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Bride Catherine shares her outdoor Charleston wedding!

Catherine and Thomas’s wedding was one of the first we accepted for our tenth-anniversary issue, and can I tell you a secret? It wasn’t even officially submitted! I happened to see it on Elisa Bricker’s website when she unveiled her redesign, and instantly inquired because I was so enamored with what I saw.

And can y’all blame me? Even though their wedding took place at the loveliest venue and not their family home the Father of the Bride vibes are unmistakable, and I am a forever fan of anything that reminds me of that beloved movie.

Of course, our bride and groom made their celebration their own, from the mint green details of Catherine’s dress, the inclusion of family heirlooms, and a unique route down the aisle. Friends, I think you will love this one! If you’d like to see even more detail, pick up a copy of our newest issue!

Tell us about your beautiful engagement ring and how your husband chose it. Thomas has a great eye and knew exactly what I would like. My mom has a friend in New York who is a jewelry designer who made it for me. I was so lucky to have someone who has amazing taste and a mom who could turn his ideas into reality.

We got married right outside of Charleston, SC in April. The weather in April in Charleston is perfect for an outdoor wedding. I’ve always wanted a Charleston wedding, and having been to many, we both wanted to find a venue a little different. The view of River Oaks really sold us on the location. The ceremony was at 5:30, which was perfect timing with the sunset at the beginning of cocktail hour and reception, and gave us a long time to celebrate with friends and family.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted to go shopping in New York. I went to a few boutiques but just couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere. I left New York disappointed and not sure what to do next, when the associate at Monique Lhullier emailed me to let me know they were having a trunk show for their new collection and if I found something that day I could have it in time for my wedding. I flew back up and it was the first one I tried on. I loved it immediately. I always said I wasn’t a sparkly wedding gown kind of girl, but as it turns out I am. I fell in love the second I put it on. My favorite part was probably the skirt. It poufed out just enough but it wasn’t heavy at all. And maybe also the mint green beadwork. The sun picked up the color and it was just beautiful.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. They were all white with lots of green. I wanted loose and natural flowers that looked like you could’ve just picked them from the garden. My bouquet was amazing, it was oversized and pouring over, loosely hanging. I tied an antique handkerchief with a broach from my Grandma on it.

The most special part was walking down the aisle. It’s kind of surreal. You plan for so long for this moment, and it’s crazy walking up to the person you’re going to marry when it’s time to say I do. My dad and I actually walked from the front of the guests instead of down a traditional aisle in the back and it was kind of a long walk. It gave me time to soak everything in and see everyone I love there.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? I love color and lots of it. But for some reason, for our wedding I really wanted to tone everything down and just let the beauty of River Oaks stand out. It’s such a beautiful property, we wanted to keep to greens and whites and let the scenery really stand out.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? I can’t pick just one! The flowers, the band, the food, my family and friends!

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used for your reception. We had so much greenery and flowers and natural elements. I loved the property itself so much, we played off of their landscape. We also did a different dance floor and floral back drop which were some of my favorite things, it wasn’t like a lot of other weddings I had been to.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? A little bit of everything! Lots of shrimp, that was Thomas’s big request.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. The wedding cake was beautiful and mimicked the lace on my dress. We also had cotton candy passed around later in the night because it’s my absolute favorite thing.

How did the two of you meet? Thomas and my sister went to college together, so we met at a party for my sister’s grad school graduation. I was actually moving to New York the following Monday, so it definitely wasn’t something either of us thought would work out. After about a year, it just felt right to move back to Charlotte to be with him.
Describe the proposal! We were set to go on this amazing vacation, to Antigua, where I had a feeling he was going to propose. A few days before, we met at our house (we had just started to renovate and it was pretty gutted inside) to see what it looked like. It was dark and chilly and Thomas stood in front of me talking about the future that this house would have for us. That’s about all I remember, other than fussing at him about getting dirt and mud all over his pants if he knelt down. It was, to me, very us. No big production, just us.
How many guests attended your wedding? 225
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Getting everyone on the same page. Thomas and I really wanted most of the same things, and he trusts my style enough that it wasn’t an issue between us. I think between my mom, wedding planner, and myself it was hard for me personally to stay organized.
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? There were so many! One of our favorites was that one of my best friends was due any day and wasn’t able to make it. When we were walking down the aisle as husband and wife, I saw her mom and she was facetiming her and it was just a random sweet moment that she could be there!
Tell us a bit about your first dance. It was so stressful! I hate being in front of crowds, and I’m not a great dancer. Thomas is an awesome dancer so that took a little stress off of me.
What were some of the highlights of the reception? Just all the dancing. Our band was spectacular. At the end, because we had a later noise ordinance, Marianne asked if we wanted to keep going and I almost cried and said yes, thank you! We didn’t want the night to end.
Tell us about your grand exit. I always loved the idea of Chinese wish lanterns and seeing them floating off as we leave. We chose to do those and sparklers (in case of bad wind). We ended up with both, which was kind of crazy but it was so fun. The look on everyone’s faces watching the lanterns float away was pretty special. And to top it off, as a total surprise from my wonderful planner Marianne and her husband, as we were pulling out there were fireworks. We were so surprised, it was really sweet.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it, and don’t let the pressure from other people get to you. It’s supposed to be fun

Photographer: Elisa Bricker | Planner: Marianne Caldwell | Venue: River Oaks Charleston | Florals: Blossoms Events | Caterer: Cru Catering | Wedding cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal | Bride’s gown and veil: Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid dresses: Lela Rose | Hair stylist: Modern Salon and Spa | Paper goods: Feast Fine Art and Calligraphy | Rentals: Ooh! Events | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo

Elisa Bricker is a lovely member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory.

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Pixie Wedding Websites reply

    Love the simplicity of this wedding, just beautiful. The detail on the brides dress is stunning!

  2. avatar Megan reply

    Did they have a videographer? I’d love to see all of this in motion!! ?

  3. avatar Elisa reply

    Thanks so much for sharing. This wedding, and the feelings and memories it created, is one of my favorites! xo

  4. avatar Introducing Alder: modern botanical wedding invitation inspiration – Bella Figura reply

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Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that not everything is going to be perfect at your wedding–however, there are moments that absolutely will be! For Audrey, that moment came as she was walking down the aisle with her father by her side, surrounded by their friends and family. Though the Marlsgate Planation and beautiful weather certainly helped, the best part was the realization that she was about to marry her best friend, Kasper. With sweet Southern details woven throughout their wedding day, Audrey and Kasper celebrated their marriage with a seated dinner that would make any Southern grandmother proud–it included fried chicken, collard greens, and cheese grits, just to name a few!

Gracious, I’m sure glad Amanda Watson shared this lovely day with us!

P.S. Can we please take a moment to talk about Audrey’s amazing Southern bump and custom Lea-Ann Belter gown? I positive this look just shot to the top of my list of classic Southern style favorites!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mother and sister met me in Dallas and we made a weekend of it! After a long, super exhausting (but fun!) day on Saturday, we narrowed it down to one dress at each boutique, but I still didn’t feel like any of them was “the one.” Our last appointment was at the Bridal Boutique in Lewisville, Texas, which I chose because they are the only boutique in DFW that carries Berta. The dress I had in mind was lace with long sleeves. After trying several of this style on, the store was closing and I still didn’t feel like I had found the right dress. Our stylist said “Hang on a minute, I have something in the back that you might like.” She brought out a fitted, dupioni silk dress with a trumpet skirt and a dramatic train. When I put it on, we all knew that it was the dress that I would walk down the aisle in. It was a one-of-a-kind design that they were sending back to the designer. Our stylist called Lea-Ann Belter in Toronto, and she agreed to design a custom dress just for me! It fit like a glove and was absolutely perfect!

We decided to do a first look in the English gardens beside the plantation house. We really wanted to have that moment together in private to see each other and soak in what the day was all about before the craziness began. Also, it made taking pictures so much easier, as we got all the group pictures over with before the ceremony and were able to go straight to the reception without holding up the dinner.

My most memorable moment was when my dad walked me down the aisle and I saw Kasper standing on the porch. The whole view of the plantation was perfect, the weather was perfect, the string quartet on the balcony was perfect, the wedding party looked amazing, and all of our friends and family were there. I couldn’t believe that it had all come together so perfectly and I was actually getting married to my very best friend. It was surreal and I will remember that forever.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail of the wedding was the event branding by my sister, Jessie Russell. Jessie is an art director with a Master’s degree in Communication Design from the Pratt Institute in NYC. She pulled the whole wedding together, from the invitations, to the programs, to the menus, and even the wax seal design that we used on the envelopes and the rice bags. We were truly blessed to have Jessie to make every detail cohesive.

Charlie Roberts designed the perfect cake for our big day. It was a classic and elegant, five-tiered cake with alternating flavors of strawberry and vanilla. It had white buttercream icing with a layered rake design. The base of each tier had a string of white edible pearls. It was topped off with beautiful flowers and the base was decorated with eucalyptus garland.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The Southern thread was woven all throughout our wedding. For starters, the venue was an old, Southern plantation that has been around since 1885. The reception was a seated dinner that comprised of a lovely watermelon/pecan spinach salad with pepper jelly vinaigrette dressing, bone-in fried chicken (the ultimate Southern dish), sautéed collard greens served in a mini mason jar, cheese grits, cornbread muffins, and sweet potato biscuits, with sweet tea to wash it all down! All of the guests were given mini bags of rice that were thrown during our send-off. My husband, Kasper, comes from a family of rice farmers, so the traditional rice had to be used.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in the fall of 2012 when we were introduced by our mutual friends. We went to dinner in Little Rock, Arkansas and ended up talking until the restaurant closed. The chemistry was undeniable and it was apparent to both of us that this was the beginning of something special.
Tell us all about the proposal! One Saturday morning in May 2015, Kasper took me to the farmers market in Fayetteville, Arkansas to walk around and listen to the music. We got coffee and then walked by these beautiful flowers in the middle of the town square. Kasper got down on one knee, and I was in such shock that all I remember is saying “YES!!!” and then turning around to see my brother, sister, cousins, Kasper’s sister, and several friends cheering and taking pictures. We all went to lunch together and celebrated for the rest of the day. It was the best day of my life, until the wedding, of course.
When did y’all get married? May 21, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had our wedding officiant read from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13, as well as Ephesians 5:22-33. He also read the seven things we love most about each other (our planner, Catherine Tapp, had us send them to her without us knowing what she was going to do with them). It was a fun surprise and the guests loved hearing them and seeing our reactions.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We wanted the ceremony to be very traditional. The John Jarboe String quartet sat on the balcony of the plantation and played Canon in D for the bridesmaids processional, the Bridal Chorus when I walked out, and the Wedding March for the exit. One special song that played was “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” That is one of my mother’s favorite musicals, so they played that for the seating of the parents. Of course, my mom cried the whole way down the aisle!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Kasper and I went to premarital counseling with his hometown preacher from the Jonesboro Church of Christ, Chris Harrell. We also did a couples devotional and listened to the wise advice that our parents shared with us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are making our home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Kasper is an attorney and I am a physician recruiter. We are looking forward to summer fun at the lake, relaxing evenings at home, cheering on the Razorbacks this fall, and holidays with friends and family.

Photographer: Amanda Watson | Videographer: Jessie Swaffar | Planner: Catherine Tapp | Venue: Marlsgate Plantation | Florist: Carly Jones | Cake Baker: Charlie Roberts | Caterer: Simply the Best Catering | DJ: Ryan Thetford | Special Details and Photo Stylist: Lindsey Zamora | Paper Products: Jessie Russell | Bride’s Gown: Lea-Ann Belter | Bride’s Jewelry: Sissy’s Log Cabin | Hair Stylist: Sara Beth Leader | Makeup Artist: Bobbi Brown Cosmetics | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo | Groom’s Attire: Walker Brothers | Groomsmen Attire: Generation Tux | String Quartet: The Jarboe String Quartet | Audio Visual and Ceiling Draping: Central Arkansas Entertainment | After-Party Venue: Little Rock Marriott Hotel

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Many girls can probably say that their dog is one of their very best friends, but I imagine few can say their dog was also their matchmaker! Sure enough, it was Jennifer’s beloved golden, Maverick, who was responsible for her and Kerby’s meet-cute–y’all won’t want to miss the story below. Five years and a move to Charleston later, Jennifer and Kerby escaped to the idyllic Palmetto Bluff with their family and friends for their gorgeous spring wedding weekend. Along with dreamy floral crowns, fun pops of pattern, and details that nodded to their love story, Jennifer and Kerby’s celebration wouldn’t have been complete without Maverick in tow!

    Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Perry Vaile for sharing this lovely day with us!

    Kerby and I met five years ago in Washington, D.C. through my golden retriever, Maverick. I got Maverick when I graduated from college, and for many years, he was my rock during uncertain times of figuring out the next chapter in life. Little did I know, he’d also be the one to introduce me to my best friend and husband. I was going to a backyard birthday party for one of my mutual friends and brought Mav with so he could enjoy the festivities. After an hour or so, I spotted a cute boy rolling around on the ground with my dog. Naturally, I approached him and asked, “How do you know Maverick?” Kerby looked up and said, “I hung out with him the past two weekends while his owner was out of town. We’re best friends. Who are YOU?” And the rest is history.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My family and I grew up going to Hilton Head Island every summer, and it has always been a special place for me. Kerby grew up by the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina, so we figured somewhere near the water would be best for us. A friend of mine used to live in Bluffton, right outside of Hilton Head, and recommended that we look at Palmetto Bluff. We were swept off our feet from the first visit. The charm, natural beauty, and relaxed atmosphere–in addition to the convenience of Palmetto Bluff’s town square and cottages–could not be beat. We ended up moving to Charleston a month after our wedding, so we will be frequenting Palmetto Bluff for the rest of our lives!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Kerby and I initially disagreed on a first look. He wanted the classic, tearjerker scene of seeing his bride for the first time while standing in front of his family and friends. I knew I would be anxious the day of the wedding and wanted to see him before the ceremony so I could ease my nerves. After I explained that if we got pictures out of the way before the wedding, we could party longer afterward, Kerby quickly acquiesced.

    We decided to write our own vows so we could feel like the ceremony was personalized to us. We decided on each writing “a few paragraphs,” and had my maid of honor read both ahead of time to make sure they worked well together. As I struggled to get through mine, Kerby held my hand and kept whispering to me to breathe. When I finished, he automatically went in to kiss me to make me feel better. Halfway there, he realized that wasn’t part of the plan and asked our minister, “Can we do that?” It got a good chuckle from the crowd.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We had a bar set up at the entrance of our ceremony serving Moscow mules and Dark and Stormys in copper mugs. We wanted our guests to feel comfortable and start the evening off on the right foot. It was a celebration, after all! We also made sure that Maverick was a part of every aspect of the wedding. Not only did he need to be celebrated for introducing us, but his presence helped us feel relaxed and at ease. His ears flapped in the wind as the bridesmaids did a motorboat cruise to the bridal luncheon at Marshside Mama’s. He rode in the golf cart with us to the rehearsal dinner, where he got in the way of corn hole and snuck pieces of barbecue. He walked down the aisle with my maid of honor and danced the night away with us under the tent. Palmetto Bluff allowed him to be the VIP he deserved to be!

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Look for ways to personalize your wedding. Think about who you are as a couple, what you like to do together, and what’s most important to you, and try and incorporate that into everything you decide. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is what ends up standing out to your guests and building that lasting memory in your mind.

    Our flowers were GORGEOUS! Em Creative Floral did a wonderful job of combining neutrals with pops of coral, pinks, and reds. My favorite part was the baby’s breath crowns that were made for my bridesmaids. They looked like angels floating down the aisle.

    Our wedding cake was a simple white cake with gorgeous, fresh flowers. In order to incorporate more flavors, we served cupcakes as well. One of my favorite pictures from that day is of me feeding Maverick a piece of the cake with Kerby looking on. He deserved to be a part of the wedding in every sense!

    Tell us all about the proposal! After dating for four years, I had an inkling that Kerby would pop the question sometime soon. My family has a tradition of going to Orlando every year for Braves spring training, and Kerby was coming along–his first trip to Disney World! I figured this was it. However, by the end of the trip, we only had one night left, and we were spending it on a drinking tour of the different countries at Epcot. I knew Kerby wouldn’t do it then (in public, at a theme park, after drinking, no chance!), but I had to check his pockets on the monorail anyway. Empty. We started with a beer at a pub in England, then walked over to Canada. Kerby steered me to the replica of Niagara Falls (romantic!) and dropped to one knee. I was so shocked and embarrassed that he was doing this in public at Disney World that I started pulling him to get up. Once I saw the ring, reality took over and I happily said yes! We were then able to celebrate with a few drinks in different countries (like champagne in France!) and fireworks with my parents. It was a dream proposal that I never would have planned.
    When did y’all get married? May 16, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 206
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I have a simple, relaxed style and, for some reason, always pictured myself in a simple, sleeveless, trumpet gown. I began going to stores in D.C. with my girlfriends and thought I found the ONE. When I went to try it on for my mom at a high-end boutique in Atlanta, I realized I didn’t feel like myself in it. My mom and I drove to Kelly’s Closet and instantly felt at ease with the girls there. We were so inspired by all the flowy, unique, timeless gowns. I tried on every Jenny Packham dress they had and ultimately fell for the “Esme” because of its open back and gorgeous beading.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had an acoustic guitarist for the processionals and recessional. We love the casual and relaxed feel that only a single guitar can provide. The bridesmaids walked down to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and I walked down to “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Our processional was to “Home” by Edward Sharpe. Our first dance was to Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.” We wanted a song that was completely different than most first dance choices. Neither of us are great dancers and we just wanted to go out and have fun. We never practiced, but had sung the song at the top of our lungs many times before. It helped that everyone in attendance knew every lyric and was able to sing along with the band! My dad and I danced to “Carolina Girl,” and Kerby and his mom danced to “Circle of Life,” which ended up with half our friends out on the dance floor, embracing in a swaying circle of Lion King enthusiasts.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? It was a real treat to have our officiants be ministers from the church my family attended growing up. We were able to meet with them a few times in Atlanta before our wedding for marriage counseling sessions. It was comforting that we had already openly discussed many of the issues that we knew we could face throughout our lifetime of marriage.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our wedding day, as everyone says, flew by way too quickly. What stood out to us were the moments that Perry, our photographer, pulled us aside to take pictures. She had us sit by the water to stop, breathe, and take in the moment.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to soaking up our new, more relaxed lifestyle in Charleston. We recently made an addition to our family with another golden retriever–this time, a blonde female we named Sully after Sullivan’s Island.

    Photographer: Perry Vaile | Videographer: Hart to Heart Media | Planner: Ashley Rhodes | Ceremony Venue and Caterer: Palmetto Bluff | Reception Venue: Private residence | Florist: Em Creative Floral | Band: The Atlanta Showstoppers | Paper Products: Low Country Paper Co. | Bride’s Gown: “Esme” by Jenny Packham | Bridal Salon: Kelly’s Closet | Hair Stylist: Alicia Stafford | Makeup Artist: Bride’s Side Beauty | Menswear: Bonobos

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    3 Comments
    1. avatar Perry Vaile reply

      I adored this wedding, thank you so, so much for featuring it and sharing their story! Hands down, this wedding day was one of my very favorites to capture – their ease with each other and their guests was so refreshing, and the trust they put into my as the photographer meant the world! It was also kind of amazing to see Maverick the entire day! haha! I even dedicated a folder in their wedding gallery to just Maverick images because we had so many! Best Dog, for sure!

    2. avatar Kate reply

      This wedding is absolutely stunning! Love all of the details including the beautiful calligraphy on the napkins and wedding ceremony program board! The photo of the groomsmen on the bikes might be one of my all time favorites though :)

    3. avatar Dana reply

      omg I love their meet-cute! Sweet dog

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