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Crystal shares her sweet, meaningful wedding at Boone Hall’s Cotton Dock!

The weather at our office in North Carolina took a definite turn towards fall last week (hooray!), which had me anticipating all of the beautiful cooler-weather weddings to come! Crystal’s late winter/early spring celebration is a perfect one to share in this transitional season. Or really, any season: “It was really important to both Brandon and me that our wedding felt authentic to who we are as people and that it was a celebration of who we are every day,” she says. We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves :)

From their adorable meet-cute (grandmothers are involved!) to the gracious hospitality touch they included via their rentals, I loved learning more about Crystal’s sweet South Carolina celebration! Thanks to Taylor Rae for sharing!

We decided on a first look because we wanted plenty of time to take pictures, and we didn’t want to miss cocktail hour or pull guests in and out of cocktail hour to get in group shots. We both also knew that seeing each other for the first time was going to be emotional, so we enjoyed having our own moment together to feel all the feels before all eyes were on us.

Our dog Bingo was our ring bearer (Brandon’s little cousin walked him down the aisle). We found a service in Charleston that picked him up from our house a few hours before the ceremony, walked him around the plantation with us so that he could be in as many pictures as he would stay still for, sat with him through the ceremony, and then took him home! Brandon and I love Bingo probably a little too much, so having him there to celebrate and be in our photos was one of my favorite things that we were able to do.

Leading up to my first weekend of dress shopping, I was heavy on Pinterest trying to decide what I wanted. I texted a photo of a dress I really liked to my bridesmaid group text, and they all agreed it was totally fitting for my style. I found a store in Charleston that carried that exact dress, and that’s the one I ended up wearing!

We had a pretty traditional Jewish ceremony and that was very important not only to Brandon and me, but to our families, as well. Before the ceremony, both Brandon and I as well as our Rabbi and two witnesses (two of our groomsmen), gathered around a table and signed the Ketubah (Jewish marriage license) together. I started crying immediately, just thinking about how lucky Brandon and I were to have found each other, and to have such amazing friends and family surrounding us. That moment seemed so real and binding for me.

We framed our Ketubah once we got back from our honeymoon and we hung it right above our headboard in our room so we’re always reminded of what it says and of that moment.

Our ceremony took place under a chuppah made from driftwood. To cover the top of the chuppah, we used a tablecloth that my great-grandmother needlepointed as a special touch. The sides stay open to symbolize the home you are going to build together. My favorite tradition is that instead of sitting down, Brandon’s parents and my grandparents stood at the front with us beneath the chuppah, each one of them touching a corner of the structure. It symbolized the strength in family and the strength that they provided to us as we were growing up.

We walked back up the aisle to an instrumental version of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. We found ourselves dancing our way up the aisle instead of just walking!

Our first dance was to “Overwhelmed” by Tim McMorris. I haven’t met a ton of people who know this song, but it used to be on a Sam Adams commercial (of all things) that aired when Brandon and I were still in college. The first time I saw the commercial I was like, wait, this song sounds really sweet! When Brandon came over that night we listened to it, immediately fell in love with it, and from that day on, it has always been our song.

Our table settings had mason jars instead of regular glasses, which I loved because we actually use mason jars instead of regular cups at our house! It was another detail that was authentic to us. We also used big wooden farm tables that we set without tablecloths, and arranged them in two long rows so everyone was sitting together. We left a few empty chairs at the ends of each table so people could move around and talk to each other easily.

We didn’t want it to be a big fancy day where people felt like they had to sit or go where they were told, but like they were just at home with their family. We also made sure the food matched our Southern venue: fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese biscuits, mashed potatoes… all the good Southern staples!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. I think Brandon and I were destined to be together since the moment we met on the horseshoe at USC, after our grandparents plotted to get us together by asking him to give me a tour of campus when I was trying to decide where to go to college.
Tell us all about the proposal! Brandon and I moved to Charleston, SC together after I graduated college and after two years of being long distance. On our first night in Charleston after a full day of moving, we decided to stop for take-out on the way home from a Target run. We stopped at Shem Creek Park where there is a long dock that runs out into the ocean, and we walked to the end. It was so beautiful, and I remember that we just kept saying how glad we were to be back together in the same city and in such a beautiful place. A few months later, Brandon proposed at that same dock.
When did y’all get married? March 26, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 110
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Why did you choose it? We served a wedding cake for our dessert – it was four tiers, two of lemon cake with vanilla frosting and lemon curd (my absolute favorite) and two of vanilla cake with raspberry frosting and chocolate ganache (Brandon’s favorite). It was iced as a naked cake and had fresh sugar berries on it. It was beyond perfect and exactly what we wanted!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was how much it brought everyone together! Both of our families and all of our friends were so excited to take a trip to look at dresses or even come visit us and help us put stamps on all of our invites, and we loved how happy everyone was to be a part of our planning process. It was also really fun when we finally got to the big day to see all of the hard work come together. You picture it in your mind over and over, so getting to the end and finally being able to share it with our friends and family was really fulfilling.
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 didn’t hire a videographer which I don’t regret at all, as well as using a DJ instead of a live band. Our favors were little wine bottle corkers that had our initials and wedding date etched into them – they were from Etsy and really affordable. We also didn’t go too crazy on the flowers and table arrangements. The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall is a work of art even when there’s absolutely nothing in it, which is one of the things we loved most about it. We wanted decor that would complement that, not completely take it over. At the end of the day, it’s not the flower arrangements or the number of tea lights or how expensive our favors were that we wanted people to remember. We wanted the focus to be on all the love and light that comes from all the people who are important to you gathering in one spot to watch you devote yourselves to each other.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Remember what your wedding is actually about. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things other people want for your wedding and all the details that you have to choose, especially if you’re planning it yourself. When it gets overwhelming, I’d say that’s the perfect time for a date night with your hubby, turn off your phones, don’t talk about the wedding, and just spend time with each other. Every time Brandon and I did that, that’s when the planning became fun again because my focus would be on celebrating that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend instead of what color the napkins should be. Also, make sure you at least get a day-of coordinator! The day goes by so quickly, you don’t want to be worrying about the schedule or the glass someone dropped on the dance floor. It’s so worth it to have someone there to make your day as easy as possible!

Photographer: Taylor Rae Photography | Day-of Coordinator: Natalie Knox at Boone Hall Plantation | Venue: Boone Hall Plantation | Florist, Rentals, and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Wedding Cake: WildFlour Pastry | Caterer: Cru Catering | DJ: Austin Haney via Pinnacle Charleston | Bride’s Gown: “The Magnolia Tree” by Lela Rose | Bridal Salon: Maddison Row | Hair Stylist: Chris Piraino of Studio Piraino | Makeup Artist: Jonny Cosmetics | Bride’s Shoes: “Hamptons Sandal” in Platinum by Jack Rogers | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Seaglass by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Tuxedo: Indochino

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Jessica Downs reply

    I love this! Would love to know what vendor they used for the dog as we’re hoping to do the same thing, but don’t want to make it the responsibility of someone we’d like to have with us for all of the festivities.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Jessica! I’m not sure which service Crystal used, and she may very well chime in, but I just stumbled across a Charleston-area service which advertises “wedding nanny” services: Dog Tired! dogtiredsc.com Might be worth checking out :)

  2. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    Oh my goodness! I love that Crystal and Brandon included Bingo in the celebration. Yay dogs! My husband and I have a dog named Banjo, and he and Bingo look like they could be twins :)

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of 30A, so before I even looked at these beautiful photos of Callie and Cade’s wedding, I knew I was going to love it! Though my family traditionally vacations just down the road, I have had the pleasure of attending services at the Seaside Chapel, and can attest to how simply magical it is. For Callie, who grew up going to Seaside, this home away from home was the perfect place to host their guests at a destination wedding that was as warm and inviting as the Florida coast itself. Although they were married at the beach, Callie and Cade wanted their wedding to have a classic, antique look that was achieved through the cascading white and blush florals and gold accents. The ornate glass globe installation added an especially romantic feel for their reception at the WaterColor Inn. And of course, I can’t help but love these Alabama alumni’s shaker exit–Roll Tide, C+C!

Thanks to Paul Johnson for sharing such a fabulous day with us!

My wedding dress was a dream come true. It had a fitted silhouette with a trumpeted skirt. The top and back were illusion and covered in pearls, crystals, and stones. It reminded me of something Audrey Hepburn would’ve worn.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? NO! I am old school. I wanted the first time he saw me to be when I walked down the aisle. Seeing his face in the pictures made it all worthwhile.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up going to Seaside, Florida, and it has always been a home away from home for me. Since we are from different states and went to school in Alabama, we thought it would be a great idea to have everyone travel to one of our favorite locations.

Our flowers included cabbage roses, peonies, dahlias, and many other types. They really made the wedding look the way I wanted it to–they were all neutral, blush, and rose colors, helping to give the wedding a classic, antique look.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. This was Cade’s favorite part of the wedding! We loved too many flavors on the tasting day, so much so that we decided to have four different flavors in our main cake: French vanilla, strawberry, citrus Grand Marnier, and Kahlua chocolate. Cade’s groom’s cake was pistachio chocolate and was inspired by his love for fly fishing and the outdoors.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met when I was in high school and visiting the University of Alabama. Although I was dating one of our mutual friends at the time, when Cade walked into the room, I knew he was special. We talked and immediately hit it off. When I went home that night, I told my mom I wish I had met him first. Because we were both unavailable, our friendship developed until the beginning of my junior year, when we were finally both single at the same time and Cade asked me on a date. Thrilled, I said yes, and it has been smooth sailing ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! The week before my birthday, Cade took me to our favorite restaurant in Tuscaloosa. He made up a little lie to get me down to the river next to the restaurant. There, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife, while a photographer was hiding in the trees!
When did y’all get married? August 6, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 165
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose “You Had Me From Hello” by Kenny Chesney for our first dance song. We both feel like we had a love-at-first-sight moment all those years ago, and we are huge Chesney fans!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Since we went to school at Alabama, we had a traditional Alabama send-off, complete with red and white shakers and a loud “Roll Tide” chant. We also provided guests with yellow hammers, an Alabama favorite, as our signature cocktail. I was a Phi Mu and had a candle lighting to celebrate my engagement when I was a senior, so all the Phi Mus in attendance surrounded me and sang one of our songs at the reception, which was a total surprise!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Cade and I worked on our spiritual life a lot during our engagement. We prayed together, did devotionals, and kept each other calm during all of the stressful wedding moments.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to reuse some of the flowers that were at the church at the reception.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Listening to my dad talk about how great of a man Cade is. It made me feel so safe, confident, and happy.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff. There is no way to please everyone, so go with your gut on decisions and don’t second guess yourself.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Cade is finishing his law degree and I am finishing my Master’s. We are also getting a chocolate lab in a few days and can’t wait to spend our free time training him!

Photographer: Paul Johnson Photography | Videographer: Momentus Films / Planner: Defining Moments Weddings & Events | Ceremony Venue: Seaside Chapel | Reception Venue and Caterer: Watercolor Resort | Florist and Lighting: Christina Springfield of Events by Nouveau | Wedding Cake: Confections on the Coast / Rentals: HM Tents & Party Rentals | Music: Kyle LaMonica and Compozitionz | Paper Products: Emily O. Holmes | Bride’s Gown: “The Sanctuary” by Lela Rose | Bridal Salon: Ivory & White | Hair Stylist: Rolland’s Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Rene Caovilla from Neiman Marcus | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D724” in Blush by Alfred Sung | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | Photo Booth: B-Boy Productions

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Y’all know that I cry just reading about weddings, so it should be no surprise that I have cried at every single wedding I’ve been in, plus all but one I’ve attended! However, ironically enough, neither BDK nor I cried during our own ceremony. There was such a feeling of peace and joy that we simply couldn’t stop laughing or smiling! A childhood friend of mine, also known for crying at weddings, told me afterwards that he didn’t cry at our wedding either, because we were smiling so much! I’m sure the small group of family and friends who were present at Leila and Sterling’s ceremony felt the same–I hope the photo of them laughing during their ceremony is on their favorites list! After the joyful, intimate ceremony, Leila and Sterling danced the night away at The Camp at Esseola Lodge alongside guests and the big, vibrant flowers. How amazing is that floral chandelier, y’all?

    Thank you to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna Routh for sharing Leila and Sterling’s wedding day!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I was adamant about only spending one day looking for my dress, because the dress was not a huge priority for me. I knew exactly what I wanted (or, rather, what I didn’t want): something with lace and a natural waist, and nothing strapless or bright white. A friend flew in from New York for a weekend in early January, and she, along with my mom, came with me to two shops in Raleigh. At the second shop, Alexia’s, we found the perfect Lela Rose gown. I had heard a few horror stories about dress shopping, but my experience was the opposite–very low key, low stress, and really fun to do with one of my best friends and mom.

    We had two readings. My cousin read “The Irish Blessing,” which has special significance to my family. It has been read at many weddings on my mom’s side of the family, including my parents’. My older brother passed away a few years ago and we read it at his memorial service as well. The message is one of hope, enjoying the “simple things in life,” and the promise of heaven–great reminders on our wedding day. For our second reading, Sterling’s best friend read a poem that Sterling wrote himself. He is an English teacher and a great writer. The poem, “These Patient Rings,” speaks to our family history and the fate that brought Sterling and me together.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up going to my grandparents’ house in Linville–it’s a beautiful, tiny, casual, very unique mountain town in North Carolina. Sterling and I have enjoyed spending weekends there throughout our relationship. I knew when I started dating Sterling that I wanted to marry him and that I wanted it to be in Linville! We thought it would be a fun place for our family and friends to get to visit, and since it’s so small, all of our guests spent the full weekend together with us. Since we had a big reception, we wanted the ceremony to feel more intimate, so we chose to do it at Wee Kirk Presbyterian, an adorable little white wooden church. Sterling and I loved the simple and personal “vibe” of our ceremony. It was fun and comfortable, and everyone in the chapel was a close family member or friend who had been in our lives for a long time. The reception was at The Camp at Eseeola, an indoor/outdoor pavilion overlooking a beautiful lake and golf course. It really stuck with the rustic mountain theme.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern thing about our wedding, in addition to the gorgeous location in the North Carolina mountains, was the FOOD. We felt strongly about serving filling, delicious, Southern food to our guests, and the Eseeola Lodge pulled through with an amazing menu. I don’t think anyone left hungry! At four separate stations, we served ham biscuits, mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, fried oysters, rolls with tenderloin, sliced tomatoes, and lots more.

    My mom was the genius behind our beautiful flowers. The only thing I knew was that I did not want traditional, formal, pale/muted arrangements. I wanted lots of color that reflected the season and the mountain vibes–she made it happen beautifully! Our arrangements were big and vibrant, and the most amazing part was a huge “floral chandelier” hanging above the main bar right at the entrance to The Camp.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sterling and I have known each other since we were little. Our dads went to high school together, and all four of our parents were friends in college at UNC. His mom is actually my godmother! Sterling and I lost touch as adults–though we always kept up with each other through his mom–but reconnected at a wedding about a year before we started dating. He was living in Baltimore and I was living in San Francisco at the time. When we both moved back to North Carolina a few months later, Sterling asked if I wanted to go to a concert with him, and that turned into our first date. We fell in love very quickly and were engaged nine months later.
    Tell us all about the proposal! Sterling proposed to me in Freedom Park in Charlotte on a beautiful Saturday in December. I was totally surprised, since the day had been a completely regular day for us. We went to the park to walk my dog, Riggins, and he got down on one knee beside the lake and proposed with my grandmother’s engagement ring. It was the biggest surprise of my life. After I said yes, we looked across the lake and all four of our parents were hiding in the woods. We had the most fun celebration with our families for the rest of the weekend. Sterling planned a proposal that was exactly what I would have asked for – casual, thoughtful, and involved our families.
    When did y’all get married? September 12, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 255
    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Sterling and I decided not to have a traditional wedding cake. We did not want to pause the party to cut the cake and did not have strong feelings about a particular style or flavor, so we thought, “Why force it?” Instead, the Eseeola Lodge created a really fun dessert table with all sorts of options: cake pops, fruit, brownies, and more. Throughout the planning process, we wanted to make decisions that made sense to us, not just do things because “that’s the way it’s done.” The wedding cake was just one example of us following our hearts and breaking the mold if something didn’t fit with our personalities.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Sterling and I loved the marriage counseling we did with our minister, Christopher. He became a really important part of the engagement period and helped us think beyond the wedding towards the important part, the marriage. We learned a lot about each other and ourselves, and the sessions we did with Christopher made us even more confident in this huge step we were about to take.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Sterling and I decided early on what was important to us: a lively band, delicious Southern food and an open bar, transportation for all of our guests, and having the venue in Linville. Beyond that, our response to most decisions was, “Which is cheaper?” Sometimes, our moms had other opinions, but for the most part, we invested in the things we cared about and cut costs elsewhere. We also decided not to have a bridal party, which ended up being one of the best decisions we made. It allowed us to cut costs and save some headache around logistics (pictures, timelines, hair and makeup, dresses, gifts). But, most importantly, our amazing friends still made us feel so supported and loved throughout the whole process, and isn’t that the main reason for a bridal party? Whether or not to have a bridal party is a really personal decision, but one that proved right for Sterling and me over and over again.
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? OUR BAND. Perfect 10 was everything we hoped for, and our dance floor did not clear out once throughout the night. We were so sad when the party had to end because the momentum was still soaring late into the night. The band was easy to work with and really listened to what we wanted. They interacted with the crowd the perfect amount. When we think back on our reception, we both have an amazing mental picture of a dance floor packed with guests.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Being newly married is a hopeful and joyful time in life. Sterling and I have a lot to be grateful for in this moment, and also a lot to look forward to in our future–travel, kids, more rescue dogs, careers, and the simple, special moments of marriage. We are very lucky!

    Photographer: Anna Routh Photography | Second Shooter: Robyn Van Dyke | Videographer: Story Spark Films | Planner: Events by Elizabeth Ashley | Ceremony Venue: Wee Kirk Presbyterian | Reception Venue: The Camp at Eseeola Lodge | Florist: Callista Designs | Dessert Baker, Caterer, and Rentals: Eseeola Lodge | Band: Perfect 10 | Paper Products: Snow In July Designs and Taylor’s of Raleigh | Bride’s Gown: “The Forest” by Lela Rose | Bride’s Earrings: Gabrielle Jewelry

    Anna Routh and Robyn Van Dyke are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    2 Comments
    1. avatar Michelle Edgemont reply

      Her mama made all of the flowers herself!??! Wow! What a wonderful gift to her daughter! I particularly love the chandelier…you know me, the more color the better. :)

    2. avatar Laura reply

      These florals are some of the most beautiful wedding florals I’ve seen. I especially love how the front of the church was decorated.

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