Charleston is so classically beautiful. And today’s wedding embodies all the charm of the city with those amazing trees and flowers, a delicious Southern menu, and a pretty terrific dance party to end the evening. The cherry on the cake? Bride Leah designed her romantic wedding gown herself and we couldn’t be more in love!
Photography by Olivia Rae James.
Tell us about designing your own wedding dress! I design a line of my own—Plante (my maiden name)—and I’m lucky enough to also work for a bridal house here in New York (Anna Maier), whose designer gifted me my wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. Developing my gown was a dream come true; I got to design everything, working closely with our couture seamstresses, pattern makers, and fabric artisans. The fabric came from Italy, and the embroidery was done in Paris by an company owned by Chanel. I love how it turned out, and it meant so much to wear a dress that I designed and that was made by people I care about!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Be calm.
“We chose the Confederate Home and College for it’s perfect location right in the middle of Downtown Charleston. It was kind of a hidden gem—from the street all you see is an old door with no signage or any indication of what it is, but after walking through an old, unlit hallway, the space opens up into a beautiful secret-garden like yard shaded by live oaks and surrounded by beautiful old architecture.”
Your ceremony in three words. Personal, religious, heartfelt… also very hot!
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We chose a few important elements we wanted and worked with our officiant to incorporate them into a traditional template.
What was your ceremony music? A string duet played standard hymns and “Canon in D” for the processional. For the recessional we had the theme from the Princess Bride.
Who officiated your ceremony? My childhood pastor and close family friend, Reverend Craig Bailey. He’s known both of us for years.
What were your vows like? We chose traditional vows with slight alterations. There’s so much significance in repeating the same words couples have spoken for generations, throughout many different times and places, to make such an eternal commitment.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We had a Christian ceremony, but since Ben’s family is Jewish we had our bridal party read the seven blessings.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Being up there together in front of all of our friends and family. During the ceremony, despite the heat, I remember wishing it could go on forever! I was very nervous for the ceremony itself (that I would faint, or cry too much, or that we would forget what we were supposed to do) but once we were there it felt so important and joyful I didn’t want it to be over.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? It poured rain all day leading up to the ceremony—and stopped about an hour before. We were so lucky to have a beautiful, sunny ceremony and reception!
The tree-line cobblestone streets of Charleston are so charming! We love how it gives us the feeling of being in a romantic faraway city.
Leah’s loose bouquet was filled with such a romantic collection of florals and greenery: David Austin patient garden roses, chocolate cosmos, white ranunculus, garden snow spray rose, chocolate scabiosa, scented geranium, and asparagus fern.
“We wanted a fresh, natural, fun reception that wasn’t overworked, twee, or too Pinterest-y. I work in the bridal industry so I’ve seen it all when it comes to place settings, cutesy name cards and cheesy decor. We just wanted a classically beautiful party that didn’t resemble a sweet sixteen!”
How would you describe your reception? So fun! To encourage a high-energy atmosphere, we had a station style dinner. We wanted our guests to take advantage of all areas of the beautiful venue like they would a normal party—the dock, picnic tables, garden, lawn, rocking chairs, and warp around porch. We threw in lots of fun activities like lawn games, a photo booth, and a popsicle cart that came in towards the end of the night with spiked popsicles! People could dance, talk, snack, or relax, all night- exactly how we wanted it to be.
Why did you choose this location for your reception? We liked the idea of having a historic downtown wedding, and a laid back, waterside reception. Very Charleston!
Did you have a signature cocktail? Iced tea vodka + lemonade.
What was your wedding menu? Southern classics like shrimp and grits, brisket, and collard greens.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? We had a lot of fun in the last couple of weeks splurging on small details as we thought of them, like monogrammed napkins and personalized koozies. I’m glad we didn’t go overboard on the venue because it left us plenty of flexibility to pick out fun extras!
Any special songs?
First dance: “Stand By Me” by Ben E King
Father/daughter and Mother/son dance: “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” by Darius Rucker
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The hora! The groomsman secretly organized it, so it was a total surprise, and really got the party started. I was terrified but I think everyone else enjoyed it!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Not a thing!