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They Were Set Up on a Blind Date and the Rest is Crazy Beautiful History

The proof is in the pudding, folks: blind dates are sooo worth it.  Just ask these two cuties, who met on a blind date with friends (after TWO YEARS of hounding!) and knew after just one “official” date that  So when it came time to say their “I do’s,” they enlisted the help of Engaging Events for a botanical inspired celebration, aka, one of the prettiest weddings you will ever lay your eyes upon. Start soaking in every moment captured by Shannon Michele in THE VAULT.


From the Bride… We were set up by two of our friends, Erika and Dana.  (I introduced them to each other in college and now they are engaged!) They tried to set us up for about two years, but neither of us liked blind dates so we kept refusing. In early 2013, I told Erika I was ready to meet Matt (after a string of blind dates). The four of us met to grab drinks and dinner and unfortunately for introverted Matt, we are some of the loudest and extroverted people you’ll ever meet, so he really didn’t get a word in edgewise. At the end of the night, he plucked up the courage to ask me out on a solo date where we might be able to get to know each other a little better and I agreed. During the solo date we both admitted we knew that we were on a date with our future spouse.

On our wedding day, I felt overwhelmingly calm and excited throughout the entire day. I knew that everything had been so meticulously planned that I could relax and enjoy the day and take in every special detail. We started the day off getting ready with our friends and proceeded to take a trolley ride to St. Luke’s Chapel. I slipped into my dress with the help of my mother and maids of honor (my two best friends since childhood). I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the First Look, but both of us agree, it was the best choice for us. It took so much pressure off the day and gave us a special few moments together alone to truly soak in the commitment we were about to make.

Everything from the music, flowers, and programs were so beautiful and meaningful. We wrote our own vows (using ancient Celtic vows as our inspiration) and my younger brother officiated the ceremony. I still have friends and family remark on how beautiful, special and sentimental the ceremony was. Matt and I drove off to the reception in my grandfather’s 1951 Thunderbird. The weather and light made for the most beautiful pictures with our friends. The decorations were so beautiful! I really felt like it was a true representation of Matt and myself. Guests enjoyed walking from the rooms to the decks taking in all the gorgeous flowers and wedding day pictures belonging to our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. The food was incredible! Having stations throughout the reception really helped provide movement and allowed the guests to explore. Matt and I spent most of the night dancing to the amazing band and enjoying our guests company.

My father gave a toast before the cutting of the cake. It was at that moment that the reality of the day hit me. Here I was marrying my best friend in the same place as my parents in the city where I was born. As my father talked to the crowd I could tell how impressed he was by the wedding and reception and humbled by the beauty and thoughtfulness of the day we worked so hard to accomplish. We ended the night with our last dance to one of our favorite songs, “Sweet Disposition,” and exited as our guest threw a shower of dried lavender to send us off. It’s hard to put all of my thoughts and feelings towards the day into a few paragraphs; we relished every single moment and detail and would do it all over again and again.

As I was born in Charleston and it was a frequent vacation spot for our family and friends, I really wanted to honor the history and personality of the city as well as my family’s history and personality with the city. Charleston herself inspired the colors and motif I chose. Our colors were soft peach, lavender, sage, and cotton. For the motif I wanted a combination of rustic and modern. I imagined an old fashioned post card for our save the dates. I wanted the invitation to feel whimsical, rustic and botanical. For the program to be a modern representation of us as a couple, honoring our family and friends. I wanted the ceremony to be soft and sweet, and the reception to encourage our guests to appreciate the landscape and have fun. The food was inspired by the character of the city. All of this and more was accomplished. From the locations to the collateral, to the decorations, to the band, everything in my original vision was achieved.

Advice for Future Brides?  If you have Cindy and the Engaging Events team behind you, ENJOY EVERY MOMENT! Honestly it is so easy to get overwhelmed and focused on all the unimportant minutia of the day. Remember why you are getting married. Think of how important and special it is for your friends and family. You want to look back on your day with the fondest of memories. So as hard as it might seem, relax. Enjoy yourself. Take in every special moment and try to capture it forever. My wedding WAS the best day of my life. It was fun, meaningful, sentimental, exciting, and beautiful. I only hope everyone has the chance to feel that way on their wedding day.

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Vault CTA

Photography: Shannon Michele Photography | Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander | Cake: Elaine's Events | Stationery: Dodeline Design | Ceremony Venue: St. Luke's Chapel | Reception Venue: Good Food Catering | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew | Hair + Makeup: Vanity Salon | Band: Charleston Groove Factory | Ceremony Music: Clelia Reardon | Transportation: Absolutely Charleston | Transportation: Charleston Style Limo | Catering + Beverage Services: Good Food Catering | Event Planning, Floral Design + Event Design: Engaging Events, LLC | Linen Rentals: BBJ | Rentals: Total Table | Rentals: Eventworks | Rentals: Snyder

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Plan the Ultimate Bachelorette Weekend!

Hi SMP brides! It’s Jess from Dressed by Jess and I’m excited to give you a taste of my bachelorette weekend in Charleston, SC. We spent four full days on the Isle of Palms and Charleston and I could go on and on for hours declaring my love for these two beautiful places. Today I’m sharing the highlights plus a few tips to planning an unforgettable getaway with your own bridal party crew.

Rather than checking into a hotel we decided to rent a big ol’ beach house for the weekend. It was steps away from the ocean and my sister and bridesmaids decked it out with flamingos & pineapples- the perfect beachy details. A dream getaway for me includes pampering, relaxing, and sunbathing. The girls worked so hard to make this weekend extra special for me, and for that reason I wanted to treat them to a surprise lunch alongside live Oak alley at Boone Hall. I reached out to Ava Moore Photography and Gigi of Smells Like Peonies Events to pull it off. With the help of amazing vendors, it turned out to be one epic lunch date with my girls!

The afternoon couldn’t have been more perfect. A storm had just rolled in and so there was practically no one left at the mansion. It was quiet, serene, and out of a scene of a movie. We were surrounded by beautiful flowers and the most gorgeous tablescape I have ever seen (thanks to Gigi). After the champagne was popped, we dove into the oreo-filled cake and truly soaked in every moment under the Oak trees. It was magical! The best part of this weekend was being surrounded by all of my girls. If you are planning a bachelorette or a simple girls’ getaway, here are 5 tips for creating an epic weekend.

Designate one or two group organizers (in my case it was my maid of honor and bridesmaids) and make sure to collect all payments prior to your trip. Everyone should enjoy themselves from the moment they walk in the door and not have to worry about making payments during the special events. Which brings me to my next point…

Plan ahead. When traveling to a new city make sure to do all your planning ahead of time. Utilize tools like The Bach (an online resource that provides party ideas, venue recommendations, and tools to simplify the planning process).

Have a meal catered in! Sometimes restaurants can be too loud and they take away from the intimacy of the event.

Surprise & delight! In the case of a bachelorette party, it’s always fun to surprise all the guests with special treats. My sister prepared tote bags with beach towels, flamingo straws, koozies, custom t-shirts, and delicious chocolate covered pretzels by Fatty Sundays (even the boxes were customized for my bach weekend!).

Plan events that are meaningful to you and your gal pals. Whether it’s sunrise yoga, a painting class, zip-lining, a wellness retreat, or just a simple slumber party, it’s important that your bachelorette or girls’ weekend is completely tailored to your interests.

As cheesy as this may sound, quality time with your girlfriends should be cherished. It’s not often you can rally everyone together for a destination celebration, but when you do, have fun with it and try to disconnect from social media to be present in the moment.

xx Jess

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Photography: Ava Moore Photography | Event Planning: Smells Like Peonies Events | Floral Design: Wildflowers Inc. | Invitations: Letter Loft Prints | Hair: Mirror Mirror Charleston | calligraphy: Corsivo Calligraphy | Custom Pretzels: Fatty Sundays | Desserts: Swank Desserts | rentals: Eventworks

BONUS! Check Our My Margs + Maids Party

Jess Galfo

Legacy Anniversary Session: 50 Years of Love & Marriage

If there was ever a couple to embody everlasting love, Ken and Phyllis are it. Because these two? Totally ah-dorable. And their 50 year anniversary? Even more so. Complete with a quiet breakfast and an afternoon stroll, Kylie Martin captured it all to share and we’ve got it waiting for you in The Vault!

From Kylie MartinThis lovely couple celebrated over five decades of love and marriage together this spring in Charleston, South Carolina.  They started off their morning with a quite stroll through the grounds of Riveroaks, followed by an intimate breakfast over coffee. After a peaceful morning of laughing and walking together, Phyllis pulled out her family photo album that has been passed down from generation to generation. They both looked over it, shared stories and reminisced. In between shots they shared stories of their lives together and their family.

Their love story began in high school – Ken says he saw Phyllis playing the piano in the school orchestra and fell in love – Phyllis says it took her awhile to be interested in him. But we know the end of the story! Fifty-seven years, two children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren later their love for each other is greater and stronger.

They have lived all over the United States – coast to coast – and with each move we became active with a local church, embraced the local community and enjoyed exploring the surrounding area. Ken’s career and Phyllis’ spirit of adventure made each move exciting. Every day brings a new adventure to add to their life’s journey, for they believe God has given them these experiences to share with others who may be embarking on a similar path.

Ken says they have a marriage of equals, each with a different role. Phyllis says that when a decision must be made and they don’t agree that she believes God has given Ken the responsibility to make that decision! That has been the recipe for their 57 years and given them a love and respect for each other that is greater today than it ever was!

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Vault CTA

Photography: Kylie Martin | Styling + Design: Lacy Geary | Hair + Makeup: Mikel Rumsey | Venue: RiverOaks Charleston | Creative Direction: RiverOaks Charleston | Film Processing: PhotoVision Prints | Workshop: Belle Lumière