Photography: Olivia Rae James
Happy Monday! We’re starting the week off with the most wonderfully romantic winter wedding in South Carolina. There’s so much about this ceremony that’s just perfect for this time of year—dramatic, moody florals, the bride’s beaded, vintage-inspired Jenny Packham gown and twinkling string lights under a dark sky. Add in special details like Madison’s darling flower crown, long tables filled with tapered candles, and a packed dance floor, and you’ve got the makings of a truly magical night.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? All of the gatherings and weddings I’ve been to, epic dinner parties, late night dance parties and great meals with friends. I looked at a lot of “boho wedding” and “rustic wedding” Pinterest boards, but I didn’t want anything too themed. I think the location was the biggest inspiration of all.
Your ceremony in three words. Magical, peaceful, loving.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We knew from the day we booked our venue that we wanted to have the ceremony at the venue, under the trees. From there we had some conversations with our officiant to determine the order of the ceremony, music, readings etc. The location really spoke for itself, the rest was fairly easy to put together.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We loved the mossy trees and the view from the back of the house. It such a beautiful location and you really feel like you are out in the country somewhere yet it is still very close to downtown which made it very convenient for our guests.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? Charles Davis, he and my parents know each other because he works at the church they go to in Columbia.
What was your ceremony music? Processional: Mothers: Bach – Air, Bridal Party: Bach – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Bride: Clarke – Trumpet Voluntary // Recessional: Handel – Hornpipe
What were your ceremony readings? We just had one, Genesis 1:26-28
What were your vows like? Traditional vows from the Book of Common Prayer
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? The setting! And being in such a beautiful, peaceful setting with the people I love most in the world.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Just enjoy the moment, nothing else matters. Also try to stop and take it all in from time to time during the night because everything happens so fast!
How would you describe your reception? Whimsical, like a midsummer night’s dream or a feast in the woods with your friends. We had a cocktail hour with a gypsy jazz trio, a sit down family style dinner at giant long tables, and of course dancing under the stars after.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I made the seating chart from an old antique window I picked up at a salvage store in Charleston. My mom is a beekeeper and she and my dad bottled honey up as party favors for our guests.
Why did you choose this location for your reception? The setting, and convenience to downtown Charleston.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We had a cocktail hour by the water with a gypsy jazz trio, a photo booth, and used school buses to transport all of our guests home.
What was your wedding menu? Passed appetizer bites: braised pork belly, pecan fried brie, white truffle deviled eggs and smoked salmon crostini. // Family Style Dinner: First course: antipasti platters. // Second Course: Praline crusted Sage Chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, green bean amandine, gorgonzola cream, roasted acorn squash.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Sitting down at the table to eat and seeing all my loved ones spread out at the two huge tables before us, it was like a dream!
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? The Beatles – Something was our first dance song. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows was our father/daughter and Mother/Son dance.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Three tier cake with different flavors! Coconut Cake with whipped Coconut flavored Mascarpone Cheese frosting, outer detail with flakes of untoasted coconut. // Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd filling and Whipped Vanilla flavored Mascarpone Cheese Frosting, outer detail with some natural swirls and some grated lemon zest. // Almond Cake with whipped Vanilla flavored Mascarpone Cheese Frosting, outer detail with slivered almonds in a herringbone pattern.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Don’t let the details get to you. Wedding planning is fun, but it can get stressful and even a little annoying at times. Worrying about the little things like napkin colors and what types of glasses can stress you out for no reason. At the end of the day, no-one (including you) is going to notice the little things because they will all be having a good time!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? No, I loved every second of our wedding, I only wish it would have lasted a little bit longer!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Come up with a budget and stick to it. Wether you are paying for it yourself, or getting help from family, do some research beforehand and come up with a realistic budget for yourself. Look up prices for the things that will have set amounts, i.e. venue rental, photographer, music etc. Once you have an idea of prices, it helps you prioritize what is most important, what you are willing to splurge on and what you can save on. Having a set number, and keeping track of everything as you commit/book it helped us stay on budget (actually we were under budget!) and be very straightforward with our planner about where we were in that process. // Also, it never hurts to ask for a discount, or a less expensive version of whatever it is you want. I had a vision and a ton of pinterest boards of what I wanted. When it came time to actually pick linens, furniture, florals I just simply asked if we could get the same “look” at a less expensive cost. A majority of the time we were able to come up with something in a very similar style at a fraction of the cost. // Consider getting married in the “off season” – this might be specific to Charleston, but many venue rental prices go up in peak season (more popular months). We picked a date that was technically in the “off season”, but only by a week! Because I live in Charleston I knew that early November weather would probably be pretty similar to late October weather.