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Classic + Traditional Southern Wedding in Charleston

Virgil Bunao Photography has a way with the lens that totally makes your heart flutter. Perfect example? This crazy beautiful southern wedding in Charleston that’s all sorts of incredible. From the indoor church ceremony to the intimate reception, we’ve got it all waiting for you (including the Bride’s gorgeous Heidi Elnora gown and the bridesmaids’ blush beauties by Joanna August) in The Vault!

Colors
Seasons
Summer
Styles
Classic

From the Bride…Most girls dream of their wedding their whole lives. While I did have my fair share of wedding dress daydreams and church bell fantasies, I more frequently dreamt of my husband – what he would be like, what qualities he would embody, and what we would accomplish together. It was no surprise to me that I knew I was going to marry Taylor the first time I met him. He profoundly embodied every quality and more that I had dreamt of all those years. It was truly love at first sight. Charleston was a mainstay throughout our relationship, as we frequently vacationed there while dating. We moved to Atlanta after Taylor graduated from Law school and me from graduate school at University of Tennessee. Shortly after, we got engaged on the Battery. Since Charleston had played such an important role in our courtship, it was a very natural decision for us to marry there.

In the early stages of wedding planning we decided that we wanted our wedding to embody our deep love and commitment for each other, honor our families and unique history with personal touches, and represent our classic and southern styles. We found the perfect ceremony venue at the French Huguenot Church. It was beautiful, classic, had a storied history, was uniquely Charleston, and ultimately was representative our old-world love story. The William Aiken house was the ideal reception venue as we wanted a reception with both indoor and outdoor elements while remaining intimate and romantic. In choosing Charleston and these particular venues, we found exactly what we were searching for – the ideal blend of tradition with progress, beauty with simplicity, and elegance with calm.

The color palette was made up of soft blushes and peach with accents of metallic gold and emerald green. Gina Langford painted an unbelievably gorgeous custom wedding crest for us which served as both our wedding palate color inspiration and floral inspiration. The wedding crest included Juliet garden roses, magnolias, peaches (a nod to our “together-home state” of Georgia), confederate jasmine and honeybees to pay homage to my childhood growing up on a farm with honeybees. The crest foremost set a theme: Whimsical, romantic, us. My stationer carried elements from the crest through all of our paper goods from invitations to signage, favor tags, and our ceremony program. The floral arrangements inspired by our crest included peach garden roses, blush peonies, jasmine, emerald magnolia leaves, and real Georgia peaches that Taylor and I brought to Charleston from Atlanta. The bridesmaids wore soft pink, floor length Joanna August bridesmaids dresses and carried peach garden rose bouquets with greenery that perfectly tied the color palette together.

There were so many lovely, unique touches to our wedding that meant so much to us, and we are fortunate that our incredible wedding photographer, Virgil Bunao (whom we found via the Style Me Pretty blog), was able to capture every bit of nuanced elegance. My bouquet was wrapped with lace from my mother’s wedding gown and included a century-old family crest ring that my husband inherited and gifted to me upon our engagement, and a gold locket with my new initials from Charleston jeweler, Croghan’s Jewel Box. I surprised Taylor with a vintage watch that was part of my “something blue” as the dial was a sapphire, and custom gold bumble bee cufflinks, both as a nod to both my childhood honey farm and to our nickname “bee” for each other. At the ceremony, my high school mentor and teacher sang Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring for the Mothers processional. My grandparent’s vintage wedding cake topper adorned our incredible four-tier almond, red velvet, chocolate, and carrot wedding cake. We displayed wedding photos of each of our parents and grandparents on the fireplace mantel at the William Aiken House as a way to acknowledge the love and legacy that had guided both of us to each other. Our guests were treated to two very special custom wedding favors. Taylor and I spent the weeks before the wedding bottling mini honey jars with raw honey from my childhood farm. It was truly a labor of love. To pay tribute to a tradition my parents had incorporated in their wedding, we sent our guests home with mini red velvet wedding cakes perfectly iced with cream cheese frosting.

Taylor and I were sure to “bury the bourbon” at our reception site – a southern tradition that is said to ward off rain on your wedding day. However, in the days leading up to our wedding, Tropical Storm Bonnie began to make its way towards Charleston’s coast, and brought with it torrential downpours and strong winds. Concerns were high as we monitored the flights of incoming guests and scrambled to formulate weather plans. After some last minute rearrangements of our reception layouts, an unintended tent rental, and a lot of reassuring from our wedding planner, we were as prepared as we would ever be for the tropical storm.

Well, the rain gods must have liked the type of bourbon we buried! When I looked out the window on the morning of the wedding, I could see in the distance that the rain was breaking up and blue sky was emerging. When it was time to walk to the church for the ceremony, the sky was blue, and the sun had emerged. As I was walking with my bridesmaids, I was so unbelievably calm and happy – I will never forget it. The church bells were ringing, the bag piper was playing, the sun was shining, the air had a sweet aroma of southern jasmine, and tourists and locals alike were gathered on Church Street, taking pictures and cheering. I felt like I was in a movie. I told myself I would never forget that moment, and I have thought about it every day since May 29, 2016. I was so happy and excited to get married to the man of my dreams surrounded by all my favorite people. It was truly the best!

My favorite part of the day was the ceremony. I processed down the aisle with my father to an A Capella version of “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”. The acoustics of the church were incredible; it was such a magical moment. During the ceremony, it felt like Taylor and I were in our own little perfect world filled with giggles and tears of joy. In fact, despite the 120 guests looking on, Taylor “snuck” a kiss in the middle of the ceremony while the officiant turned away to procure the wedding rings. It was an unrehearsed, sincere, and unforgettable moment. I felt so thankful that this man I had envisioned and prayed for all those years was now becoming my husband.

Our wedding day was truly filled with so much love. At the end of the night, as I looked around, we were surrounded by all our loved ones there to support us through this next phase of life. The lanterns in the century old magnolia tree, the twinkle lights, and the incredible live band all created an unbelievable ambiance. The whole day truly felt like a dream. There are two distinct sensory elements that will forever remind me of our magical day- the mint juleps and gardenias. The taste of our signature cocktail, “mint to be” mint julep, danced on my taste buds. Throughout the night I kept getting wafts of Taylor’s gardenia boutonniere. That scent will forever take me back to that night. After we finished dancing to our final song of the evening, we were sent off by a chorus of cheering friends and family brandishing sparklers. As Taylor and I nestled into the back of our chauffeured classic DeSoto to head to Wentworth Mansion, the clouds opened back up and the finest mist of rain began to fall from the sky.

Vault CTA

Vault CTA

Photography: Virgil Bunao Photography | Event Planning: A Charleston Bride | Floral Design: Palmetto Bloom | Wedding Dress: Heidi Elnora Atelier | Cake: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Invitations: Sweet Magnolia Paper | Ceremony Venue: French Protestant Huguenot Church | Reception Venue: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August | Catering: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Hair + Makeup: Charleston Events Hair & Make-up | Lighting: Innovative Event Services | Band: The Charleston Wedding Band | Groom's Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Groomsmen's Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Officiant: Reverend Vance Polly | Ceremony Music: Heath Webber | Transportation: ACW Limo | Transportation: Absolutely Charleston | Bagpiper: Carolina Bagpiper | Beverage Services: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group | Bridal Veil: IHeartBride | Equipment Rental: Snyder | Equipment Rental: Ooh! Events | Equipment Rental: Nuage Designs | Getaway Car: Lowcountry Valet

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These Two – Their Pics + Their Story – Will Make You Believe In Love

Here’s an adorable proposal for the books: this future Bride-to-be planned a little treat for her man, and with a festive flannel shirt in tow, embarked on a little getaway… only to be taken completely off guard by her guy’s own surprise… a sparkly ring and a question. While we see with these engagement pics from Simply Sarah what her answer was, it’s the background story that makes me smile even more – and if you want to see how their story continued, don’t miss their wedding pics here!

From the Bride-to-be… I transferred schools my sophomore year of high school, and as I was walking out to the carpool line the first day, I saw the most handsome boy standing outside waiting on his mom. I hopped straight in the car and told my mom I had just seen “THE cutest boy alive,” and searched for him all night on Facebook and found nothing. The next day, I told my only friend at school I had at the time about the boy I had seen the day before but I didn’t have enough details for her to know exactly who it was. Embarrassingly I have to admit we decided his nickname would just be “baby” (he had a baby face) until I could figure out his name. She finally figured out who I was talking about and she told me that “baby” was Daniel Fields and he was a freshman. A younger boy that looked like him didn’t discourage me from looking like a fool for being an older girl pursuing someone younger, so of course from then on I practiced “Morgan Fields” over and over in my head and on lots of paper.

My friends and I began to stalk every move Daniel made and I eventually figured out that his locker was directly next to my last period math class which meant I got to see him almost every day. One day, I saw a guy I knew talking to Daniel and made a mental note that the next time I saw him I was going to say something. A couple of days later at lunch, I told our mutual friend he HAD to set me up with Daniel. He said of course and promised to get his number for me. Days passed, and the friend comes up to me again at lunch with a tiny piece of paper (that I still have) with Daniel’s number on it. He added that Daniel was incredibly shy and that I would have to make the first move if I wanted anything to happen. My parents always told me growing up that I was never to approach a boy first and that I should always wait for them to pursue me. Well, I made an exception to the rule and decided I’d send a casual text. I sent the text and he responded and really from that point forward, the conversation never stopped. We talked all summer long and would ask each other every question in the book. I finally mustered up the courage to ask him to go out to eat with my family and our best family friends at P. F. Changs and he agreed. After that first time of hanging out we practically hung out every single day after and were absolutely obsessed with each other. We became each other’s best friend and truly were a part of one another’s families.

We dated for two years, and then it was time for me to go off to school. Much to my dismay, we decided that we needed to break up and have time to really mature and take advantage of all the opportunities we could without always basing our decisions on one another. It absolutely crushed me, but I knew if it was meant to be the Lord would find even the craziest way to bring us back together and He most certainly did. We decided to start dating again and it honestly felt like nothing had ever changed. Of course we were much more mature than we were in high school, but it was just like it was always meant to be. Immediately, we were one another’s best friend again and we didn’t do anything without the other. Our families were overjoyed and we were one big happy family all over again.

About a year and a half passed, and Daniel and I decided to take our own “Mountain Weekend” in Montana in September. I really didn’t think anything of it considering we had previously been out just a couple months before and Daniel grew to love the place as much as I did. Fall is our favorite season, and Montana in the fall is extra spectacular so we could hardly stand to wait to book our next trip when we got home. Daniel and I both love to surprise one another and really will find whatever excuse to do it. On pretty much every trip we’ve ever taken, we’ve always packed a little something extra or planned something special for each other and this trip was no exception. We also like to tease one another that we have the best surprise and Daniel was insistent that his would beat mine this time without a doubt. It would seem fitting at this point most any girl would get a clue what was about to happen, but Daniel is very smart and talked to me in depth about how he would be ring shopping in December back in August so that kept my mind preoccupied to thinking we would get engaged around Christmas time.

So…we make it to Montana, walk in the house, and on the island there is a beautiful bouquet of white garden roses. I of course am so giddy that he surprised me by having flowers for me waiting at the house and thank him for the most amazing surprise to which he very nervously responds that it is only part of the surprise and I would get the rest the next day. The following morning, I woke up to a fire in the fireplace with a fresh cup of coffee, and Daniel heads out to go play golf. Around lunch time he comes back and tells me that we’ll head down to eat lunch and then we can go for a ride on the horses after. Riding the horses is my favorite thing to do out there so I hurried to eat and off we went on our horses “Freckles” and “Cotton.” We took the most beautiful trail through multiple groves of Aspens in their golden prime and up to the highest elevation on property called “Sheep’s Rock.” At this point, the wrangler we were with told us that we could get off if we wanted and take a look at the view of the property from the top. We got off the horses and started down the path where I saw one of my white garden roses laying on a tree branch with a note tied with a ribbon around it. Daniel tells me to open it, and the note says “I love the way you twirl your hair when you get nervous…”. We kept walking down the path where I collected ten more white roses each with something Daniel loves about me written on it. At the top of the path and top of the mountain, there were two chairs with a beautiful wine and cheese display and one final white rose laying across a leather photo album. I opened the album and page by page is filled with a picture and piece of the story of our journey all the way from 16 to 23 years old! At the end, he had written his purpose statement and mine beside his. With tear filled eyes, he stood me up and turned me around and got down on one knee and asked me to spend forever writing our story together… and that’s where it all (officially) began! Needless to say, his surprise beat my measly gift of a new flannel shirt for our trip!

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Photography: Simply Sarah Photography

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A Classic Military Wedding With a Heavy Dose of Glamour

Tanya and Ed’s wedding day is one that you’re going to want to pin like crazy. Because when you’ve got the incredibly talented Dana Cubbage Weddings behind the lens snapping up such moments like these, well then you know you’re in for a world of pretty. So what are you waiting for? Have at it in The Vault!

Colors
Seasons
Fall
Styles
Al Fresco

From Dana Cubbage WeddingsWhen I think of Tanya and Ed’s wedding day, I can’t help but smile. I knew it was going to be an amazing day, but it was honestly so much better than I ever could have imagined. There was just so much JOY throughout the day and I love how Tanya + Ed just let it show!

Tanya and Ed envisioned a classic, elegant Southern soiree with a laid back feel and a focus on their guests’ comfort. Tanya said that most of their decisions were made with their guests in mind, including their donut bar – fresh Krispy Kreme donuts surrounded their traditional wedding cake on the dessert table…A fun touch for sure!

Tanya and Ed opted to share a First Look in historic downtown Charleston before their ceremony. Their bridal party met us downtown for some group photos before we all headed out to the Creek Club at I’On for their beautiful ceremony overlooking Hobcaw Creek. Mother Nature blessed us with an amazing evening and a show-stopping sunset. It was a day I’ll never forget for so many reasons.

I love how they honored the military throughout the day, with Ed (a Captain in the Marine Corps) and Tanya’s dad (a Lieutenant General in the Marine Corps) wearing their dress uniforms, the groom and groomsmen all wore American flag socks, being introduced into their reception with a ceremonial sword arch, cutting the cake with Ed’s military sword, and having their guests wave mini American flags as they exited through sparklers at the end of the night. It was the perfect blend of classic, elegant and patriotic!

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Vault CTA

Photography: Dana Cubbage Weddings | Cinematography: I Thee Film | Event Planning: Southern Chic Weddings, LLC | Floral Design: Branch Design Studio | Wedding Dress: Enzoani | Cake: Wildflour Pastry | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Catering: Creek Club At I'on | Hair + Makeup: Lashes And Lace Charleston | DJ: Other Brother Entertainment | Venue: Creek Club At I'on | Bridal Boutique: Fabulous Frocks of Alexandria | Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals

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