Charlotte Wedding by Kristin Vining
June 9, 2011
Classic Weddings

Okay ladies and gents, this wedding is so super duper fabulous and first class that I have to refer to you all like that. Picture delicious champagne, glittery chandeliers, ruffly Vera Wang, romantic mercury glass, sparkly Jimmy Choo's, and adorable men in bow ties. I know, I know. It's out of control amazing! My heart is legit jumping for joy for this stunning southern féte. Luckily for us Kristin Vining was there to capture all the elegant details and they're all here in the gallery for us to swoon over!










Click here to see entire image gallery!

Mallory’s Side of the Story: William warned me that he was going to have a busy weekend full of work so I was not expecting to see a lot of him. We did our normal Saturday morning cycling class at the YMCA. We got our normal Brugger’s coffee and went to my place to relax for an hour before William went to the office. After finishing our coffee, I asked William if he was ready for me to take him back to his condo. William said he would not be going into the office that day and instead we would be going to Charleston for the remainder of the weekend. He told me to pack my suitcase and be ready in an hour. I looked at him in total disbelief. After a few minutes of shock, William finally convinced me that we were actually going out of town. I packed, got ready as quickly as possible and we excitedly got on the road. William kept everything a surprise and would not tell me where we were staying or what we were doing. I sat the whole three hours in suspense. We finally got to Charleston and arrived at the Planters Inn. It is the most adorable and charming hotel in the middle of historic Charleston. I walked around marveling at the art and architecture. I stopped in front of a lit fireplace, candles and roses. When I turned around, William was down on one knee with my ring in hand. He muttered a speech, but all I heard him say was, “I love you. Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes (I knew I wanted to marry William after our first date). We spent the next hour calling our family and friends. William then took me to Blossom Restaurant. We sat at the same table where he told me he loved me for the first time. A gentleman even sent us a bottle of champagne from across the room to congratulate us. He said he got engaged in Charleston several years ago and was now expecting his first child. What an amazing night!

William's Side of the Story: I first told Mallory I loved her on the first of our many trips to Charleston, South Carolina, so I had no doubt that Charleston was the perfect place to propose to her one day. During the first few weeks of January 2010, I was very busy at work and not able to spend much time with Mallory. But I was also secretly arranging the purchase of a ring and a trip to Charleston. Once the ring finally arrived, I wanted to give it Mallory as quickly as possible. I told her that I was going to have to spend another weekend in the office, but on Saturday morning (January 16th), I surprised her and told her to pack her bags for Charleston. Initially, she reacted with total disbelief. But news quickly sank in and she was ecstatic.On the drive to Charleston, I never told her about my plans for the trip. Though she obviously knew what was ultimately going to happen, she let the plans unfold and everything went off without a hitch. As soon as we got to town, I took her straight to the fireplace at the Planters Inn, got on one knee and proposed to her on the spot. I had gone over my words to her in my head dozens of times, but I have no idea what I ended up saying. Fortunately, she said yes. We then enjoyed a bottle of champagne, called our families and had dinner at the same table at Blossom restaurant where I first told her I loved her almost two years earlier. It was the perfect day.

From the moment Will and I walked into the Duke Mansion, we knew it was perfect venue for our wedding. Tucked quietly within the gorgeous Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, it is less than five miles from where I lived.  I had never heard of it. With the surrounding neighbors’ blessing, the Duke Mansion had just started holding weddings. Lucky us! Besides the elegant wedding ballroom, our guests were able to roam throughout the estate with its black and white floors, beautiful courtyard, porches, glass walled solarium and lush gardens.  We reserved the Duke Mansion’s twenty elegant guest rooms for family members and the bridal party. Many of the rooms have walkout screened porches which were a huge hit especially with the dry warm spring weather.  My mom specially ordered pizzelles, a delicious Italian cookie my grandfather and I baked together over the years, and we placed a box of them wrapped in tulle in each room as welcome gifts. The Duke Mansion was my wedding venue dream come true. Words I used to describe the vision I had for William and my wedding included classic, couture, fun and most of all “intimate." We wanted a small wedding of 100 guests so we would be able to converse with everyone and make them feel special.  Décor was also extremely important to me. After looking at numerous wedding magazines and blogs, I learned: I love glamour and glitz, I love draping, I love the colors of black, blush and ivory, I love big tree-like flower arrangements and I love ribbons and bows! We decided to drape the dining room at the Duke Mansion with ivory taffeta drapes and tie back the entrances with big black bows.  We lined the dance floor with eight foot banquet tables covered with custom ribbon taffeta linens.  The Bloom Room created huge arrangements of blush and pink flowers and positioned them along the tables.  We placed large crystal candelabras in the middle of the arrangements.  The room was up-lit with amber lighting to give a candle glow.  The stunning laced edged cake with silver brooches and bows was placed in the middle of the white dance floor. The end result was more than I could have ever dreamed of. It literally took my breath away.With all said above, the best moment of the whole wedding day was William and my first look.  The expression on his face the first time he set his eyes on me in my wedding dress will forever be etched in my mind.  I have never felt so beautiful or loved.  The day was more than perfect. Later, William and I danced our first dance in the grand foyer under a massive crystal chandelier with family and friends closely surrounding us. What made this wedding so unique can be decided in the comments our guests made.  They had never being to a wedding where they were constantly entertained with every tiny detail being important. Waiters holding glasses of champagne welcomed guests.  Crystal hung tiered escort cards complemented the rhinestone embellished name cards and menus. The band even surprised our guests wearing decorative costumes at the end of the night. We hired an artist who uniquely cut everyone’s silhouette out of black paper.  One silhouette was secured in a book where guests signed their names and another was given as a memento of the special occasion.  A late evening chef’s finale dessert which consisted of Southern Comfort Peach Foster and ice cream was served. The night ended with guests holding sparklers gracing the elegant steps of the mansion as William and I rode off to the Ritz in a Bentley. Our wedding was the result of months of creative thought and careful planning.  All the details blended together to create an unforgettable wedding celebration.

Ceremony location:  Covenant Presbyterian Church / Reception: Duke Mansion / Cake: Cake Lady Jill / Flowers:  The Bloom Room /  Gown: Vera Wang / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ dresses: Jim Hjelm / Tuxedo: Trussini / Engagement ring: Mavilo / Hairstylist: Kymm Mclean, Who’s the Fairest / Make-up: Kymm Mclean, Who’s the Fairest / Invitations and Stationery: Smock / Music: Hot Sauce / Photography: Kristin ViningPhotography / Videography: Richard Israel, Timm Young / Clergy: Robert W. Henderson / Caterers: Duke Mansion / Rehearsal dinner: Bentley’s on 27 / Lighting: Eye Dialogue / Linens: Custom / Candelabras: Regal Candelabra / Rentals: Party Reflections / Drapes: Party Tables / Wedding night hotel: Ritz Carlton / Bridesmaid luncheon location: Duke Mansion / Bachelor Party: Las Vegas / Bachelorette Party: Napa Valley / Specialty gifts and favors: Silhouette Portraits by Edward / Transportation provider: Trolley’s Inc., / Wedding consultant: Tiffany Ratliff, Weddings and the City / Earrings: Dannijo / Broach: Enchanted Atelier