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Caroline and Wyatt are exactly the type of couple who make working at Southern Weddings so much fun! Their wedding was deeply inspired by their love story and their families, so it was packed to the brim with meaningful details. They cared about creating a beautiful and hospitable celebration for their loved ones, but always kept the real reason for the day at heart, and stayed true to themselves every step of the way. They weren’t afraid to be playful and break tradition, but they also enjoyed partaking in the traditions that truly meant something to them. C+W, it was a joy to share your wedding day in V8–thanks for sharing with us!

We’re so grateful to Perry Vaile for sending this beautiful celebration our way!

Oh my goodness, let’s talk about the greatness that is Katherine McDonald for a minute! After trying on a number of dresses in Charlotte, I finally traveled to Charleston to visit Lula Kate. It was there that I met Katherine McDonald and began to grow a friendship with her, even before trying on one of her designs. When I put on her “Lamour” gown, I knew it was the right number for me! Katherine and I discussed adding a custom removable skirt, as well as deepening the back of the dress. In that moment, the dress became everything I was looking for. In addition, working with Katherine and her team was such a dream; it made sense to employ her to craft a unique mother of the bride dress and a modern bridesmaid gown.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? My bouquet was hand-tied and filled with roses, peonies, leaves, clematis, and lily of the valley. The bouquet was all whites and greens with some lavender, and was fashioned with a vintage ribbon that changed color in the light–I adored this detail. I attached my dad’s wedding band onto the ribbon during our wedding ceremony so that I could slide my ring finger through the band when walking down the aisle. My sister, Sloane, had a maid of honor bouquet made of blue bird roses, peonies, umbrella leaves, and geranium leaves that was fastened with lavender grosgrain. All bridesmaids carried similar bouquets that were slightly smaller. The groomsmen and groom wore a small bunch of lily of the valley as boutonnieres to match the sleeves of my wedding dress.

The overarching flowers dedicated in memory of my late father were pretty much everything to me. While there were many small details woven into the wedding to remind me of the love my father poured out during his time on earth, the flower arch was the most prominent note. I feel so fortunate we were able to use a watercolor illustration of the arch in both the wedding invitations and our miniature ceremony programs. I can’t help but smile when thinking about how overwhelmingly blessed I felt to commit a lifetime of happiness to Wyatt while standing under that flower arch.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our wedding ceremony was sweet and succinct. The part most special to the me: having my brother walk me down the aisle.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We kept the processional and interlude simple with traditional songs, and then had a gospel choir soloist sing The Lord’s Prayer a capella. The gal totally rocked it! During the recessional, while guests exited the chapel, the gospel choir ensemble sung everyone out of the chapel while singing our favorite praise and worship song, “Let it Rise.”

For cocktail hour, a long bar sat along the river with a base made out of green leaves. Small lounge seating arrangements were set up under large oak trees for guests. Wyatt and I chose to serve our favorite cocktails as signature beverages. His was called “Slow + Low” and hers was “Lowcountry Lemonade.” The gospel choir sang throughout the cocktail hour and even encouraged guests to sing with them on stage.

What was your reception like? For our reception, we went for different and dimensional. With high-hanging leafy greens, a flower waterfall dangling above the cake, a triangular dance floor, and salutes to our sign language history in every nook and cranny, the reception proved to be a great celebration.
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We both loved the idea of a “lounging garden;” with that, Tara and I worked together to take that concept and bring it to life. Tara sourced beautiful furniture, incorporated many textures, and hit the nail on the head when hanging greenery garlands overhead. Wyatt and I especially loved the lavender poufs that sat around the dance floor. Keeping things funky!

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was a two-tiered strawberry shortcake that featured real strawberries inside the cake. The groom’s cake was a round chocolate espresso cake topped with a laser cut wooden cake topper displaying the “I love you” in sign language.

Planning a wedding while missing a large piece of my family entirely changed the way I approached our big day. From the floral arch, to the use of purple sprinkled throughout the evening, to the wedding bands Wyatt and I chose together, my dad’s memory and character was woven into the details. We planned so that both me and my family would be reminded of my father’s love, and so that I could move forward and commit a lifetime to a man my father would have loved wholeheartedly.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on our first day of sign language class at Clemson. As semester-long partners, our conversations were limited to strictly signing, as students were not allowed to verbally speak during class. Months later, we began hanging out outside of the classroom and became close friends. We didn’t begin dating until about three years later, but those foundational best friend years made our “Oh snap, I think I like you” moment all the more fruitful and exciting.
Describe the proposal: Wyatt proposed in sign language one summer evening on the Greenville Liberty Bridge. On the night of the proposal, we had traveled to Greenville to meet Wyatt’s family for an impromptu dinner. I felt everything was normal on the ride down, but noticed that things started to get strange rather quickly when we got out of the car and the usually-calm Wyatt forgot to lock the car doors. He also shared that we “didn’t have time for a selfie,” which he usually enjoys. Seconds later, I noticed our sign language professor on the bridge ahead and thought to myself, “Oh no, I’m going to have to dust off my signing skills, this could be embarrassing.” Never did the concept of a proposal enter my mind. We then stopped to say hello to the man who had partnered us up years ago, and with that, our professor began to ask us questions in sign: “How long have you been dating,” “do you plan on getting married,” “when will you get engaged,” and finally, “what about an engagement right now?” With that, Wyatt began to hover down on one knee where I, out of shock, jumped back and replied with, “Duh! You know it!” Not the words I expected to say, but it most certainly happened!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? While we didn’t seek tangible counseling during our engagement, my mother gave us each a copy of the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for Valentine’s Day. Wyatt and I both learned a great amount and recognized pockets of our relationship we needed to spend more time on.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Intimate, reflective, jubilant

How many guests attended your wedding? 140
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I’m a big fan of “different” and hoped to find an option that was neutral, yet modern. I went to Katherine McDonald with a high-neck design fashioned in a neutral color in mind. Katherine added a rockin’ thick belt and pushed for the “high ponytail” idea, and with that, we had our answer! I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Wyatt chose to gift his groomsmen with white dinner jackets. All the groomsmen kept things simple on the bottom with basic tux pants and tux shoes.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Wyatt and I chose to spend our entire wedding day together, as we felt like Palmetto Bluff was so special, we should enjoy every minute with each other and friends! We rode bikes and kayaked with dolphins. Wyatt also loved playing golf early in the morning with my younger brother, Miles.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? For me, it was the moment I walked into the chapel the morning of our wedding day and took a minute to sit in a pew and watch the flower arch being built. For Wyatt, it was the sweet few minutes together during our first look.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We nixed the father/daughter and mother/son portion of the reception, as we felt like we need not dote on the concept of a missing father. Instead, we worked with our band (Perfect 10) to create a mash-up version of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” that would allow us to dance alone for a few verses, then invite our bridal party and family members onto the floor for the last verse. It was epic!
Tell us about your grand exit. When staying at Palmetto Bluff, guests are given a bike to get them around the resort. We left on a tandem bike to pay tribute to this special place we’d so easily fallen in love with. I also saw an added perk in exiting in Converse and a comfortable white romper. Gotta stay true to self!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Be kind and treat the other with patience if tensions ever rise when planning your wedding.

Photographer: Perry Vaile Photography | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner, Designer, and Florals: Tara Guérard | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Palmetto Bluff | Bride’s Gown and Veil, Bridesmaid Dresses, and Mother of the Bride Dress: Katherine McDonald | Bridal Salon: LulaKate | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Bracelet: Haute Bride | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Bride’s Wedding Band: Catbird | Bride’s Headband: Twigs & Honey | Hair Stylist: Tammy Dalton of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Anna Fedan of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Menswear: Joseph A. Banks | Paper Goods: The Lettered Olive | Assistance: Cacky’s Bride Aid

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

    Walking down the aisle shot is perfect!!

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LulaKate is a longtime favorite of the Southern Weddings gals–we’ve featured their “classic with a twist” bridesmaid dresses more times than we can count (find them in our editorials here, here, and here), as well as had the privilege of rocking a few LulaKate styles ourselves at the V6 launch party. Their booth is also a favorite stop any time we head to Bridal Market–there’s nothing better than a little dose of Charleston hospitality in the middle of NYC! Since LulaKate just launched a gorgeous new website and plenty of new styles and fabrics, we thought it would be the perfect time for a little re-introduction. Designer Katherine McDonald kindly answered a few of our questions about this beloved brand, and Kat Harris provided plenty of fun photos that totally capture the vibe of the LulaKate girl. Enjoy!

Tell us about the beginnings of LulaKate—why did you want to start a bridesmaid line, and how did you get started? My bridesmaid line evolved from my original ready-to-wear line. Some of my ready-to-wear customers were asking me to design their bridesmaid and wedding dresses, and after saying no a number of times, I finally said yes. After the first wedding, I was hooked. I love the process of getting to know a bride, her family, and her friends. Being part of such a special day in someone’s life is truly an honor.

What sets LulaKate apart from other bridesmaid brands? We are proudly sewn in the USA and have some of the best customer service in the industry.

What is your single best tip for a bride about to start shopping for her wedding gown? Remember to purchase the dress you love. Consider loved ones’ opinions, but make the final decision yourself.

What is your current favorite wedding dress in your collection? If you were to get married tomorrow, which dress would you wear? The Brooklyn is my favorite dress from the 2016 Collection. I would wear either her or the LaMour from the 2014 collection.

What is your favorite memory from your own wedding day? My dad playing the drums with the band!

Do you have a favorite LulaKate memory? Seeing Carolina Herrera on the street of NYC earlier this year and the first time I went to India in the early years of my career.

What is the single greatest lesson you’ve learned in business? Never take anything for granted.

Name three items every gal should have in her closet. Something from your mom, something from your grandmother, and something you can pass down to your daughter/daughter-in-law.

Thank you so much, Katherine! Be sure to check out the beautiful, newly designed LulaKate website here–especially between December 10-13, when they’ll be hosting their sample sale! You can also follow along with LulaKate on social media here:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

This post is brought to you by LulaKate – thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    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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    As y’all may remember from our outfits at the V6 launch party and a number of editorials over the years, we are huge fans of LulaKate here at Southern Weddings, which is why we were completely thrilled to learn that the talented lady behind some of our favorite bridesmaid dresses officially launched a bridal line last year. Kate McDonald Bridal effortlessly blends the chic, flirty vibe we love from LulaKate with a feel of timeless elegance that is perfect for Southern brides. Katherine McDonald kindly answered a few questions we had about her new line, and we are tickled pink to share her answers, as well as a few of our favorite Kate McDonald Bridal designs!

    Corbin Gurkin

    Tell us about the beginnings of Kate McDonald. Why did you want to start a bridal line, and how did you get started? My bridal line was an evolution of my bridesmaid line, which evolved from the ready-to-wear line. Bridal is my favorite of all three. I love working with the delicate and intricate fabrics. I never intended to have a bridal line, but then, some of my ready-to-wear customers asked me to design their wedding dresses. After saying no a number of times, I finally said yes. After the first dress, I was hooked I love the process of getting to know a bride and her family, and being part of such a special day.

    What sets Kate McDonald apart from other bridal gown brands? We are proudly sewn in the USA and have some of the best customer service in the industry. We are also able to customize our gowns for our brides to give them a truly unique style.

    Andrew Cebulka

    What is your single best tip for a bride about to start shopping for her wedding gown? Remember to purchase the dress you love. Consider your loved ones’ opinions, but make the final decision yourself.

    What is your current favorite wedding dress in your collection? If you were to get married tomorrow, which dress would you wear? Waring is my favorite dress from the 2015 Collection. I would wear either her or LaMour, from last year’s collection.

    Corbin Gurkin

    What is your favorite memory from your own wedding day? My dad playing the drums with the band!

    What is the single greatest lesson you’ve learned in business? Never take anything for granted.

    Corbin Gurkin

    Name three items every gal should have in her closet. Something from your mom, something from your grandmother, and something you can pass down to your daughter/daughter-in-law.

    Thank you so much, Katherine! Follow along with Kate McDonald Bridal here:

    Website | Blog | Twitter | Instagram

    This post is brought to you by Kate McDonald Bridal – thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    0 Comments

      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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