I don’t even know where to start with this wedding. You can plainly see in the images from Liz Banfield just how much thought was put into every beautiful detail. The butterfly and bee motif carried throughout, the beautiful gown details mirrored in the cake, all the special little touches for the lucky, lucky guests… I don’t think there was a moment that wasn’t carefully and lovingly thought out by the beautiful bride and handsome groom. It was absolutely perfect.
From the photographer… When Gayle Brooker, a celebrated wedding photographer from Charleston, SC became engaged to carpenter Neilson Wilkinson she had many elements already already in mind without doing a stroke of research. First on her list was the gorgeous Lowndes Grove Plantation, a historic home on the banks of the Ashley River and just North of downtown Charleston. Second, having photographed many of her spectacular affairs, Gayle also knew that Tara Guérard would be the one to guide the overall design of the event. Finally, her friend and mentor, photographer Liz Banfield was hired to chronicle the day in lush medium format and 35mm film.
With the major elements in place, a color scheme of yellow, golds, grey, ivory, and pale pink was established to tie together the look of the wedding. She asked her bridesmaids to pick out their own grey dresses to have a visually cohesive look without entirely matching. Bouquets of pink peonies, runuculous, and sweat peas added a touch of sweet brightness against the fabric.
Tara designed a spectacular dining area, al fresco, with long banquet tables and single stem flowers (peonies, Queen Anne’s Lace) in hand-blown glass globes. The height of these arrangements were balance by low planted succulents in white boxes. Overhead a canopy of globe string lights lent a European flair to the event. In the lounge couches of natural woven fibers and raw log-inspired side tables gave the room an earthy touch.
The nature-loving couple was married beneath a large oak tree and under a canopy of paper butterflies, blowing from ribbon in the breeze off the Ashley River. The butterfly motif was also incorporated into a stunning butler card display of two rough cut logs covered with paper butterflies, each hand-calligraphed by Elizabeth Porcher Jones.
After exchanging vows and custom designed rings by Karen Karch, the couple was showered with birdseed before moving to their cocktail hour. Hors d’oeuvres were served on rustic slate slabs.
At dinner, guests were greeted by menus designed by Oscar & Emma tied with string and a small hand-stamped coin charm with the word “enjoy.” The same charm with the message “love” had graced the invitations.
For the cake, Gayle and Neilson cut into a stunning Jim Smeal creation that was covered in blooms inspired by Gayle’s Vera Wang gown and tiny gold bees, an element from the printed materials.
After a night of dancing, guests were treated to jars of Kennerty Farms honey custom wrapped the message “be sweet.” Friends lined up with sparklers to wish the couple off and the bride and groom carried a “just married” flag created by Tara through sparklers!
Photography: Liz Banfield | Floral + Event Design: Tara Guérard | Event Planning: Tara Guérard | Venue: Lowndes Grove | Invitations: Oscar & Emma | Menus, place cards + escort cards: The Lettered Olive | Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones | Shoes: J.Crew | Dress: Vera Wang | Rings: Karen Karch | Cake: Jim Smeal | Custom Artwork for “Guest Book”: Seth Gadsden | Favors: honey by Kennerty Farms