Charleston Wedding by Harwell Photography
February 29, 2012

Is there anything more charming than a Southern wedding flooded in romantic shades of ballet pinks, peach, and coral?  How about a Southern fête designed with the perfect mix of modern and traditional touches like this stunner?  We always get super excited when a Harwell Photography wedding pops up in our inbox but this one had us gushing from the get-go.  Click here to see it all!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the bride... Nate and I started dating in 2005. At the time, I was studying Art History at Emory, while Nate pursued his music career recording and touring under Eyeball Records.  After listening to his music for months, I tagged along with a mutual friend to see a show.  In Nate’s words, “We were introduced and spoke briefly.  I thought she was totally out of my league until she showed up a few weeks later in a different city at a different venue. I’m not that great of a musician, so I started hoping that my long shot was a lot closer than I had thought. We spent the next day laughing and talking and have been together ever since.” Following graduation, I moved to Charleston to work as the Gallery Director at Ann Long Fine Art. After five years of music, art, traveling, and dabbling in design, we finally settled in the same city and graduated school. Despite our differing career paths, we had shared a life-long desire to be architects. Currently, we are both working towards our Masters of Architecture at Clemson University’s School of Architecture. On our fifth anniversary of dating, Nate proposed in Charleston under an oak tree in Waterfront Park with a sweet song he had written for the occasion. Our closest friends and family had traveled to Charleston for a weekend of surprise celebrations planned by Nate and his parents.

As two architectural students and design fanatics, Nate and I jumped at the chance to design a truly personal wedding full of Southern tradition and modern design. Just a week after our engagement, we booked Middleton Place Plantation, knowing it was the perfect combination of those two elements. With only 115 guests, we were able to design a lot of handmade elements that would have been impossible to make for a larger number.  To keep the look modern but romantic, we chose a color scheme of clean gray and white with pops of pink, peach and coral. For this special occasion, we allowed ourselves to indulge in graphics and papers.  To make our ideas feasible, we designed everything ourselves then found vendors who could affordably make our designs into reality. My mother addressed all the invitations by hand, following a family tradition to ensure she would know each guest by name before she even met them.

We were married during a sunset ceremony in the Octagonal Garden next to the Ashley River. At the beginning of the ceremony, the pastor read a surprise blessing offered by each set of parents. Nature had a few surprises as well – birds, crickets, and frogs chimed in loudly with the music, while a large white egret took off behind us as we said our vows. One of my favorite moments was when the congregation prayed silently for our marriage as the gospel choir sang “Down To The River To Pray.” Like most Southern wedding receptions, our meal included various heavy hors d'oeuvres served at stations, which allowed guests to mingle and dance. We omitted traditions such as the bouquet toss and cake cutting in favor of an uninterrupted party. Being true architecture nerds, we used the laser cutter at school to make all of our signage, including the “Oh Happy Day” sign that hung with hand painted ribbon over the dessert bar. Right before our first dance to “Real Love,” Nate and his band mates, who were also our ushers, played the sweet song that he wrote for our proposal (“Encore” by The Internet). The sparkler send off after midnight ended with Nate’s dad driving us away in his 1950 green Studebaker that he had spent years carefully restoring. 

Wedding Photography: Harwell Photography / Wedding Venue: Middleton Place Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina / Lodging: The Inn at Middleton Place / Flowers, Décor + Coordination: Out of Hand and Ooh! Events / Catering: Duvall / Cinematography: Briteside Productions / Wedding Invitation Design: The Bride & Groom / Wedding Invitation Printing: Superior Letterpress Company / Envelopes: Paper Presentation / Custom Seal Design: The Bride & Groom / Custom Seal: Old School Seals / Program + Welcome Bag Design: The Bride & Groom / Welcome Sign: Made by the Bride's Father and Painted by the Bride / Wedding Dress: Carolina Herrera / Veil: Melissa Sweet / Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bride's Earrings: Alexis Bittar / Reception Dress: Tadashi Shoji / Bride's Coral Clutch: J.Crew / Bride's Bracelet: A Gift from Her Parents / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Melissa Sweet / Makeup: Tiffany Carnahan at Bella Segreto / Hair: Hair Affair by Tanesha / Groom’s Tuxedo: Calvin Klein / Bow Tie: Mountain & Sackett / Cuff Links: Acme Studio / Shoes: Hugo Boss / Sterling Silver Studs: A Gift from the Bride / Band: Professors of Soul / Ceremony + Cocktail Hour Music: Unwind Duo / Gospel Choir: Spiritually Yours / Trolley: Absolutely Charleston / Just Married Sign: The Maid of Honor