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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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Neither Olivia nor Chad is from the South, but after meeting in Charleston, they knew they wanted to start their marriage there, and show their friends and family why they love it so much! Thanks to its beautiful oak trees, big ol’ wraparound porch, and boat access, The Creek Club and its quintessential Lowcountry feel proved to be the perfect place to introduce their guests to the South. With a little help from a fun tradition, the South showed off with a glorious day for Olivia and Chad to say their vows! Speaking of vows, I love that Olivia said, “Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.”

Boy, we’re happy Kelly Dillon was on hand to capture this sweet day!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did, thanks to our photographer, Kelly. We really loved the idea of an intimate moment for our first look, and we loved that a lot of pictures would be out of the way so that we could enjoy our cocktail hour instead of disappearing for an hour or so. I also don’t think it took away from the walk down the aisle–my heart was still pounding and I still teared up with excitement when I saw Chad waiting for me at the end of the aisle.

For us, our favorite detail had to be our lab, Buoy. Chad has had her since before we met–she is how he got me to come over to his house the first time, and she is with us for literally everything we can incorporate her into. Having her be our flower dog was so important. We may be crazy dog parents, but having her there for our big day made it even more special to us!

My wedding flowers were everything I could have dreamed of and more, thanks to Whitney at Branch Design Studio. With the help of Pinterest, Whitney was able to see what I liked, which turned out to be anything pink! After that, she gave me several books of past weddings she had done so that I could point out what flowers and styles I liked. This was super helpful because before the wedding, I knew the names of very few flowers–I did not even know what a peony was!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Neither of us are from Charleston–we both moved here about five years ago. I am from northern Illinois and he is from western New York. After getting engaged, we knew we would be married in Charleston. We wanted to show all of our friends and family why we live here and why we love this city so much! We wanted the venue to be outside and on the water, things I think every Charlestonian loves. The Creek Club at I’on had everything we could ask for: a large lawn for the ceremony looking out over the creek, Spanish moss, and nice, large oak trees. It had the quintessential Lowcountry feel, thanks to a huge wraparound porch that was perfect for hosting cocktail hour. Chad also loved the venue because it would allow him to arrive and then us to leave together via our boat. This was a unique feature that not many other sites offered.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? For me, it was walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Chad, the man of dreams and love of my life, standing there smiling and waiting for me to join him. I may have already seen him that day, but my heart had never skipped a beat like that before.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My maid of honor was coming into town from Chicago for a weekend, so we decided it would be a great time to try on gowns. We went to White on Daniel Island for the first shop of the day, and Jodi, the owner, was the perfect hostess. After a little discussion on what I might like (strapless, sweetheart neckline, a-line, no lace), my MOH, another bridesmaid, Jodi, and I started putting dresses into the fitting room for me to try on. When I put on my gown, I was hesitant at first, but I loved all of the beading and crystals and the fact that it was a little different than most wedding gowns. We decided that this would be my number one choice, but I would continue trying on other dresses. From that point on, I compared every dress I tried on to that one, and nothing compared. The following weekend, we went back to White, I tried on every Jenny Packham gown there was to offer, and put on the gown I loved last. It was still the most gorgeous gown I’d ever seen and it just felt like me. Jodi let me twirl around in it for a good hour or two and popped another bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Not being from the South originally, we wanted to show off some amazing Southern Lowcountry cuisine. To showcase that, we started with appetizers of chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and sweet BBQ shrimp. In our welcome bags, we included bags of stone ground grits, along with our favorite shrimp and grits recipe, to allow our friends and family members to try it out when they returned home. As far as Southern tradition is concerned, a month before our wedding, we buried a bottle of bourbon to bring us good weather. I’d say it worked because it was the most gorgeous day in early May with the perfect temperature in the upper 70s. Clear skies gave way to a beautiful Charleston sunset!

We love seeing our “I Choose You” print from the Southern Weddings Shop at Olivia and Chad’s reception!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was just perfect for us. It was a four-tiered white and gold foil cake with stenciling. I thought it had just the right amount of elegance and tied in with our wedding colors. Tammy at Cakes by Karsada was amazing to work with. We chose vanilla cake with alternating fillings of raspberry and Italian buttercream and blueberry and Italian buttercream. Sooo good!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met in December 2010 at Midtown Bar & Grill in Charleston. I had just finished nursing school finals and was about to go home to Illinois for the holidays, and Chad was out with some friends. After mingling and several drinks, he managed to get my real name and number. Over the holidays we texted back and forth and he asked me out on a date when I returned. On January 6, 2011, I almost decided to be a no-show on the date, but I went after some friends told me I should. We met a Pearlz Oyster Bar and ended up having a great time. The rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! A little over three years into our relationship, we were in Breckenridge, Colorado on a ski trip with a few other couples. After a great first day of skiing, Chad said he wanted to get one last run in and asked if I could film him with the “slow-mo” option on my iPhone as he came down the mountain. He did an awesome run and I was so excited that I had gotten it on video that I didn’t notice until after he finished that he had taken off his skis and sat down next me. He finally got my attention and asked me, “Babe, today has been an amazing day, right?” I said, “Yes?” He continued, “Well every day of these past three years have been amazing with you. Will you marry me?” I said yes and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. This was something that we knew we wanted to keep traditional from the start of our wedding planning. Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Pinterest. It was my best friend and worse enemy. I may have always dreamed of getting married, but colors, flowers, and lighting were all new to me. Pinterest gives you so many options, it’s hard for someone as indecisive as myself to really focus on what I wanted. I actually stopped myself from going on Pinterest after I met with our florist and lighting vendors so that I couldn’t change my mind on anything.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? A huge cost saver for us was that my husband is a graphic designer. He designed our wedding logo, and designed and printed our invitations, ceremony cards, escort cards, and menus for the wedding. We had quite the printing pop-up shop in our home!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax and enjoy your engagement–it will be over in a flash. It’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, it will all work out and be the most exhilarating day of your life.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are just excited to return to regular life together! We already own a little home on the upper peninsula of Charleston. Chad can now return to doing little projects around the house. I have taken the summer off of graduate school, but I still have one year left to obtain my MSN as a family nurse practitioner. We are also looking forward to adding to our family with the addition of another puppy soon!

Photographer: Kelly Dillon / Planner: Meredith Tanton of Sweetgrass Social / Venue and Catering: Creek Club at I’on / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Cakes by Karsada / Rentals: Eventworks / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Lighting: TEC / Band: New South Players of East Coast Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Daphne” by Jenny Packham / Bridal Salon: White on Daniel Island / Hair and Makeup: A Jolly Occassion / Bride’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “2880” by Dessy / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Charleston / Menswear: Brooks Brothers / Ties: Private Stock Ties

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Antonio Gual reply

    What a charming wedding celebration! -Best wishes!

  2. avatar liam smith reply

    beautiful cake

  3. avatar Real Wedding: Olivia + Chad | Sweetgrass Social reply

    […] To learn more about Olivia and Chad’s special day visit their feature on Southern Weddings! […]

  4. avatar Real Wedding at Creek Club in Charleston, SC – Sweetgrass Social reply

    […] To learn more about Olivia and Chad’s special day visit their feature on Southern Weddings! […]

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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