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Colorful weddings can be fun, but there is something so beautiful about the understated elegance of Kelly and Barrett’s black and white affair. Accented with gorgeous gold details, the William Aiken House looks extra romantic and timeless! For two people who met at a wedding, I’m sure there was a bit of pressure to make their own day equally memorable. With venues deeply rooted in Southern history and a band that kept their guests dancing into the night, I’m sure Kelly and Barrett won’t soon forget how special their day was!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Virgil Bunao for sharing this pretty day with us!

My dress ended up being the first dress I picked out! I decided to go to Maddison Row in Charleston because they were having a Monique Lhuillier trunk show. I love and appreciate fashion, so I wanted something unique and classic. Monique Lhuillier’s Renoir gown was a great mix between the two and I loved it as soon as I tried it on! I spent the next couple of months looking for a dress I liked better, and I just couldn’t find one. It was the most beautiful piece of clothing I’ve ever worn and, as a bonus, it was comfortable too!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Having the whole shebang in Charleston, one of the most iconic Southern cities, was very important for both of us. Both of our venues are deeply rooted in Southern history–the First Baptist church of Charleston was the first Baptist church in the South, and the William Aiken House is a historical landmark with a gorgeous garden and a sprawling piazza!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I had my aunt read Colossians 3:12-17. I love this verse because it is simple advice for how we should live every day together as husband and wife.

We were extremely blessed to have all the vendors that we had. The moment I heard Liquid Pleasure at a formal in college, I knew I wanted them to be the band for our wedding, and they made for a memorable dance floor! Virgil made everyone feel so comfortable, and his pictures make us both look good!! Also, having Ellen Robinson as a wedding planner was very comforting through all the planning, and especially on the big day. She was truly incredible.

Describe your wedding flowers. Sarah York Grimshaw Designs did a fabulous job with our flowers! My bouquet was made up of white ranunculus, ivory garden roses, sweet pea, astilbe, pieris japonica, parrot tulips, jasmine vine, olive branches, and other greenery, wrapped in ivory silk dupioni ribbon. She also did a great job with our bar setup–she designed a hanging greenery and branch installation over the bar with hanging candle votives. We loved it!

Jim Smeal designed our wedding cake to resemble the intricacies of my dress. He did an amazing job, while making it taste extremely delicious! The flavors were chocolate kahlua, hazelnut and coconut with key lime.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved our dance floor! The band kept our guests dancing from the first to the last song. At one point, I remember being onstage with my mother and bridesmaids, singing and dancing to “Proud Mary” and forming dance trains. We also provided funny props to guests on the dance floor, which made for some hilarious photos.

I wanted a venue that was gorgeous, but also accessible for guests. I loved that the William Aiken House was walkable from many accommodations, and that at night, it felt like a secret garden with a gorgeous glow in the middle of busy Upper King.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We actually met at wedding! He asked me to dance and we talked for the rest of the night. We were long distance between Charlotte and Charleston and drove back and forth as much as we could. Almost exactly three years after meeting, we were married!
Tell us all about the proposal! We planned a beach weekend at my parents’ beach house near Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, and I decided to go down a day early to stay the night in Charleston. Barrett planned to take me to one of my favorite restaurants (Fulton Five, yum!) that night as a late birthday dinner. We left a bit early to “meet” one of his friends, who was in town for business, for a drink before our reservation (later, I found out that the friend wasn’t in town at all). Barrett told me we were meeting him at “his hotel” downtown, a small B&B off King Street. We got to his room, which is when Barrett pulled out a key and I saw that the room was full of rose petals. Then, he got down on one knee! We went to dinner afterwards and got to spend the rest of the weekend with family and friends to celebrate.
When did y’all get married? October 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the first dance, we chose “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers. Our entire relationship was long distance, so this song really resonated with us, and we love that it’s a classic!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just bought our first home in Barrett’s hometown, Hickory, North Carolina. It is wonderful being together and close to family.

Photographer: Virgil Bunao / Planner: Ellen Cohn Robinson / Ceremony Venue: First Baptist Church of Charleston / Reception Venue: The William Aiken House / Florist: Sarah York Grimshaw / Cake Baker: Jim Smeal / Caterer: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group / Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Band: Liquid Pleasure / Paper Products: Studio R Design / Bride’s Gown: “Renoir” by Monique Lhuillier / Bride’s Veil: Monique Lhuillier / Hair Stylist: Tanesha Dupree / Makeup Artist: Kelly Campbell / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid Charleston / Groom’s Attire: Saint Laurent / Groomsmen Attire: Charleston Tuxedo

Virgil Bunao and Studio R Design are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Loverly reply

    Loving the cake under that grand arch! Gorgeous wedding.

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The black bridesmaid dresses are bold, but I love how it is softened with the chiffon on one shoulder. Beautiful color palette.

  3. avatar Getting Hitched « Sunday Design Studio // Blog reply

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It takes a very special couple to commit to a relationship across the pond shortly after meeting for the first time, but after Hunter’s stepsister played matchmaker, Hunter and Heather knew they wanted to give it a shot! Many long distance phone calls and international flights later, followed by a year together in Chicago, Hunter proposed in their soon-to-be home. Even though Heather is from above the Mason-Dixon Line, I daresay her focus on creating a meaningful wedding day, her sweet perspective on what matters most, and her love for monograms make her a Southern belle at heart!

Thank you so much to Nate Henderson for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Ah, the dress! I found it on the first day I went dress shopping. My mom lives about four hours away from Chicago, and it was just the two of us. During the third and final appointment of the day, I saw the dress hanging in the back of the store. It looked different than anything I had seen and I thought it could go either way–be really great or really wrong. I put it on and said, “Va va voom!” My mom cried, and then I cried, and we knew it was the one! One funny little mishap is that the alterations team mistakenly hung the dress by the straps when they packed it for my travel. The straps stretched from it hanging incorrectly, so when I put it on on the big day, the top was huge, and it was a wrinkled mess. My sister steamed the wrinkles and my maid of honor pinned it with safety pins! No one could tell and in those moments, girls, you just have to take a deep breath and say, “C’est la vie!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The church we were married in was the church Hunter attended growing up in Savannah. We wanted to bring our friends and family down South, as there really is nothing else like it! The oak trees covered with Spanish moss remind me of The Notebook, and created such romance and mystique.

It was really important to both of us that we did not see each other beforehand–we are traditional in that regard. I will never forget walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing the expression on Hunter’s face. Having that time, while the beautiful music played in the church, to soak in the emotion in front of our family and friends who traveled to be a part of our special day, is a priceless moment we will never forget.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My bridesmaid generously let me borrow the gorgeous earrings she wore at her wedding. My dress was new. My mother wore a royal blue lace dress and looked beautiful, so she was my blue! For old, I pinned a necklace to my bouquet which had belonged to my Grandmother, who passed away six months earlier. In that way, she was with us!

I am a firm believer that a wedding should be welcoming to your guests and should represent the two of you! My favorite details were H&H carnival lights that we ordered from Etsy, which our wedding coordinator attached to the front of the bar. We also had a beautiful monogram designed that we used on the napkins, cups, and pillows for the couches in our seating area. These pillows are now on our sofa, and we will use the monogram for the rest of our lives!

Describe your wedding flowers. The setting of the reception was already beautiful, so I wanted the flowers to enhance the natural beauty. I chose a lush white, ivory, and green palette, which I think is so elegant. We repurposed two large arrangements (hydrangeas, roses, snap dragons, bells of ireland, french tulips that loosely cascaded), hydrangea wreaths, and boxwood garland from the church to the reception. We did halos for the flower girls with willow eucalyptus and white spray roses, which could not have been any sweeter. I also added a sprig of heather to Hunter’s boutonniere!

Our first dance was to “You are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne. It is less traditional than our ceremony choices, but the lyrics suited us. We took dance lessons beforehand, but in the end, we just winged it–except for one awesome, Dirty Dancing-esque dip at the beginning!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I absolutely love wedding cake and always make a point to have at least a bite at weddings I attend for good luck! I had an entire Pinterest board of stunning cakes, and in the end, I couldn’t decide between two designs, so I let our cake designer surprise me. She loved the idea and said it was a designer’s dream! It was beautiful, and it tasted as good as it looked, with vanilla bean cake filled with raspberry and white chocolate mousse.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was living in London and my friend, Mary Allen, told me I had to meet her stepbrother, Hunter. “The two of you would be perfect together!” she told me. Hunter was living in Chicago, and when I was home visiting friends, she arranged our first date. Hunter was not feeling well and tried to hide it during the evening. I thought he was handsome, but very quiet, and I was surprised when he asked to see me again. We got to know each other more, met each other’s friends, and had a great time! He drove me to the airport at the end of my visit, and we continued to see each other every six weeks. After many trips across the pond, phone calls, and bbm messages exchanged, I moved to Chicago just over a year later. I’m not exactly sure what it was that Mary Allen saw in both of us, but she was right, and we will forever be grateful to her!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Hunter: Heather and I were planning to move in together in mid-May 2013. I decided that I’d pull the trigger on Friday, April 26, specifically because I knew Heather likes the number 26, and the anniversary of when we first met was April 27, two years prior! I talked our soon-to-be landlord into giving me access to our empty future apartment, and then had our close friend, who was also our real estate agent, call Heather “on behalf of the landlord” to go over to the apartment and meet the “repair man.” I was “in a work meeting” during that exact window of time when Heather tried calling me to see if I could meet her there. I arrived to the apartment an hour early and began arranging it the best I could with rose petals and lit candles. Upon Heather’s entry, she called for the “repair man” to see if he was there yet, then turned toward the opposite side of the apartment, for what seemed to me like ten minutes! Finally, she came down the hallway toward me, saw the rose petals, and stopped in disbelief. I then took a knee and read a note that I had prepared, which I specifically wanted to write so that she could always look back and remember what I told her that day. She said “YES!” I capped off the proposal by revealing one red rose behind my back and asking Heather if she would “accept my final rose?”–a humorous nod to our favorite TV show. We were happily married exactly one year later!
When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we said traditional vows, and our minister, Edwin Chase, delivered a beautiful message. In our meetings before the wedding, he also taught us about the Five Love Languages, which I highly recommend for all couples!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Both the bridal party and I walked down the aisle to Canon in D. We had violins playing it, and when I came down the aisle, the organ played softly to intensify the song a little more. I have always loved Canon in D and wanted it to play as long as possible. The recessional was the traditional Wedding March, which felt like a celebration!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Negotiate where you can and take time to price compare between vendors. Some vendors will charge you extra fees that you can eliminate, or you can negotiate an extra service to be included in your quote. The best advice I received at the onset of planning was to make sure your vendor is committed and excited to work with you. If you don’t feel that way, chose another vendor who is appreciative of your business.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We had an amazing honeymoon in the Maldives and then settled into our new married life, but we haven’t slowed down. Hunter opened his own business and we are expecting a baby boy in May!

Photographer: Nate Henderson Photo / Ceremony Venue: Wesley Monumental UMC / Reception Venue: Oldfield Club / Florist: Harvey Designs / Cake Baker: Minette Rushing Custom Cakes / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: JLK Events / Band: Sol Fusion / Paper Products: Elizabeth Grace / Save the Dates: Studio R / Bride’s Gown: Elizabeth Fillmore / Bridal Salon and Veil: Belle Vie Bridal Couture / Hair Stylist: JW Salon & Spa / Makeup Artist: SKINZIN / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: JLM Couture / Groom’s Attire: Trunk Club / Wedding Coordinator: Posh, Petals & Pearls / Favors: Maison de Macarons / Monogram: Alison R. Banks Designs / Linens: La Tavola Linen and Marianne’s Rentals

Posh Petals & Pearls is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

    I know what you mean about your dress, Heather, but it is unmistakably gorgeous on! Love it!

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I imagine that a thunderstorm-filled wedding morning or a melting cake would be pretty upsetting for many couples, but for today’s Charleston bride and groom, these things were just part of the beautiful story that made up their May 31 wedding day. Thanks to their talented planner, Callie of Ooh! Events, Dotty and Matt knew they didn’t need to stress about a thing. Instead, they focused completely on enjoying their sweet, traditional ceremony, hosting their 300 guests at their classic tented reception, and soaking in every second of becoming husband and wife!

Thank you so much to Shannon Michele for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

My mom and I spent a few weekends visiting bridal boutiques around Charleston, finding some lovely gowns, but nothing that just felt right. Finally, at Jean’s Bridal in Mount Pleasant, I tried on a Paloma Blanca sample. It fit like a glove, was the perfect princess dress without a single bit of embellishment, and it had pockets–I knew I had found my dress. The color is called “natural,” which tends more towards an ivory shade, and to say I adore it would be an understatement. We ordered it along with a coordinating veil, and when it came in, all it needed was a bustle. Talk about meant to be!

I walked down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, and we walked back up the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. All of the songs we selected for the ceremony were very traditional and were gorgeously played by the Chamber Players.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Literally all morning and day long, we had torrential downpours, flooding, and thunderstorms. This was a little unnerving for us, having an entirely outdoor wedding (tented, but with this rain, we would have all been soaked). I knew that Callie would take care of it, no matter what the solution ended up being. Right around the time we were supposed to take photos, the rain let up. The photos with the grayish sky are gorgeous, and the cooler temperature was an amazing side effect. The rain letting up at the same time I finally saw Matt was my most memorable moment.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Shrimp and grits, an obvious Southern delicacy, was one of our stations, but we also spiced things up with a fajita station. My husband was a Sigma Nu at the University of South Carolina, and at all of their weddings, they take over the stage to sing a Hank Williams, Jr. song. Fraternity men singing Hank Williams, Jr.? What’s more Southern than that! Probably our favorite Southern detail from our wedding was our guest book. We opted for an 8-foot joggling board painted in Charleston Green for our guests to sign with metallic markers. It turned out better than I could have ever hoped!

Our wedding cake was a four-tiered, square, white cake with alternating layers of lemon and raspberry filling. It was iced in ivory buttercream and adorned with white gum paste magnolias…initially. In hindsight, buttercream outside on May 31 was not the best decision, and luckily, my wedding planner, Callie, came to the rescue and adorned the cake with some additional fresh flowers to hold it together long enough for us to have our cake cutting!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had East Coast Party Band (a fabulous beach music band) provide our reception music, so we knew we wanted our first dance to be a shag song. We decided on “How Sweet it is (To Be Loved by You).” My father and I danced to “My Girl,” which held special significance to us because he used to sing it to me quite frequently when I was a little girl (I am one of five, the youngest, and the only girl).

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Our mutual friend (and my maid of honor) introduced us. She had known Matt for several years, and she and I had been friends for about a year. We finally ended up single long enough for her to introduce us, and she jumped at the opportunity. We officially met (after she had already shared his life story with me) at Party at the Point, an outdoor summer concert series, which is held at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina.
Tell us all about the proposal! Matt planned a trip for us to Savannah last October, the weekend after I had a work conference. I was completely exhausted, but excited for what I assumed would be our proposal weekend (we had never had a weekend getaway before this one that didn’t involve a tent and hiking too far). I planned every outfit I packed so that I would look perfect for the main event. After a while, I convinced myself that it actually wasn’t happening, and I texted my mom to let her know that we were still having a great time. After dinner, I changed into a t-shirt and athletic shorts and piled my hair on top of my head (since I knew that this wasn’t the proposal weekend after all), and we enjoyed wine on the balcony and admired the view of Savannah across the river. There was a wedding party wrapping up in the courtyard below, and I told Matt that it was a good thing the bride and groom were already gone, because no one looked like they were having much fun. Matt then assured me that our wedding would be a blast (of course it would be!), and I agreed, without diverting my gaze from the wedding guests below. And then, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye–my love was folding his long, lanky self down on one knee, and he asked me to spend my life with him! He didn’t hire those wedding guests, but it couldn’t have played out any more perfectly if he had.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just over 300
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did, and there wasn’t a question in my mind that we would. I am emotional, so I didn’t know how I would react upon seeing him for the first time, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t bawling walking down the aisle in front of 300 of our family and friends. I am so glad that we did a first look–it was such a special moment for us, and I will cherish the photos of those few minutes forever.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something old and borrowed was a brooch that belonged to my grandmother, that my mother loaned me for my wedding day. I attached it to my bouquet, and it meant so much to have a part of her with me. My something new was my dress and shoes, and my something blue was my light blue toenail polish (Essie’s Meet the Parents)!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Honestly, the biggest challenge was finding a location. Charleston is a destination wedding location, and since we didn’t want to wait a full year (or longer) to get married, it proved to be a bit difficult to find a venue. Luckily, we were able to secure a spring date in Charleston with just enough time to plan.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The best thing that I did when planning the wedding was once I made a decision, I stuck with it. I didn’t second guess anything that I had chosen, and I absolutely stayed off of Pinterest once I had met with Lisa at Ooh! Events. She and Callie understood my vision and style, and I trusted them completely. So that’s my biggest piece of advice: stay off of Pinterest and other wedding websites once you have your plans in motion! You chose each detail for a reason; cherish it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Once we returned from our honeymoon in Costa Rica, we got straight to work! Our first project as a married couple was laying new sod in the front yard, and we have just recently wrapped up laying a 700+ foot flagstone patio as well. Next up for us is a pergola and some patio furniture! We are loving married life, and I honestly couldn’t have chosen a better man to spend my life with.

Photographer: Shannon Michele Photography / Planning and Rentals: Ooh! Events / Venue: The Pavilion at Patriots Point / Florist: Out of the Garden / Cake Baker: Publix / Caterer: Relish Distinctive Catering / Paper Products: Open House Charleston / Bride’s Gown: “4165” by Paloma Blanca / Bride’s Veil: Paloma Blanca / Bride’s Hair Accessory: J. Crew / Hair and Makeup: Candice Lukasak-Herriott / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Arabella,” “Kylie,” and “Heidi” in Silk Chiffon by J. Crew / Men’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Photo Booth: Shutterbooth / Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Charleston Chamber Players / Joggling Board: The Joggle Factory

Ooh! Events is a delightful member of the Southern Weddings sponsor family!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Linley Stokes reply

    Her bouquet is perfect!! Love the Greek Key backdrop, too!

  2. avatar Megan Chandler reply

    So stunning!

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