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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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Christina and Matt met in the city of Ouagadougou in West Africa while volunteering for the Peace Corp–talk about an adventurous courtship! For their October wedding, they were inspired by their mutual love of the color green, and they wanted an aesthetic that was built around nature and inspired by leaves, trees, wood, and flowers. The talented Tara Guérard took the already gorgeous Lowndes Groves Plantation, and boy, did she up its game! She even brought the beauty of the great outdoors right inside their stunning tent. I would be remiss not to mention that Christina and Matt’s officiant included a few words of wisdom from that “great Southern philosopher,” Forrest Gump, in their ceremony. I know the whole congregation must have been tickled to hear that!

Thank you so much to Liz Banfield for sharing this stunner with us in V7!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Matt and I met in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso in West Africa, as Peace Corps Volunteers. I lived in Burkina and Matt lived in the neighboring country of Togo. The day we met–January 2, 2009–we had both been traveling with friends. My friends and I had plans to take a bus to Togo the next day. Matt gave me advice about where to go and what to do, and I invited him and his friends to join us for dinner, drinks, and dancing. Many hours later, in the early morning outside of a night club, Matt and his friends announced that they had decided to cut their vacation short and would join us on the bus to Togo. Matt escorted us all the way to his city, Lomé, and took care of us all week. While my friends spent an overnight in Ghana, I stayed behind and spent 48 hours with Matt. That was our unofficial first date. Eight months later, I moved to Togo and became a third-year volunteer in the town next to his. Until years later, he had no idea that I had done it for him. The day I arrived, we spent hours together in a group enjoying the festivities. At the end of the night, I went to my hotel room and closed the door, fretting about whether I had made the right decision, and if he was still interested in me. A few minutes later, there was a knock at my door. I opened the door and it was Matt. He took my arm, said “Christina,” and then kissed me. He finished his sentence before disappearing into the night: “See you tomorrow.”

I loved the way my dress maintained its dramatic shape whether I was walking, spinning, or standing still! It looked great from every angle and was unmistakably a wedding dress.

Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? Rose Kpomblekou, of Peace Corps Togo, traveled all the way from West Africa to attend the wedding!

Who was your officiant? The pastor who married us is a close friend of Matt and a true Southern gentleman. He had tears in his eyes (and streaming down his kind face!) throughout the ceremony, and we were married with words of wisdom from that great Southern philosopher, Forrest Gump. He made everyone laugh while sharing his gifts as a spiritual and loving man.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. We had a string quartet playing songs we loved from Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, and some of Matt’s favorite video games. The ceremony was outside under a huppah of green leaves and a beautiful tree. Guests were facing a river and sitting on a mixture of chairs and pew-like benches. My dad and I emerged dramatically from the stunning Lowndes Grove mansion and had a nice long walk across the lawn to the center aisle–plenty of time for one last father-daughter chat before the I do’s!

No matter where we held the wedding, our families would have to travel. My family comes from in and around the New York Tri-State area, whereas Matt’s family lives in South Carolina and Florida. Elegant and cozy Charleston, South Carolina was the perfect location–not only because it is one of Matt’s favorite places in the world, but it was also a place that my family came to know and love through Matt’s eyes.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? I gathered fantastical images from Lord of the Rings and magical-looking forests. We both love the color green and wanted an aesthetic that was built around nature themes: leaves, trees, wood, flowers, etc.

What were some of the highlights of the reception? We LOVE to dance and the band was phenomenal. I danced to every song at our wedding except three: I missed two because of impromptu pictures and one because I was out of breath from jumping around with my brother. The speeches couldn’t have been more touching, funny, and apropos. The food was delicious and the service was flawless. Our sweetheart table experience turned into a surprise romantic dinner for two in the middle of our wedding!

My cousin, David Johnson, is a songwriter and musician, so we asked if he would perform one of his songs at the wedding. He came back to us a week later with a brand new song entitled “Face to Face,” which instantly became our song. The lyrics were as special to us as the songwriter, so we asked Dave and his son to perform it for our first dance. They were awesome and Matt and I had a blast dancing to this perfect song.

Describe the proposal: Matt and I were looking to buy a house, and finally, we found the one. We put a bid on it, and then found ourselves in a bidding war with another buyer, which we eventually lost. I was so disappointed, but nothing could be done about it. Matt left on a last-minute work trip and continued to be very busy for a while. Turns out, his “last-minute work trip” was really a train ride to visit my parents in New Jersey to ask for permission to marry their daughter, and to ask my mother to take him ring shopping. On the night he planned to propose, we had scheduled dinner with friends. My mom had been in town, but left on the morning of the dinner to take care of “taxes” in New York. On the way to the restaurant, Matt took a detour onto the street with the house. “Why would you take this street? It’s depressing!” I told him. I didn’t want to see the house that we had lost. He slowed down next to the house and pulled into the driveway. I asked him what he thought he was doing. “We’re trespassing,” I told him, “and we are late for dinner.” He replied, “I lied to you. We’re home. We got the house.” Inside, the living room was covered in red rose petals and 200 candles. A throw rug near the garden window was piled high with long stem red roses perched over a card. I knelt down to open and read the card, which said, “I love you so, so much. Turn around.” He was kneeling with the ring and proposed. The real estate lady was hiding in the bushes with the paperwork for the house. We signed on the dotted line and left to celebrate over dinner with our friends!
When did y’all get married? October 26, 2013
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Elegant, comfortable, euphoric.
How many guests attended your wedding? 180
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? I only have one sibling, so instead of choosing a maid of honor, I choose my brother to be my “man of honor,” and he truly filled the role to the fullest! My girlfriends all love him and were delighted to follow his lead–even through planning the bachelorette party! He gave a once-in-a-lifetime speech at dinner, and if I were ever unsure, I know how very much he loves me.
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? The funniest moment was when the pastor explained how when Matt and I met and some of his first words to me were “You smell good.” This was a huge compliment while serving in the Peace Corps!
Tell us about your grand exit. We drove off in a gorgeous, vintage getaway convertible while the guests cheered us into the night with sparklers.
What was Southern about your wedding? We incorporated Southern cuisine, hospitality, and sensibilities.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? We went as far away as possible to New Zealand, a magical land of fjords, mountains, glacial lakes, diverse flora, and hobbits.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Prioritize taking care of your guests and don’t assume responsibility for any details on the day-of. A bride’s job is to be the joyous chief of the party!!

Photographer: Liz Banfield / Videographer: Artistic Eye Productions / Planner, Designer, and Florist: Tara Guérard Soirée / Venue, Caterer, and Bar Service : Lowndes Grove Plantation / Cake : Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music: Charleston Heartstrings Quartet for Debut, Inc. / Bride’s Gown: “Laetitia” by Anna Maier / Bridal Salon: Hitched Salon / Bride’s Shoes: “Isabel” by Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Earrings: “Elsa Peretti Pearls by the Yard Drop Earrings” from Tiffany and Co. / Bride’s Veil and Hair Accessory: Hitched Salon / Bridesmaid Dresses: #839 in Fern by Aria / Wedding Day Dresser: Cacky’s Bride+Aid / Hair Stylist: Kristy Cuthbert / Makeup Artist: Kori Mahoney / Getaway Car: Matt Buero / Men’s Attire: Grady Ervin & Co / Ice Sculpture: Ice Age Ice Sculptures / Paper Goods: The Lettered Olive / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals / Linens: Immediate Tablecloth / Band: Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters / Transportation: Absolutely Charleston and Marquee Limo / Lighting: Production Design Associates and Tara Guérard Soirée / Ceremony Director: Lori Lethco

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Anastasia reply

    OH I LOVE THIS. this is probably my favorite wedding published in a while. i love their adventurous and individualistic relationship and also their love of LOTR and natural beauty. perfect!!

  2. avatar Laura reply

    That proposal story brought tears to my eyes, so sweet!

  3. avatar Ally reply

    I completely agree with her advice – take care of your guests! Any time you invite people to celebrate (even if they are celebrating you!), it’s always gracious to keep them comfortable and happy!

  4. avatar kate h. reply

    this is incredible.

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If you’re like me, you never want the paper goodness to end. Even though this is my last post recapping the 2011 National Stationery Show, I made it an extra long just for my fellow paper lovers :)

First up? The Lettered Olive, brainchild of fabulous Southern event planner Tara Guerard. Booth design? Amazing. Almost as pretty as her actual designs, which are beyond luxurious. Also, Tara has replaced the traditional album you’d flip through in a stationery store with a box of custom samples and an iPad — how cool is that?!

We missed our dear friend Emily Ley by mere minutes, but took a peek at her wedding album anyway. My favorite:

Our next stop was the Rifle Paper Co booth, which Trent was VERY excited for. It didn’t disappoint! We even got a sneak peek at part of their new wedding line, which looks beautiful!

There was a neat “runway” of paper dresses connecting the two halves of the tradeshow. Trent made me pose with one of the creations.

Once safely on the other side of the runway, we found ourselves at the Wiley Valentine booth. Cuteness overload!

One of our last stops of the day was the Ladies of Letterpress booth. We were running late at that point so we didn’t see everything, but we did stop by Anemone Letterpress’s section. Fun fact: her business card is letterpressed on incredibly thick stock!

Last but CERTAINLY not least we have the Smock + Bella Figura booth. It was as gorgeous as always! Bright and colorful, but edited beautifully. For a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of their booth, check out their blog here!

Thank you so much for following along, friends! You can bet I’ll be back next year, reporting on more paper goodness. Now tell me: are you as much as a paper fiend as I am? What’s your favorite line of stationery?

All photos by the fabulous and talented Trent Bailey. Thank you again, so much, for coming, Trent!

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Rachelle {wiley valentine} reply

    Yay!! Thank you so much Emily for including us among such fabulous stationers. It was so fun meeting you in NYC! xoxo

  2. avatar aurea @ bridal shower favors reply

    I soo heart papers, too! :D I loved cutting and designing them when I was little and until now, I am just into paper crafts. :D What you have showed in here are pure awesomeness and just let me have a special mention on that one which says “Just a little note from me to you”. :D The blue-greenish one, particularly. :D It’s kinda vintage-y. :D

  3. avatar carrie @ anemone letterpress reply

    Emily, it was so great to meet you and your photographer at NSS! I’m truly honored that you included our invitation set with this group of amazing designers. Many, many thanks!

  4. avatar donaville reply

    lovely recap. wish i could’ve been there. you photographed the experience fabulously!

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