That delish cake comes from Ashley Bakery.
While living in San Diego, Eric and I were introduced through mutual friends. From the moment we met, our lives together where filled with love and laughter. Our love grew from having a deep appreciation for one another, making the small moments matter, and filling our lives with wonderful family and friends.
After dating for a little over a year and half, Eric asked me to be his wife in front of our families on Thanksgiving Day 2009. This also happened to be the 73rd wedding anniversary of my Grandparents.
Eric and I wanted an intimate setting in a unique location that was still reasonably accessible for our family and friends, whom were disbursed throughout the country. We both loved the Southern hospitality, architecture, cuisine and splendor of the historic town of Charleston, SC. We set out to find the perfect venue and after visiting numerous locations we discovered Boone Hall Plantation.
Boone Hall immediately drew us in with its breathtaking setting and it’s versatile landscape. The plantation house would serve as a remarkably romantic site for our ceremony, and the cotton dock was a blank canvas that allowed us to create our ideal reception setting. Eric and I loved the huge fireplace and the dock that was nestled in the marsh that captured the beautiful southern sunset. Boone Hall’s world famous Avenue of Oaks became our inspiration for the day. The symbol of the strong oaks growing together to create a beautiful canopy resonated with us as we were now merging our lives together as husband and wife.
On a beautiful October evening, Eric and I were married in the presence of 100 family and friends. We wrote our entire ceremony including our vows. We were both nervous we would forget or lose them if written down so we had our officiant read our vows, and we repeated after him, which helped settle our nerves a bit. The words we spoke to one another that day will serve as my favorite memory of our whole wedding weekend. Following the ceremony, our guests were invited to tour the plantation home and join the cocktail hour that was hosted in the back gardens of the property.
I wore an ivory, open back Jim Hjelm lace gown that I loved from the second I laid eyes on it. I will never forget walking from behind the estate gates down the pathway, which was created from packed sand, to the front of the plantation home with my father. I recall telling him that he may have to carry me when we got to the midway point, as I was attempting not to fall as my heels sunk into the sand. Of course my Dad just held me tighter and helped to support me as he always has. My bridesmaids, also in Jim Hjelm, wore navy blue dresses in various styles. Eric wore a Hugo Boss tux and a custom made shirt with his initials from J. Hilburn.
I really wanted a clean color palette of mostly white flowers with touches of green. I believe simplicity yields elegance. Lisa Thomas, from Out of Hand, helped create our vision by designing amazing bouquets, boutonnières, and centerpieces featuring white garden roses, succulents, white and antique green hydrangea, ivory ranunculus, lambs ear, green hypericum berries, curly willow and fern curls. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were re-used at the reception. and displayed them in cylinders on a bookcase set behind the bar that was created from an old country store counter. I wrapped my Mom’s handkerchief from her Godfather adorned with my Grandmother’s antique cameo broach around the base of my bouquet. I also placed initialed pins on the back of my bouquet in remembrance of both of my Grandfathers.
Maureen Anders of Anders Ruff provided one of my favorite elements of the wedding. Maureen created and designed the save the dates, invites, programs, escort cards, table numbers, menus, and welcome bag materials. These items featured the picturesque oak tree with our monogram. She was truly a joy to work with. At the cocktail hour, the escort cards were hung from mini trees made from Manzanita branches and displayed on an antique table. Mason jars with orange (Eric’s favorite color) ranunculus were displayed on high top tables throughout the back lawn. Guests were served passed appetizers of bacon wrapped shrimp stuffed with chipotle cheese, assorted brushetta, stuffed mushrooms, and garlic seared tenderloin on crostini.
Following cocktail hour, guests were escorted to the cotton dock for the reception. Designing the décor for the cotton dock was one of my number one priorities when planning our big day. Enter Jerri Heater from Ohh Events. Jerri was our Wedding Planner who aided in transforming the cotton dock into a romantic setting brimming with Southern elegance and rustic details. Large wrought iron lanterns glowing with candlelight, hung over the tables. The tables were set up family style allowing for an intimate meal of southern fare from Cru Catering. The meal consisted of crab cakes, shrimp n’ grits, mac and cheese and pulled pork sliders which were prepared with a gourmet twist. The other main elements of the décor included vintage crystal chandeliers that ran down the center of the dance floor. An additional chandelier shimmered in the center of the outside dock. Wooden lanterns, suspended around the perimeter of the dock, created the mood for a comfy lounge area of leather couches. The couches were flanked with custom pillows made by my Mom and embroidered with our monogram. This area provided a relaxing environment for our guests to kick back and enjoy a hand rolled cigar while taking in the magnificent view.
Our wedding cake was designed by Ashley Bakery and featured a large oak that mimicked those of the historic entrance to Boone Hall. The cake was created with alternating red velvet and marble flavored tiers. Surrounding the cake were bourbon pecan pies that were placed on cut tree logs in lieu of a grooms’ cake. Guests were served late night passed grilled cheese sandwiches to fuel their energy as they danced the night away to live music performed by Super Deluxe.
Photography for us, like most couples, was one of the most important elements of the day. Jerri introduced us to the work of Virgil Bruno from CVI Photography. Eric and I agreed to bring him on board to capture our day. I am not a very emotional person. When I started to tear-up when viewing his work and I didn’t even know the couples, I knew he was special. Virgil truly documented the wedding as it was happening and captured the raw emotion, while straying from the overdone posed shots. Virgil was always one step ahead and guided us throughout the day. Our pictures are a continual reminder of the wonderful and genuine moments that Virgil warmly captured through his lens.
On our most momentous and incredibly special day, Eric and I feel blessed to have been surrounded by family and friends.
Venue: Boone Hall Plantation / Wedding Planning, Décor and Lighting: Jerri Heater, Ohh Events / Photography: Virgil Bunao CVI Photography / Floral: Lisa Thomas, Out of Hand / Catering: Cru Catering / Band: Super Deluxe / Paper Products: Maureen Anders, Anders Ruff / Cinematography: Silva’s Photo and Video / Cake: Ashley Bakery / Officiant: Rev. Dr. Holt Clarke / Ceremony and Cocktail Entertainment: The Carolina Trio / Makeup and Hair: Beauty Mastery by Design / Transportation: A Charleston Wedding / Bride’s Attire: Jim Hjelm / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss and J. Hilburn / Bridesmaids Attire: Jim Hjelm / Bride’s Ring: Custom, J. Lewis Jewelry / Groom’s Ring: David Yurman / Cigar Roller: Coastal Cigars / Film Work: Richard Photo