Jelena and Andrew had become smitten with the coastal beauty of Charleston on a road trip taken in the early stages of their courtship. So, when it came time to choose a wedding location, the couple wanted to share their love for the city with all their family and friends. The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation offered the perfect backdrop to their intimate celebration and Ooh! Events helped tie all the details together including lush florals and garlands of California bay leaves, seeded eucalyptus and magnolia leaves by Out of the Garden. Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay worked their magic behind the lens to capture all the lovely details in these beautiful images.
How did you meet?
We met at a bar in Boston! Andrew was doing his residency at MGH and I was finishing my first year of dental school. I ended up leaving town a few days after our initial meeting for a summer externship, but we reconnected at the end of summer and went on our first date. The evening of our first date was also the eve of Hurricane Irene in Boston. It was only fitting that Hurricane Hermine made landfall the weekend of our wedding. Luckily, the storm passed just in time for the most beautiful weather you could imagine on the actual wedding day.
Why Charleston/Boone Hall Cotton Dock?
Andrew and I did a year of long distance while dating. We drove his belongings from Boston to Atlanta and stopped in Charleston for two nights on our roadtrip. We fell in love with the coastal beauty, the amazing food and the southern culture. After we finished school we moved to Dallas together and got engaged. Once we started planning the wedding we decided that we wanted our family and friends to have an excuse to visit our favorite city and experience a little taste of the south. We had visited Boone Hall before and were in love with the beautiful plantation, the alley of oak trees and the sense of history on the property. We immediately knew we had to book it for our venue!
What was the planning process like?
Before we even secured the venue, I had started the planning process. I used several wedding blogs. Grey Likes especially, and sites to research vendors and got in touch with them for availability and quotes. I had to make sure that the vision in my head was attainable on our budget before making any commitments. Once I confirmed that the venue and photographers were available, the rest came together one by one. Because I lived in Dallas and worked full-time, all my planning was done long distance, which was definitely a challenge. I had several photos and examples of what I was envisioning and I referred all the vendors to my Pinterest board to get a feel for the aesthetic/vibe I wanted. We made two trips to Charleston during the planning process. The first trip was to meet potential vendors for planning, rentals, florals, catering and hair & makeup. The second trip was for the food tasting (this was the only part Andrew was involved in) and to meet our coordinator.
How did the idea process flow back and forth with the planner and the bride?
Candice from Ooh! Events came into the planning process as our “day of coordinator” sixty days prior to the wedding. It was a major relief for me to finally have someone to take over all the vendors I had booked and begin the final stages of putting all the details together. We emailed back and forth almost daily. Because our first meeting was so great, I felt very comfortable letting her take over.
What did you want for your big day? What was especially important to the bride/the groom/the families?
We wanted to incorporate our personal style with the existing beauty of Boone Hall. We chose the venue because we felt something special walking around the plantation, and we didn’t want to distract from that feeling with too much additional decor. The ceremony took place at the front gate with no additional decor necessary other than the back drop of oak trees. We wanted an intimate celebration where guests would be swept away by the moss on the oak trees, the summer breeze on the water and the timeless beauty of the plantation. It was important for us to have an intimate and personalized event, but to also let the venue shine. We wanted our guests to leave with a memory of the way they felt when they were at Boone Hall, not just a memory of a party.
Can you describe some of the details (flowers, palette, invitations, welcome bag, favors, food, cake, special touches…what did you love and why?)
Our palette was very neutral. We chose white, ivory, gold and green. One of the ways we wanted to create an intimate experience was to seat the guests at long farm tables all connected in a U shape. We had lush greenery runners of California bay leaves, seeded eucalyptus and magnolia leaves on the tables with tapered candles and white flowers throughout. We used our own collection of old wine corks to create the place card holders. Sitting at the table during dinner and seeing all of our family and friends so close during the most beautiful time of day (golden hour) was one of the most memorable moments for us. The candlelight, greenery runner and the unique table arrangement all contributed to the intimacy and warmth of the reception. As an added touch Capri Blue Volcano scented votives were scattered throughout the entire reception area so that the scent would always remind us of this special day!
We placed a round bar on the dock to encourage people to interact and be outside near the water. White drapes, gold chandeliers, gold mirrors and lots of candles helped to create a timeless look that didn’t take away from the venue’s existing beauty and style. We really wanted our wedding to be timeless, so the decor was elegant and neutral and simply there as a compliment to the venue’s own charm and beauty.
We had so many comments on the amazing passed hors d’oeuvres! This is where we incorporated a taste of the south. We chose fried okra, shrimp and grits and fried chicken in waffle cones – a guest favorite which also came out for an encore late night on the dance floor.
When it came to the party, we had a mix of American and Serbian music (my side of the family) and the guests were up dancing the entire night. We had traditional “rakija” shots and had everyone dancing until the sparkler sendoff in a vintage mustang. The sendoff car was another memorable moment for us. We drove off in the back of the convertible listening to the breeze in the oak trees and smelling the sweet coastal air. We had the entire drive back into town to be alone and take in all the magical moments of the day. Alone with no cameras, it was a perfect end to a perfect day.
Design & Coordination & Rentals: Ooh! Events // Photography: Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay // Floral: Out of the Garden // Venue: The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation // Dress Brand/Designer: Enzoani // Boutique: Bridal Boutique Lewisville // Hair/Makeup: Dannon Collard // Tabletop Rentals: Polished Tabletop // Catering: CRU Catering // DJ: Lucas the DJ // Ceremony Entertainment: Charleston Strings