Charleston is a magical city, so it’s no wonder why Bethel and Magnus chose it for their intimate destination wedding. “Magnus’s family is from Norway, my family is from Wisconsin, and we have close friends from all over the globe so there was going to be traveling involved no matter what location we chose,” says the bride. “We considered a number of places before stumbling upon Charleston, but once I started researching the city I knew it would be the perfect place! The historical downtown is adorable, it’s on the water, and I knew that our guests would be able to explore and have fun while visiting. That was really important for me. Plus it’s quite the foodie city – so many amazing restaurants, wine houses, bakeries and cafes.”
Truly, such a spectacular setting to tie the knot – you’re going to love these images that photographer Ken Kienow sent over from the day…
Another reason the couple loved Charleston? “There were so many oak trees with Spanish moss and I loved the idea of getting married under a huge tree.”
Bethel shares her favorite moments from the day: “There are three moments that stand out as favorites. First, was standing under the tree during the ceremony with Magnus – once I walked down the path to him and he held my hands in his. We stood under the tree together during the ceremony and it almost felt like we were there alone. Second was during the ceremony when we asked all of the guests to join us under the oak tree in a big prayer circle. Our family and friends prayed for us and that moment was incredibly real and sincere. I was so happy we chose to include that in our wedding! Third, was after the ceremony. Magnus and I walked down the path together and my little sister, Mercy, gave me a huge, tearful, but joyful embrace! I will never forget the love that I felt as she squeezed me. We didn’t have to say goodbye yet, but it was a goodbye hug – a big, heartfelt, sad-happy embrace. Then she hugged Magnus as well. It was a lovely moment.”
Despite having a destination wedding, Bethel and Magnus were able to incorporate a number of DIY details, including their favors. “I wanted to give little succulents as wedding favors since they can grow and are easy to maintain. I found the most adorable little pots at a family-owned grocer. They had pale pink hearts on one side and the words ‘I love you’ on the other side. I knew they’d be perfect for the succulents! I ordered the succulents from the Irwin Family on Etsy and had them sent to the pastors home in Charleston. When Magnus and I arrived, we picked up the succulents and potted them at Zero George.”
Menu: Baby Greens, Local Strawberries, Spiced Nuts, Shaved Pecorino, Merlot Vinaigrette // Herb Crusted Atlantic Salmon, Creamed Leeks, Oven Dried Tomatoes and Scallion Pistou / Muscovy Duck Breast with Sweet Potato Puree, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Pickled Cherries / Spring Pea Risotto with Summer Tomatoes and Essence of Truffle // Fresh Strawberry Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Swiss Buttercream
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? I was really set on an outdoor wedding but we wanted to get married in March and it’s certainly not warm enough in Wisconsin to have an outdoor wedding in March! We had already decided that we would have it somewhere in the states, we just weren’t sure where. We considered California, Florida, New Orleans… but nothing stood out until we started looking at Charleston. I went to visit with my mom and we loved walking around the city and looking at all the beautiful houses, cute boutiques, old chapels, and historical landmarks. We started planning a March wedding in Charleston immediately!
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I drew inspiration from so many wedding blogs – I loved seeing what people had thought of and how each couple has such unique ideas. I found pictures of floral arrangements I liked from various weddings, tabletop arrangements from others, ceremony ideas, planning advice… there is so much information and inspiration out there!
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? In Norway, it is traditional for a couple to get matching gold bands when they get engaged – the couple wears the rings on their left ring finger when they’re engaged, then moves the ring to their right ring finger when they get married. I loved the idea of simple matching wedding bands, probably because I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but also because of the simplicity and equality it signifies. Magnus proposed to me while we were visiting Cyprus and we have both worn the matching bands since then. Instead of exchanging rings during the ceremony we switched each other’s rings from the left hand to the right, while saying our vows. I was glad we could include a Norwegian tradition in the ceremony – and we kept the rings on our right hands since we moved to Oslo after our honeymoon.
Please tell us about any special details from your wedding. Magnus and I chose to ask a mentor of ours to give the message for our ceremony. Since he is not ordained as a pastor, we asked a pastor we knew from Charleston to do our vows. I loved how the ceremony went so seamlessly, even though the two hadn’t met before the wedding weekend. They switched off with reading and speaking and it was such a blessing to have them both be a part of our wedding. // On one of the wedding blogs I visited, I had seen a couple include a prayer circle in their ceremony. I loved the idea of having all the guests participate in the ceremony. Magnus and I decided to incorporate it into the ceremony by having our mentor invite everyone to join us under the oak tree and pray for us following the vows. It was an amazing moment!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Relax and enjoy your own wedding! Everything will work out, and if anything does goes wrong, someone else will fix it. Also, accept help from others. One of my dear friends offered to drop by while I was getting ready and help me, my mom, and my sister with anything that came up. I was so glad she did! She made morning mimosas and relieved any lingering stress with her cheerful attitude and assistance.
What advice do you have for other brides? When I was planning the wedding I noticed that a lot of brides on various blogs said not to concentrate too much on the little details of the wedding. However, I think if you have something in mind and it’s attainable and affordable (and even better, if you can do it yourself) then go for it! I was really happy with the way all the little creative pieces came together – and so thankful for the moments I spent making everything with my mom and sister! Don’t lose sight of what’s most important, but if you have the time to get creative, then do so, and enjoy the process.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Magnus and I both agreed that the photographer was important and should be what we spend the most money on (although I argued that both the food and the photographer were quite important. We were very happy with our decision and stuck by it… other details are important, but you’ll have the photos forever. And you can always look back at the pictures to remember every little thing!
Are there any other details from the day you’d like to share? My mom helped me make two small signs to place on the favor table – one was for date night ideas, and we placed it next to an old blue glass mason jar (also from my grandma) with extra paper hearts so guests could drops their ideas into the jar. The other sign asked guests to share their favorite Bible verses about life and love with us – we clipped it onto an open Bible and laid a pen out so guests could underline or circle what they wanted to share.