I think backyard, black tie might be my new favorite wedding category after seeing this Beaufort beauty by Virgil Bunao. It is so breathtakingly gorgeous – with that South Carolina charm that seems to bounce off the screen and a bride that couldn’t be prettier. Mix that charm with the perfect amount of elegance from the long bridesmaid dresses, dapper gentlemen in tuxedos and chandeliers, and y’all – we have a winner. It’s southern style done oh so right, and there is even more in the full gallery!

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From the Mother of the Bride...The wedding was held at the Parish Church of St. Helena where Allison had been a member since moving to Beaufort.  The church is celebrating 300 years and it was humbling to be a part of history on Friday night at rehearsal when Allison and Ben signed the marriage ledger which has been in use since the church has been in existence.  Rector Jeff Miller served as clergy and the homily to Allison and Ben and all those present gave the assurance of a successful marriage if it was built on a firm foundation of faith in Christ.  With this firm foundation of faith they would be able to weather any storms in their life. Allison and Ben had their heart set on having the reception at our home where she had grown up and had experienced many happy memories.  This idea was very overwhelming at first but it was their day and we were willing to try to make it happen for them.

Beautiful Beaufort by the sea lies in the heart of the Lowcountry.   The Lowcountry is the coastal plain stretching from Pawley’s Island to the Savannah River.  Beaufort County is composed of sixty four islands and our home, Melrose, is on Lady’s Island one of the larger islands. The home was built in 1905 on the bluff of Factory Creek named after the local oyster factory which was originally here.  Oyster shells are plentiful along the bluff because of its history so as a tribute we filled luminaries lining the pool steps with shells gathered here. The yard has many varieties of hydrangeas including Allison’s favorite the old fashioned French blue mop head that normally bloom mid May to late June.  Allison wanted to have the wedding during this season to take advantage of the display but little did we know it would be an exceptionally hot spring and the season was ahead of schedule but thankfully the blooms stayed around for the big day.

Our family is pretty notorious for being “do it yourselfers” whether it is the house, the yard and I guess now, the wedding so we chose not to hire an event planner.  Allison and I did most of the planning but we definitely had a team approach with the whole family pitching in at some points with everyone from Brad doing electrical to the sisters tying bows.  We learned a lot along the way and I am sure in the eyes of others we made mistakes but we had a lot of fun and when all was said and done it was exactly what Allison and Ben wanted.  They could not have been happier and that was very important to us.  It was a very special experience for our whole family.  Even the sisters commented it was the most fun weekend of their life and it wasn’t even their wedding!

Allison did not want the backyard turned into a ballroom but rather a larger version of some backyard parties we had in the past. We chose a neutral palette of champagne silk linens for the guest tables with natural linen burlap accents on the bar and food stations.  Lighting was with wrought iron lanterns and chandeliers.  Tents rented through Amazing Events in Beaufort were set up to work around the live oaks trees and to catch the view of the Beaufort River. The wedding involved three generations of families and as a special touch, Allison and Ben set up a display table with photos of their parents and grandparents on their wedding days.

Wedding Photography: Virgil Bunao / Caterer: Duvall / Wedding Cake: Singes Bakery / Pies: Suzara’s Kitchen / Floral Design: Outrageous Floral Designs, Sally Hendricks / Band: Loose Chain, East Coast Entertainment / Transportation: Old Savannah Tours / Wedding Dress: White on Daniel Island exclusive design by Jodi Moylan / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaid Dresses: Watters and Watters via Berlin’s on King / Hair + Make-up: Lime Lite Studio / Tuxedo: Amazing Rentals / Invitations: Chesnut Denton Stationery / Stationery + Other Paper Goods: Non(e) Such / Ceremony Location: Parish Church of St. Helena / Reception Location: Private Residence / Film Work: Richard Photo