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Though Ashley and William might not be Southern by their home address, I am quite confident that these two should be honorary Southerners. Their destination wedding weekend at Lowndes Groves Plantation was focused on hospitality, and course, a great party–two mighty important aspects of being a Southerner! With the help of Intrigue Design & Events, Ashley and William welcomed their family and friends into Southern culture with grace and heart. I especially can’t get over the sweet sentiment of why they chose their first dance song, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding: “The song symbolized all of the adventures we had experienced together, as well as those that were yet to come.” Amen, y’all!

Big hugs to Britt Croft for capturing their beautiful day!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Since this was a destination wedding to not only our guests, but also for us, we wanted to ensure we had a home base for the week that wasn’t a hotel room. We rented a beautiful historic estate on the Battery that served not only as the home base for the week, but also a place for friends and family to gather with us. We stayed at the house along with six members of the bridal party and our beloved dog, Winston.

I walked down the aisle to “Trumpet Voluntary” and we walked back up the aisle to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. We chose this because it was upbeat, but had a classic undertone that sounded beautiful played by The Palmetto Strings.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My borrowed item was from my grandmother on my mother’s side, who gifted me with pearl earrings that had been passed down from generation to generation to females in my family on their wedding day. I’m continuing to borrow them until my cousin gets married and I can pass them down to her. My borrowed and blue item was my best friend from high school’s garter, which had a blue ribbon on it. My old item was my vintage gold Rolex from my grandfather on my father’s side. My new item was from my grandmother on my mother’s side, who gave me a silver sixpence to place in my shoe for good luck (I’m surprised I still have it after all of the dancing!).

Will attended college in Charleston, but I had never been. After viewing a few venues in Connecticut and New York, we quickly realized that our perfect venue was in a city only a plane ride away. Charleston, known for its beautiful setting and Southern hospitality, quickly won our hearts. After viewing a few picturesque estates, Lowndes Grove Plantation was the clear favorite, thanks to its grand estate and waterfront location.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Hospitality and, of course, a great party! We also incorporated Southern touches into details throughout the wedding weekend. Groomsmen wore pastel bow ties from High Cotton (Winston had a matching one!), our wedding cocktail was a bourbon punch, and our custom bar was a bourbon tasting and cigar bar. We included a welcome note in everyone’s hotel rooms with a watercolor map of downtown Charleston and a nip of Firefly sweat tea vodka or bourbon. My gift to Will was a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon engraved with our initials and wedding date. In addition, the palmetto tree was incorporated into all of the details, from the invitation to the menus.

Our first dance was to “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. This song has always been on the playlist for our road trips to the beach, on ski trips, and on other weekend getaways. For the wedding, the song symbolized all of the adventures we had experienced together, as well as those that were yet to come.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through friends in Boston in 2008. We first informally met at a summer happy hour with a group of friends. Months later, also through friends, Will attended a BBQ I was hosting at my apartment (I attribute the relationship to my cooking and cocktail-making skills, and Will agrees!). Before leaving the BBQ, Will asked for my number, and he called the next day to ask me out to dinner. We started dating soon after and the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’m never one to let anything get by me, so I was tough to surprise! Will purchased the ring months in advance and shipped it to my parents’ home in Connecticut for safe keeping. The proposal was carefully scheduled for the days prior to my mother’s surprise 60th birthday celebration, which I was planning and hosting. The timing was perfect, since we got to celebrate with both friends and family. Will curated the entire evening from start to finish. The proposal happened at our apartment, so our beloved dog, Winston, could be present. On Friday after work, I came home to find Will on one knee, asking for my hand in marriage. After tears of happiness, we headed to our favorite neighborhood restaurant, followed by a large meet-up with friends to celebrate the engagement. The next day, we headed to Connecticut to celebrate with family (and, of course, my mother’s birthday!).
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 95
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Since I live in New York City, the possibilities for wedding dress shopping were endless. My mother, grandmother, aunt, and godmother came to the city for a day of shopping. Only two boutiques and five dresses later, I found my dream dress at Kleinfeld’s.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We both agreed that a first look was best for us so that we could celebrate more with all of the family and friends who traveled from near and far to join us in Charleston.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? At the end of the day, it will be the best day of your life. The only thing that truly matters is being with one another and the family and friends you get to celebrate with.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently looking to purchase a new home in 2016, and are apartment hunting in New York City.

Photographer: Britt Croft Photography | Planner: Intrigue Design & Events | Venue, Catering, and Cake: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Loluma | Rentals and Lighting: Distinctive Events | Band: Liquid Pleasure | Paper Products: The Silver Starfish | Bride’s Gown: Custom by Mark Zunino | Bride’s Veil: Peter Langner | Hair and Makeup: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Dinnerware: Polished! | Tent and Additional Rentals: Snyder Events | Farm Tables: EventHaus | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo | Ceremony Music: Palmetto Strings | Babysitting Services: Guardian Angels Sitting Service

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Aunt Annie reply

    Love this wedding and the beautiful photos. Such a gorgeous venue and the day looked gorgeous. Picked up some gorgeous detail in the bride’s gown,simply stunning. All captured by my amazing niece! Love it.

  2. avatar Auntie Bern reply

    Loved the article and pictures and going back to such a happy and special time. You and Will are a gorgeous couple with many happy years to follow.
    XOXOXO

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Y’all, you’re not always going to agree with your beau when it comes to wedding planning (or in your marriage!)….and that’s okay! Communication and compromise are incredible tools to combat these little tangles. For today’s darling couple, choosing a venue might not have been a disagreement, but it did take a bit of time for Evan to fully understand Hannah’s venue preference. Hannah had always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on her boarding school campus, and while Evan may not have shared her vision at the beginning, it only took one visit to Saint Mary’s before he was on board, telling Hannah “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” And share they did! These two lived out one of my very favorite pieces of wedding day advice: stick together! Hannah and Evan vowed their lives to each other on their wedding day, but also promised not leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, helping them to experience their special day together and share the same memories. BDK and I also used this simple technique, and I cannot support it more!

Thank you to Almond Leaf Studios for being on hand to capture this beautiful day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’m a decisive girl, but would much rather have five things to pick from than twenty. I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, my sister, and my maternal grandmother in Charlotte, where I grew up and these ladies live. We went to a great boutique downtown called Hayden Olivia and I ended up finding my dress that day! I walked in and told the Hayden Olivia girls that I was not a fan of lace…and then, lo and behold, I walked out with a full lace dress. The way that I knew I had “the dress” was that when I put it on, I felt completely confident and like myself.

I went to an all-girls high school in Raleigh, North Carolina for boarding school and have always dreamed of getting married in the historic chapel on campus. My sweet groom was so patient through the whole planning process, and when I described how special Saint Mary’s is to me, he was on board with being married there. When Evan finally visited the chapel on one of our planning trips to Raleigh, he hugged me and whispered “I totally get how special this chapel is to you now, and I’m excited to share a memory with you here.” Saint Mary’s agreed to let us have our reception on campus too, since the girls were out for summer break. It ended up being perfect and so convenient for us, our bridal party, and our guests!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Unbeknownst to us, our officiant asked our parents and grandparents to write a short piece of marriage advice for us, which she read during her homily. It was so special and completely a surprise!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It’s hard to pinpoint what was specifically “Southern” about our wedding because Southern is just who we are, but there are a few things that stand out. We served ham biscuit and chicken and waffles passed hors d’oeuvres with mojitos and sangria during cocktail hour. Our cocktail hour entertainment was a bluegrass trio, which is pretty darn Southern. We served Jack Daniels and craft beers from Tennessee and North Carolina, each of our home states, during the evening. The grandmothers and mothers wore corsages. Our reception entertainment was a movin’ and shakin’ soul band out of Atlanta called Evolution Party Band.

Evan and I vowed not to leave one another’s sides the whole day after the ceremony, and that was the best decision we made that day. It meant that all of the memories that we made on our wedding day were made together and in the same moment. A wise man gave me the advice that when it’s all said and done, this day is about your newly declared obligations to your spouse and your spouse’s to you. Greet your guests, have fun with them, but don’t forget to make all of the memories together with your new spouse. That’s the most important person on your wedding day and for the rest of your life.

We wanted our whole day to be reflective of us, so I chose wedding flowers that felt very natural and organic. We used lots of greens, whites, and some blush colors in loose arrangements. Gregg of Brides & Bouquets even incorporated some fresh herbs and blueberries into the arrangements, which was way cool!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think the most important thing to think about is that you’re not planning a wedding–you’re planning a marriage. The dress and frills are great and all, but at the end of the wedding day, you should really be thinking about the fact that you entered the ceremony as individuals and left the ceremony a new family. That happens in a mere matter of minutes and that’s pretty darn amazing. It’s really important not to lose sight of that. Also, if you have room in your budget, hire a wedding planner! Even if just for the day, it’s nice to have someone be “in charge” so you, your mama, and your bridal party can just enjoy the wedding.

Evan gave me my (now our) dog, Honeybee, in college. My parents weren’t totally on board with me having a dog in college, but my dad is a beekeeper and I decided that naming the dog “Bee” would surely win my parents over. Cha-ching, it worked! The honeybee kind of became a theme at our wedding, thanks to our dog being named Bee, the outdoorsy feel of the wedding, and my dad’s honey from his latest harvest being our favors. We decided that having a cake that looked like a beehive would be a neat way to tie everything together. It looked amazing and tasted even better! We had one tier of lemon, one tier of almond, and one tier of confetti cake. We cut into the confetti cake tier–so fun!

Don’t miss their wedding film by Heart Stone Films below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Evan and I met during our freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee. Mutual friends organized a backpacking trip in the Smoky Mountains and invited both of us along. After a weekend of camping, hiking, no showering, and sleeping on the ground, Evan still wanted to take me on a date! We returned from our backpacking trip on Sunday and Evan took me on our first date on Monday evening. Seven years together passed before our wedding day! To this day, being outside together is still our favorite pastime.
Tell us all about the proposal! After college, Evan and I both decided to pursue our dreams together, but apart. He worked on a boat in the Bahamas and I worked in an art gallery in London. To make things even more convenient, we were accepted to graduate schools in different states. When he started dental school in Memphis Tennessee, I started graduate school for art education in the mountains of North Carolina…a fun eight-hour drive apart! Evan asked my dad (and siblings) for their blessing over Christmas break of 2013, knowing that being all the way in Memphis meant that he might not see my family again for a long time! Nine months later (the secret nearly killed my sister), Evan flew out to Western North Carolina to visit me for a weekend in October 2014. We decided to go for a hike with my dog to enjoy the perfect fall weather and take in the changing leaves. We got to our summit spot on the hike and sat for a little picnic. After we ate lunch, Evan popped the question. I did not see it coming and was totally surprised! The best things about the proposal were that it was reminiscent of the way that we met, and we got to enjoy the moment all to ourselves for a few hours as we hiked back down the mountain!
When did y’all get married? June 20, 2015, nine months after the proposal
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 200
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first looks. We decided to keep it traditional, and the tears in our eyes when we saw each other made the wait totally worth it.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a guitarist and a violinist as our ceremony musicians. They played “What a Wonderful World” during the seating of the mothers and grandmothers, “Here Comes the Sun” during the bridesmaid processional, “Water is Wide” when my dad and I walked down the aisle, and “Oh Happy Day” when we left the chapel. We had a bluegrass trio to entertain during the cocktail hour and an larger band during our reception.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Sure did. I borrowed my mom’s veil, had my new monogram stitched into my dress in blue thread (and my bridesmaids wore blue!), the diamond in my ring was Evan’s grandmother’s, and my dress was new. I also wore a handmade lace garter that has been worn by women on my mother’s side of the family for several generations. We even remembered to rub a sixpence in my shoe before the ceremony, another family tradition, for good luck!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We will be in Memphis until Evan finishes up dental school, so I’ll be painting and teaching, and then who knows. To infinity and beyond!

Photographer: Almond Leaf Studios | Videographer: Heart Stone Films | Planner: Orangerie Events | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Saint Mary’s School | Reception Venue: Saint Mary’s School | Florist: Brides & Bouquets | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Dessert Baker: Sweet Water Ices | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Party Reflections and Paisley and Jade | Lighting: Get Lit | Band: Evolution Party Band of East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: One and Only Paper | Paper Products: Little House Shoppe | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hayden Olivia | Hair Stylist: Studio Etica | Makeup Artist: Makeup for Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank | On-site Painting: Ben Keys of Wed on Canvas

Heart Stone Films, Orangerie Events, and Sugar Euphoria are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Paisley & Jade reply

    We absolutely love this wedding! The Orangerie styling of our chalkboard bar is gorgeous and our London Doors as a popcorn bar?! Just awesome. Thanks so much for featuring Hannah and Evan’s beautiful day!

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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