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Bride Jillian shares her pefectly Southern, blue and white wedding at Legare Waring House!

Please meet today’s bride, Jillian! I’m not sure if it’s the season we’re in, the dreamy light blue and white color palette, or the gorgeous floral detailing, but her wedding to Edwin will have you feeling all the spring feels (even though it took place in October!). And for you classic brides out there, like myself, it’s hard not to swoon over Jillian’s perfectly preppy Oscar de la Renta gown.

And don’t even get me started on those magnolia leaf garlands… I could get lost in their Charleston wedding all day. Keep scrolling to read all about the sweet surprises her mama pulled off, how they chose their venue, and much more goodness!

Big SW hugs to Virgil Bunao for sharing and to the ladies of A Charleston Bride for pulling together the details!

What was Southern about your wedding? Our whole wedding really played on the overall theme of Charleston and the South. Since Edwin is from California, about half our guests traveled from out west and had never spent time in the South. We had a lot of fun giving them a taste of the South during our wedding weekend! Everything from our wedding paper to the menus at each of our events was focused around Southern imagery, flavors, florals, and more. However, my favorite Southern tradition that we included in our celebration was burying a bottle of bourbon. Edwin, my sister who was also my maid of honor, and I went to our wedding venue a month before our wedding date with a shovel and a bottle of bourbon. We buried the bourbon on a gorgeous sun-filled day along with little prayers for beautiful weather on our wedding day. Fast forward to October 28th. It was a picture perfect sunny morning but as the afternoon rolled in, so did the clouds. About an hour before our outdoor ceremony was supposed to start, the skies opened up to a complete downpour. We finished our wedding photos just in the nick of time and ran inside the house. As guests arrived, they were escorted into the Legare Waring House, although this was never part of the plan… One of the groomsman took over the piano and the waiters started serving trays of champagne while the bridesmaids and I danced upstairs and watched through the windows as the guests arrived. The best part is that the bottle of bourbon worked! Five minutes before our wedding ceremony was set to start, the sky grew quiet and all the rain stopped! Our planners wiped off the ceremony seats, fluffed the flowers, and everything went off without a hitch. The clouds slowly parted and we said our vows against a beautiful sunset! Everyone said the rain added such a fun and dramatic element to the evening and, to this day, I credit the buried bottle of bourbon for stopping the rain five minutes before show time! It was then a blast to dig up our good luck charm and drink straight from the muddy bottle with all our bridesmaids and groomsmen!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My mom pulled off so many special surprise details for our wedding, including the embroidery she had done on the inside of my wedding dress, the vintage earrings she gifted me to wear on our wedding day, and the embroidered hanky she gave me before our ceremony started. In addition, I’d say our wedding paper. I absolutely adore every piece of paper we designed for our wedding, from the save the dates to the invitations to the menu cards and everything else in between.

We did do a first look on our wedding day. We were married on October 28th, and our venue regulated that weddings start at 6pm before Daylight Savings. So, we had to do a first look in order to capture our photos in the light. I have to say, it wasn’t my first choice, but we loved the venue so much that it didn’t matter. The first time we saw each other was more meaningful than anything I could have dreamed up and I know that would have been the case with a first look or if we had first seen each other when I walked down the aisle.

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 198
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. It could be argued that I found my wedding dress by accident. We live in Charleston now, but at the time, we were still living in Los Angeles, so I researched when all the designers were holding their trunk shows in LA following bridal fashion week. Unfortunately, the LA trunk shows just so happened to take place on a weekend when my mom was already committed to be at a big Alabama football game and my sister was already set to be in Europe visiting friends. I still wanted to go because it was the only opportunity to shop that season before my wedding, so both my best friend from college and my cousin flew in for the day (both were bridesmaids in our wedding!). We had a beautiful champagne-filled lunch at The Polo Lounge and then headed to our three appointments. At each appointment, I told the bridal stylists that I had no plans of actually finding my wedding dress without my mom or sister, and that we were just there for fun and inspiration. Well, lo and behold, we walked into Oscar de la Renta and my dream dress was waiting for me. I honestly felt like it was designed with me in mind, it was that perfect! ODLR was so amazing and flew the dress back to Los Angeles in December so my mom and sister could see me try it on.

What made you choose your venue? I grew up going to Sea Island to visit my grandparents, so I wanted to find the history, romance, and charm of Sea Island somewhere special in Charleston. From the time I was a little girl, I always said I wanted to get married under a live oak tree. I knew right away that our venue was the one. The live oak tree we got married under was hauntingly beautiful and everything I ever envisioned. We now call Charleston home and absolutely adore the fact that we will always hold the city near and dear as the place we tied the knot.

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite part of wedding planning was, without a doubt, planning with my mom. We had so much fun together throughout the whole process and I really leaned on her to help me make some of the tougher decisions. My mom and I were on the same page the whole time and she is 100% the person to credit (along with our amazing planners!) for making my vision come to life!

What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Believe it or not but the hardest part about planning our wedding was getting a venue in Charleston! Deep down, I really knew that Legare Waring House was the venue for us but I called and toured multiple other spots too. On all the tours, I was the only bride-to-be with a connection to Charleston and family in Charleston. Charleston has become such a popular wedding destination that it was a challenge to get a Saturday wedding date that wasn’t in the dead of summer. In fact, we only secured our October date, which was 17 months after we got engaged, because a couple had a hold on the day but decided to call off their engagement. I really couldn’t believe it!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We served the most beautiful, elegant, and delicious wedding cake I’ve ever seen or tasted. We went for different flavors with each tier of the cake. I always gravitate toward fruity flavors over chocolatey flavors, so our wedding cake was coconut, orange, and lemon blueberry flavored! In addition, my grandmother was from Mississippi and was a tremendous Southern cook. My favorite dish she made was an ice cream banana parfait dessert. Our amazing caterers took my grandmother’s recipe and put a modern twist on it, creating “Grandma Peggy’s Chocolate Banana Parfait Pushpops.” They were delicious!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. One fortunate summer, our two best friends (who are now engaged to be married!) introduced us at a party and, from that moment on, we lived out a quintessential summer of love up and down the Southern California coast before falling in love and choosing to be together for 8 years and counting.

Tell us all about the proposal! Edwin gave me the surprise of my life when he proposed to me outside the Santa Monica apartment I shared with my best friend (yes, the one who introduced us!). Edwin and I had spent a beautiful, sunny day in Malibu. Edwin knew I never wanted anything showy for a proposal, though, so he waited until we got back to Santa Monica to pop the question. My roommate was home at our apartment when we returned from Malibu but she was supposed to leave shortly for a dinner date. Edwin was planning to propose to me in my apartment. However, my roommate’s plans kept getting pushed later into the night, so Edwin panicked and claimed he was suddenly starving. Reluctantly, I went along with him to get a bite. Edwin opened the car door for me and, as I sat down in the car, he got down on one knee and said the sweetest, most loving, and supportive things I could ever imagine. He then pulled out a beautiful round cut diamond ring. To this day, I wish I remembered everything he said so I could hear it in my head over and over again! We ran inside and shared the news with my best friend, called our families, popped multiple bottles of champagne and headed to a dinner Edwin planned at the intimate restaurant Giorgio Baldi. Our friends who introduced us came and met us after dinner for more champagne and for a night of dancing. It was everything and more!
When did y’all get married? October 28th, 2017f
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? This might sound silly, but the most meaningful part of our ceremony was holding hands while saying our vows and “I do.” We both wanted a very traditional wedding so we opted for traditional wedding vows. The readings during our ceremony were done by my uncle, who is also my god father, and Edwin’s sister, who was also a bridesmaid.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. When the band introduced Edwin and me into our wedding reception tent, they played “Going to the Chapel” by the Dixie Cups, which is just about the happiest wedding song I can think of. Our first dance song was an easy pick. We both love classics so there was no other song choice than “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding. My dad and I did our father daughter dance to “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison. All my memories of childhood have Van Morrison playing in the background, so that was one of the easiest decisions we made during the whole wedding planning process. Edwin and his mother danced to “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon because Edwin was raised on Paul Simon. Every song was chosen because it was the music that defined the relationship! I knew I wanted to be super traditional for many aspects of our ceremony, so when I walked down the aisle with my dad, we walked to Cannon D. However, we knew we wanted the celebration to begin the moment we said “I do!” so we walked back up the aisle as a newly married couple to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. It set the tone for the whole night to come!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? What an impossible question! There are so many! First and foremost, the moment I saw Edwin at our first look was a moment I’ll never forgot. I’ve never seen him look so handsome and I will always cherish my memory of the way he looked at me. Another memorable moment was when my sister helped me into my wedding dress and shoes. It still brings happy tears to my eyes. As I mentioned, I kept my wedding dress a surprise so the moment I put it on and stepped into a room full of my beautiful bridesmaids was also incredibly special and memorable. I also loved seeing my dad for the first time on my wedding day. He came upstairs to see me in my dress and to take photos; it was so lovely and meaningful. During our wedding week, my dad was everything and more that a girl could ask for.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Yes, the dance floor! My, what a party! Our band brought the house down so much so that one guest exclaimed that he felt like he was at a concert instead of a wedding! The dance floor was packed all the way up until the last possible moment. I know I’m biased, but it was the best party I’ve ever been to! Our recipe for keeping the dance floor so full of life was to avoid modern music (except for about three songs) or tacky 80’s songs and to keep it strictly to the classics that every generation loves. Our set list was full of Van Morrison, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, David Bowie, Elvis Presley, and the Rolling Stones.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: East West Production | Planner: Lindsey Boyce of A Charleston Bride | Venue: Legare Waring House | Florist: Out of the Garden | Wedding Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal | Caterer: Cru Catering | Drape: The Social Spool | Linens: Pressed Fine Linens | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, and Skyline Tent Company | Restroom Trailer: Nature’s Calling | Lighting: Av Connection | Band: The Atlanta Showstoppers | Monogram Pillows, Napkins, and Bride’s Wedding Bouquet Ribbon: Number Four Eleven | Escort Card Boards: TEC | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: Oscar de la Renta | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Saks Fifth Avenue | Hair Stylist: Ash & Co. | Makeup Artist: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaid Dresses: Styled by Cynthia Cook Brides | Groom’s Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Welcome bags: A Signature Welcome

marissa Written with love by Marissa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Neza Reisner reply

    Awesome wedding!

  2. avatar Week Recap, Vol. 46 reply

    […] is Jillian‘s Charleston wedding?! Loved seeing all of their beautiful details over on Southern Weddings. 3. I also am loving Jenn‘s shoot at this adorable Austin spot (bookmarking it for my trip in […]

  3. avatar Weekend Notes – Lauren Nelson reply

    […] Jillian’s wedding was absolutely gorgeous!! – Southern Weddings  […]

  4. avatar craig williams reply

    Love these details and photography so beautiful

  5. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    This wedding sounds like an absolute dream! Those design details are so swoon-worthy, and their joy is so apparent! :)

  6. avatar Janecia reply

    This wedding is gorgeous. Such a fan of the mixed bridesmaid’s dresses. So dreamy!

  7. avatar NST Pictures – Artistic Wedding Videos reply

    This Southern wedding is everything! Being amidst nature, the theme, the blue motif and of course, the attention to detail!

  8. avatar My Bridal Brunch at Cannon Green reply

    […] loves! After last week’s big wedding reveal post about our wedding being featured by Southern Weddings, I’m so excited to share more about our wedding weekend with a post dedicated to my bridal […]

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I have the delight of reading about LOTS of proposals, so it takes quite the story for me to proclaim it one of the best I’ve ever read. Well friends, that’s exactly what we have here today! The two words I’d use to describe the way Josh proposed to Emily are epic and romantic, and once I scrolled through the photos Virgil Bunao captured of their wedding, those same adjectives kept coming to mind. Their venues, Grace Church Cathedral and Lowndes Grove Plantation, were certainly a big part of that, but their classic fashion, Emily’s show-stopping bouquet, and the clear-top tent they celebrated under didn’t hurt either!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? So many to choose from! I’d have to say that one of the most special moments of the day, which I am beyond thankful that we incorporated, was having a first look with my daddy. Right after I finished getting dressed and donned my veil, before I even went to see Josh, my daddy came in to see me in my dress for the first time. Surrounded by my family and closest friends and sharing that emotional moment with the man who has loved me since day one was something that I will never forget. I highly recommend it to all brides!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We were getting married in the middle of December, when it gets dark by 5 P.M. Our reception venue, Lowndes Grove Plantation, is a breathtaking plantation home right on the Ashley River in Charleston, so we knew that we wanted to be able to take pictures there in the daylight. We also wanted our guests to be able to see the venue in the daylight and enjoy the sunset over the water, so we had a first look under the live oaks by the water and took the majority of our pictures before heading to the church for our ceremony.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I am probably one of the most indecisive people ever, and I really had no idea what I was looking for. I had to Google the different wedding dress styles so I didn’t sound silly when we went shopping for the first time! My mom, my best friend since childhood, and I went up to Charlotte to visit a few different stores, and we met up with my aunt who lives there. I tried on tons of dresses and really learned what style I was looking for, but just couldn’t commit yet. Due to my school schedule and our long engagement, it was about six months before I was able to go shopping again. This time, my mom and I headed down to Charleston with a much clearer vision of the look I was going for. I wanted something a little more formal and traditional for our ceremony in a cathedral, but fun enough to let loose at the reception! A few of my bridesmaids were able to meet us at the store and help me see that one of the dresses I tried on encompassed all of the elements I was looking for. Once the consultant added a veil and showed me that they could custom-make a sash, I was sold!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We attended a marriage counseling weekend retreat through the church early on in our engagement that was wonderful and very thought-provoking. There weren’t many topics that we had not already addressed or encountered in our relationship, but it was a great starting point to discuss others.

We are both from very small towns with limited wedding venue selections, and since I had lived in Charleston for several years and we both love it, we knew we wanted to get married there. We visited several venues and absolutely fell in love with Lowndes Grove Plantation. It was exactly what we were looking for as an indoor/outdoor venue with character and Southern charm, with the added bonus of being on the water with a long dock. We also knew that we wanted to get married in a church. We decided on Grace Church Cathedral, the church my aunt and uncle had been married in. It is an absolutely beautiful church with a center aisle and stunning altar, and they provided wonderful marriage counseling and wedding coordination.

Describe your wedding flowers. This was one of my favorite parts! I knew I wanted a romantic, whimsical vibe with lots of whites, greenery, and pops of blush and coral pink. I met with the florist and they let me pick out individual flowers and greenery that I wanted to incorporate! Coral charm peonies were a must for me! From there, Branch Studio totally nailed it. I’m gushing just thinking about them. Each of the tables at the reception had either a tall, whimsical arrangement or a low, textural arrangement incorporating similar flowers and greenery to the bouquets. They also incorporated a few feathers provided by my groom into several of the arrangements. This tied in with the hand-tied feather boutonnieres worn by Josh and his groomsmen, and Josh’s Brackish bow tie. One of the most magical floral elements was the massive floral chandelier extending all the way to the top of the tent! It was made of silver dollar eucalyptus and other greenery with scatters of white hydrangea, blush emely roses, pink roses, and pink tulips. It hung around a classic crystal chandelier over the cake table as the center feature of our reception tent. It was stunning! The cake table itself was adorned with a garland of silver dollar eucalyptus, with Italian ruscus and olive branches encircling the edge of the table.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were both born and raised in South Carolina, so we don’t know much besides Southern traditions! It does not get much more classically Southern than Charleston. Our reception venue, Lowndes Grove Plantation, is a beautifully restored plantation home situated on the northern end of the Charleston peninsula on the banks of the Ashley River. We took most of our photographs under the live oaks that line the water and on the dock that extends out into the river. Among the passed hors d’oeuvres were fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and mini crab cakes. Southern dinner menu items included shrimp and grits with cornbread biscuits, braised short ribs, and grilled fish tacos. Our groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner was a life-size rendition of our Boykin spaniel, the South Carolina state dog.

We had a five-layer traditional wedding cake. The layers were of varying heights to give the cake some originality and dimension. The design was simple and elegant, with textured white buttercream frosting and intermittent cascading coral charm peonies, white and blush pink garden roses, and silver dollar eucalyptus. Because it was December and the weather in Charleston was beautiful, we decided to have the cake in the center of our outdoor tent under a floral chandelier as the central element of our reception space.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended Clemson University, but despite having many mutual friends, we never met there. We met while I was living down in Charleston after we had both graduated. I was focused on preparing to begin medical school and was pretty determined not to get involved with anyone. Thankfully, Josh was patiently persistent and convinced me that we were better equipped to go after our dreams together! He had just purchased his own business, and I started medical school three hours away. We both had full plates and the distance was tough, but we persevered, and it made us immeasurably stronger as individuals and as a couple.
Tell us all about the proposal! My family had planned a trip to Europe as a family vacation, and I was thrilled that Josh was able to join us! Our first stop was Paris, and it happened to be over my birthday. For weeks, I had been telling Josh about the Pont des Arts in Paris, a bridge where couples leave locks to symbolize their unending love. I wanted to find it and maybe even add a lock for us! Well, a week before we left, we heard that the love lock bridge was being torn down. We were disappointed, but it turns out that the trend had spread to almost every bridge in Paris. As we walked around the day before my birthday, I kept wanting to buy a lock, and Josh kept telling me no. Later that night, he caved and presented me with an early birthday present. He had found a beautiful antique lock and hand-engraved it with our names, the date (my birthday), and a quote in French that read “my heart is forever yours.” Needless to say, I was incredibly touched that he had not only been listening to me, but had put so much thought and effort into this special gift. He told me that this was only one of two gifts for my birthday, but I assured him that there was nothing I could possibly love more. After nagging him to tell me the secret most of the morning on my birthday, he finally told me that he was taking me on a tour to the top of the Eiffel Tower that night. I was SO excited! It ended up raining pretty much the entire day, so I was confused when the cab driver dropped us off at a bridge a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower. Josh explained that our tour guide wanted to meet us somewhere else because of the rain. As we started to walk out on the bridge, it suddenly stopped raining! We seemed to be the only ones on the bridge besides a tourist taking pictures of the tower. We walked to an overlook with a gorgeous view of the tower, and Josh stopped to point something about the tower out to me. When I turned back around, he was down on one knee! I said yes!! I have never been more surprised in my life, and I am very hard to surprise! It turns out that the “tourist taking pictures” was a professional American photographer living in Paris that Josh had hired to capture the entire thing! We even had a mini engagement photo shoot right there on the Pont de Bir-Hakeim overlooking the Eiffel Tower! Josh had thought of EVERYTHING! In addition to presenting me with the most gorgeous ring I have ever laid my eyes on, he had also kept a journal of the entire process, from the progression of our relationship to this point, asking my parents for their blessing, picking out a ring, planning the proposal, and so much more. On top of that, I got to walk with my new FIANCÉ to meet my parents and sister under the Eiffel Tower, where they were waiting with a bottle of champagne to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? December 17, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 235
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. The seating of the mothers and grandmothers: The first dance was to “This Kind of Love” by Sister Hazel. We chose this song because it was a little different than the traditional first dance songs while still having a classic vibe, and we have always felt that the lyrics sum up our love perfectly. My dad and I danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. Not only is this a wonderful song, but it was featured during the wedding scene in the movie “Father of the Bride” which has always been a favorite and very special to my daddy and me. Josh and his mom danced to “You’ve Got a Friend” by James Taylor. James Taylor has always been very special to Josh’s musical family and has become special to us as a couple too. I surprised him for his birthday several years ago with tickets to a James Taylor concert, and when it came time for our families to meet, Josh arranged for both of our parents and us to go to another concert. It was a very special night!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One of the biggest ways we saved money on the wedding was simply by having it in December. Many venues and even vendors had different pricing based on the month of year, and we received a significant discount on the venue because December was not a high season month. It also made it significantly less stressful to book the vendors we wanted because most of them were available without competitive demand. Also, due to our guest count and the vibe we were hoping to establish, we decided to have a stations-style dinner instead of a sit-down dinner, which required less seating and place setting elements, as well as eliminated the need for a seating chart, place cards, etc.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are beyond excited to be married and to start this journey together! After a honeymoon to Antigua and celebrating Christmas with our families, we returned home to our beloved Boykin spaniel, Riggs. We are loving making our house into a home together! I’m looking forward to having Josh by my side as I finish out my last two years of medical school and move on to a residency, and Josh is busy with his new job and getting his MBA at the same time!

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: CreatiVideos | Planner: Hannah Grogan | Ceremony Venue: Grace Church Charleston | Reception Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Wedding Cake: Jessica Grossman of PPHG Charleston | Caterer: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, EventHaus, Nuage Designs, and YOJ Events | Lighting: AV Connections | Band: We Got The Beat via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: Studio R Design and Midlands Printing | Bride’s Gown: Augusta Jones | Bridal Salon and Veil: Gown Boutique of Charleston | Hair Stylist: Ash and Co. | Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: After Six from Bella Bridesmaids | Men’s Tuxedos: Ike Behar from Charleston Tuxedo | Groom’s Shirt, Shoes, and Cuff Links: Jos. A. Bank | Groom’s Bow Tie: Brackish

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Lydia Royce reply

    The back of her dress paired with that veil is incredible! This wedding is beautiful and was photographed so well!

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When Hurricane Matthew caused a mandatory evacuation in Charleston, Hayley and Richard were forced to cancel their original wedding plans and notify all their guests–something made even more challenging by the destination aspect of their celebration. However, with the help of their planner Victoria, their entire wedding was rescheduled within an hour! While this challenge could have left Hayley in tears, thanks to a supportive fiancé, loving family and friends, and a fast-working planner, she felt nothing but loved and supported. Though I’m sure this was not the easiest of planning experiences, I admire Hayley and Richard’s strength through adversity and encouragement for couples to “enjoy the planning together,” even when unexpected challenges arise

We’re sure happy Virgil Bunao was there to capture their sweet (and sunny!) Charleston day!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did, and I was terrified. I had my best friends read my vows the day of the wedding while we were getting our hair and makeup done. They all approved, so I went with them. Rick’s vows were perfect. He managed to make them very sweet, while still poking fun at several of my traits, including my love of kale.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We agreed to let the officiant surprise us with readings of his choice. He knew that I had lost my father and was very emotional about him not being a part of the wedding. The poem he read was written from a father in heaven’s point of view to his daughter.

The dress I wore was my second pick. When I went with several friends and family to pick my dress, I chose a long-sleeved lace Stella York dress. When I went to pick it up, I did not like it on me, so my wedding planner made an appointment and we went together, just the two of us. I chose a completely different dress–it was sleeveless and had no lace or beading.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I knew I wanted everything to be outside. I was born and raised in Naples, Florida and spent virtually all of my free time at the beach, so a beach wedding was out for me. We traveled to Colorado and looked at the Broadmoor, but decided against it. One night, we were watching a movie set in the South. The oak trees and Spanish moss reminded me of family vacations to Southern towns–Savannah, Charleston, and Louisiana. We ultimately picked Charleston because of all the activities. We thought a destination wedding should be a mini-vacation for not just us, but for our guests. Charleston met all of our requirements.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have fun with it. It is an important day, but it is just a day, so don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Rick and I decided on certain details individually and bigger decisions together. For example, he picked the food and I picked the flowers. We chose the band, budget, and weekend activities together. My advice is to enjoy the planning together; it really is a fun and exciting time for a couple.

Rick was in charge of all of the food. We had a three-tiered cake with different flavors for each layer: raspberry cake with a white chocolate and buttercream frosting, carrot cake with a lemon buttercream, and red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate ganache.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we faced was when our wedding was canceled. Our original wedding date was October 7, 2016. We prepared and looked forward to this date for over a year. At the beginning of October, Hurricane Matthew began taking aim at the Carolinas. On October 4, we made the decision to cancel our wedding. An hour later, Charleston issued a mandatory evacuation. We had to contact all guests and notify them to cancel their flights and hotel accommodations. We had to cancel our honeymoon and contact all our vendors. It was very hard, and for some reason, I felt embarrassed–I knew that everyone was going to be put out by this. Fortunately for Rick and I, we have the most amazing friends, family, and wedding planner. Our wedding planner (Victoria) took control–she had the entire wedding, including all vendors, rescheduled within an hour. My friends and family stepped up and helped notify other guests. On a day I thought I would cry all night, I ended up feeling blessed. Rick brought home two bottles of my favorite wine and a ridiculous amount of roses. Between the support of Rick, family, friends, and our planner, it was impossible to be sad.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The guests. Our friends and family booked flights, took off work, and made hotel accommodations not once, but twice. We felt very loved and supported.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both work in the medical field, and met while working together.
Tell us all about the proposal! We love to run together in our neighborhood. One Saturday, Rick insisted we run at sunset instead of in the morning. He is much faster than me, so he was about a quarter of a mile ahead of me. When I finally caught up to him, he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was in shock at first, since I had waited five years for this. It was not until I realized he was tearing up that it hit me. I loved that he proposed during an activity we enjoy together. It was not the typical romantic story, but it was us. I drive by the proposal spot each day and it reminds me of that day and how lucky I am.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 55
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to The Beatles’ “In My Life.” My father loved the Beatles and the song reminded me of him. Our first dance was to Michael Buble’s version of “Feeling Good.” We wanted the dance to be fun, not the typical slow dance. We took dance lessons for several weeks and incorporated lots of spins and lifts. We wanted our friends and family to be excited during the dance.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I only had something blue: a piece of my father’s favorite blue shirt cut into the shape of a heart and sewn into my wedding dress.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We set an overall budget for the wedding and then set budgets for each individual item, from wedding invites to the band. We made sure that the budget we set for each item and vendor was followed and not broken.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are excited to continue to grow as a couple. We plan on traveling a lot over the next few years and really enjoying this time in our lives.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao | Videographer: Cinema 843 | Planner: Victoria Wolanin of TopNotch Entertainment Corp. | Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation | Florist: Branch Design Studio | Caterer: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Rentals: Snyder Events, Ooh! Events, Polished!, and Nuage Designs | Lighting: TEC Lighting | String Quartet: Palmetto Strings | Band: Palmetto Soul | Paper Products: DM Paper Designs | Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Accessories: Bel Aire Bridal | Hair Stylist: Jamie Stuart of Blue Dahlia Salon | Makeup Artist: Elina Mille of Bellelina | Bride’s Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent | Groom’s Tuxedo: Canali | Groom’s Shoes: Prada

Bellelina is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Maggie Sottero is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Ashlee reply

    What a great testament to the couple’s resilience through less than ideal circumstances with Hurricane Matthew! And the reception looks dreamy (those chairs!).

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