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Caroline and Wyatt are exactly the type of couple who make working at Southern Weddings so much fun! Their wedding was deeply inspired by their love story and their families, so it was packed to the brim with meaningful details. They cared about creating a beautiful and hospitable celebration for their loved ones, but always kept the real reason for the day at heart, and stayed true to themselves every step of the way. They weren’t afraid to be playful and break tradition, but they also enjoyed partaking in the traditions that truly meant something to them. C+W, it was a joy to share your wedding day in V8–thanks for sharing with us!

We’re so grateful to Perry Vaile for sending this beautiful celebration our way!

Oh my goodness, let’s talk about the greatness that is Katherine McDonald for a minute! After trying on a number of dresses in Charlotte, I finally traveled to Charleston to visit Lula Kate. It was there that I met Katherine McDonald and began to grow a friendship with her, even before trying on one of her designs. When I put on her “Lamour” gown, I knew it was the right number for me! Katherine and I discussed adding a custom removable skirt, as well as deepening the back of the dress. In that moment, the dress became everything I was looking for. In addition, working with Katherine and her team was such a dream; it made sense to employ her to craft a unique mother of the bride dress and a modern bridesmaid gown.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? My bouquet was hand-tied and filled with roses, peonies, leaves, clematis, and lily of the valley. The bouquet was all whites and greens with some lavender, and was fashioned with a vintage ribbon that changed color in the light–I adored this detail. I attached my dad’s wedding band onto the ribbon during our wedding ceremony so that I could slide my ring finger through the band when walking down the aisle. My sister, Sloane, had a maid of honor bouquet made of blue bird roses, peonies, umbrella leaves, and geranium leaves that was fastened with lavender grosgrain. All bridesmaids carried similar bouquets that were slightly smaller. The groomsmen and groom wore a small bunch of lily of the valley as boutonnieres to match the sleeves of my wedding dress.

The overarching flowers dedicated in memory of my late father were pretty much everything to me. While there were many small details woven into the wedding to remind me of the love my father poured out during his time on earth, the flower arch was the most prominent note. I feel so fortunate we were able to use a watercolor illustration of the arch in both the wedding invitations and our miniature ceremony programs. I can’t help but smile when thinking about how overwhelmingly blessed I felt to commit a lifetime of happiness to Wyatt while standing under that flower arch.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? Our wedding ceremony was sweet and succinct. The part most special to the me: having my brother walk me down the aisle.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We kept the processional and interlude simple with traditional songs, and then had a gospel choir soloist sing The Lord’s Prayer a capella. The gal totally rocked it! During the recessional, while guests exited the chapel, the gospel choir ensemble sung everyone out of the chapel while singing our favorite praise and worship song, “Let it Rise.”

For cocktail hour, a long bar sat along the river with a base made out of green leaves. Small lounge seating arrangements were set up under large oak trees for guests. Wyatt and I chose to serve our favorite cocktails as signature beverages. His was called “Slow + Low” and hers was “Lowcountry Lemonade.” The gospel choir sang throughout the cocktail hour and even encouraged guests to sing with them on stage.

What was your reception like? For our reception, we went for different and dimensional. With high-hanging leafy greens, a flower waterfall dangling above the cake, a triangular dance floor, and salutes to our sign language history in every nook and cranny, the reception proved to be a great celebration.
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We both loved the idea of a “lounging garden;” with that, Tara and I worked together to take that concept and bring it to life. Tara sourced beautiful furniture, incorporated many textures, and hit the nail on the head when hanging greenery garlands overhead. Wyatt and I especially loved the lavender poufs that sat around the dance floor. Keeping things funky!

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was a two-tiered strawberry shortcake that featured real strawberries inside the cake. The groom’s cake was a round chocolate espresso cake topped with a laser cut wooden cake topper displaying the “I love you” in sign language.

Planning a wedding while missing a large piece of my family entirely changed the way I approached our big day. From the floral arch, to the use of purple sprinkled throughout the evening, to the wedding bands Wyatt and I chose together, my dad’s memory and character was woven into the details. We planned so that both me and my family would be reminded of my father’s love, and so that I could move forward and commit a lifetime to a man my father would have loved wholeheartedly.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on our first day of sign language class at Clemson. As semester-long partners, our conversations were limited to strictly signing, as students were not allowed to verbally speak during class. Months later, we began hanging out outside of the classroom and became close friends. We didn’t begin dating until about three years later, but those foundational best friend years made our “Oh snap, I think I like you” moment all the more fruitful and exciting.
Describe the proposal: Wyatt proposed in sign language one summer evening on the Greenville Liberty Bridge. On the night of the proposal, we had traveled to Greenville to meet Wyatt’s family for an impromptu dinner. I felt everything was normal on the ride down, but noticed that things started to get strange rather quickly when we got out of the car and the usually-calm Wyatt forgot to lock the car doors. He also shared that we “didn’t have time for a selfie,” which he usually enjoys. Seconds later, I noticed our sign language professor on the bridge ahead and thought to myself, “Oh no, I’m going to have to dust off my signing skills, this could be embarrassing.” Never did the concept of a proposal enter my mind. We then stopped to say hello to the man who had partnered us up years ago, and with that, our professor began to ask us questions in sign: “How long have you been dating,” “do you plan on getting married,” “when will you get engaged,” and finally, “what about an engagement right now?” With that, Wyatt began to hover down on one knee where I, out of shock, jumped back and replied with, “Duh! You know it!” Not the words I expected to say, but it most certainly happened!
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? While we didn’t seek tangible counseling during our engagement, my mother gave us each a copy of the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs for Valentine’s Day. Wyatt and I both learned a great amount and recognized pockets of our relationship we needed to spend more time on.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Intimate, reflective, jubilant

How many guests attended your wedding? 140
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I’m a big fan of “different” and hoped to find an option that was neutral, yet modern. I went to Katherine McDonald with a high-neck design fashioned in a neutral color in mind. Katherine added a rockin’ thick belt and pushed for the “high ponytail” idea, and with that, we had our answer! I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Wyatt chose to gift his groomsmen with white dinner jackets. All the groomsmen kept things simple on the bottom with basic tux pants and tux shoes.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Wyatt and I chose to spend our entire wedding day together, as we felt like Palmetto Bluff was so special, we should enjoy every minute with each other and friends! We rode bikes and kayaked with dolphins. Wyatt also loved playing golf early in the morning with my younger brother, Miles.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? For me, it was the moment I walked into the chapel the morning of our wedding day and took a minute to sit in a pew and watch the flower arch being built. For Wyatt, it was the sweet few minutes together during our first look.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We nixed the father/daughter and mother/son portion of the reception, as we felt like we need not dote on the concept of a missing father. Instead, we worked with our band (Perfect 10) to create a mash-up version of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” that would allow us to dance alone for a few verses, then invite our bridal party and family members onto the floor for the last verse. It was epic!
Tell us about your grand exit. When staying at Palmetto Bluff, guests are given a bike to get them around the resort. We left on a tandem bike to pay tribute to this special place we’d so easily fallen in love with. I also saw an added perk in exiting in Converse and a comfortable white romper. Gotta stay true to self!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Be kind and treat the other with patience if tensions ever rise when planning your wedding.

Photographer: Perry Vaile Photography | Videographer: Siegel Films | Planner, Designer, and Florals: Tara Guérard | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Palmetto Bluff | Bride’s Gown and Veil, Bridesmaid Dresses, and Mother of the Bride Dress: Katherine McDonald | Bridal Salon: LulaKate | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Bracelet: Haute Bride | Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN | Bride’s Wedding Band: Catbird | Bride’s Headband: Twigs & Honey | Hair Stylist: Tammy Dalton of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Anna Fedan of Modern Salon in Charlotte | Menswear: Joseph A. Banks | Paper Goods: The Lettered Olive | Assistance: Cacky’s Bride Aid

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dana reply

    Walking down the aisle shot is perfect!!

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I love how Sara + Dom chose to separate the dinner from the dancing portion part of their celebration. (And oh my, what a celebration it was!) Tara and the team at Lowndes Grove worked together to create a dinner party feeling through estate tables, romantic chandeliers and low floral arrangements, then utilized modern lighting and a fun lounge area to create an upbeat space for dancing and more celebration. I love how ecstatic these two look in Liz’s photos!

Thanks again to Liz Banfield for capturing S + D’s soiree!

Dom is a big collector of matchbooks, so we had custom matchbooks made with our married monogram!

Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Our cocktail hour was fantastic.   As you entered the house, you saw a gorgeous old-fashioned champagne tower.  There was also an oyster bar, cheese trays and delicious shrimp and grits in edible spoons.

One of the biggest hits was a soup sampler we served as part of dinner.  There were three different soups served together that people could not stop talking about: gazpacho, curry crab, and split pea.  The split pea and gazpacho were served cold, so they were also refreshing.

I’m smitten over these chargers – the cut-out detail is simple yet ornate all at the same time. I can see pairing them with my grandmother’s vintage china for an Easter brunch!

We always knew we wanted to separate the dinner and dancing portions of the evening.  We wanted dinner to feel like a dinner party and then we wanted to create a much more upbeat atmosphere for the dancing part of the evening.  The two spaces were adjacent to each other and as dinner ended, the dancing tent with the dance floor and lounge floor was unveiled for all to see.

I saw the idea for mini cakes in Vogue, and could not wait to re-create it!  I thought the idea of having individual cakes for everyone was so different, and also delicious.  We had three different flavors: carrot cake, caramel, and chocolate.  The cake tower that held them all looked perfect.

As soon as Kristin and I both saw Sara’s getaway dress we absolutely flipped! This girl is ready for a party!

We had rented an old Rolls Royce that had to cancel at the last minute so we ended up with a vintage green Lincoln coupe convertible and it was even better!  We left through the house doors and ran through the sparklers to the car and drove off to everyone cheering.  We went for a ride around the battery before heading to our after party.  It was an amazing feeling to drive around the battery as every car we passed by honked and people were wishing us well.  We were just trying to take it all in and enjoy the best night of our lives.

And please enjoy this film of the day from Joel Serrato!

Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King.  We went back and forth on many different songs as we wanted as we wanted something that was a little upbeat.  “Stand by Me” turned out perfectly.
Favorite design element of your big day: My whole idea for dinner was to have the feeling of an intimate dinner party surround by friends.  That was executed with the long tables, lit candles, and the beautiful chandeliers hanging from the tents.
What was the funniest moment?  What was the scariest? Our funniest moment was when one of our friends was dancing on the stage with the band and jumped up and came down into a split.  The crowd could not believe it and when he showed up at our brunch the next day, the room gave him a standing ovation for his incredible dance moves.
What was Southern about your wedding? The location, the plantation, the food, and the specialty cocktails.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    I love the beautiful fabric draped ceiling. It’s so whimsical and delicate and paired with the gray and blue accents it is perfection.

  2. avatar Emily reply

    I adore their champagne tower and monogrammed table linens!

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  4. avatar An Ultra Elegant Charleston Wedding | Wedding Resource reply

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Sara + Dom knew they wanted to get married in Charleston and after seeing Lowndes Groves Plantation, they instantly felt that this venue would be perfect location for their big day. I tend to agree! With the help of Tara Guerard and her Soiree team, S + D worked to create an elegant wedding that is so effortlessly chic, I can’t get over it! Sara said, “We really wanted to maintain the Southern plantation feel, but to add modern touches, too.” Mission accomplished, doll!

Big hugs to the very talented Liz Banfield for sharing these gorgeous images with us.

Looking to make your own Charleston welcome tote? Check out our tips (and free download!) here!

Oh my beautiful paper! I’d like to lay this out on my coffee table and just stare at it all day!

Y’all! A monogrammed bouquet wrap, say what?! And did you spot the personalized boxes each bridesmaids’ bouquet arrived in?

My mom and sister came to NYC for the weekend for the search for my gown. We looked all weekend, and I tried on so many dresses at so many different boutiques.  I considered several dresses, but when I put on the strapless beaded gown by Amsale and saw my mom tear up, we all said that was it.  My favorite thing about it was the beading detail and scalloped bottom.  It really had everything that I was looking for.

For the bridesmaids, I knew that I wanted each girl to be able to pick her own style in the grey color I had chosen.  My sister and I tried on every single bridesmaid dress line out there, and felt that the Monique Lhullier line was light and airy and had enough styles for each girl to be happy.  Each girl’s dress ended up reflecting her own personal style.  I let my sister have a different dress as the maid of honor, and she had her dress designed and made in NYC.  I could not believe how perfectly her dress complemented the other bridesmaid dresses.

Briefly describe your wedding flowers:  They were fresh and spring-like. We had all whites with hints of grey and lots of texture. All of the bouquets were wrapped with ribbons that were custom monogrammed for each individual.

A mama’s girl myself, I’m especially smitten with this sweet way Sara honored her mother.

My mom, who helped with the entire wedding process from start to finish, walked me down the aisle, which was a very special moment of the day. 

Now that is a chuppah!

Tell me a bit about the wedding ceremony. We chose to have my uncle be our officiant.  In the weeks leading up to our wedding, he reached out to all the members of our wedding party and had them each share their favorite story about us.  He then weaved all of these stories into the ceremony, which gave it a very personal and intimate touch.  It was incredible.  I was so impressed.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? My husband giving a wonderful toast as dinner finished.  He gave a special thank you to each important member of our family and ended the toast with special words for me.  It was an incredible speech.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.  We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party.  We talked throughout the party, but then when Dom asked for my phone number, he got my name wrong! I soon learned he is terrible with names but on that night I was not sure I would hear from him again.  I was wrong. We started dating and we both knew early on we had something special.  We dated for three years before getting engaged.
Describe the proposal: We went to Jackson Hole for my birthday because we both love to ski and our first-ever trip together was to Vail, Colorado. Ski trips hold a special meaning for us.  We got there mid-day and got our ski stuff together so we would be ready early the next morning.  We got back to the room and there were flowers all over, which I thought were for my birthday.  I turned around and he was on one knee in front of the fireplace proposing! I could not have been happier.  My sister and other friends also joined us on the trip later that day and they had no idea Dom proposed.  When we saw them, we were able to share the news with them in person, which made the whole night even more special
Tell me all the basics of your wedding! Our wedding was in the spring in Charleston, SC at Lowndes Grove Plantation. We knew that Charleston was the most likely place we wanted to get married as I had been visiting there for years after my mom relocated there eleven years ago.  When we saw Lowndes Grove Plantation in person, we knew we had found the venue that could host the type of wedding we envisioned.  It wasn’t until we met the team at Soiree that we knew we had all the pieces to the puzzle. We knew that they would be able to create the vision we had for the entire event.  They surpassed anything we had even expected.
Three adjectives that describe the day are:  Spectacular, elegant, intimate.
What was the weather like on your big day? Cloudy but the sun broke through
How many guests attended your wedding? 136
What was the design inspiration for your wedding?  Why was this design special to you as a couple?   We really wanted to maintain the Southern plantation feel, but to add modern touches, too.  We saw photos of a wedding in Italy that was both formal and intimate at the same time and we felt that really went well with the vision we had for our wedding.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your big day?  I spent the morning getting ready with my mother, mother-in-law, sister and best friends. I had given my bridesmaids robes as part of their gift and we all lounged around in our robes and relaxed to having lunch and drink champagne while getting our hair and makeup done.  My sister had little surprises for me, like a pin to wear on my bouquet and a hanger with the wedding date that she had ordered for my wedding dress.  She thought of everything and I could not have gotten through the day without her.
Who participated in your ceremony? We also had a close friend Dom went to college with do a reading from the book Tuesdays with Morrie, which is a personal favorite of both of ours.
Did you write your own vows? We wanted the ceremony to be very personal, so we wrote the entire ceremony, including all of our vows.  The entire ceremony from start to finish was beautiful.
Were there any family traditions you included in the ceremony? Yes, in Jewish ceremonies you break the glass at the end of the ceremony to signify the frailty of life and to show that as the glass shatters, it is permanent – the same as our marriage.  Dom broke the glass at the end of the ceremony. 

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Her dress is stunning, and so perfect with that gorgeous bouquet!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    I adore their stationery suite, and I love those monogrammed bouquet wraps!

  3. avatar Lauren reply

    Her dress. Oh her dress. I love it so much.

  4. avatar Ann McWilliams reply

    Love the monogrammed bouquet wrap! Any idea where she got this?

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  6. avatar Jenny Clark reply

    Love the Charleston tote shown above. Where can we purchase this template?

    • avatar Heather reply

      Jenny Clark: Did anyone answer you? I also am very interested in having some made up!
      Please let me know if anyone did thanks Heather

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  8. avatar Kristin reply

    Beautiful!!! The styling & colors were using in September – I can’t wait!! Anyone know where the brides earrings are from?! Would love to find similar :)

  9. avatar Kristin :: Teal White Garden reply

    Absolutely love this wedding!! We’re working towards the same style & feel for our September wedding and I can’t wait :)
    Does anyone know where the earrings are from?! They’re stunning!

  10. avatar Purple Gray Gold Green Wedding Colors – Elizabeth Anne Designs reply

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  11. avatar Christine reply

    This Amsale dress is stunning! Would anyone happen to know it’s specific name? I can’t find it anywhere!

  12. avatar Andi reply

    I absolutely love the embroidered monograms on the bouquets. Curious what type of ribbon you have to use for that.

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