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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wedding Lighting Ideas to Dazzle You

Great lighting can completely transform your ceremony and reception sites from an ordinary space into something extraordinary. Your wedding venue is probably already gorgeous but adding inventive lighting details can elevate the mood into something super romantic and classic.
Please enjoy these dazzling lighting ideas for your wedding!
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I hope these images have inspired you with ideas for your wedding day. Please share any special lighting ideas that you used or are planning to use at your wedding.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Timeless DIY Wedding

This wedding was beautiful and filled with so much love. Ashley and Brandon grew up together and finally became a couple right before he deployed to Afghanistan.  Even though they were in two different countries while planning, they managed to put so much heart and soul into this wedding. Ashley and Brandon wanted all the special touches of their day to involve their family and friends with timeless, vintage, DIY details. 

The ceremony took place at the Abbeville Presbyterian Church in South Carolina where the bride's parents wed in 1982. The church was built in 1888 and it is furnished with native pine pews and woodwork and beautiful stained glass windows. The reception was held at the Livery Stable on Trinity Street in historic downtown Abbeville. The original Livery Stable was built in 1840 and boarded horses until destroyed by fire in 1872. The current Livery Stable was built in the late 1870s on the same site and renovated in 2010. It is now the site for many special events. 

The description and images for their wedding highlight how important family and tradition are to Ashley and Brandon. They also managed to give a current twist to this quaint southern town.  With all the DIY and vintage touches, you will agree that Ashley and Brandon couldn't have chosen a more perfect setting to begin their life together.

By Jane White, Wedding Coordinator at It's Your Party! Events & Weddings

Please enjoy the beautiful images by Michael Costa Photography and the details shared by the bride of this very special day.

You can't have a real wedding without a real love story! 
Brandon and I have quite the history. I don't remember exactly how long ago it was that we met but the best guess I can give you is probably around fourth or fifth grade. We grew up together going to the same church and schools.   As we grew up, we shared a lot of good memories through high school and college. Then later for the most part we went our own way.  We had mutual best friends so we continued to see each other often. Some of these friends all got together in Savannah, GA for St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.  Brandon and I really hit it off that weekend… literally. Ha! Brandon accidentally hit me in the face during a dance that weekend! He likes to say it knocked some sense into me because we have been together ever since then. In fact, our wedding cake topper was a groom dipping the bride… a slight nod to that incident.   About 6 months later, Brandon proposed!  One more fun fact, Reverend Ken Bobo, one of the ministers who officiated the service, confirmed both Brandon and I in the church one the same day many years ago. 

Now for the wedding details…
     When Brandon and I started planning our wedding, what we wanted the most was for our friends and family to have lots of fun and we wanted it to feel like “us.” The one thing we wanted to decide before Brandon left for deployment was the location… he said that he wanted to be able to picture it while he was away.  We loved the idea of an outdoor wedding, but I would have been too worried about the weather.  I suggested Abbeville in passing because it is a very special place for me. Once I told Brandon that we could get married in the same church where my parents were married and we looked at The Livery Stable, we both realized that it would be perfect!
Brandon was deployed for about 9 months.  It was very difficult, but planning the wedding kept my mind occupied on a very happy day!  We were able to talk frequently and he was able to come home earlier than we expected. We joke and say he knew just when to get back for the good stuff because the first wedding related meeting he attended was the cake tasting!
I carried a bouquet of pinks and whites that included peonies, stock, and roses. My grandfather passed away almost 3 months before our wedding day. Our family is really close so it was important for me to have him there with me. So I had 2 lockets made for my bouquet.  Each had a picture, one with him in his military uniform and one with both of us after going fishing. I used the lace and satin sleeve from my Mother's wedding dress to cover the base of my bouquet.  It was so very special.
     When I first went to try on dresses, I had no clue what I wanted! After trying on several dresses, I decided on the silhouette that I loved and I had a wonderful helper who found “my dress” right away! I knew when I tried it on that it was the one! My favorite part of my dress was freshwater pearl applique. I also loved that the bottom was flowy and romantic. It was the perfect dress for me.
I wore my mother's wedding veil that she wore when she married my Dad in the same church. I really wanted to have that moment with my Dad when he lifted it. 

When you have a very large wedding party like Brandon and I did, there are a couple of things you have to consider. One was the flowers for the wedding.  First, flowers can be very expensive and we had a budget to consider.  The second thing to consider was the look of the flowers. With so many people in the wedding party, we didn't want the flowers to be overwhelming.  Something simple would be best. I came across the sola wood flowers online and fell in love with them! I also loved the price and that I could make them myself. So, I made all the bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, and nosegays for our mothers and grandmothers.
The vocalists at the wedding were family friends, but the song, "The Prayer" was actually a surprise.  No one knew that was what I was using to come down the aisle. When Brandon saw the program he said, “Vocalists? We aren’t having vocalists!” I have always loved the song, “The Prayer” and I knew I wanted to use it.  Our pianist is a very close family friend and he suggested that it be sung as I walked down the aisle. I am so glad he did. I loved it and it was a unique and great surprise!
We were trying to come up with something to use as pew markers. We decided on the idea of using pictures of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day. It was such a sweet touch. One of my matrons of honor decorated the frames for the pictures. She did an excellent job decorating the frames with satin and burlap bows and handmade felt flowers. They were my favorite part of the church decorations!
Our favorite moment of the day? Our kiss after the minister pronounced us husband and wife! When he picked me up and kissed me, that moment was priceless!  

We loved our huge wedding party!  We are very fortunate to have so many wonderful family members and friends! Because it would be such a large wedding, we contemplated having a smaller wedding party with no attendants. But at the end of the day, we decided that each and every one of our bridesmaids and groomsmen is special to us. We wanted them there with us on our most special day. So we decided to have them all. And I wouldn’t change a thing! The bridesmaids wore blush pink, knee length Morilee dresses.  They each chose the neckline they liked best. The groomsmen wore flat front khaki pants, a white dress shirt and a navy blue sport coat. We got them all matching neckties that were light pink and navy blue.

I had also always wanted to have flowers in my hair on my wedding day. So, for the reception, I removed the veil and wore a flower crown made of white garden roses and some greenery. I was able to have the best of both worlds! I absolutely loved the flower crown and Brandon couldn't stop talking about how much he loved it too!
For food, Bagatelle Caterers served a traditional Lowcountry Boil, paired with shrimp and grits, sweet potato ham biscuits, and sides.  Brandon  and I live in Charleston, SC, so lowcountry boil is a favorite meal of ours!
Our signature cocktail was a "John Daly" (Sweet tea vodka and lemonade). The bar  menu signs were hand painted on old wooden pallets.
To create a comfy lounge style seating area, we used bales of hay and covered them with old quilts, pillows and coverlets. We hung a 4-pane glass window over the sitting area with the same weathered look as the doors used for the photo booth. 

One of my favorite parts was the photo booth back drop: we used 3 old wooden doors that were in my uncle's barn. They had a weathered pale blue look that was perfect for our reception. 
We really wanted our wedding to have a timeless yet casual feel.  I love antiques so I knew that I wanted to incorporate as many as possible. We used antique embroidered and/ or cross stitched tablecloths as toppers on the floor length, ivory tablecloths.  Rather than vases, we used painted cans.  I actually asked family and friends to save all of their cans from things like green beans, pineapple, corn, etc.! We painted them different shades of gold, silver, and copper. To some, we added burlap bows with crystal embellishments. We used pink peonies, garden roses, baby's breath and stock for the arrangements. I had the florist at Cottage Garden who was doing my bouquet order the flowers for us. Then our wedding coordinators at It's Your Party! arranged the flowers for us. We then mixed different sizes of cans on each table to create a unique, mismatched look.
The favors for the wedding were also a team effort! We wanted to make things that people would use and enjoy.  My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all worked together to make these wedding favors! We made homemade preserves, jellies, and relishes. As much as we possibly could, we used items from my aunt and uncle’s garden. So it was definitely a family affair! We displayed the favors on an white antique hoosier cabinet. It was from my great aunt and uncle's house in Abbeville. I had always loved that antique hoosier cabinet. We thought it would be a perfect place to display the wedding favors. I have it in my home now. It reminds me both of my great aunt and uncle and of our wedding day.
Brandon and I love bluegrass music! Our first date was to a bluegrass festival, so that seemed like the best fit for the music at our reception. We chose a band, the "Green Levels" from Charleston. I knew them from living in Charleston and had gone to college with one of the members.

Our wedding day was SO amazing… I know everyone says that, but it truly was the best day. We were reminded of how fortunate we are to have the love and support of so many.  ~ Ashley, the bride


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