One look at these photos and I could have told you that this wedding was all Southern. All grace. All style. All timeless Southern charm rooted in family and real, authentic beauty. The photos – captured perfectly by Timwill Photography – tell so much of the story. But the details, with florals crafted by Gathering Events and coordination by Events La Fete, bring a sense of Southern Chic that will forever be fall-in-loveable. Click here to see all of the pretty.
From the Bride…Ralph and I met for the first time thirteen years ago during the first month of our freshman year at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Our first and only encounter in college was a brief lunch together with a mutual friend who introduced us. During lunch, I must have mentioned to Ralph that I was thinking of jointing the equestrian team. Not knowing my last name, “Equestrian” was the key-word he used to add me to his phone contacts list. Ten years later while out with friends, I made eye contact with a handsome man across the room who then approached me and said “Hello, Frances the equestrian!” After my initial shock (I did not recognize him at all!) and his explanation of how we knew each other, we spent the rest of the night dancing and catching up on the past decade. After dating for two years, the first of which was long distance between Charlotte and Raleigh, Ralph proposed in the kitchen of our house with a beautiful cushion cut diamond ring that he had custom designed.
Ralph and I knew that we wanted an outdoor Spring wedding and searched several venues and towns for the perfect garden setting. We decided on Charleston, South Carolina, for its beautiful southern charm and history and its accessibility for out-of town guests. We chose the Governor Thomas Bennett House as our ceremony and reception venue after seeing its gorgeous gardens and close proximity to hotels and attractions on the Charleston peninsula. Our vision for the overall feel of the wedding was classic, clean, and timeless.
The design details gave our wedding a slightly nautical feel, with a navy and white color palate, striped bridesmaid dresses, and a sailcloth tent. One of my favorite unifying elements of the wedding was our custom monogram by One&Only Paper that made its appearance on everything from the wedding invitations and envelope seals, to cocktail stirrers and favor boxes. Other details, such as the dessert table covered in raspberry linzertortes, bieberli, and hazelnut chocolate, were a nod to Ralph’s Swiss roots.
We began our wedding celebration with a welcome party for friends and family aboard my family’s Hatteras motoryacht, the Liberty. The boat was docked on the Ashley River and was decorated with Swiss flags, including pennants from Uri, Ralph’s family’s home canton. The festivities continued with a fishing trip for Ralph and the groomsmen and a bridal luncheon at 82 Queen for the women in the wedding. The rehearsal dinner was held the next night in the Planter’s Suite of The Mills House. It began with cocktails on the balcony overlooking Meeting Street and concluded with speeches from family and friends and a Peninsula Grill coconut cake for dessert.
We were fortunate to have a crisp, sunny Spring day for our wedding. The open-air ceremony was held on the semi-circular front lawn of the Governor Thomas Bennett House. My father walked me down the aisle and all of our siblings gave scripture reading and prayers. Directly following the ceremony, our guests enjoyed cocktails in the back garden, including the Goombay Smash made from Bahamian rum we brought back on out most recent trip.
The reception was held under a sailcloth tent on the side lawn of the house and included Charleston-themed tapas stations, floral wreathes and runners, a six-piece band, and an oversized dance floor that was packed the entire night. After all of the bridesmaids tied the enormous Spanish-style bustle for the many layers of my wedding gown, Ralph and I made our reception entrance and danced the Shag to our first song. Following the cake cutting and a bit of mingling, I changed in to a shorter version of my gown to dance the rest of the night. The send-off was a parade of Swiss, American, North Carolina, and South Carolina flags waived by our guests. Immediately after the reception, we continued the night with an after-reception cocktail party at The Mills House.
Photography: Tim Will Fine Art Weddings and Portraits | Wedding Planner: Events by La Fete | Floral Design: Gathering Floral + Event Design | Wedding Dress: Carol Hannah | Invitations: one and only paper | Rings: Bailey's Fine Jewelry | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Kate McDonald Bridal | Catering: Cru Catering | Band: EastCoast Entertainment | Tuxes: Indochino | Ceremony Music: Palmetto Strings | Bridal Jewelry: Gabrielle Jewelry | Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Governor Thomas Bennett House | Hair and Make-Up: Meg Workman for Hair by Charlotte | Rentals: Event DRS | Wedding Cake & Desserts: Ashley Bakery