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Wedding planing is filled with lots of decisions, and, of course, the occasional challenge. Despite a 17-hour time difference between them during their engagement, bridal party members who ended up being deployed overseas on their wedding date, and planning a move 2,500 miles across country, Amanda and Andrew prepared not only for their beautiful Lowcountry wedding, but also for a lifelong marriage. With a positive outlook and the help of their planner, Blue Ribbon Vendor Fox Events, they invited family and friends to The Mills House for a wedding day complete with old Southern charm and a so-very-special military sword arch exit.

Thanks to Aaron and Jillian for being on hand to capture all the magic!

Finding my perfect dress was quite a challenge. I had done so much research and tried on so many dresses that I had designed a mental image of what I considered to be my perfect dress. I even flew to New York with a few of my bridesmaids and we went to Kleinfeld for the “Say Yes to the Dress” experience, but I didn’t end up finding the one. When I got back to San Diego, I decided to revisit one of the first boutiques we went to, where they happened to be having a trunk show for Ysa Makino. I was going through all of the gowns with my consultant when I saw the train of one of them from across the room and immediately fell in love. I tried the dress on and found out that the designer was willing to create a completely custom look for me. We went over all of the details I had envisioned and came up with a sketch of my dress. I nervously waited for months while my dress was being constructed. When it finally arrived, I cried tears of joy! It was exactly what I had imagined, down to the last detail.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? There was a lot going on in our lives while we were planning our wedding. We went through the traditional premarital counseling with the Catholic Church in a very non-traditional manner. Andrew was stationed in Japan for a few months and I was able to fly overseas to meet with his chaplain, who really helped us to prepare for a lifelong marriage.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was the military sword arch. I love that we were able to include a tradition that is unique to military weddings. Six of our Marine friends lined up outside the church and raised their ceremonial swords into an arch. As we approached each pair, they would lower their swords to block our way and we would have to “kiss to pass.” At the final two members, I got a hefty swat on the backside. accompanied by a “Welcome to the Marine Corps!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My father-in-law and I visited almost every reception venue in all of Charleston. When we got to Hibernian Hall, I immediately loved the old Southern charm. The exterior had a beautiful, classic, iron gate and colossal Greek-style columns. The interior had an amazing, grand staircase leading to a gorgeous ballroom. I saw so much potential with the space, I couldn’t wait to start planning a party!

The wedding florals were my favorite part! Our wedding planner was also our florist, and I cannot say enough good things about their work! We used a mixture of mostly white, peach, and blush, with a few green accents. The were a variety of flowers, including dahlias, garden roses, antique hydrangeas, peonies, and stock. The entire ballroom smelled incredible! The highlight was an amazing 24-foot floral runner on the head table.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, which is full of Southern charm. We had our ceremony at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, originally constructed in 1821 and rebuilt in 1890. Our reception was at Hibernian Hall, a National Historic Landmark. The attire for our wedding was “Lowcountry elegant,” so our guests wore lots of seersucker suits and floral dresses.

Creating our cake was such a fun process. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted when we met with our baker, but she helped us come up with something perfect. We had four tiers–the bottom tier was covered in metallic gold beading and then the top three tiers were buttercream with gold foil lines. Each layer had blush garden rose accents.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Andrew and I met in Michigan in the fall of 2008 through mutual friends. We stayed in touch as friends over the next few years as Andrew entered pilot training with the Marine Corps. While he was stationed in Pensacola, Florida, he mentioned how nice the weather was and that he was going to the beach. Meanwhile, I was freezing my butt off in the Michigan winter, and jokingly asked him to take me with him. You can imagine my surprise when later that day, he called, offering to fly me to Florida for a week! Of course, I accepted! I have been following him around the country ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was living in California and Andrew was living in South Carolina. He was about to leave for his first deployment, so I flew across the country for the send-off. We were walking along the waterfront, waiting for our dinner reservation, when he proposed! He deployed overseas three days later.
When did y’all get married? July 16, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 130
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we decided to keep it traditional. The first time we saw each other was as the doors to the church opened for me to walk down the aisle.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We were faced with quite a surprising amount of challenges while planning our wedding, the biggest being the 17-hour time difference between Andrew and I. We were also trying to simultaneously buy a house and arrange a move 2500 miles across the country. On top of that, one of our bridesmaids and one of our groomsmen were told that they would be deployed overseas on the date of the ceremony.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We were so happy to have the team at Fox Events with us for the entire process! They really helped us make sure that all of our bases were covered. I was especially glad to have them to bounce ideas off of when Andrew was not available.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My recommendation for couples is to be present in the moment. All the planning is done and the day is here! Make sure to soak it all in and not worry if everything isn’t perfect. Everyone is there for you!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Next for us is the honeymoon! We had to take a few months in between the wedding and honeymoon due to time constraints with the military, but we are so happy to finally be able to relax as husband and wife. After that, we’ll be preparing for the next deployment.

Photographer: Aaron and Jillian | Planner and Florist: A Fox Event | Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist | Reception Venue: Hibernian Hall | Cake Baker: Delicious Desserts | Caterer: Cru Catering | DJ: Palmetto Mobile Entertainment | Paper Products: Studio R | Bride’s Gown: Ysa Makino | Hair and Makeup: Lashes and Lace | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style 8079 in Clover by D’zage | Groom’s Attire: The Marine Shop | Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Rentals: Innovative Event Services and Snyder Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen

A Fox Event is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Stephanie reply

    Absolutely stunning! The florals are breathtaking!!

  2. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great set of photographs. Colours are amazing!

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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In honor of Veteran’s Day, we thought we’d share this lovely proposal story with you. Joe, the groom-to-be, conspired with photographer Michelle Cross to document his elaborate plan, and we’re so glad he did! In Michelle’s words:

“When Joe left the house on Saturday morning, Jill was under the impression that her beau would only be gone for a half hour or so. She began making breakfast, but was soon stopped by the knock at the front door. When she opened the door to find her neighbor standing there with a red rose and a card, the confusion set in. After being told she had an hour to get ready, Jill headed to a nearby lake, where she was to find rose — and clue — number two. After a rowboat ride across the lake and an obstacle course challenge, she was given her second rose by Joe’s fellow Marine before being directed to the National Marine Corps Museum. What Jill thought was going to be a quick trip to the lake had turned into a day full of physical challenges, relationship trivia, and lots and lots of roses. From the museum, Jill was sent to the Kennedy Center, the White House, the Haupt Fountains, the Washington Monument, the Starbucks on H Street, the Korean, WWII, and Vietnam memorials, and then, finally, the Lincoln Memorial. If you lost count, that makes twelve roses, twelve challenges, and twelve Marines in the dress blues that Jill had to find.

Oh yes, she said YES!”

See the rest of the story and a few more photos on Michelle’s blog! Congratulations, Joe and Jill, and thank you for your service from all the SW ladies!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Emily Scott reply

    I love these images. So much.

  2. avatar Coretta reply

    This is one of my favorite blog posts ever! Michelle Cross did an amazing job with the photography. And this couple. Wow. I’m Air Force, but I have a really soft spot in my heart for a Marine in dress blues.

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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