People often say that opposites attract, but for Chandler and David, their similarities are what drew them together. After meeting online and going on two dates within a mere six days, these two were inseparable. Their common beliefs and ability to see eye to eye fostered a love that quickly grew, and it carried them right through their premarital preparation and into their wedding day. When guest list challenges arose, Chandler and David focused on celebrating with those who loved them as a couple, and kept their focus centered on their relationship by viewing their wedding as “our day” instead of individually. The beautiful Lowndes Grove Plantation was the perfect place for everyone to enjoy their celebration–there was even a place for their tiny flower girl to squeeze in a quick nap!
I knew I wanted to do a girls trip for my bridal gown shopping, so arrangements were made for family and friends to join me in Charleston exactly one year prior to the wedding. I was joined by my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, my maid of honor, and David’s mother. We went to two salons in the morning, and then after lunch, we moved on to Gown Boutique of Charleston. At GBC, I tried on about four dresses. I was getting a little frustrated and worried that I was going to be talked into a gown I didn’t love, before I finally put on the only dress I tried on in the store that I personally pulled off the rack. I knew as soon as I saw it that I loved it. I looked up and realized my mom was crying, so naturally, I started crying, and so did many of the other girls. We all knew this was the dress. Although not part of the original plan, I was glad I ended up wearing a veil. Initially, I was completely against the idea of wearing a veil, and committed to wearing a flower crown. At my fitting in March, my mom talked me into trying on a simple, cathedral-length veil, and I ended up loving it. Still committed to the flower crown, we ordered the veil and agreed that we would decide later about when each would be worn. After talking with David after the wedding, I was very happy that I was able to combine the flower crown I loved with the beautiful flowing veil that he had hoped for.
While rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, after months of planning an outdoor ceremony, rain was anything but a welcome visitor on our big day. Therefore, when we learned about the Southern tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon to keep the rain away, we were all for it. We were so excited when we received a call from our planner saying we had the “okay” from our venue to bury the bourbon! We were blessed with beautiful sunny skies and temps in the 60s and 70s for our big day.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I first heard “The Blessing of the Hands” in a wedding video I watched early in our planning process. We both loved the words of this poem, so we insisted on having David’s brother’s wife read it during our ceremony. My childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins, who guided us through premarital counseling, also officiated our wedding. Dr. Hawkins incorporated 1 John 4:16 and Colossians 3:12-17 into the service, and did a beautiful sermon on marriage. It was important to us that my maternal grandfather had a role in our wedding–he was a navy chaplain for many years, and officiated the wedding of my parents over 40 years ago, so it was special to us to have him read scripture during our ceremony. He read Ruth 1:16-17 and Mark 10:6-9, which David and I had chosen together.
Our favorite detail was definitely the venue– not only was it a gorgeous backdrop for our wedding ceremony and reception, but it made the events on the day of the wedding flow so easily. My bridal party and I spent the entire morning getting ready in the Lowndes Grove Plantation house prior to the ceremony. After the ceremony, the guests were able to wander around the venue and explore the house, property, and the dock that extends out into the Ashley River. The venue also allowed us to bring in a swing, which was hung from a tree by an attachment point designed by David so that it swiveled to face either the river or the house. We, and many of our guests, captured beautiful photos with loved ones on this swing. Since the swing is ours, it is memento that we can hang at our own home, so it will remind us of our wedding day for years to come. Later in the evening, the house was great for guests who wanted a quiet place to enjoy each other’s company. Our reception was on the back patio under a tent, and once the band started playing, this area got loud (in a good way!), but there was a ton of comfortable seating inside that many of our elderly guests were able to escape to as the night carried on. Our flower girl, who was 13 months old at the time, was even able to take a little nap during the reception on the second floor of the house, which I know her mother appreciated. David and I loved Lowndes Grove from the first time we saw it, but it was especially nice to see how well it accommodated our guests’ needs.
Although we would have loved to have our dog, Olsen, present at the wedding, we knew his playful, and sometimes rambunctious, personality would have never allowed it. At the wedding, David and I, on behalf of Olsen, had pink tennis balls and custom dog treats available for guests to take home to their four-legged friends. For weeks after the wedding, we received photos from friends and family of their dogs enjoying either the treats or their new pink tennis balls. We loved that these favors gave us the opportunity to incorporate our dog into the wedding, but it was also such a privilege to learn more about our guests’ beloved pets.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of the best things you can do is hire a wedding planner who fits your design style and personality, and is able to delegate tasks to family and friends who are offering to help. Ali was organized, assertive, responsive, pleasant to be around, and willing to be as involved as we wanted her to be. Ali and her team saved us an ample amount of money in the long run, not to mention, her team ensured the wedding planning process was always fun and not stressful.
To say I like bows would be a huge understatement–I LOVE them! From the beginning stages of planning our wedding cake, we knew there would be a bow on it. We wanted our cake design to be classic and more traditional in style, so we chose to have a solid white cake. The final product was exactly what we wanted: a four-tiered round cake with a simple quatrefoil pattern on the first and third tiers. The largest tier had a beautiful white fondant bow on the front of it. We had two different flavor options for our guests to choose from: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and vanilla cake with passion fruit buttercream. Luckily for us, Patrick Properties sent us home with two slices of each flavor and an anniversary tier, so we were able to enjoy our tasty cake for many days following the wedding. We can’t wait for our first anniversary to enjoy it all over again!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. In July 2013, we had both recently relocated to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina for jobs. Being single and knowing very few people in the area, we both decided to create online dating profiles on Match.com. I created my account on a Sunday afternoon, and shortly thereafter, David messaged me. After an email exchange, we agreed to meet in person for dinner in Durham at a small Italian restaurant called Piazza Italia. The connection was immediate. The conversation never stopped and we quickly realized that our personalities meshed perfectly. Before we knew it, the dinner was over, and not being ready to say goodbye, we headed across the street to James Joyce Irish Pub for drinks and trivia. Since we both had to work the next day, the night had to end earlier then we would have liked, so we planned a second date for that Friday. After two dates within a mere six days, we were inseparable and dating exclusively.
Tell us all about the proposal! Many of our friends and family members were speculating aloud that we were going to get engaged soon–even though we had only been dating for eight months. From these conversations, David had learned two important things: 1. I was confident my best friend Jillian wouldn’t know about the proposal ahead of time because she wouldn’t be able to keep a secret like that from me, and 2. I wanted an extended period of time together after the engagement to enjoy the moment (like a vacation or weekend). With that in mind, David knew that in order to surprise me, Jillian had to be involved and that the proposal needed to be on a weekday! On the morning of the proposal (April 24, 2014), Jillian, per the plan, called me and asked if we would like to join her and her boyfriend for a picnic dinner at Duke Gardens. Prior to this, David had told me he would be working late (in an attempt to throw me off) so I was hesitant at first because I didn’t want to be a “third wheel.” After hours of persuasion, Jillian convinced me to join her, at which point, David announced he no longer had to work late and would be available to come along. With the picnic basket (complete with the ring) in hand, Jillian was first to arrive at the bench where David was to propose. David and I found her waiting there, and after some quick “hellos,” Jillian announced she had to get her boyfriend from the parking lot. At this point, David suggested we enjoy some wine, pulled a bottle out of the picnic basket, and handed it to me. Etched on the glass wine bottle was “Will you marry me?”, my monogram, a sweet note. I was shocked and immediately began crying tears of joy. David was so excited he forgot everything he was going to say and ended up just reading the message on the back of the wine bottle instead of reciting his memorized speech, after which, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a beautiful engagement ring.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 126
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I actually saw Lowndes Grove Plantation in a magazine years ago and thought it was so gorgeous. Since that moment, I have wanted to get married there. After we got engaged, David was on board with a Charleston wedding. Since we have family spread out all over the US and guests would be traveling from near and far, we wanted to pick a location that guests would enjoy spending a few extra days in, and Charleston definitely fit that criteria. David had planned a trip to Charleston for my birthday three weeks after we got engaged. During that time, we looked at four venues. We went to Lowndes Grove first and fell in love with it, but David was very excited about another venue in the Charleston area, so we wanted to check it out as well before we made any final decisions. All the venues we toured were beautiful in their own way, but just didn’t compare to Lowndes Grove Plantation.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Instead of writing our own vows, we decided to use traditional vows and write each other personal letters to be read prior to the ceremony in private.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had many conversations that began prior to being engaged, during which we discussed many of the topics relevant to marriage. Having nearly identical viewpoints in so many key areas was a major contributing factor to us now being married. Our similarities and common beliefs only fostered the love between us. We also independently took the Prepare-Enrich premarital survey that measures a person’s perceptions on many critical aspects of life, such as finances, religion, family, children, etc. Our answers were used to highlight similarities and differences in our beliefs and was a part of our pre-marital counseling that was done by my childhood minister, Dr. Hawkins.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge to overcome with planning our wedding was putting together the guest list. At the end of the day, we ended up inviting those individuals who knew us and loved us AS A COUPLE. We viewed our wedding as OUR day rather than that of the bride or groom individually, so we wanted people there who had fostered and encouraged our relationship.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are thrilled to finally be married and to be able to move on to the next chapter in our lives, during which we will continue to build our relationship and learn how to conquer the challenges of life together. Memories we are looking forward to in the years to come are taking vacations together, starting our own family traditions, purchasing a house, growing our family with children and puppies, and fulfilling new roles as aunt and uncle. We are also looking forward to having friends and family over for dinner parties, special celebrations, and holidays.
Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner: A. Caldwell Events | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Tiger Lily Florist | Cake Baker: Jessica Grossman | Caterer: Fish | Rentals: Snyder Events, EventWorks, and 428 Main | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: The Mighty Kicks | Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Virtuosi | Save the Dates: Green Tie Studio | Invitation Calligraphy, Navy and White Wedding Signage, Welcome Sign, Hors d’oevures Cards, and Place Cards: Mason Dixon Designs | Artwork and Calligraphy for Table Numbers, Programs, Menus, Invitations, and Welcome Letters: Cass Deller Design | Paper Goods Formatting and Printing: Ply | Bride’s Gown: Eugenia Couture | Bridal Salon and Veil: Gown Boutique of Charleston | Bride’s Earrings: Bailey’s Fine Jewelry | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair and Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Elehandmade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: LulaKate | Men’s Suits: The Black Tux | Men’s Shirts, Ties, and Tie Clips: J. Crew | Bridesmaid Robes: Talbots | Custom Dog Treats: Treat Dreams Dog Bakery | Koozies: SplendidSips | Welcome Bags: Welcome Bags Weddings | Cocktail Napkins: Memorable Wedding | Monogrammed Corn Hole Bags: The Lakeside Woodshop | Coral Quatrefoil Pillows: Pillows by Janet | Bride and Groom Chair Signs: Host and Toast Studio | Custom Corn Hole Board Decals: WG Cornhole | Monogrammed Chevron Swing Pillow: Peppermint Bee | Transportation: Lancaster Tours
Virgil Bunao is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!