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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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Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Wedding Full of Southern Charm

Beck and I were so excited when Tara and Ben 
asked us to be the wedding planners for their big day.We have been friends with Tara and her family for many years. We watched Tara grow up and become the beautiful young lady that she is today. 

We met with Tara and her mom several months prior to the wedding. Tara told us all about the wonderful southern touches that she and Ben were planning to use on their wedding day. We absolutely
loved them all.

Now you enjoy the gorgeous images by Lotus Creative Studios and the details Tara shared from the day.

By Jane White, wedding planner at It's Your Party! Events & Weddings

You can't have a real wedding without a real love story! The love story always adds a personal touch to the beautiful wedding photos.

How we met-
          My mom met Ben at an Ag-in-the-Classroom educational event. She called and told me all about this cute farmer with a great personality that she had met. She also told him all about her single daughter. But she knew better than to give him my phone number! Several months later I was at the Blind Horse Saloon in Greenville, SC. guy came up and asked me to dance. That guy turned out to be Ben! We didn't realize until the next day that he was the guy that my mom had met several months earlier. My mom still claims she picked him for me!  

Our Wedding Day-
 Ben and I are both from small, southern towns and Ben is a farmer. We knew we wanted a southern wedding with touches of agriculture in our d├ęcor. There was little doubt where we would have our ceremony – in the church where I grew up and where my parents were married. It is a beautiful, pre-civil war church and we continue to receive comments from guests about how much they loved the church.
Photographer - Brian Scott
Also, to go along with the agricultural/southern theme, we picked the Livery Stable on The Square in Abbeville,SC for our reception venue.
 "The original Livery Stable was built in the 1840s and was used to board horses until 1872 when it was destroyed by a fire. It was rebuilt on the original site in the late 1870s. In 2010, The Livery Stable was renovated. Today it is home to the local Farmers' Market and the site of many special events."

I cut a portion of my mom's wedding dress and wrapped it around my bouquet. To it, I tied a memory charm of a dear family friend who was like my second mother my entire life. She had wanted so badly to live to see my wedding day. She passed away seven weeks before on May 6th. A piece of my mom's wedding dress with a photo of her tied to it was one of the most special mementos of the entire day. Another special heirloom was my grandmother's engagement ring. My aunt gave it to me to wear for the day. It was like having a small part of my grandmother there with me.
Getting married in the church were my parents were married was extremely important to me. That meant we had to cut the guest list more than we wanted, but during the planning process Ben asked me, “What will you regret more in ten years – not getting married in the church you grew up in and where  your parents were married, or inviting an additional 100 guests?” Decision made with no regrets.
We personalized our wedding in so many ways, many of which were small and probably went unnoticed by most people. From the cotton included in the arrangements which was from a friend's farm in Newberry, SC, to the paper cones which were made of pages from "Gone with The Wind", a classic southern novel and my namesake; the hymns that were played and the scriptures that were read; the ring box and cake slab was made by Ben; to our guest book being pictures of us on Ben's family's farm.
We also wanted as many friends and loved as possible to participate in our wedding. Aside from the wedding party, we had family friends officiate our wedding, be our soloist and pianist, bake our cake, film our wedding, and be our wedding planners. That helped make our special day even more meaningful.

Ben said his favorite part of the day was when he first saw me at the back of the church. That is when he teared up but quickly composed himself.
Mr. Cotton, a dear family friend and our officiant, used our vows in several ceremonies – they were more casual than traditional vows, but we felt they best described our relationship. "Amazing Grace" was sung in memory of our loved ones who are no longer with us. 
Our first kiss was my favorite part of the day. Whenever Ben and I kiss 'hello' or 'goodbye', we always kiss three times. (I like things in threes!)  So, when we kissed, we had a long kiss, then a pick. Then, I snuck in a third quick peck. Ben laughed and said, "I knew you were going to do that."  His mic picked up that comment, so it's on our wedding video.
We took our southern theme and ran with it. The decor included cotton and peaches. We had pimento cheese, boiled peanuts and southern signature drinks during the cocktail hour. We served BBQ for our meal catered by Shealy's BBQ from Batesburg-Leesville, SC. Even our wedding cake incorporated peaches as a filling. The wedding planners did such an incredible job adding so many additional southern touches to the reception, including burlap and lace overlays.
Our first dance was to the song "Waiting on a Woman". It has been our song since the first month we met...apparently, I'm always running late.
We are so happy we splurged on having a band. I had heard them play in Charleston ten years ago. I had always said I would have them play at my wedding. Ben and I knew we wanted a band instead of a DJ, which was a splurge in and of itself. I had no idea how much the New South Players would cost. They were the first phone call I made after we were engaged. They were surprisingly one of the less expensive as far as bands go. They were incredible and kept people on the dance floor all night long! 

I hear so many people say, "I wish I had done this and I wish I hadn't done that" regarding their weddings. I can honestly say there is not one thing Ben and I would change about our wedding. The venues, band, caterer and the especially the wedding planners made our wedding day absolutely perfect. ~ Tara


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