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Ceara and Nate’s wedding continued in beautiful style under a gorgeous tent set on her family’s land. More than the lovely details, though, there’s something that sticks with me about this wedding. From Ceara: “The whole weekend is etched in our minds as a profound celebration of life and love and family. Two weeks before the wedding, my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. He decided not to tell anyone outside the family before the wedding, but we all had a heightened awareness throughout the weekend that this was time out of time. And it was. My father was his exuberant self and seized the opportunity to celebrate his family and friends on land that had always been sacred to him. We are all so grateful to have the incredible photos and film of him in his element.” That, my friends, is what weddings are all about — celebrating family, life, and love. Big thanks to Christian Oth Studio for sharing this beauty with us.

The weather on our wedding day was: Beautiful, but major storms were predicted for Friday night. Our rehearsal dinner was to be outside by our pond and we had tent coverage for dinner but not cocktails. At the last minute my planner, Jung, found some tents for the cocktail area, but I made her take them down as soon as they were up – they were filthy and ruined the beautiful view! Practicalities weren’t first and foremost in my mind. Heavy winds and a purple sky portended massive storms and Jung thought I was crazy, but obliged. Much to her relief and my delight the clouds cleared just as guests arrived and it turned into a perfect evening.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: On Friday night as we gathered by our pond for drinks a baby alligator joined us, sunning himself on the bank below. During the ceremony on Saturday an eagle flew overhead as we exchanged vows. Obviously these weren’t details we had any hand in arranging, but they added to our sense that we were marrying at the right time in the right place.
Funniest moment? In retrospect it is pretty funny, and somewhat surprisingly at the time we thought so too—the ceremony began at the exact late afternoon moment the gnats descended. I had just assumed spraying would be enough, but all of our local guests could time the insects’ arrival to the minute. Throughout the ceremony Nate and I gripped hands so that we wouldn’t scratch, but our many flower girls, ring bearers, and most members of the wedding party couldn’t keep still. If you look closely at the photos, there is a halo of gnats around all of our heads. I don’t think everyone thought it was so funny—some of our guests looked like they had the chicken pox for weeks! Luckily they all said the experience was well worth the scars.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Without a doubt, logistics. The first hurdle was planning the wedding from New York during my first year of law school, but we were both happy to use the wedding as an excuse to head down to Charleston on the odd weekend. Then there was the problem of hosting 200+ people on our rural land, where the only space open enough to fit a tent was a remote field once used to land airplanes. I have to credit Jung and Josh, our wedding planners, with pulling it off—they figured out a way to bus everyone in, throw up a tent, cook dinner for 225 guests and power a 10-piece band in a field in the middle of nowhere!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There is not just one moment — the whole weekend is etched in our minds as a profound celebration of life and love and family. Two weeks before the wedding my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. He decided not to tell anyone outside the family before the wedding, but we all had a heightened awareness throughout the weekend that this was time out of time. And it was. My father was his exuberant self and seized the opportunity to celebrate his family and friends on land that had always been sacred to him. We are all so grateful to have the incredible photos and film of him in his element.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Natural, irreverent, magical.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are expecting a baby boy in July, leaving me just enough time to graduate from law school in May!

Written with love by Katharine
1 Comment
  1. avatar stefanie reply

    Can you please help me find the bolero that Ceara is wearing in her wedding? I would like to treat my daughter-in-law to be…

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This wedding was captured by Shawn Connell of Christian Oth Studio and planned by fete, who also did the decor and flowers. Take a look at the stunning Valentino gown that Ceara wore — I love the detailing on the sleeves! Those who liked the yellow bridesmaid dresses will be happy to know they are from the Jenny Yoo collection.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met as freshmen in college but did not start dating until our junior year. A few friends of mine were joining me at my family’s property south of Charleston for spring break, which also happens to be turkey season. I always knew Nate would love our place, as he grew up in northern Minnesota and was already an avid fisherman and hunter. I coyly mentioned my spring break plans to him one night and happily he invited himself before I had to. He was the first to arrive and within 24 hours he had bonded with my father, a fellow hockey defenseman, and crashed our Suburban. A few days later he got his first turkey and before the end of the week we were together.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? We immediately wanted the wedding weekend to be about the location – the marshy wetlands and diverse bird life of our land and the spirit of the house, which my late grandmother had decorated in sunny yellows and oranges. These inspirations were drawn upon to create a natural, elegant and light-hearted atmosphere. The paper products set the tone, all incorporating birds and the color yellow in some way—the invitation was the most formal, designed to open like an old-fashioned hand-written note. The ceremony was outside in a huge field dotted with hay bales (we found square ones for the guests to sit on). Mozart’s Magic Flute then greeted us in the dinner tent, which had a maze of long green silk-draped tables with silver candelabras and a peacock feather on each plate. After dinner everything shifted to the other side of the tent, which had a Moroccan feel—large elephant palms, mercury balls clustered above the dance floor and lots of cozy chaises.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I tried on dozens of gowns. When I first saw my dress on the rack I thought it was crazy—an explosion of lace and silk flowers. My fashion-forward little sister insisted I try it on and the moment I did I was in love, but worried it was not the easiest gown to wear. Over time I began to have visions of the beautiful lace train with its big, silk flowers against the grass of the field we would be married in. In the end there was no question that it was the dress.
Describe your wedding flowers: I wanted all of the wedding flowers to be natural and organic, like they had been plucked that morning and (skillfully!) thrown together. Jung and her team at Fete captured my vision perfectly and pushed it in new directions, suggesting sunflowers for the ceremony and bridesmaids’ bouquets to pick up the yellow of their dresses. For the dinner tent we sought a gracious, old-world feel, and the predominantly white arrangements worked beautifully.

Written with love by Katharine
2 Comments
  1. avatar stefanie reply

    Could some one please let me know more information on the bolero…My son is getting married in November and I would love to treat my daughter-in-law to be to this beautiful accessory!

  2. avatar Victoria reply

    What are the names of the flowers used in the bridesmaids bouquets, besides the sunflowers!? Please!

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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