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What’s black, white and gorgeous all over? Colleen and Dean’s stunning Charleston nuptials—duh! You guys—this one is the epitome of southern romance with a strong undertone of modern style that’s perfectly accentuated by the pared-back black and white color palette. Event planner and designer AA Events Design‘s stunning vision came to life with the help of florist Sweet Root Village  and calligrapher Delighted Calligraphy. The dream team decked out the grounds of Middleton Place with dreamy details and a greenery filled white tented reception. Photographer, Allison Kuhn, was behind the lens capturing all the magic in these dreamy film images.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

Our wedding was so special and unique because we had to completely build and design the reception space from scratch. We could truly do whatever we wanted! Alex (my wedding planner, sister-in-law, maid of honor, and best friend) and I worked really hard on coming up with a design that matched Dean’s and my personalities – the highlight being the massive custom square bar in the center of the tent! I was so lucky to have Alex by my side because I trusted her completely and knew she would be able to execute my dream wedding.  Also, Dean and I are HUGE animal lovers so it was super special to have Middleton’s sheep and horses greet guests as the arrived for the ceremony. Dean and I even got to feed the sheep!

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

The dress is a Sareh Nouri and we got it at Hayden Olivia Bridal in Charlotte, NC. I have always wanted a formal wedding but also really wanted it to be 100% outside; so the mission was to find a dress that fit that wedding vision. Something formal, classic and elegant but not too over the top so it didn’t look out of place in an outdoor garden setting. But most important was I wanted to feel comfortable and confident in it. When I tried my dress on for the first time I knew that it was the one! It checked all the boxes and I could just imagine walking down the floral run aisle in this dress!

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

Our sweet Labrador puppy, Aspen, was highlighted throughout the wedding including customized cookies in the welcome boxes, and the name of our signature drink.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

The most memorable part of the day was of course marrying my best friend! But besides that, I think a memorable moment was once we finally were able to sit down for dinner and really take in the tent and overlook our guests; it was truly stunning. The band was playing in the background and guests were already up dancing while drink and food was being served. It was such a great moment to see everyone relaxed (myself included!) and having a good time!

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Our story began in college at Elon University where we were introduced through a mutual friend. We quickly formed a bond and began dating; however, it almost came to a quick end when Dean transferred to Texas A&M to finish his degree. Two years, many FaceTimes and multiple flights later, we decided to try our best at picking a city where we could both start our careers in consulting and finance. This task was much harder than we ever imagined as we were already in two different cities trying to find jobs in Charlotte, North Carolina. As we were beginning to think our long distance would never end, on one afternoon, Dean received an offer from a consulting company for a job in Dallas, TX, but there was a glimmer of hope. A student in Tennessee had received an offer in Charlotte and was willing to switch locations with Dean and further, that same day I received an offer for a banking job in Charlotte. Since then, we’ve lived in Charlotte for three years and absolutely love it!

We have been vacationing in Charleston, SC for years as my parents have a house on Isle of Palms. Charleston is such an easy trip from Charlotte, the two of us frequently drive down on Friday nights after work for the weekend. The proposal was quite a surprise. My family was supposedly gathering at the family beach house for my Dad’s 60th birthday; however, it was all really a set up to get the entire family together to witness the proposal. I have two brothers and none of the siblings live in the same area, so to have everyone together was very special! As we got engaged in Charleston, we decided to return to the beautiful city to have our wedding at Middleton Place!

Photographer: Allison Kuhn // Event Planner & Designer/ Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: AA Events Design // Florist: Sweet Root Village // Calligraphy & Paper Products: Delighted Calligraphy // Venue: Middleton Place // Videographer: Repeet Productions // Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal // Wedding Dress/Veil: Sareh Nouri // Dress/Veil Boutique: Hayden Olivia Bridal // Hair & Makeup: Ash and Co Bridal // Rentals: Snyder Events / Cottage Luxe // Tent: Skyline Tent Company // Lighting: Technical Event Company // Dessert Caravan: Sweet Lulus Bakery // Band: The Rivertown Band  // Ceremony Music: Bob Williams Duo // Get Away Car/Buses: Low Country Valet // Bride Shoes: Jimmy Choos // Grooms Tux: Alton Lane // Bridesmaid Dresses: Katie May Collection // Groomsmen Tux: J. Crew

 

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Jen and Kyle were both born and raised in Southern California, but having recently relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, the couple wanted to combine the romance and charm of the South with the laid back fun of their West Coast roots. With the help of Grey Collective member Ooh! Events, the couple personalized their autumnal celebration at Boone Hall with a pizza truck, corn hole, giant jenga, late-night biscuit bar and southern spread and jams. Beautiful, sentimental details honoring the bride’s parents who’ve passed away included a photo locket tie to her bouquet and a gorgeous floral wall of roses by florist Out of the Garden. You can see all the lovely, moody fall moments from this intimate wedding in these lovely images by Sophie Brendle.

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What were some touches added to make the wedding personal, special and unique?

When planning our day we wanted it to be as true to both of us as a couple as possible! We tried to let go of the idea of what you “have” to have at a wedding. Kyle and I are both born and raised in Southern California but relocated to Charleston, SC a year ago for him to attend Law School. We wanted to combine the romance and charm of the South with the laid back fun of our West Coast roots. We had First Name Basis Catering Pizza truck, corn hole, and giant jenga. We also had “late night bites” of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit bar with spreads and jams to give our west coast friends and family a taste of the South as their guest favors. Instead of a traditional guest book we had friends and family “sign a piece of our love story” that were framed maps of important places in our relationship. There was Irvine, California for where we met, South Africa for where we were engaged, and Charleston for where we were married.

We knew we had to have our two pugs, Leroy and Winston, be a part of our big day since they are family. We had our groomsmen and maid of honor walk them down the aisle so they could stand next to us while we were pronounced husband and wife. We even had our signature drinks named after them! The Leroy was a champagne grapefruit cocktail with fresh rosemary. The Winston was an Old Fashioned.

My parents both passed away when I was younger which made planning our big day bittersweet. I wanted to incorporate them whenever I could throughout our day. My little sister, Jess, who is 10 years younger than me walked me down the aisle which was one of my favorite parts of the day. We had a table with photos of my parents from their wedding day right next to our guestbook. My mom’s best friend, Chris, who has become a second mother to me surprised me with the most incredible wedding day gift. She had a locket made with pictures of my parents and me in them. I ended up tying the locket around my bridal bouquet. My mom and sister’s middle name is “Rose” and roses were always the flowers my dad would buy my mom. For that reason our florist was able to do an entire wall of a beautiful rose garden as a backdrop to our sweetheart table.

Another random fun moment from the day was at the moment we were pronounced husband and wife and shared our first kiss, a bald eagle flew across the water on the Cotton Dock directly behind us. We didn’t believe it when guests told us but the videographer was able to capture it in our wedding video!

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I knew I wanted a more “boho” flowy gown and immediately fell in love with the designer Rue De Seine. While my childhood best friend and Maid of Honor, Corinne, was in town visiting me in Charleston, we made an appointment at Lovely Bride downtown. The Fox Gown by Rue De Seine was the second dress I tried on and I just knew it was the one. I immediately said “this is so me!” The dress had the most beautiful lace detailing which included roses– another sign from my parents that this was the dress I was meant to wear. I had the off-the-shoulder lace sleeves made detachable so I could wear them for the ceremony but then easily take them off so I could dance during the reception!

What was the most memorable part of the day?

Hands down the most memorable part of the day for us both was walking into the ceremony and seeing our friends and family who had traveled all the way from California to be with us. We were nervous when we decided to get married in our new home of Charleston that we would miss out on having all of our loved ones with us on our day. We were so overwhelmed with the love we felt surrounded with throughout the night and are so grateful that they made the sacrifice to come out to Charleston.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Kyle and I met in January 2015 during a volunteer training program in Orange County, California called the “Trauma Intervention Program.” Kyle had gone to sign up for a volunteer firefighter meeting earlier that day but the program had already been filled. While he was there, they let him know about the Trauma Intervention Program that was happening that night that still needed volunteers. I am forever grateful the program he wanted to be in was full! We grew close throughout the training month and at the end of training, he asked me out on a date for grilled cheese and wine and immediately won me over. Kyle and I fell in love over our shared passion for volunteer work and travel. While on Safari in Kruger National Park South Africa, Kyle surprised me with asking to be his best friend and travel partner forever! Two pugs and three cities later, we have bought a home in

Charleston.

Jen and Kyle from Fig Jam Studio on Vimeo.

Design & Coordination: Ooh! Events // Photography: Sophie Brendle // Florist: Out of the Garden // Venue: Boone Hall // Videographer: Fig Jam Studio // Hair & makeup: Canary Rock Salon // Rentals: Ooh! Events // Catering: First Name Basis // Bar: Mix // Desserts: Sweet Lulu’s Bakery // Late Night: Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit // Entertainment: Darby Events

 

Courtney and Scott’s gorgeous love story and stunning Charleston wedding are filled with serendipitous successes. The couple, who met when Scott sent a “Hail Mary” dating app message, flew out to Charleston the day before their venue hold expired to see their destination city first-hand, for the first time, and fell in love with it. Classic details defined the day, like Courtney’s show-stopping Pnina Tornai which was discovered at a last-minute dress shop appointment made after she was convinced she already knew a different dress was the one. Call it luck, call it destiny, it all came together beautifully with the help of The Petal Report who designed the event at The Gibbes Museum of Art with gorgeous florals by Pretty Petals of Charleston. Our friend  Clay Austin Photography was on hand to capture all the details of the day in these beautiful photos.

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What made the wedding special and unique? 

It took us about 6 months to choose a location.  I wanted a European or tropical destination, and Scott, along with our families, wanted to stay local.  I probably looked at 60+ venues compiling folders of spreadsheets, PowerPoints, etc. One week in June, I finally realized my island dream was not going to work, and that Friday I received a call letting me know that a hold I had placed on a venue in Charleston months prior would be expiring the following Monday.  I called Scott and told him the news.  Having no idea I had even looked at Charleston (he had never been and I had been once when I was 17), you can imagine his confusion.  He called me back a few minutes later telling me “leave your office immediately. We cannot miss this flight!”.  About 3 hours later we were on a flight to Charleston, and after the first night there, we were officially in love with the city.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I had gone to multiple dress appointments with crews of family and friends.  My mom was coming into the city to see a dress at a boutique in SoHo which I was ready to purchase.  I felt badly making her trek in to just see one dress, so I made a last-minute appointment to stop at Kleinfelds on the way down, however, I was sure that the other dress was THE ONE.  Our consultant came into our room toting a Pnina Tornai gown with a HUGE bow, and my mom and I instantly gave each other the same look of “you have to be kidding me”.  Overly girly/preppy was never my style, and after being forced to wear my trademark giant bows for the first ~8 years of my life, I avoided them at all costs.  When I put it on, we both were shocked.  It worked! The Suzanne Harward gown at the other store was entirely done in a heavy lace, and was extremely modern, trendy, and a bit risqué. This was the complete opposite – classically elegant.

The sample size was many sizes too big, and after our appointment I found a photo of the gown online showing the intended fit/style which was not at all what I had wanted.  However, after discussing with my consultant, we decided to order the gown a few sizes larger, and completely cut it apart, piecing it back together with the deep-v front and low, open back, ultimately creating a custom gown. I had them attach the bow so that I could remove it after the first dance, but the bow stayed on the entire night (even after it was dipped in chocolate from the mother of the groom’s birthday cake)!

My husband wanted my dress to be a total surprise, refusing to even be in the room when the topic was brought up. One day, after purchasing the Pnina gown, I asked his opinion on a few dresses I had bought for other events. He replied “you like that whole ‘deep-v’ thing don’t you…? I really am NOT a fan of that look”.  During the months following, every time we saw that “deep-v thing” on TV he would point it out with the same disgusted look and express his distaste (as you can imagine, this occurred multiple times a week throughout the season of The Bachelor).  It was an ongoing joke with my friends, family, and coworkers, and each time it came up it took everything in me to not burst out laughing and confess.  I was so grateful that we decided to do a first look so that I would not end up laughing the entire walk down the aisle.  Come the wedding day, he absolutely loved the dress (at least that’s the story he’s sticking to!).

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

My mom’s childhood friends created amazing welcome bags personalized for each guest, and a custom logo which appeared everywhere throughout the weekend; the paper products and signage, water bottles, cocktail napkins, etc., and 5Church even had it done in white chocolate to top the desserts at the Welcome Party.

We had multiple days of events including cocktail parties on the terrace of my parent’s suite at the Bella Grace, a Welcome Dinner party at 5Church for all 180 guests, a post wedding brunch, and a beach day at Sullivan’s Island.  It was like being on a vacation with all of your family and friends – what could be better than that!

The lighting design is something that I came up with myself and was extremely risky given it was something that neither Cayleigh or IES had ever seen or done before.  They executed it perfectly, and it looked amazing during both the day and night! To this day we still get comments on it from guests.

The cocktail ring I wore belonged to my grandmother who is no longer with us.  It was something I had admired so much growing up. She gave it to me years ago, before she passed away, but my parents immediately took it to for safe-keeping, and I never saw it again.  For Christmas, they surprised me by having it resized and fixed up so that I could wear it at the wedding.  Not having seen it since the day she gave it to me, every time I looked down at it, I pictured it on her hand.  It made it feel as though she was there with me that day.

One of our good friends, and Scott’s “work husband”, officiated the ceremony.  He had never officiated before, and took his job very seriously, conducting multiple calls and meetings over drinks.  He did an amazing job!  The entire ceremony script was so personal and made guests both laugh and cry.

Cru Catering surprised the guests on the dance floor with late-night snacks of Chicago Dogs (in honor of a trip to Chicago Scott had surprised me with when we were dating), and Philly Cheesesteaks. Both were big hits!

My four-year-old nephew, Dylan, was our ring bearer, and was the last to walk down before me and my dad. As they were pushing him out the door, he turned back to me and yelled “Wait! Wait! Coco…… I like you!” with tears building in his eyes.  I had managed to hold back tears all day until that moment!

What was the most memorable part of the day? 

The last song played was “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.  Both sets of parents, Scott and I all came together on the dancefloor with our arms around each other, and all of the guests formed a circle around us; everyone dancing and singing along at the top of our lungs!  There is a great picture of that – one of our favorites of the night.

In the Trolley on the way to the Gibbes, the driver played all the classic wedding songs, and my bridesmaids, my mom, and I were all singing and dancing the entire ride. Everyone on the streets was staring!

Scott: When Courtney was at the end of the aisle, and everyone stood and turned, and the musicians began playing “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

We met on a dating app – a “modern-day romance story”.  Scott had never been on a dating app date, and I never responded to messages – just liked to play the swipe game.  He had messaged me and didn’t get a response.  A couple of weeks later, after a date with someone I had known during college but hadn’t seen in years, I got home I opened the app to see a message from Scott saying that he thought he saw me crossing Park Ave around 5pm (he calls it his Hail Mary message). Realizing that it was likely me (my office is on Park Ave and I had left for my date around that time), the combination of the humor of coincidence and the cocktails from the earlier date brought me to actually reply to a dating app message.  A few days later we had our first date, and we texted the entire cab ride home and for hours into the night.  We actually named one of the signature cocktails at the Welcome Party “The Hinge” as an ode to where it all started!

I’m absolutely obsessed with all things Christmas. We even have two Christmas trees in our apartment – one big, formal tree, and a small tree with all the ornaments we’ve collected from our trips together.  We always celebrate our own “Christmas Day” the weekend before Christmas; just the two of us.  On the year we got engaged I texted Scott two days before our Christmas Day, letting him know that I had decided to take that day off.  Little did I know, that news would put a huge fork in his elaborate plan.  Panicked, he texted my best friend, Beckett, telling her she had to do whatever it would take to keep me out of the apartment that afternoon. The two of them came up with a plan of pretending one of her clients arranged for the Glam Squad to come to her apartment to do hair and nails for her and a coworker before their company Holiday Party that evening, and that her coworker canceled last minute. After getting home, we opened all of our gifts from unde the tree, and Scott told me to go check out the NYC ornament he had picked up for our small tree. I couldn’t believe he had the audacity to pick out an NYC ornament without me.  I saw a shiny silver ornament that read “I’ve been meaning to ask you this…”, slowly turning it around, I read the other side: “Will you marry me?”.  I jolted around in tears to see him on one knee behind me.  After, he told me I only had time to quickly call my mom because of our dinner reservations his boss had made for us, and that we would call everyone else after dinner.  He asked the cab to drop us off a few blocks away from the restaurant, and said that we actually had time for a quick drink, and suggested we stop into the wine bar/restaurant on the corner.  When we walked in, I immediately saw my mom and dad and burst into tears, again. Then I looked around the room and realized the entire place was filled with our families and close friends.  We celebrated until the early morning hours! I couldn’t have drawn up a better proposal and night if I tried.

Coordinator & Designer: The Petal Report // Photographer: Clay Austin Photography // Floral Design: Pretty Petals of Charleston // Wedding Venue: The Gibbes Museum of Art // Bridal Gown Designer: Pnina Tornai // Makeup Artist: Makeup By Dannon // Hair Stylist: Wild Ivory Beauty // Wedding Cake: ABCD // Catering & Bar: Cru Catering // Tent, Dance floor & Stage Rental: Skyline Tent Company // Rentals: Snyder Events // Rentals: Ooh! Events // Entertainment: Emerald Empire Band // Lighting: Innovative Event Services // Guest Transportation: ACW Limo

 

We love a couple that takes a trend and flips it on it’s head. Chelsie and Tom did just that with their modern barn wedding. They set out with a goal of creating “an atmosphere that reflected the organic-authentic-northwoods charm” that they love about their state of Wisconsin, but they did it in such a gorgeous, modern way. Perfectly edited details like the buffalo check blankets and modern script signage feel totally fresh and the resulting vibes at The Enchanted are something to strive for. The couple carried their modern sensibilities throughout the celebration, forgoing a traditional reception and opting instead for a cocktails, passed appetizers and a walk-up wood fire pizza station. Love! See all the details in these gorgeous images captured by Meghan Lee Harris.

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Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

From the bride: My gown was by Emmy Mae Bridal and purchased from Bucci’s Bridal in the greater Milwaukee area. It was the second or third dress I had tried on in store and I knew immediately it was the one. The Bucci Bridal stylists are amazing and had contacted me prior to my appointment to get a feel for my style so when I came in for my appointment, there were already a handful of selections that fit what I was looking for already waiting for me. It made the dress-finding process so much easier and way less overwhelming. I knew I wanted something unique and not typical, but still timeless. The plunging neckline of my gown and timeless lace immediately checked those boxes for me and I knew it was the one!

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

From the bride: It was important to us that our wedding felt personalized and didn’t fit a specific mold. As proud Wisconsinites the main thing we wanted to execute was having an atmosphere that reflected the organic-authentic-northwoods charm we love about our state. I think we achieved that in subtle ways through the barn venue itself, the relaxed informal reception, having locally made pies, Wisconsin Beer, and organic floral arrangements.

Our signature drinks were named after our pets, Winslow and Bella. We had a custom made sign with their faces on it, made by an Etsy shop. We brought our patio furniture and picnic setups with all the cushions and blankets we had from home for some cozy seating areas. The uplighting for our reception was green and blue as a subtle little tribute to the NBA team Milwaukee Bucks (where Chelsie used to cheerlead). The pies for the reception were made locally by The Norske Nook which is definitely a local treasure of a restaurant and bakery. Their pies are well known in the area and we knew without question we wanted locally made pies.

The song I walked down the aisle to was the instrumental from the song Holocene by Bon Iver; which has its origins from my home town of Eau Claire, WI. If you’re an Eau Claire native you know who Bon Iver and Justin Vernon are. Music really sets the tone for us and Bon Iver is really the epitome of the Midwest and northern Wisconsin vibe, so there was no doubt we had to incorporate at least one song into the day.

Also being from a logging town I wanted a subtle woodsy feel incorporated into our florals, so soft pines and ferns were incorporated which was another perfectly subtle tribute to my hometown of Eau Claire. The florals were elegant, but still had locally foraged foliage elements.

The venue itself had personal significance to me and it wasn’t random I chose a barn, being from a Wisconsin farming family and spending so much time on my grandpa’s farm as a kid. We also just loved the relaxed atmosphere of having a barn wedding and reception, it fit both of our laid back personalities perfectly.

What was the most memorable part of the day? 

From the bride: The most memorable part of the day for both of us was the ceremony. The day after, it was the ceremony that we kept talking about and reminiscing on. Our wedding day is something we had been building up to for a long time and we really wanted to take the time to acknowledge that. We decided to write our own vows and didn’t screen each other’s beforehand. Personalizing our vows and saying our own words from our hearts was the most meaningful and priceless moment of the whole day. We also were lucky enough to have my best friend/Maid of Honor’s mom officiate the ceremony for us. It was really comforting and special to have her as our officiant, as she’s known me for so long. We were both so happy we tailored the ceremony how we wanted it, didn’t stick to a traditional format. It was all very authentic and personalized exactly how we wanted it.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

From the bride: Tom and I live in Milwaukee and met our freshman year of college, at UW Milwaukee through mutual friends. We hit it off immediately and were inseparable for all of college. Going into our sophomore year I auditioned for the NBA Milwaukee Bucks dance team. The whole reason I had decided on moving to Milwaukee in the first place, was to pursue dancing professionally and to make that team. So, I made it happen. I continued to dance for the Bucks for 4 seasons and loved every second of it. Between games, practices, promotions, and school, my schedule was very tight. Tom and I only had small windows of time to hang out, but he always understood, and we made it work. Tom was one of my biggest fans and went to countless games to see and support me.

At the closure of my 4th season with the Bucks, I put my dancing on pause. Rather than preparing for the upcoming season’s audition, I was preparing for our surprise newest additions arrival. Our daughter Lila was born June 24th, 2014. As young parents, we were terrified of what to expect, but buckled in for parenthood, something that had not even been on our radar a year earlier.

Considering I spent 4 years with the Milwaukee Bucks organization, my ties and pride for the team didn’t just go away. We love going to games and Lila hasn’t missed a home opener yet. So, knowing the connection I have to this organization I should have seen Tom’s proposal coming a mile away, but I didn’t.

So, fast forward to June 1st, 2017. Tom had arranged with my former boss, the director of game operations, to propose to me at the Milwaukee Bucks arena, on the court. He told me we were getting dinner at a restaurant that’s right across the street from the arena. Rather than park on the street by the restaurant, Tom pulled right into arena control, hopped out of his truck, and walked right in the back door of the stadium. Meanwhile, I’m trailing behind him, very confused, but still, no part of me thought we were there for a proposal. Tom had been replying to work related texts prior to parking in the player parking lot and bolting into the building, so I assumed the reason we were there and he was allowed to do that was work related. He simply said, “Come on, I’ve gotta do something quick.” And for some reason, I didn’t think anything of it and trailed behind.

Security greeted Tom saying he’d been informed we were coming so that just reconfirmed to me that someone must know Tom’s coming to meet him. The entire walk inside, through the entertainment tunnel, and onto the court, I was oblivious. I was chatting the whole way about how cool it was to be inside just the two of us and how I haven’t been on the court or behind the scenes in there in ages and how much I missed it.

When we finally got to center court, I remember just standing there, taking it all in. This was such a special place to me and I knew the importance of taking in that moment on the court, because I could still remember the last time I had done it; the last game of the season, of my last year dancing. When I turned to face Tom, he was down on one knee, right there at center court, pulling a ring box out of his pocket. I was completely taken by surprise and brought to tears instantly. In that moment, in a place that is so significant to me, Tom gave me the closure I needed for my past memories of that place/time of my life by creating the ultimate new memory with me and the start of the next chapter to our story.

 

Photographer: Meghan Lee Harris// Florals: Jennifer Joyce Design // Invitations: Minted // Venue: The Enchanted Barn // Videographer: Mollica Films // Dress Store: Bucci’s Bridal // Dress Designer: Emmy Mae // Bridal Accessories: Hello Adorn // Hair/Makeup: Lady Vamp Artistry // Groomsmen Suit: Ted Baker // Rentals / Furniture / Decor: from Bride & Groom’s own home décor // Wedding Party dresses/suits: all chose their own // Cake/Dessert: Norske Nook // Band/DJ: Pulse Entertainment // Caterer: The Enchanted Barn’s Wood-fired Pizza // Jeweler: Kessler’s // Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden // Guest Book: Dustling and Hart // Wisconsin Themed Pillows: Proud Dweller // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box

 

Emily and Emerson’s Charleston nuptials at Lowndes Grove incorporated many of the typical southern wedding design details including a plantation courtyard ceremony, florals by and topiaries by Out of the Garden, letterpress and (rainbow) wax seal  invitations by Alaina Polander and romantic white gowns and veils. However, the LGBT couple felt confident in their freedom to “throw tradition to the wind” in much of their personalized details. The “curated vibe—to relax and celebrate” of the day planned by our friends Ooh! Events included the couple getting ready together with all of their bridesmen and bridesmaids, a rendition of the Pulse Orlando Lin Manuel Miranda speech during the ceremony (not a dry eye in the house) and ditching all typical reception activities and instead dancing from start-to-finish. Emily and Emerson had a joint goal of staying “calm and present” during the day and they did it with joy, style and huge smiles as seen in these images captured by Brooke Boyd Photo + Film.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

From Emily: Being an LGBT couple we felt like we had a lot of freedom to throw tradition to the wind. While most of our wedding was as much of a cliché southern wedding as you can get, there were a lot of really personal details. We started  the day by doing yoga together and meditating guided by a friend. After yoga and meditating, we were able to spend the morning getting ready together with our closest friends. Getting ready together relieved all pressure; so many people love the suspense of seeing your wife walk down the aisle, but we wanted everything to be as calm and fun as possible. I think that made our wedding so unique. The entire day had a curated vibe – which was to relax and celebrate. We didn’t want anything to feel stuffy or posed and tried really hard to stay calm and be present. I would also argue the most unique part about our wedding was the amount of dancing – we skipped the activities once the reception started and instead never left the dance floor. We had two people do the worm, one person break dance, my sister did a split, and someone slid through another’s legs. WILD.

Tell us about the gowns and where/how you found them!

Emerson and I started off by going to New York with our best friends. We looked separately all day and neither of us found the dress, but we both agreed it was too hard not to share with the other. A month later, I went to Wedding Belles in New Orleans with my mom and sister and tried on the Jenny Yoo Riley I had seen in New York. Just like that, I was done! I loved so many dresses, but this one just fit the day best. Emerson on the other hand tried on dresses about four more times, when she finally tried on a Sarah Seven dress at Lovely Bride in DC and knew it was the one. It was perfectly simple with just enough modern edge to feel like her.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

  1. Emerson picked out every single song that was played that day. To her, music creates the atmosphere, so she went through and chose from the prelude to the exit (and yes the afterparty). My favorite pick from her was the DJ set kicking off with “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked it” by Katy Perry.
  2. We also picked every word spoken in the ceremony with our priest. Without question the best part of the wedding (and I highly recommend everyone use this in the future) was when my friend read Lin Manuel Miranda’s speech following the Pulse Orlando shooting. It’s safe to say there wasn’t a dry eye when she got to the “and love, is love, is love, is love, is love” part.
  3. We didn’t do a traditional wedding party; Emerson has two brothers and I have two sisters so they are the only people who stood. We did ask our best girls/guys to dress within the color palette and get ready with us. We were worried it was going to be cold, so each girl laid a fur stole at their chair and exited in it.
  4. Emerson’s brother and “Man of Honor” gave the best speech I ever heard. It began with “I’ve been knowing Emerson since the early 90s” and the highlight was “I never dreamed I’d be a bridesman one day, but I can’t tell you how happy I am to be one today.”

 

What was the most memorable part of the day?

There was one moment before the ceremony started when my veil kept pulling my hair and I started getting really nervous. Emerson could sense I was nervous and pulled me into a room and said “forget it, don’t wear the veil” and gave me a big kiss. At that moment, all fears were pushed away because I knew I had picked the perfect person to spend the rest of my life with.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Emerson and I met the summer of 2014, when I had just graduated college and was about to move to DC. After our first date, we didn’t spend a single day apart that summer. So much so that Emerson volunteered to make the 17 hour drive with me to DC. Even though we had no intention of being in a long distance relationship, we were inseparable. Mine and Emerson’s lives fit perfectly together. We had the same values, same drive, and liked to leave parties at the same time. She is the perfect complement to all of my weaknesses and makes me a better person on a daily basis. Through the last five years together, we’ve moved seven times, had two college graduations, and embarked on brand new jobs in brand new cities. We’ve been through ups and downs, weddings, funerals, a home renovation and so much more, but through it all, Emerson made me grateful for every day. Knowing this I finally decided it was time to seal the deal so I snuck around with Susie Satzman and designed her dream ring. Over her birthday, we spent a week at home in New Orleans at my parents’ camp. One morning while we were watching the sunrise over coffee and blueberry cake donuts, I decided that was the moment. I began acting super weird and insisted she put on cute pajamas (because I wanted a good picture) and she replied “What? No. Weirdo” it was 5:30 am. Our dog had hurt his paw and she kept trying to pay attention to him and I was trying to get her to pay attention to me! Finally I started my speech and she asks “are you proposing?” and I was like “oh my gosh no” as I pulled out the ring! At this point, Emerson is thoroughly confused, laughing, and crying. Regardless, SHE SAID YES and we celebrated that night at the place her parents got engaged.

Coordination/Rentals: Ooh! Events // Photographer + Videographer: Brooke Boyd Photo + Film // Floral: Out of the Garden // Invite Suite: Alaina Polander // Venue/Catering/Bar/Cake: Lowndes Grove // Emily’s dress: Jenny Yoo, from Wedding Belles Nola // Emerson’s dress: Sarah Seven Belmont dress, from Lovely Bride // Hair: Slate Bridal Hair + Make Up // Make Up: Marisa Warren, Sarah Early, Slate Bridal Hair + Make Up // Yoga Instructor: Isabel Groedel // Ceremony Music: Bespoke Strings // Band: Tyler Kitchen + The Right Pieces // Guests Transportation: ACW Limo // Getaway Transportation: Lowcountry Valet