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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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Thank you,
Jane
























Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lakeside Wedding in South Carolina


Katie first contacted It's Your Party in October about our wedding services. After a few emails back and forth, she and Chris decided to go with us to assist with planning and coordinating their wedding. After several months of planning, mostly through emails and texts, their beautiful ceremony and reception took place in May on Lake Greenwood in South Carolina. It is one of the states most popular lakes spanning three counties in the midlands of South Carolina.

Katie and Chris live two and a half hours away in North Carolina. Our wedding planning business is located in the same area as Lake Greenwood. So we were able to answer many of their questions about the area and locate competent vendors when needed.

We met with Katie and Chris three times prior to their wedding. On our initial meeting, we visited the lake house that they were renting for the weekend of their wedding. We walked around the property discussing the best layout for their wedding. The next time, Martin Tiller from Event Rentals met us at the lake to answer questions about rental items that would be needed as well as locating the best areas for the tents that Katie and Chris would be using. Katie's mother came with them on their third visit so she could see the wedding site and to give her approval!  





Katie and Chris had shared the story of how they met while we were planning the wedding. I thought it was such a sweet story that I wanted Katie to share it again here...
We were introduced through Facebook!  My friend's mother is a close friend of his Aunt. Chris' grandfather had passed away and Chris was in Florida for the services. At a luncheon after the funeral, he was talking to his Aunt, and met my friend's mom.  After chatting for a few minutes, she mentioned me, and that she thought we would make a good couple! So she gave Chris my name, email address, and suggested he look me up on Facebook. We started communicating online, and realized we have many mutual friends!  We are both from Maryland, Chris was living in Baltimore, but I had moved to Connecticut.  It was a few months before I was back in Maryland visiting my family, and we finally went on our first "date".  We like to think his Grandfather had something to do with it.
~ Katie 

 Enjoy the gorgeous pictures by Studio 1250 and the details that Katie shared from the day.

 

Chris and I both love being on or near water , whether it's the ocean, lakes or rivers.  We started out looking at venues on the coast, but most were booked for the next 18 months, and we didn't want to wait that long! We started looking on VRBO.com, and after many, many emails, the house on Lake Greenwood worked out.

There are two moments that stand out as my favorite part of the day. The first was just before guests started arriving, while I was getting ready, I took a sneak peek at everything set up and ready to go, and it was perfect. The weather had cleared up, and you had done a beautiful job of putting everything together. It was honestly better than I had pictured it in my head. Seeing all the details and things we had been making decisions about for months finally come together, it was hard to not get emotional.  
Chris and I knew we wanted something outdoors, an intimate ceremony with delicious food, drinks and music to keep everyone dancing afterwards. We also wanted our personalities to come through in all the little details. 
We knew exactly what type of music we wanted for the wedding ceremony. Chris proposed on a family vacation to Maui, and we had dinner with my parents to celebrate on our last night there.  There was a man playing current music on the guitar at the restaurant, and I knew I wanted something like that at our wedding! Chris plays guitar, and we both love music, so it was an important part of our day. I've always wanted to walk down the aisle to "Kissing You" by Des'ree, finding a guitarist to play it was difficult, but Steve Sloan made it happen!
When I asked Chris what his favorite part of the day was, he laughed , and said "When you were coming down the stairs into the ceremony with your Dad, because I knew no one was looking at me for a few minutes".  After thinking about it, he said being introduced as "Mr & Mrs" entering our reception, because we were married, the serious part was over, and it was time to let loose and celebrate with everyone.
 My second favorite moment of the day was during the prayer at our ceremony.  I squeezed Chris' hand, opened my eyes and he looked at me and smiled. We looked around at everyone at our ceremony with their heads down praying.  It was an awesome private moment- we had no idea that Philip Casey, our photographer (Studio 1250), had caught it! It's one of my favorite wedding photos.  
We needed to make some special accommodations since all of our wedding guests were going to be from out of town. The lake house had enough room to accommodate our immediate families, and we made arrangements with a hotel in Greenwood, about a 15 minute drive away.  We hired a coach bus to bring our guests to the wedding, and it made a few trips back to the hotel throughout the evening.  My sister Julie put together an amazing video of photos of Chris and I growing up, along with wedding photos of all of our married guests that we had collected to entertain them during the ride! 
The dress wasn't at all what I expected I would wear, but once I tried it on, nothing else felt right. My mother Cathye, and maid of honor, Mary were with me, and I could tell from their reactions too that it was "the one". I chose to have my girls wear neutral, champagne dresses and carry white flowers as a nod to the earliest wedding tradition of having the bridesmaids dress like the bride to throw off any evil spirits.  While I wasn't concerned with evil spirits ruining our wedding, I found the origins of the wedding traditions so interesting. Also, I didn't have to pick a trendy color I may not love in 20 years looking at the pictures! 
At the last minute, Chris and I decided to add the "Wed-Libs" to entertain our guests and ourselves!  Chris loved Mad-Libs as a kid, and we always end up doing them to pass the time when traveling together.

I am a planner by nature... So letting go of having control over every last thing since we were hours away from the wedding venue was tough. Luckily, we had Jane and Beck, who, after meeting at the lake that day, made me completely comfortable leaving so much in their hands!
Our DJ, DJ Skid from Epic Entertainment, was so much fun to work with!  He called the week before the wedding to go over the details and all three of us were singing at some point during the call- it was hilarious! 
After the last bus left to return to the hotel, we kept the bonfire going, I ate leftover s'mores in my wedding dress, put my feet in the lake -and Chris jumped in!

 

 The best part of having a "destination" wedding was being somewhere that Chris and I could enjoy in what little free time we had that weekend!  Visiting with family and friends we don't get to see often in such a pretty, relaxing place was nice.





We relied heavily on the internet and reviews. This was where Jane and Beck were a huge help being so much closer than we were!

Vendors:
At our initial meeting with Katie and Chris, we felt and instant connection. When we were saying our goodbyes that day, I was about to give Katie a hug but I paused and at the same moment, Katie said "may I give you a hug".  I knew then that we were going to have a great time planning their wedding. An extra bonus has been that we have stayed in touch and hope to see each other again soon. 
If you enjoyed this post, please share on facebook, twitter and pinterest.
We love hearing from our readers so share your comments below!

Thank you,
Jane