Neither Olivia nor Chad is from the South, but after meeting in Charleston, they knew they wanted to start their marriage there, and show their friends and family why they love it so much! Thanks to its beautiful oak trees, big ol’ wraparound porch, and boat access, The Creek Club and its quintessential Lowcountry feel proved to be the perfect place to introduce their guests to the South. With a little help from a fun tradition, the South showed off with a glorious day for Olivia and Chad to say their vows! Speaking of vows, I love that Olivia said, “Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.”
Boy, we’re happy Kelly Dillon was on hand to capture this sweet day!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did, thanks to our photographer, Kelly. We really loved the idea of an intimate moment for our first look, and we loved that a lot of pictures would be out of the way so that we could enjoy our cocktail hour instead of disappearing for an hour or so. I also don’t think it took away from the walk down the aisle–my heart was still pounding and I still teared up with excitement when I saw Chad waiting for me at the end of the aisle.
For us, our favorite detail had to be our lab, Buoy. Chad has had her since before we met–she is how he got me to come over to his house the first time, and she is with us for literally everything we can incorporate her into. Having her be our flower dog was so important. We may be crazy dog parents, but having her there for our big day made it even more special to us!
My wedding flowers were everything I could have dreamed of and more, thanks to Whitney at Branch Design Studio. With the help of Pinterest, Whitney was able to see what I liked, which turned out to be anything pink! After that, she gave me several books of past weddings she had done so that I could point out what flowers and styles I liked. This was super helpful because before the wedding, I knew the names of very few flowers–I did not even know what a peony was!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Neither of us are from Charleston–we both moved here about five years ago. I am from northern Illinois and he is from western New York. After getting engaged, we knew we would be married in Charleston. We wanted to show all of our friends and family why we live here and why we love this city so much! We wanted the venue to be outside and on the water, things I think every Charlestonian loves. The Creek Club at I’on had everything we could ask for: a large lawn for the ceremony looking out over the creek, Spanish moss, and nice, large oak trees. It had the quintessential Lowcountry feel, thanks to a huge wraparound porch that was perfect for hosting cocktail hour. Chad also loved the venue because it would allow him to arrive and then us to leave together via our boat. This was a unique feature that not many other sites offered.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? For me, it was walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Chad, the man of dreams and love of my life, standing there smiling and waiting for me to join him. I may have already seen him that day, but my heart had never skipped a beat like that before.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My maid of honor was coming into town from Chicago for a weekend, so we decided it would be a great time to try on gowns. We went to White on Daniel Island for the first shop of the day, and Jodi, the owner, was the perfect hostess. After a little discussion on what I might like (strapless, sweetheart neckline, a-line, no lace), my MOH, another bridesmaid, Jodi, and I started putting dresses into the fitting room for me to try on. When I put on my gown, I was hesitant at first, but I loved all of the beading and crystals and the fact that it was a little different than most wedding gowns. We decided that this would be my number one choice, but I would continue trying on other dresses. From that point on, I compared every dress I tried on to that one, and nothing compared. The following weekend, we went back to White, I tried on every Jenny Packham gown there was to offer, and put on the gown I loved last. It was still the most gorgeous gown I’d ever seen and it just felt like me. Jodi let me twirl around in it for a good hour or two and popped another bottle of champagne to celebrate!
Not being from the South originally, we wanted to show off some amazing Southern Lowcountry cuisine. To showcase that, we started with appetizers of chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and sweet BBQ shrimp. In our welcome bags, we included bags of stone ground grits, along with our favorite shrimp and grits recipe, to allow our friends and family members to try it out when they returned home. As far as Southern tradition is concerned, a month before our wedding, we buried a bottle of bourbon to bring us good weather. I’d say it worked because it was the most gorgeous day in early May with the perfect temperature in the upper 70s. Clear skies gave way to a beautiful Charleston sunset!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was just perfect for us. It was a four-tiered white and gold foil cake with stenciling. I thought it had just the right amount of elegance and tied in with our wedding colors. Tammy at Cakes by Karsada was amazing to work with. We chose vanilla cake with alternating fillings of raspberry and Italian buttercream and blueberry and Italian buttercream. Sooo good!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chad and I met in December 2010 at Midtown Bar & Grill in Charleston. I had just finished nursing school finals and was about to go home to Illinois for the holidays, and Chad was out with some friends. After mingling and several drinks, he managed to get my real name and number. Over the holidays we texted back and forth and he asked me out on a date when I returned. On January 6, 2011, I almost decided to be a no-show on the date, but I went after some friends told me I should. We met a Pearlz Oyster Bar and ended up having a great time. The rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! A little over three years into our relationship, we were in Breckenridge, Colorado on a ski trip with a few other couples. After a great first day of skiing, Chad said he wanted to get one last run in and asked if I could film him with the “slow-mo” option on my iPhone as he came down the mountain. He did an awesome run and I was so excited that I had gotten it on video that I didn’t notice until after he finished that he had taken off his skis and sat down next me. He finally got my attention and asked me, “Babe, today has been an amazing day, right?” I said, “Yes?” He continued, “Well every day of these past three years have been amazing with you. Will you marry me?” I said yes and couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
When did y’all get married? May 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not. This was something that we knew we wanted to keep traditional from the start of our wedding planning. Knowing we were saying the same vows that our parents and grandparents said before us made it very special for us.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Pinterest. It was my best friend and worse enemy. I may have always dreamed of getting married, but colors, flowers, and lighting were all new to me. Pinterest gives you so many options, it’s hard for someone as indecisive as myself to really focus on what I wanted. I actually stopped myself from going on Pinterest after I met with our florist and lighting vendors so that I couldn’t change my mind on anything.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? A huge cost saver for us was that my husband is a graphic designer. He designed our wedding logo, and designed and printed our invitations, ceremony cards, escort cards, and menus for the wedding. We had quite the printing pop-up shop in our home!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax and enjoy your engagement–it will be over in a flash. It’s easier said than done, but at the end of the day, it will all work out and be the most exhilarating day of your life.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are just excited to return to regular life together! We already own a little home on the upper peninsula of Charleston. Chad can now return to doing little projects around the house. I have taken the summer off of graduate school, but I still have one year left to obtain my MSN as a family nurse practitioner. We are also looking forward to adding to our family with the addition of another puppy soon!
Photographer: Kelly Dillon / Planner: Meredith Tanton of Sweetgrass Social / Venue and Catering: Creek Club at I’on / Florist: Branch Design Studio / Cake Baker: Cakes by Karsada / Rentals: Eventworks / Linens: La Tavola Linens / Lighting: TEC / Band: New South Players of East Coast Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: “Daphne” by Jenny Packham / Bridal Salon: White on Daniel Island / Hair and Makeup: A Jolly Occassion / Bride’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “2880” by Dessy / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Charleston / Menswear: Brooks Brothers / Ties: Private Stock Ties