last semester in Clemson. After graduation, I had a big decision to make: move back home to Charleston, or head up North to Virginia with no job and no friends and take a chance on this relationship. It was the best decision I ever made. After six years of dating, two years of living together and raising a stubborn but adorable little French bulldog, Mark popped the question!
Tell us about the proposal! On a random Sunday afternoon, I had been out photographing a maternity shoot. When I arrived home, I gathered my equipment and walked towards the door leading into the kitchen. As soon as I grabbed the handle, something caught my eye–there was a note stuck to the door. It read: “10 Reasons I Love You. Please take your time and read each one before proceeding. I love you! -Mark.” I opened the kitchen door to find a bunch of rose petals creating a path for me to follow. As I made my way into the kitchen, I found the next note: “You are naturally beautiful. You look gorgeous with or without makeup. I love you!” As I continued to follow the path, the notes just kept getting better, and I started to realize that this was not just a sweet gesture–it was much more. The last note was at the opening to the living room. I turned the corner and the world around me melted away. There was Mark down on one knee. He started speaking, and I started crying. I dropped my camera equipment, and the words he had gone over and over in his head didn’t even sound like English to me. All I heard was “Will you marry me?” I fell to the floor and into Mark’s arms. I was so surprised and in shock. What went from an ordinary day of photography turned in to the most memorable day of my life. We popped a bottle of champagne and celebrated at an amazing dinner on the water.
When did y’all get married? April 23, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we did not do a first look. We wanted to wait until that perfect moment when our eyes met for the first time as I walked down the aisle. It was magical. He did not take his eyes off of me.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The triangle backdrop. My matron of honor and I came up with a design that would be the focal point of our ceremony backdrop. We measured, cut, nailed, painted, and screwed each triangle so that the whole thing would stand over seven feet tall. It was the largest puzzle I have ever done!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our food. We had shrimp and grits, pulled pork, BBQ pulled chicken, cornbread, and smoked gouda macaroni and cheese.
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 saved money in many different ways. I am a graphic designer and DIY junkie, so between my creative MOH and me, we designed, created, and implemented every detail, from the invitations, to the koozies, to the table runners, to the triangle paper garland. We may have saved money, but we didn’t save time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t procrastinate. Stay organized.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Starting a family.

Photographer: Ryan & Alyssa Photography | Planner: Kellie Conner of Jubliee Wedding and Events | Venue: The Bleckley Inn | Florist: Kimberly Cabe | Cake Baker: Jennifer Grove | Caterer: Sullivans Metropolitan Grill | Rentals: Event Rentals Anderson | Band: Six Stylez | Bride’s Gown: Leanne Marshall | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan and Adrianna Papell | Menswear: Jos A. Bank | Cake Topper: Touch Of Clay by Dawn Stubitsch

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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