You would never know by looking at these photographs that a hurricane passed through this couple’s reception. You wouldn’t know it because the look on their faces isn’t of fear or frustration. It’s joy. Pure, unabashed joy. And with a style that is as whimsical as it is chic, with fun, spunky DIY details for days, I think we would all feel a little bit joyful to be a part of a wedding like this. With photos by Gracie Blue Photography LLC, there is more here!
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From The Groom… I met Rosie the first week of College – I had just returned from Alaska, she had just moved home from New Zealand. Apparently, after several attempts at school we had both simultaneously moved from the opposite corners of the world to the same small mountain college in North Carolina. We hit it off as friends, and the more I got to know her, the more I was amazed at how cool she was: equestrian, tall-ship sailor, international traveler, wildland fire fighter- there was nothing she couldn’t tackle. At the end of the term, I headed up to Alaska for the summer work, and Rosie decided to come too. We fell in love that summer under the midnight sun, picking vegetables on the farm, chasing moose under the wildfire’s smoke, backpacking in Denali. Numerous adventures and 4 years later, I asked her to marry me on a sunrise hike to the top of a mountain not far from where we first met.
Rosie comes from a horse farm background and I work in agriculture, so our rustic-chic theme at a historic rice plantation fit in perfectly. We like to think that the theme of the wedding is a combination of Old South romance and New South chic – the haunted plantation house playing host to a BBQ food truck says it all.
From The Bride… Unlike most girls, I had never really pictured my wedding dress, so I started the process with basically no idea of what I wanted or what I was doing. I spent a combination of what seemed like hours on the internet and hours traversing bridal shops with my mom and maid of honor. After several trips to puffed-sleeves-and-sequins-land and several glasses of free champagne, I of course ended up picking the first dress that I had fallen in love with on Etsy.
The dress itself was a reproduction of a vintage design, custom made on the other side of the world, just for me – I sent in my specifications and it was an amazing deal. I was so surprised when it showed up in the mail – I couldn’t believe that it came packed in such a tiny box! After it arrived I actually ended up doing a bit of work on it myself by adding several layers before I had it professionally finished by a local tailor. It was beautiful and classic and southern and layered with three different types of lace, ruffles and fabrics, which added a bit of whimsy. Everyone who saw it ahead of time said ‘It’s just so you!’, so I knew I had made the right choice.
From The Bride and Groom… On the same day as the engagement, we were heading home to Tennessee, and trying to figure out what we wanted from a wedding location. Almost immediately, we both said, ‘Spanish moss!’ and agreed it was the one thing we had to have, and that is what led our search to Charleston. We actually took a long weekend to visit six or so plantations over four days and ended up not loving any of them.
On a fluke, we saw a photo of Litchfield Plantation and scheduled a last minute appointment. From the moment we saw the Oak Alley, we knew that it was perfect for us! We loved everything about it, from the beautiful old plantation house to the fact that it had two separate outdoor settings that we could use – an oak alley for the ceremony as well as a large yard for the reception. The fact that it was located in Pawley’s Island, where my family had been summering for generations, was just the icing on the cake!
One early detail that we agreed on was that if we were going to all the trouble to have a wedding, we wanted to make it an occasion for us to spend time with all of our family and friends. In keeping with this idea, we took up three beach houses in the area, so we could spend the week before the wedding all together. This way, by the time the wedding arrived, everyone already knew each other and it made for an even better party!
One of our other favorite details is that for all of the things we couldn’t do ourselves, we hired only local, owner-operators to cater, photograph, video and orchestrate the wedding.
This was a very DIY affair! All of the decor was DIY – we hand-etched the glasses, baked all the desserts, arranged all the flowers, Rosie made her own veil and her father even made the corn hole set. Everything from the boutonnieres to the vows, from the signs to the programs, we did it all! We are both very hands-on, and Rosie is a baker and an artist, so making all the decor, picking each song played and designing our own save the dates was a big part of the planning process. Of course, what ultimately made this all possible was the incredible group of family and friends who helped us every step of the way, and made sure that everything went off smoothly on the big day!
From The Groom… We chose to use several bright primary colors with a white and burlap background. I wanted bright sunflower yellow and cheerful red, and Rosie added soft blues, greens and pinks. It was a very natural, soft-wildflower-meadow color scheme. As a little girl, whenever anyone asked Rosie what her favorite color was, she would respond ‘all the colors!’, so it just made sense to not restrict ourselves to just one or two colors, but instead to create a natural and relaxed atmosphere.
Before the wedding I was standing in the stairwell as our planner cued the last bridesmaid, and just as she went out the door before me, I could hear our violinist playing. In that moment, alone in the doorway with the melody of a single violin playing me down the aisle, I suddenly realized that I couldn’t be happier that I had finally reached this moment. I thought, ‘I can’t believe this is it!’ and it is a moment I will certainly never forget!
Another unforgettable moment was when we looked out over the gathered crowd before we were presented as husband and wife and saw both our families, Southerners, Italians, Irish folks and all our friends eating BBQ and playing yard games together – it was perfect, just how we had been envisioning it for the last year.
A moment that cannot be overlooked, was when after the small hurricane that hit our wedding finally blew away and we were wondering where to start picking up the pieces, the rain cleared just long enough for our grand sparkler exit from the plantation house – that was another moment when the whole family was there, soaked to the bone but smiling and waving sparklers around us. The high spirits couldn’t be dampened by the weather. I twirled Rosie twice, overtaken with joy.
In regards to vendors, Gracie Blue (grblue.com) went far above and beyond what she had to. She did a great job organizing the pictures and moving along the pre-wedding preparations and when the storm hit, she packed up her equipment and helped us do damage control. Then when we were back inside, she unpacked her camera and took more pictures, which were all beautiful.
It couldn’t have happened without Lauren of Fox Events (afoxevent.com), who was professional, friendly and cool even under tough times. Despite challenging circumstances, she kept upbeat and positive the entire time and was a great source of support.
Our advice for future brides and grooms is that your wedding won’t be perfect. But if you plan it right, then you’ll be surrounded by the people who love you. At some point, you should make the conscious decision to let go of your expectations and just wrap yourself up in the wonderful happiness that is committing to your best friend for life, and ignore all the catering fails, drunk guests and inclement weather that derail your plans. You only get this moment once, and you definitely don’t want to miss it!
Photography: Gracie Blue Photography LLC | Event Planning: Fox Events | Wedding Venue: Litchfield Plantation | Food Truck: Hello My Name Is BBQ