Bride Catherine shares her outdoor Charleston wedding!
Catherine and Thomas’s wedding was one of the first we accepted for our tenth-anniversary issue, and can I tell you a secret? It wasn’t even officially submitted! I happened to see it on Elisa Bricker’s website when she unveiled her redesign, and instantly inquired because I was so enamored with what I saw.
And can y’all blame me? Even though their wedding took place at the loveliest venue and not their family home the Father of the Bride vibes are unmistakable, and I am a forever fan of anything that reminds me of that beloved movie.
Of course, our bride and groom made their celebration their own, from the mint green details of Catherine’s dress, the inclusion of family heirlooms, and a unique route down the aisle. Friends, I think you will love this one! If you’d like to see even more detail, pick up a copy of our newest issue!
Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how your husband chose it. Thomas has a great eye and knew exactly what I would like. My mom has a friend in New York who is a jewelry designer who made it for me. I was so lucky to have someone who has amazing taste and a mom who could turn his ideas into reality.
We got married right outside of Charleston, SC in April. The weather in April in Charleston is perfect for an outdoor wedding. I’ve always wanted a Charleston wedding, and having been to many, we both wanted to find a venue a little different. The view of River Oaks really sold us on the location. The ceremony was at 5:30, which was perfect timing with the sunset at the beginning of cocktail hour and reception, and gave us a long time to celebrate with friends and family.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted to go shopping in New York. I went to a few boutiques but just couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere. I left New York disappointed and not sure what to do next, when the associate at Monique Lhullier emailed me to let me know they were having a trunk show for their new collection and if I found something that day I could have it in time for my wedding. I flew back up and it was the first one I tried on. I loved it immediately. I always said I wasn’t a sparkly wedding gown kind of girl, but as it turns out I am. I fell in love the second I put it on. My favorite part was probably the skirt. It poufed out just enough but it wasn’t heavy at all. And maybe also the mint green beadwork. The sun picked up the color and it was just beautiful.
Tell us about your wedding flowers. They were all white with lots of green. I wanted loose and natural flowers that looked like you could’ve just picked them from the garden. My bouquet was amazing, it was oversized and pouring over, loosely hanging. I tied an antique handkerchief with a broach from my Grandma on it.
The most special part was walking down the aisle. It’s kind of surreal. You plan for so long for this moment, and it’s crazy walking up to the person you’re going to marry when it’s time to say I do. My dad and I actually walked from the front of the guests instead of down a traditional aisle in the back and it was kind of a long walk. It gave me time to soak everything in and see everyone I love there.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? I love color and lots of it. But for some reason, for our wedding I really wanted to tone everything down and just let the beauty of River Oaks stand out. It’s such a beautiful property, we wanted to keep to greens and whites and let the scenery really stand out.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? I can’t pick just one! The flowers, the band, the food, my family and friends!
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used for your reception. We had so much greenery and flowers and natural elements. I loved the property itself so much, we played off of their landscape. We also did a different dance floor and floral back drop which were some of my favorite things, it wasn’t like a lot of other weddings I had been to.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? A little bit of everything! Lots of shrimp, that was Thomas’s big request.
Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was beautiful and mimicked the lace on my dress. We also had cotton candy passed around later in the night because it’s my absolute favorite thing.
How did the two of you meet? Thomas and my sister went to college together, so we met at a party for my sister’s grad school graduation. I was actually moving to New York the following Monday, so it definitely wasn’t something either of us thought would work out. After about a year, it just felt right to move back to Charlotte to be with him.
Describe the proposal! We were set to go on this amazing vacation, to Antigua, where I had a feeling he was going to propose. A few days before, we met at our house (we had just started to renovate and it was pretty gutted inside) to see what it looked like. It was dark and chilly and Thomas stood in front of me talking about the future that this house would have for us. That’s about all I remember, other than fussing at him about getting dirt and mud all over his pants if he knelt down. It was, to me, very us. No big production, just us.
How many guests attended your wedding? 225
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Getting everyone on the same page. Thomas and I really wanted most of the same things, and he trusts my style enough that it wasn’t an issue between us. I think between my mom, wedding planner, and myself it was hard for me personally to stay organized.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? There were so many! One of our favorites was that one of my best friends was due any day and wasn’t able to make it. When we were walking down the aisle as husband and wife, I saw her mom and she was facetiming her and it was just a random sweet moment that she could be there!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. It was so stressful! I hate being in front of crowds, and I’m not a great dancer. Thomas is an awesome dancer so that took a little stress off of me.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? Just all the dancing. Our band was spectacular. At the end, because we had a later noise ordinance, Marianne asked if we wanted to keep going and I almost cried and said yes, thank you! We didn’t want the night to end.
Tell us about your grand exit. I always loved the idea of Chinese wish lanterns and seeing them floating off as we leave. We chose to do those and sparklers (in case of bad wind). We ended up with both, which was kind of crazy but it was so fun. The look on everyone’s faces watching the lanterns float away was pretty special. And to top it off, as a total surprise from my wonderful planner Marianne and her husband, as we were pulling out there were fireworks. We were so surprised, it was really sweet.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it, and don’t let the pressure from other people get to you. It’s supposed to be fun
Photographer: Elisa Bricker | Planner: Marianne Caldwell | Venue: River Oaks Charleston | Florals: Blossoms Events | Caterer: Cru Catering | Wedding cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal | Bride’s gown and veil: Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid dresses: Lela Rose | Hair stylist: Modern Salon and Spa | Paper goods: Feast Fine Art and Calligraphy | Rentals: Ooh! Events | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo
Elisa Bricker is a lovely member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory.