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Our One Year Anniversary | Wedding Story + Vendors

charleston wedding

I’ve been a married woman for a whole year now? What the what?! A perfect excuse to reflect on the day, share some photos with y’all and rant about all the wonderful vendors that helped make our wedding day beautiful (and kept it together for us during the chaos that ensued).

Oh yes, my friends. I am not exaggerating when I say “chaos”.

That’s just a part of the day, albeit a pretty big aspect of it. But at the end, I had married the man of my dreams and it was such a special day for us.

charleston wedding day

April 15, 2018.

The forecast was calling for a major thunderstorm in the afternoon. We had of course been watching the weather all week and were pretty devastated to see that as of our wedding day, the forecast had not changed and we had to hope for the best for our outdoor celebrations. Thankfully we ordered a couple tent walls earlier in the week as a “just in case”, and turned out they were definitely necessary.

The venue we chose was Wingate Plantation on Johns Island. I wanted something that felt very Lowcountry, and it was important to me to have a bridal suite on site. Wingate Plantation has two goooorgeous oak trees on the property which I knew would be the perfect backdrop for a lovely spring-in-the-south wedding day. We got married under one of them.

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My husband and I decided to do a very small wedding party: just my two sisters on my side, and TJ’s father and best friend on his side. Even though we decided to keep the wedding party small, we still had a few of our closest friends and family spend the morning and afternoon with us on site as we got ready. This was one of my favorite decisions of all the wedding planning!

This is TJ feeling quite awkward opening my sassy wedding gift in front of all his friends and both our fathers ;)

I hired Brittany of Wild Ivory Beauty for hair and makeup. I’m going to say this about most of our vendors but she truly was wonderful. I highly highly recommend her!

Thanks to the impending storm, I had to change my hairstyle last minute and Brittany made me feel beautiful nonetheless.

My mom really wanted to walk me down the aisle with my dad. My sister before me told Mom that she wanted to stick with the traditional route, so only Dad walked her down the aisle. I told her I wanted the same.

But I was tricking her. I knew she really wanted to share that moment and I knew it would make her feel special, so the day of our wedding after she helped me with my dress, I asked if she would walk me down the aisle with Dad.

We both started crying and she was absolutely elated. I loved having both of my parents walk me down the aisle to my future husband.

charleston wedding day
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PS I am still obsessed with my dress!!! It’s so “me”. The back and the bow were what did it for me. Thank you to Tierney at Bridal House of Charleston for being so incredibly kind and helpful. I cannot recommend her and her shop enough.

My maternal grandmother is my last grandparent alive and I wanted to honor her in some way since she was in no condition to travel at the ripe age of 94! She always was and still is an avid crafter, so I asked if she would sew me a blue W to put by my heart on the inside of my dress. She ended up sewing it onto one of my grandfather’s old blue shirts (he passed away many years ago) which made it extra special.

By the way, all these gorgeous photos are compliments of our phenomenal wedding photographers: Jeff and Amanda Janecek of Dreampop Media. Looking at their images, you wouldn’t have known we had the weather we did. They were absolute troopers, helping us get all the shots we wanted even when the weather was about to break!

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So we knew there was a severe thunderstorm coming riiiiiight at 6pm when the ceremony was supposed to be finishing up. Amanda, one part of our photography team, hesitantly came up to me while I was having my hair done and said “Val, the storm is supposed to come right after the ceremony. I know you didn’t want to, but I really think you should think about doing a first look to get some photos of you and TJ before it gets wet.”

I instantly felt frustrated and devastated. I was so adamant about being traditional and not doing a first look. But at this point, I really didn’t have a choice. Let me say this: I did not expect to be nervous on my wedding day. But I was. And as soon as I made the decision to do the first look, I immediately felt more relaxed. I can’t go back and do it differently but I will say as someone who felt the emotions of both scenarios all in the same day, doing a first look definitely helps with nerves!

TJ and I had to get all our photos during the first look. Unfortunately because the weather got so bad immediately after the ceremony, it was too wet and chaotic to get more during cocktail hour. This is one of my biggest regrets although there was absolutely nothing we could do about it.

And it was SO. WINDY. ALL. DAY. You’ll see more evidence of this later…

At least we got one cool image thanks to it ;)

charleston wedding

Oh and then my sister surprised us with bringing our dog Luna to get a few photos with us! Ugh heart melted!!!

Let’s fast forward a bit to the ceremony. The weather held out. It was a gray day but did you know that’s actually the best for photos? Too much sun can cause shadows and lots of squinty eyes!

TJ’s niece was our flower girl. I gave my sister in law a few options for dresses I liked and the one she and my niece ended up choosing was from Etsy. I believe it ended up being less than $100 including shipping. It was custom made to her size and excellent quality.

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charleston wedding

I told you it was windy!!

Our wedding planner was watching the storm on the radar very closely and advised that we start the ceremony a few minutes early with or without all the guests, so we did. Then we had to rush through family photos. Thankfully we got a few good ones but it was so windy, it was tough.

charleston wedding day

As if on queue, we had gotten through most of the family shots when it started drizzling, which quickly turned to rain. The storm was coming, and quick. I hardly remember what happened after this but TJ and I ran into the bridal suite house to take cover. Apparently everyone’s phones were going off, alerting a severe thunderstorm and TORNADO WARNING. Yes. A tornado warning.

Our amazing wedding planner took charge and had to get everyone out from under the tent (for safety reasons) and piled into the 800 square foot bridal suite, groom’s quarters that was half the size, and two coach buses that stayed on site for us in case of emergency.

Our food and drink vendors, Squeeze Onsite and Coastal Crust were so accommodating and brought cups and bottles of wine and appetizers into the buses and the bridal suite to get people fed and buzzed while the storm passed.

Unfortunately during this time, the band had to pack up leave because the wind was so strong (60 mph, seriously.) it was blowing water quickly into the tent and flooding the floor where their equipment sat. They had only played a couple songs. :(

Thankfully a couple of them stayed behind to DJ so we still had music!

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Very yummy desserts by Sweet Lulu’s Bakery.

We carried on, albeit a little wet. Sarah, our wedding planner was so so good through the whole thing. She even had her husband and parents come to help her manage the chaos. Lord knows it was necessary. Bless her!!

After the fact, I was so concerned that our guests didn’t have fun. It was madness for probably an hour. Were they frustrated that they got wet? Were they cold? Were they bummed we didn’t have a band anymore? Was the music still fun? About 70% of our guests had traveled and spent a lot of money and time to be there with us and I was so worried they didn’t have a good time.

When we got our photos from our photographers, I sighed a breath of relief. I think it’s safe to say they had a great time ;)

The morning after the wedding, after the buzz had worn off and we were able to take a step back— TJ and I were like, what the HECK happened last night?! We still can’t believe it. It surely was not the day we had envisioned for a year. We had to make a LOT of last minute changes and have never had to “go with the flow” so much. But what if we complained and pouted and felt bad for ourselves the whole time? We would have lost the best day of our lives.

So, my friends, sometimes you don’t get a picture perfect wedding day. Sometimes you have a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning. But there’s always love, that day and every day for the rest of our lives.

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Day of Coordination // Sarah Rickman, Samantha Anderson Events

Venue // Wingate Plantation

Photographer // Dreampop Media

Videographer // Hart to Heart Media

Food // Coastal Crust

Bar // Squeeze Onsite

Cake & Dessert // Sweet Lulu’s Bakery

Wedding Gown // Bridal House of Charleston

Hair & Makeup // Wild Ivory Beauty

Florals // The Flower Cottage

Rentals // Simply Elegant