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South Carolina Holiday Wedding at Palmetto Bluff

It doesn’t get much better than a Christmastime wedding. Take all the magic of the holiday season and pair it with two people vowing forever, and you’ve got the ultimate celebration. Anchored in a palette of ivory, gold and pops of festive red, this wedding takes a subtle and elegant approach to embracing the season, and we can’t get enough. Thanks to Perry Vaile for sharing each image inside THE VAULT.

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From Perry… Holiday’s in the South are unique – rarely do we get snow, and sometimes it’s even been so beautiful we can wear tank tops to the Christmas Parade. The warm breeze off of coastal Bluffton, South Carolina might have allowed you to mistake it for May, but Christmas was only a couple weeks away. For Kate and TC, they wanted to embrace a bit of the holiday nostalgia that surrounded them at Palmetto Bluff in the month of December. The intimate, light filled chapel where they said their vows was adorned with sweet traditional wreaths, as they embraced a gold and white palette with accents of oxblood red as a nod to the season.

Kate and TC knew they wanted to keep the party small and intimate, choosing to forgo traditional bridal parties and allowing their friends to truly soak in all elements of the day as guests. The cocktail hour was kicked off by the gospel choir following the ceremony’s conclusion; powerful voices dressed in white led the way for guests. The cocktail hour continued on the porch of the main Inn, highlighted by an abundance of white linen furniture and gold details.

Their reception decor included garlands dancing across full-length banquet tables and thin, tall tapers glowed between floral clusters, and the couple capped the night by roasting s’mores on the lawn.

Photography: Perry Vaile Photography | Event Planning: Ashley Rhodes Events | Floral Design: Em Creative Floral | Cake: Minette Rushing | Invitations: Lowcountry Paper Company | Band: Flashback | Wedding Venue: Palmetto Bluff | Rentals: Ooh! Events | Venue & Catering: Palmetto Bluff

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Sophisticated Southern Wedding at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff

There’s no question that KT Merry‘s captures of this slice of Southern lovin’ will steal up a good portion of your afternoon. Simply put, it’s wedding gold. But if you want to elevate that spark, direct your eyes toward the Bride’s eloquent story below. Paired with this incredible gallery, she’ll make you feel as if you were one of the lucky guests at this perfectly intimate soiree, tagging along for the sweet journey.

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From The Bride…James’ and my love story began our sophomore year of college. We became best friends as we lived in the same dorm and shared a love of music. Throughout the next several years we would travel together to music festivals and on weekend trips with our friends and I went to see James’ band play almost every weekend each summer. While I was insistent on not ruining our friendship with a relationship, it was my father who gave me the best advice. “Looks will fade but conversation and friendship never will.” He married my mother, his best friend, 44 years ago and he loves her more and more every day. Finally, a few years after college I took my father’s wise advice and James and I began dating. Two and a half years later, James got down on one knee on a pink sand beach on Harbour Island, Bahamas and asked me to marry him.

We were married in an intimate destination wedding at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC on Friday, May 16th, 2014. Our wedding weekend began with a welcome dinner hosted by my parents at their beach house on Hilton Head Island. Catered by the Bluffton Oyster Company, our guests enjoyed fresh oysters on the half shell, roasted oysters, fresh fish tacos, and a classic lowcountry boil.

The weather forecast was calling for rain the night of the welcome dinner but we remained optimistic as the sun periodically peeked out. However, by the time hors d’oeuvres were being passed and oysters were being shucked, the downpour started. Even in spite of the forecast, the amount of torrential rain that poured down surprised everyone. We had made a last minute decision to move the tents from the beach side of the house to the more protected front yard but even that didn’t stop the rain from soaking everyone. Everyone huddled around the bar and oyster tables with their mason jars of peach sangria and raspberry rum iced tea and laughed together over the drenching rain. Towards the end of the night when the rain finally began to let up our guests moved to the deck overlooking the pool while cigars were passed out and James and his old band-mates played music.

The morning of the wedding we awoke to the most spectacular day. Our weather misfortune the night before brought us the most perfect weather for our wedding day. I got ready in my parent’s beach house where I’ve spent every summer since I was born. While my bridesmaids and I had our hair and makeup done, James and his friends went golfing.

Our ceremony was held at the Waterside Chapel at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff overlooking the May River. My father came to meet me in the tiny post office across from the chapel to walk me down the aisle. I was overwhelmed with emotion from the moment he appeared at the door. As we walked down the cobblestone street to the chapel families in golf carts drove by yelling wishes of congratulations and little girls on bikes rode past telling me how pretty they thought my dress was. It was an incredibly surreal moment as I walked with my father through this magical little town to marry my best friend.

Once James and I were pronounced husband and wife the chapel doors opened to the Voices of El Shaddai, a large Gullah gospel choir, singing “Oh Happy Day.” The choir led all of the guests over to a beautiful lawn on the bank of the river for an extended cocktail hour. The choir immediately got all of the guests up singing and dancing with them as waiters passed our signature cocktails, ‘peaches and bourbon’ and ‘el matrimonio clandestino.’ Waiters passed southern inspired hors d’oeuvres including she-crab soup shooters, white cheddar rosemary mac and cheese bites, spicy tuna sushi, shrimp cocktail, grilled beef salad on endive, and mini andouille sausage corndogs. After the cocktail hour guests were escorted into the grand ballroom in the Inn for the reception.

We decorated the ballroom simply for the reception, focusing on the surrounding natural beauty of the venue. We had two long tables with white linens and grey table runners. The table runners on each table were monogrammed at the ends in white with our monogram that was used on our invitations. Urban Poppy designed simple but stunning all white centerpieces that were interspersed with mercury glass votives and small bud vases with big blooms. The incredibly talented Laura Condouris of Trial by Cupcakes did all of the calligraphy, which included music and literary quotes on grey paper with white ink that we placed around the reception.

Surrounding the ballroom was a large veranda on which we had a lounge area and the bar with our monogram embroidered on the fabric in the center inlay. James and I shared our first dance to Ray Lamontagne’s “Can I Stay,” followed by an incredible welcome speech by my father. Our seventy-seven guests enjoyed a three-course dinner, which included grilled local grouper and filet mignon. For dessert we served homemade warm beignets in baskets on the tables and our wedding cake in two flavors, white cake torted with lemon and coconut and white cake torted with fresh raspberry filling and white chocolate mousse. Groovetown played through the four-hour reception and kept everyone up and dancing.

Once the reception was over, guests were invited to stay for cigars, s’mores, and other late night snacks by three bonfires, where we had set up another bar as well as a table with sliders, mini pimento grilled cheese, and French fries. Guests roasted marshmallows and sipped on cocktails as James and his friends once more broke out their guitars. The night finally wound down around 2:30am when the last shuttle ferried our remaining guests back to their respective hotels.

The day after the wedding our guests were invited back to the Inn at Palmetto Bluff for a casual farewell brunch and a relaxing day by the pool. Some guests joined us on a kayak trip down the May River while others sipped cocktails poolside. The weekend concluded with a casual BBQ at one of the beautiful village homes we had rented at Palmetto Bluff.

Our wedding weekend was even better than we dreamed it could be. We were surrounded with love from our closest friends and family as we celebrated the most incredible and unforgettable day of our lives. We are so thankful to our families for helping to make the day possible and to our guests who traveled from near and far to celebrate with us. We are also so appreciative to all of our fantastic vendors who helped to make the day so perfect, especially the incomparable KT Merry who was able to capture our wedding day with pictures that we’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Photography: KT Merry | Videography: IMint Media | Cake: Tier Luxury Cakes | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Rory Beca | Hair And Makeup: Agata Helena | Calligraphy: Trial By Cupcakes | Band: Groovetown | Groom's Attire: Burberry | Bride's Dress: Custom Made Monique Lhuillier | Ceremony + Reception Location: Inn At Palmetto Bluff | Ceremony Musicians: Alyssa Jae Duo | Choir: Voices Of El Shaddai | Day Of Paperie: LoveLeigh Invitations | Floral: Urban Poppy | Groom's Shoes: Hugo Boss | Groom's Tie: Celine | Invitation And Save The Date: Stephanie Pryor Designs | Man Of Honor's Dresses: Reformation | Matchboxes And Monogrammed Napkins: GraciousBridal On ETSY

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Romantic Plantation Wedding in South Carolina

Drawing inspiration from their favorite things, these long-distance lawyers wed in the old South surrounded by sparkling chandeliers and Spanish moss. Their Big Day was a marriage of antique classic with a glamorous ballroom affair. From the choir singing ceremony to the meaningful vows in a midst of ancient oak trees, every detail Posh Petals And Pearls planned Erin Rene Photography captured, here!

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From the beautiful Bride… Bryan and I were introduced by a mutual friend while we were in law school — he was at University of South Carolina and I was at University of Alabama. When we ran into each other at an Alabama football game, we just “knew,” as hokey as it sounds, and were inseparable after that. We were long distance for the first few years, but so smitten that it didn’t even seem difficult to balance our relationship while we each finished law school. We went through everything together, from graduation to the bar exam and braving the recession to working the “real world,” and we were best friends and so in love the entire time. He was my favorite part of those years. By the time he proposed, we had been dating for six years. I was so excited that he couldn’t surprise me, even though he desperately wanted to. On the intended “big day,” we were out on the boat in Bluffton, S.C., near where we had our wedding, and the sun was setting. It was perfect. He was waiting for the right moment when the boat motor gave out. A friendly passer-by had to tow us in. He tried to recover by taking me to a romantic dinner, but the restaurant was closed. The next restaurant was closed as well. He was so despondent that we finally bought some ground beef for hamburgers and headed back to the house. It took him a few days to recover before he could give proposing a second shot, and it was worth the wait!

Our relationship was Old South born, and Lowcountry raised. South Carolina is my home and my family has grown up on the May River in Bluffton, S.C. for generations. Bryan and I fell in love on our weekends there, skipping class for one more day on the water, dreaming of who we would be together, and watching sunsets through chandeliers of Spanish moss. We are the happiest there, and we couldn’t imagine a better setting than a historic home on our favorite tidal waters. There’s something about that part of the world that feels like a holy place, its own kind of sanctuary, and we could not decorate a room to be more beautiful than the landscape itself. Our guests were traveling from all over, some from other countries, and we wanted our wedding to not only welcome them with the famed hospitality of the South, but also to surround them with the romantic landscape that we love so much.

Our wedding was inspired by who we are as a couple and the things that we love the most. Our style is very antique classic with a touch of glamour, so it only seemed appropriate to host a formal affair in a ballroom of ancient oak trees and sweet, salty air. We love the romance of the South Carolina low country and the white glove elegance of history, so we used the fragrant, natural beauty of the coastline as a backdrop, and amplified it with the contrast of formal, heirloom items, like crystal chandeliers, crisp white linens, and family silver. For us, it was everything beautiful, all in one place.

Our wedding was full of special touches, but our favorite was our ceremony music, the choir from the Second Euhaw Baptist Church in neighboring Ridgeland, SC. A dear friend of my mother’s raised her voice in that choir every Sunday until she passed, shortly after agreeing that the choir would sing in our wedding. In her honor, her church family rallied their choir to our wedding and sang with a zeal that will continue to bless our marriage for years to come. They sang our guests to their seats, then went into the house, and as we walked down the front steps for the first time as husband and wife, they burst through the doors behind us, clapping and singing. The chorus of their joyful music carried us the rest of the way down the aisle in the most spirited, exalted soundtrack of worship we had ever heard. As Bryan would later say, “Once they started singing, everything else was just window dressing.”

My most vivid memory is Bryan’s face as we exchanged vows. Everything had been so busy and exciting, but as I walked down the aisle, all the wedding planning and nerves fell away, leaving me with only overwhelming love and appreciation. I wondered for an instant if he would be too nervous or preoccupied to feel it too, and at that very moment, a light breeze swelled off the marsh, blowing my veil to the side, and I saw him clearly. His face beamed with emotion, brimming with joy, adoration, gratitude, pride, and love, and I knew we were feeling the exact same thing at the exact same time. I remember watching his lip quiver and how hard he worked to keep the tears welled in his eyes from slipping onto his cheeks, and I remember dancing the fine line between surrendering myself completely to the emotions, but not too much, lest I melt into a blubbering pile of happy tears right there on the plantation steps. I remember seeing in his face that we were completely together in that moment, living the day we had dreamed of for so long, saying out loud the words we had whispered to each other so many times, in a gorgeous setting tailor made for us, with everyone that loved us looking on. For those few minutes, the world slowed and the only emotion we felt was our love for each other. Our photographer was so incredibly talented that she caught too many precious moments to count, but my favorites are from those few minutes during the ceremony, kissing Daddy goodbye and committing myself to my husband. Our photographer was seriously the best decision we made for our wedding.

Bryan wanted our first look to happen during the ceremony. Because we were outside, we had to fabricate a “first look,” since we didn’t have any doors to hide behind. We agreed that after the procession of wedding party, he would turn his back to the wedding, facing the officiant, until I got to the beginning of the aisle, when he would turn back around to watch me walk to him. After the last bridesmaid, Bryan turned around and listened to the bagpipes that preceded me come down the aisle playing “Highland Cathedral.” He listened to their keening, majestic music get closer and closer, anticipating the reveal, until his father tapped his shoulder to turn around as I walked toward him on Daddy’s arm, in full bridal glory. We had planned every other detail of the wedding so much that we had seen it all in advance, but that moment was left a surprise.

Think Sound of Music’s “A Few of My Favorite Things,” translate it into your relationship, and make it a wedding. Here’s what I mean: There was so much pressure to develop a grand, cohesive vision that it was really overwhelming. After agonizing over a few things, we ended up deciding that our theme, our “vision,” would be “Britton and Bryan’s favorite things”: crystal chandeliers, oak trees, clear top tents, Spanish moss, tuxedos, pearls, marsh grass, etc. It started out as a joke, but ended up being exactly what we needed to filter the decisions — when asked to make a selection, we didn’t think about how trying to make it look like this or that or what others would think. Instead, we would just pick what we liked the best, generally, in life. We were the common thread for all our selections — it was all stuff that made us happy, and that made it all work.

Photography: Erin Rene Photography | Event Planning: Posh Petals And Pearls | Floral Design: Harvey Designs | Wedding Dress: White On Daniel Island | Ceremony Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Reception Venue: Rose Hill Mansion | Catering: Celebrations Catering | Makeup: Dollface By Jules | Hair: Sheri's Hair Affair | Lighting: JLK Events | Ceremony Music: Second Euhaw Baptist Church In Ridgeland, South Carolina | Ceremony Music: Cameron and Christian Kloot | Rentals: Savannah Special Events

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here