Photo: Elliott Erwitt
South Carolina makes for some of the prettiest wedding’s we’ve ever seen. With it’s natural beauty, laid back simplicity, and all of the sweet southern hospitality; it’s hard not to fall in love. Mary and Travis’ DIY celebration is filled with so much fun inspiration. And the most wonderful part about this wedding is the non-stop smiles on the bride and groom’s faces! Photos by Briana Marie Photography.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Since it was an outdoor wedding and we did not rent a tent, we buried a bottle of whiskey upside down at the site of the ceremony and put an egg in a silver goblet to keep the rain away. It poured for about 30 minutes an hour before the ceremony and then it was a perfect evening.
The bride drew the whimsical wedding invitations that fit perfectly with their theme.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The beauty of the plantation and help from Pinterest. We loved the idea of lights and using Guatemalan fabric from my time on the Peace Corps to add a splash of color. We wanted to keep things natural while enhancing the beauty.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Know that the day comes and goes so fast. Do not sweat the small stuff! Things work out no matter how stressful they seem at the moment. Enjoy it; it’s only one day and you are fully and completely committing yourself to your favorite person!
Mary looked beautiful in a vintage dress and her mother’s wedding veil.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? We were on a small budget, so we used lighting and Guatemalan textiles, brought back from my time in the Peace Corp, to add a magical feel and color to the beauty of the area. With the help of my family, we strung lights from a trunk—a large wooden device that was used to regulate the flow of water in and out of the rice fields—to the trees around the reception area. We also hung lights and Chinese paper lanterns in the rafters of the dance area. We wanted simple wildflower arrangements for the tables, bouquets and boutonnières, all decorated with Guatemalan textiles.
“The wedding festivities took place outside of Georgetown, SC. We chose this location for it’s natural beauty and that it lends itself to the style of wedding we wanted to have; a fun, simple, DIY, southern picnic theme with an outdoor rehearsal, ceremony and reception. We wanted to introduce the many friends and family members that had never visited the south to a real taste of southern hospitality and food. The wedding and ceremony took place at Estherville Plantation. My aunts and uncles live on the beautiful historic rice plantation.”
Your ceremony in three words. Woodsy, beautiful, intimate
What was your ceremony music? As a gift to us, my college friend, Ellie Schwarz, played violin. While the guests were seating themselves she played Beatles songs, including “All You Need is Love” while Travis and his mother walked down the path. We loved the idea of happy Irish jigs instead of the more somber classical music, so for the brides processional Ellie played “Garrett Barry’s Jig” and “Whelan’s Jig” for our recessional.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? The Reverend Paul Fuener. Paul is a family friend of my family.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We wanted it in a special place so we chose the point—a shore of the pond behind the main house where my father proposed to my mother. We had guests sit on benches and stand in a semi circle creating a more intimate ceremony.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Having Paul read from the Bible kept it somewhat traditional and my grandfather gave her away.
What were your ceremony readings? Paul read from the bible and led us all in a few prayers. Our dear friend, Keith Gilyard, a gifted potter who made plates, bowls and tumblers for our wedding gift, read a blend of Native American prayers and his own words.
What were your vows like? We wrote our own vows and read them to each other. They reflected our love and commitment as well as our weaknesses and how we will work towards overcoming them to be the best partners possible. We also talked about our excitement to share adventures, our willingness to embrace the challenges of a marriage, and promised to grow and learn together.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The location. Being on the point, surrounded by water on three sides, Spanish moss on the trees, in front of an old oak, with my favorite people all around me. Travis loved looking out at the faces of all the friends and family and then seeing me walking down the path, arm in arm with my Grandfather.
“A short walk across the bridge over the pond and the guests found themselves at the reception. We did not rent a tent but there is a long screened-in porch—which my family affectionately calls the Taj. It’s used for parties so it seemed like the ideal place.”
What was your wedding menu? To add to the experience, we wanted a southern barbecue buffet menu. Three weeks prior to the wedding our caterer backed out, however, Anja Stief of Dish and Design Catering came to our rescue and created a menu that gave our 160 guests the culinary experience we were hoping for. Using a trunk as a buffet table, she served: shrimp and grits, pulled pork, collard greens with smoked heirloom tomatoes, three cheese mac and cheese, coleslaw and potato salad. She even had boiled peanuts and pimento cheese for appetizers. Welcome to the south!
Did you have a signature cocktail? Guests were served themed drinks, Montana Mule—whiskey and ginger beer—and a Cucumber gimlet—cucumber vodka, cilantro, lime and soda water—wine, by The Watering Hole, and homemade shot skis were serving three specialty shots at a time.
How would you describe your reception? Fun and simple! We had two bands play. The opening band was Oh Valentino, a duo from Charleston with amazing vocals playing a mix of originals and covers. After dinner the second band, The Bootknockers shook things up a bit with some more upbeat dancing music. In the spirit of fun, a costume box was provided with empty picture frames hanging from a tree for photo opportunities.
What was your first dance song?
We danced to Sean Hayes’ song, “Powerful Stuff”.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Travis’ cousin, Leela Brett, flew all the way from Byron Bay, Australia where she has her own catering business. She created two wedding cakes: a classic coconut cream cake and a chocolate cake. She also had wedding cake toppers made that matched our wedding nickname, TacoDinosaur. Leela’s wedding cakes were the centerpiece of the dessert buffet. Our family and friends also contributed to the dessert buffet.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Since we did everything on our own, a day of coordinator would have been nice. We’d have everyone stay much later. We had a bus service that ended at 11pm and we all wanted the night to continue.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Seeing everyone having fun! It was the best when the costume box really started to get used. Also, our get away vehicle was a canoe! The path to the moored canoe was illuminated by sparklers that were passed out to all the guests. We paddled our way to the old boathouse, providing an opportunity for those guests who were ready to leave, and then we made our way back to the dance to continue the festivities.
Happy Wednesday! Today we’re sharing a romantic (and pink!) signature cocktail—the Rosa Eterna from Paula LeDuc and Josh Gruetzmacher! It’s a beautiful blend of grapefruit, lemon and rose syrup, with a dash of sparkling rosé. We think this cocktail is perfect for your next date night or girls’ night in. And don’t forget to tag your #SnippetandInkSigCocktail photos on Instagram!
• Glass – 6.5 oz. potrero glass
• Method – muddle; shake & fine-strain
• Garnish – skewered raspberry
• .25 oz. fresh lemon juice
• .25 oz. rose syrup
• 3 raspberries – Muddle
• .5 oz. pink grapefruit juice
• 1 oz. gin
• .75 oz. Lillet Rosé Sparkling Wine
In the bottom of an empty mixing glass muddle the raspberries with rose syrup and fresh lime juice. Add the pink grapefruit juice, gin, Lillet Rosé and ice. Cap the mixing glass with a mixing tin and shake hard for 10 seconds. Using a small, fine-mesh strainer, strain the cocktail into the potrero glass and top with sparkling wine (we recommend Prosecco). Garnish and serve.
Today’s feature goes to show you don’t have to go far to get the feeling of a destination wedding. The venue for Taylor and David’s Texas wedding was like a little paradise just a short drive away. We love all the bright pops of color and the palm trees make us want to hold on to summer for a little while longer!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t overthink anything or stress. Remember what is important about the day—you and your spouse. If things don’t go perfectly, your friends and family will still have a good time.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? It was a location that was close to our home, yet when you stepped through the doors you felt like you were in paradise. They also took care of everything from the flowers, from the catering to the DJ. This was helpful since I was finishing up my last few months of grad school.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Nature was my biggest influence. It was also important to include pieces of both David’s and my personalities.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? David is from South Africa—as a surprise, I got him South African flag groom’s cake. We also had small hand-made Zulu shields in place of boutonnieres for all the boys.
“Having all of our closest friends from all over the world together with us as we shared this special moment. We wanted a really intimate wedding.”
Your ceremony in three words. Rustic, elegant, religious
What were your ceremony readings? Lines from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières, and I Carry Your Heart by E.E. Cummings.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? I used the knot wedding planner, which was incredibly helpful. Our venue also included a wedding coordinator. She helped us plan all aspects of our wedding.
“Our reception was just plain fun. We wanted it to be a celebration of our families coming together. It was very laid back, with delicious food and dancing.”
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a chocolate ganache groom’s cake made to look like the South African flag. Our wedding cake was amaretto with a raspberry and cream cheese filling, and grand marnier with a pineapple filling. We also had a popcorn bar and gave our guests hand stamped linen bags to fill as our favors.
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter dance?
First dance: “I Wont Give Up” by Jason Mraz
Father/daughter dance: “Baby Mine”
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? It’s so hard to choose! The whole evening was a blast. I loved when our Matron of Honor and Best Man shared their speeches with us. And the bouquet/ garter toss was so fun! I mostly enjoyed getting to spend time with friends and family that we don’t get to see very often. That was so special to us.
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It’s not often a couple decides to schedule the reception before saying their I do’s at the ceremony, but bride Mary was determined to do anything she could to make sure her sister, and maid of honor, was there to stand by her side. This sweet barn wedding, almost entirely DIY, is proof you don’t have to be conventional to have an incredible celebration.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Not to stress too much. After all, it’s just one day!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Having a longer engagement turned out to be pretty budget friendly. Ours was almost fifteen months, and this allowed us time to search for the best deals.
Tell us about your unique wedding day timeline. Roughly six months into wedding planning my younger sister called me and through a shaky voice she told me she had just been given the role in her college’s main stage fall production of, “Into The Woods”. The show dates were exactly the weekend set for our wedding.
Save-the-dates had been sent, the venues booked, the band contract signed, and hotel blocks reserved. My sister, my only sibling and maid of honor, had to be there. My entire life I had imagined my wedding day with her by my side. We couldn’t ask her to forfeit the role that was the culmination of her years of studying music and theater. My first thought was to move the entire event to Sunday, and we’d ask our guests to shift their travel plans by a day, or to change the date entirely. But completely changing the weekend would have cost us nearly all of our deposits, and many of our guests had already arranged travel plans.
Max and I understood that we had to think about this differently. Most things about our relationship in the six years we’d been together had been more or less unconventional, and we saw clearly that we were destined to have an unconventional wedding.
My sister’s last show of the weekend was Saturday night and there was a non-stop flight to Greenville on Sunday morning that would arrive in the morning. The ceremony site was available on Sunday, and like that, we had our solution. We’d have the reception first, and ceremony the next day. Although she wouldn’t make it to the party, she would be there for the portion of our wedding that mattered most. My mom picked her up from the airport and brought her to the salon where we were getting ready for the ceremony. When they walked in, I burst into tears. Overcome with joy, sentiment, and relief, my wedding day was here, and my sister was there to stand with me.
“Max proposed the summer before while we were visiting Norway for the first time. He completely surprised me by popping the question in front of the Borgund Stave Church—a Lutheran church built in the 12th century. Made entirely of wood, this incredible structure has stood the test of time against all odds and this was a metaphor we used in our ceremony. The church has some unbelievably intricate carvings and joinery that we used as guiding inspiration for our wedding design details.”
Why did you choose this location for your reception? This venue was completely DIY. It had a floor and a roof, but was an entirely blank slate. We had a lot of fun making every detail our own. Max is an architect, so he drafted the entire plan of our seating chart and sketched out the space. It was such a dream bringing our vision to life together from scratch.
How would you describe your reception? It was at the Dutch Barn, just outside of Greenville—a private setting off the beaten path. It felt like it was just us, our family and our best friends. The band was so full of energy—there was never a time that guests weren’t on the dance floor.
What was your wedding menu? Working with Neal and Jessica from Thoroughfare was such a great experience. They gave us some awesome ideas for the menu. Since most of our guests were coming from up north, they suggested we have southern inspired menu that would be a bit of a novelty for them. The menu consisted of chicken quarters, flank steak, grit cakes, braised red cabbage, and collard greens. For dessert, we served a small wedding cake and warm apple crisp. The entire meal was family style which really helped create the atmosphere we wanted.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We served our version of a Moscow Mule we called the Charleston Mule, which was a mix of gin, lime, and ginger beer. Also on the cocktail menu was a cider with bourbon we called Oxford Cider, a nod to our alma mater, Miami University. We also had kegs of beer from Westbrook and Palmetto, our favorite Charleston breweries.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. On my side of the family, we had a before-dinner ritual where we’d all sit down together—it came from my dad’s family when he was a young boy. After grace, everyone around the table holds hands and gives three cheers in union of, “Yay family!” He used this to conclude his speech and had all 180 people join in. It was the coolest thing!
What was your first dance song? We used, “Everlasting Light” again for our first dance. I danced with my dad to, “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles; and Max and his mom, Claudia couldn’t have been more adorable dancing around to Pharell’s, “Happy.”
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Our first dance. We got out there and winged it to our favorite song. A fun family tradition that Max’s family has passed along is wearing “The Hat of Krakow” at wedding receptions. This is a silk, sort of pill box hat adorned with faux flowers and tulle. The bride starts out wearing it and passes it to other people on the dance floor. It had everyone laughing and brought out some memorable dance moves.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Without the help and efforts of family and friends, our wedding wouldn’t have been possible. Several people showed up a few days early to help set up, and a lot of guests were kind enough to stay and help break down. My wonderful mom had many years of experience with corporate event planning, so she was key in mapping out our run-of-show and defining specific roles for people who wanted to help. A family friend assumed the role of our day-of coordinator to make sure everything ran smoothly, and my dad who plays in a band, helped set up the sound system for the ceremony. Our escort cards on a peg-board were my favorite DIY project of the wedding. I printed a pattern I designed on the back of the paper tags. My good friends helped with cutting each of them, and I put my novice calligraphy skills to work to hand write names and numbers.
“At the time of our engagement, Max was living in Greenville, South Carolina. The weekends we’d spend there together were filled with lots of hiking and camping. The mountains were really meaningful to us at this point in our relationship, and had been a peaceful spot amidst living long distance. The chapel is located within the grounds of YMCA Camp Greenville and is cut into a cliff overlooking the Blue Ridge Escarpment. The day was perfectly clear and you could see for miles. It was breathtaking.”
Your ceremony in three words. Personal, scenic, natural
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Max and I worked with our long time family friend, Tom Tobias, to write up our ceremony. We had an idea of what we wanted to include and Tom guided us through layout and flow of the ceremony. He also had Max and I write separately about when we knew this relationship was meant to be. It was a wonderful exercise that he incorporated into the ceremony.
Who officiated your ceremony? Tom and his family were Max’s next-door neighbors growing up, and he’d always been a great mentor figure to Max. I met him seven years ago when Max and I first started dating and we both felt it would be so meaningful to have him officiate.
What was your ceremony music? The bridesmaid’s processional was, “Perpetuum Mobile”; the bridal processional was, “Hymn 101” by Joe Pug; the ceremony song was, “Everlasting Light” by the Black Keys; and the recessional was, “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison. My sister’s duet with Ben Tobias, Tom’s son who was one of Max’s groomsmen sang, “Everlasting Light” by the Black Keys. Our musicians were a trio of two guitars and a mandolin, the same gentlemen who made up our band for the reception.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? My maternal grandmother sang at my parents’ wedding in 1986, and to carry on the tradition, my little sister who received every gene of vocal talent from my grandmother sang for our ceremony. It meant the world to me.
What were your ceremony readings? “Sonnet XVII” by Pablo Neruda, and an excerpt from Louis de Bernieres’, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”.
What were your vows like? Max and I wrote our own script for the vows. Tom read each line and we repeated.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? It was 100-percent what we wanted it to be, and was an expression of our relationship and love for each other. The support from our family and friends was palpable, and the ceremony felt so intimate.
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