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Tag: William Aiken House

If you followed along with my wedding planning posts last year, you may remember how hard it was for Dave and I to choose our venue–much like today’s bride, Ashton, I grew up moving around, so the decision of where to tie the knot was a challenge for me! For Ashton and Aaron, however, the decision was a bit easier–Charleston was always a place that Ashton returned to for family trips, no matter where in the world she was living at the time. I love that she had that special place as a constant in her life, and once Aaron proposed on nearby Fripp Island, it became all the more meaningful, and the perfect place for their wedding! With the help of the talented ladies at A Charleston Bride, Ashton and Aaron planned their gorgeous, garden-inspired celebration at the William Aiken House–the coolest historic venue hidden in the heart of downtown. Enjoy this look at their lovely day!

Thank you kindly to Catherine Ann for sharing Ashton and Aaron’s wedding with us!

I’m a self-proclaimed shopaholic, so I thought that it was going to take me forever to find the perfect dress. I started my search a couple of months after we got engaged and started shopping at a boutique in Raleigh with just my mother. I thought it was going to be a preliminary shopping experience and tried on all kinds of dresses, but the last one I tried on was the one. It didn’t wow me on the hanger, but I put it on and liked it, and then about a minute into wearing it, I started crying because it just felt right. This is who I want to be when I walked down the aisle. From the floral appliqué on my veil to the champagne color of the Italian tulle, everything about my dress was perfect and effortlessly romantic.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Kind of. Aaron was adamant about not seeing me before the ceremony, but we both agreed that we wanted to have a quick, sweet moment together. We decided to do a “first look,” but he kept a blindfold on the entire time. I’m so glad we did this because we got to keep the element of surprise, while also being able to hug each other and calm our nerves. I did do a first look with my father, because I knew it would mean so much to him.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Matthew 19:6, Song of Solomon 3:4, Ruth 1:16-17, Peter 4:8, and Ephesians 4:2. We did shorter readings throughout the ceremony because each one had a different significance.

Charleston has been my one constant place in life, so I always knew that when I got married, it would be there. The William Aiken House was significant for several reasons. Apart from being beautiful, my family is from Aiken, South Carolina, and the town is named after William Aiken. Aaron works in the railroad industry and William Aiken created one of the first railroad companies in South Carolina. Also, I always wanted to get married outside, but have an admiration for the grandeur of old architecture after living in England. The William Aiken House was the perfect combination.

I wanted my wedding to look like an English garden with lots of rose gold and sage and champagne hues. Our wedding planner and florist did an amazing job coming up with the perfect arrangements. There were topiaries for some rich dark greens around the lounge area and the bouquets had pale pinks and lots of undone greenery, with a few burgundy flowers to break up all of the pastels. I didn’t want the flowers to look too “done” and perfect; I wanted them to look romantic, but not fussy.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What was Southern about our wedding was the location, the families, the history, the pecan pie, the boiled peanuts (my favorite!), the bourbon tasting bar (also my favorite!), and the sense of hospitality.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I cut out a lot of the florals because as much as I love flowers, the venue was pretty enough that we could save some money on those. The florist was very good about helping me come up with options to cut costs, which was much appreciated. We also did stations instead of a sit-down meal to cut costs with table settings and serving.

For our first dance, Aaron and I danced to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” Aaron didn’t really care about the wedding details, but this was one thing he had an opinion about. We made a playlist of five songs that were contenders for our first dance and then we danced to all of them, and he got to decide which one he enjoyed dancing with me to the best!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Aaron and I met on New Year’s Eve at a bar in downtown Richmond, Virginia. I was in Richmond for law school and Aaron worked with with CSX in Richmond. Aaron was working night shifts when we first met, so our dates consisted of random, intermittent hang outs, often involving him stopping by in the morning (on his way home from work) to say hi and hang out while I got ready to go to class for the day. Our relationship progressed very quickly because the time we did get to spend together was so precious that we ended up opening up to each other more quickly than normal.
Tell us all about the proposal! I have moved around ever since I was little, so I never really had a constant hometown, but both of my parents are from Aiken, South Carolina and used to go to Fripp Island and Charleston for vacations. When they got married, they kept the tradition alive by scheduling week-long family vacations at Fripp Island every summer. Aaron knew how important Fripp was to me, and my family planned a beach week a year after he and I started dating. My family, our close family friends, and Aaron’s family all came to Fripp that week for vacation. One night, Aaron took me on a golf cart ride right before sunset, and then we went for a walk on the beach. He proposed to me amidst the big sand dunes. Everyone had a big celebration waiting for us when we got back to the house. My ring is so special–it was made with my mother’s diamond and Aaron helped design it himself.
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I am not a sweets person at all. I do, however, have a soft spot for pecan pie, so we had a pie station in addition to a cake. Aaron, on the other hand, has a sweet tooth big enough for both of us and then some. He was in charge of picking the cake, while I was in charge of decorating it. Since the cake was not something I really cared about, I wanted it to go with the decor and be simple and fun. I asked them to do a pale blush solid background with random pieces of gold leafing all over it.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I am very involved in the nonprofit sector, so we had three areas throughout the reception in honor of different charities that we donated to for the wedding, as well as little favors to help bring awareness to the different causes.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When Aaron and I got back to the hotel after the wedding and he couldn’t stop saying how happy he was that I was his wife. That was when we finally got to have a moment alone and just bask in the happiness and excitement that had been building all day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? I moved down to Charlotte with our chocolate lab, Campbell, so the three of us are all together under the same roof! We are excited to explore our new city together and to make memories with our new little family.

Photographer: Catherine Ann Photography / Planner: A Charleston Bride / Venue: The William Aiken House / Florist: STEMS via A Charleston Bride / Caterer and Baker: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: Technical Event Company / Ceremony Music: Bob Williams Duo / Reception DJ: Natty Heavy / Paper Products: Studio R / Bride’s Gown: “Style 5867” by Liancarlo / Bridal Salon: Alexia’s Bridal / Bride’s Veil: “Style 9847” by Liancarlo / Hair Stylist: Kacie Faulling Pecora / Bride’s Shoes: Michael Kors / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Tadashi Shoji / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Bow Ties: Collared Greens

A Charleston Bride is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Edgar Vs. Surrey wedding videographer reply

    Beautiful wedding and very interesting story!

  2. avatar Elegant Southern Wedding at the William Aiken House | Ashton + Aaron reply

    […] wedding has been featured on the Southern Weddings […]

  3. avatar Meg @ GalaPal.com reply

    That memorable moment is perfection. Seriously tearing up just reading that. Congrats to the couple!

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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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Despite our 5 A.M. wakeup calls, when Emily and I hit the road to Charleston for our Holy City Hospitality shoot, we were giddy with excitement. The clouds cleared more and more the further south we drove, and Emily’s car was packed to the brim with perfectly wrapped black and white gifts, chic paper details, a gorgeous little Monique Lhuillier, and even Taylor‘s signature hat, which he kindly loaned to us. As you can see, we had tons of amazing details to shoot, and thanks to the hard work and sweet personalities of KT Merry and the A Charleston Bride ladies, the day was just as lovely as we had dreamed it would be!

Thanks so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Dana Cubbage, for capturing all of these moments behind the scenes!

The William Aiken House‘s yellow walls and checkered floor could have been made for this shoot. We loved spending the day at this historic Charleston venue.

This was our first shoot armed with our Oatmeal Lace aprons, and it is safe to say they became a permanent fixture at all SW shoots after that!

KT and Chad are quite the dynamic duo–we always love working with them, and KT is fearless when it comes to getting the perfect shot!

See how this gorgeous shoot turned out here and in V7!

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

    this shoot was so cool!

  2. avatar Featured – Fall 2014 | Dana Cubbage Weddings // Charleston SC + Destination Wedding Photographer reply

    […] Southern Weddings blog shared behind the scenes photos I took at the Charleston V7 styled shoot at … this past summer.  Such a fun day! […]

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