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Photo courtesy of Julia Fay Photography

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From the Editor

We have a whopping 17 couples in this issue of Carolina Bride, and I’ve had the best time hunting down weddings for you. We get a pretty wide selection, so I get to see what the Midlands’ biggest trends are every wedding season. Here’s what I’m noticing this time around. Usually, the Pantone color of the year is big. Not so this year. Ultra violet has proven too bold for lots of the weddings that have come across my desk. But couples have taken a cue from the color family and used more muted purples – lilacs, heathers, wisterias and periwinkles. Pastels are big in general, particularly blush. But I saw a lot of reds, too. And then there’s Olivia’s wedding (see photo), which used the muted colors with pops of brightness. “I love color and uniqueness,” she said. She was discussing her sapphire engagement ring, but she could have been talking about anything at her wedding. Her gown, for example, was “iridescent like an opal” with “layers of lavender, blush and “a hippie child at heart” and

Karen Ayala and Chris Boyer were married May 6, 2017, at the Seibels House and Garden in Columbia. Read their story on page 18.

Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer

Photo by Brennan Booker, Brennan Booker Photography

pale blue.” The fact that she’s

Night’s Dream” were her inspiration for a gorgeous garden wedding. And while we’ve been seeing flower crowns for a while, this

Volume 14, Number 2


Summer/fall 2018

issue of Carolina Bride marks the widest use of them: We have flower crowns on bridesmaids and maids of honor as well as on a bride. I’m loving this expansion – it’s hard to rock a veil and a crown. As always, the love stories are earnest and sweet. At Asheley and Brian’s wedding, the 7-year-old maid of honor was so thrilled for her dad and new stepmom that she (with their

Lauren Libet Vice President of Advertising llibet@thestate.com Rebekah Lewis Hall Special Projects Coordinator rhall@thestate.com Questions about content in Carolina Bride? carolinabride@thestate.com Questions about advertising in Carolina Bride? 803-771-8372

blessing) ran down the aisle to join them after the ceremony. I won’t take away from the story, but I’ll just say this may be one of my favorite series of


photos – and this is not an exaggeration – ever. We have couples who grew up as friends, couples who were high school sweethearts and at least one couple who met on Bumble. Enjoy!

Carolina Bride, a publication of The State Media Company, is not associated with the editorial department of The State Media Company. Carolina Bride is printed twice yearly. All contents © Carolina Bride magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents, in whole or in part, without prior written permission of the publisher, is strictly prohibited. The magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photography, or artwork.

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in this issue Asheley & Brian........................... 9 Karen & Chris............................ 18

Lowcountry insert


Jaclyn & AJ .............................. 24 Amanda & Chase .................... 26 Kristen & Andrew...................... 28 Lowcountry Reception Venues.30 Hallie & Brooks ........................ 32 Taylor & Austin ......................... 36 Jessica & Maurice ................... 38 Christina & Logan..................... 42 Leslie Clare & Colin ................. 44 Elizabeth & Cliff........................ 48 Olivia & Hudson ....................... 50 Ferris & Chris ........................... 52 Styled Photo Shoot .................. 54 Loren & Stephen ...................... 56 Rachel & Britt .......................... 58 Rachel & Steven ...................... 60 Melissa & Josh ........................ 62 Reception Venues ................... 64 Advertiser Index ....................... 67


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or a few seconds on her wedding day, Asheley Scott St. John was not the focal point. And that was her favorite moment of the day. Asheley realized she was not just marrying Brian St. John on a beautiful February evening; she was becoming an important part of his 7-year-old daughter’s life as well. She wanted to make sure Holston’s role in the wedding reflected that. Holston was Asheley’s maid-of-honor, but the bride wanted something even more symbolic to let her stepdaughter know she was an essential part of the day. During the recessional, Asheley and Brian turned around half way down the aisle and invited Holston to join them as they left the church. The joy and excitement on Holston’s face as she ran and jumped into Asheley’s arms was caught in photos that Asheley and Brian will treasure forever. “Anytime you have kids in a wedding, you don’t know how


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sheley and Brian met well after both finished college – Asheley at Clemson and then Georgia Tech, and Brian at N.C. State University – and had started careers. Asheley had started her own architectural firm, 1x1 Design and Brian was established in his


they’re going to behave or react,” Asheley said. “We both wanted to make it a special day for her. We practiced it Friday night; we decided Brian’s best friend (and best man) John Lansche would help Holston down the steps, and then wait with her until we turned around. Then she could join us if she wanted to. If she didn’t want to, or felt uncomfortable, that was fine too. She knew she could do whatever felt right in that moment.” She knew just what she wanted to do. “Once we got to that moment, we turned around and John was having to hold her back. She took off running and jumped in my arms. The congregation lost it. We were in total shock, in a good way! We loved it. ... I just wanted to make sure I caught her with no wardrobe malfunctions.” Success on both counts. And photographer Holly Graciano captured the moment. “Asheley had mentioned to me early in the day that Holston was planning something during the recessional, but I had no idea how emotional that moment was going to be when it actually happened,” Graciano said. “As soon as I saw Holston turn around at the altar and start running, I lost it. With tears streaming down my face, my only thought was to keep my hands steady and capture this beautifully raw moment for them. I think I speak for everyone in the church when I say it was a heartwarming moment that we will never forget.” Holston wasn’t trying to be “heartwarming.” She was just excited. “I was barefoot and ready to not be standing so still at the front of the church anymore,” Holston said. Asheley did not grow up dreaming about her wedding. When she graduated from Clemson University’s architectural school, she was focused on her career, which led to her starting her own firm in 2011. Even when she designed the renovations for her family’s church and the pastor hinted that maybe she’d enjoy the changes at her wedding one day, she laughed. But if she did have a dream wedding, if she could have scripted a perfect a moment? That would have been it. “That whole moment summed it up,” Asheley said. “Everything came together better than we could have imagined.” It was Brian’s favorite moment as well. “That absolutely was the cherry on the cake,” he said. “That was unscripted and pretty wild. It certainly choked me up.”


career with the Raymond Cooperation as national account manager, and shared custody of Holston. They started dating in November 2015. “The thing I found with her, what I fell in love with first and why it all worked out, is we have such common interests in traveling and things we like to do day to day, sports, family values ... those core things,” Brian said. “It just felt right. We like to do the same things; the same values are important to both us.” Asheley is devoted to her business, and enjoys it; but she didn’t want it to be the only thing in her life. “Getting married … it’s certainly something I had always wanted, but the right one had simply never showed up,” Asheley said. “I’m very picky when it comes to that. If it happened, it happened.” After dating for about two years, Asheley and Brian knew it had happened.

They started thinking about the logistics; they both had houses, how would it impact Holston? “We started trying to figure out, ‘What does real life look like with all of this?’” Despite all those conversations, Brian managed to surprise Asheley with his proposal in September 2017. Asheley and Brian had just moved into a new house, and Asheley thought Brian was there overseeing some repairs. Asheley, president of the Clemson Architectural Foundation, was in Clemson for a Board of Trustees meeting. After the meeting, Asheley had planned to drive straight home. But Scott Garvin, one of the committee members and Asheley’s former boss, good friend and mentor, was insistent that Asheley go to lunch with him. She resisted, but he really persisted, so Asheley relented and agreed to a quick lunch.

As they drove past Clemson’s football stadium, they saw the Tiger mascot. Scott insisted they park and get a photo with the Tiger. “I said, ‘I don’t need to get a photo with the Tiger,’” Asheley said. But they stopped anyway. And then the Tiger pulled Asheley into the stadium. “And there was Brian, standing by the (Frank Howard) Rock,” Asheley said. Her first thoughts? “I thought, ‘Oh no! We don’t have tickets to this week’s game. He didn’t check the calendar! Does he think we have tickets?’” But it didn’t take long for Brian to clear up the confusion. Asheley accepted his proposal, and they spent the weekend at Grove Park Inn in Asheville. The proposal took a bit of coordination, but it was worth it, Brian said. “I had a little help from Asheley’s first boss, who had ties with the Tiger,” Brian

said. “And I had some ties with the assistant athletics director…It completely surprised her. She had no idea. Which is hard to do.”



“We would say, ‘If such and such doesn’t work out, we’re still getting married; if we can’t get these flowers, we’re still getting married.’ We wanted to make it fun and not stuffy; it was really a party to have fun with all our people.” Asheley’s mother, Jane Scott, was with her all the way, helping with the planning. “Spending time with her, having her there with me when I was planning this memorable day made it all the more special.” Asheley and Brian’s parents – John and Jane Scott and Steve and Debbie St. John – all played significant roles. “We were excited to be able to have all of our parents involved in bits and pieces of the planning,” Asheley said. “They offered some valuable input, but they also wanted to make sure it was our day.” One thing that was a priority was the photography; she was very happy with Graciano.


hey set a date for Feb. 17 – about six months after the proposal. Asheley hired Meagan Warren of Meagan Warren Weddings and immediately apologized. “I told Meagan and everyone else, who were all phenomenal, ‘Please let me apologize; I did not grow up planning my wedding so I have no preconceived idea about what I want.’ ” She did know a few things: She wanted to get married, she wanted the people important to her and Brian to be there, she wanted things to be simple, and of course, she wanted Holston to be involved. “Not only are Asheley and Brian one of

the nicest couples, they knew from the beginning what was important to them,” Meagan said. From a practical standpoint? They had to look at their calendars to see when would be the best time to have a wedding and fit in a honeymoon. Presidents Day weekend was the choice, since Holston and the other children would have some time off from school and it allowed them time for a honeymoon in Hawaii. It was a convenient time for all of their family and friends. “We really wanted our people there,” Asheley said. “That was the most important thing. ... “After that? Meaghan and I talked a long time, and I told her we’re older, and we didn’t want to go overboard with the whole thing.” After things started coming together, they took a relaxed approach to the planning process, Asheley said.



hey got married at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, where her family attends. The sanctuary’s recent award-winning renovations had been designed by her architecture firm. Asheley had no idea when she was designing the renovations that one day she would be married there. Rather than bridesmaids, she had five matrons of honor who wore slate blue dresses, each styled a bit differently. Asheley’s niece, Liza Scott, and Holston wore lilac dresses. Holston loved her dress, and she even loved her silver shoes - but she didn’t wear the latter. “They were too tight,” Holston said. So what did she wear on her feet? “Nothing!” Holston said. “It was the best!” The dresses, including Asheley’s, were bought at Evelyn’s Bridal. Asheley tried on many dresses and ended up getting one of the first ones she found. “I’m not a big lacy, frilly person,” she said. “I knew I wanted simple, clean, crisp lines.” The bridal party carried bouquets of “not too girly” flowers mixed with greenery, from Fern Studio. Brian and his groomsmen wore black Vera Wang tuxes from the Mens Wearhouse, with pheasant feather bowties from Brackish Bowties. Brian’s had a hint of orange. Rather than have a rehearsal dinner and engagement party, they had a pre-wedding celebration Friday night before the wedding. The wedding was at 5 p.m., timed so there would be enough natural light after the ceremony for photos. There were also children involved in the wedding: Along with Holston and Liza there were Asheley’s godsons, ring bearers James Daly and Wesley Smith. “All of their mamas were in the wedding and both their moms’ and those kids have been my life,” Asheley said. There were also bell ringers Emily and Drew Lansche listed

as “friends of the maid of honor” and many other children were invited as guests. So Asheley wanted to make the time friendly for them. The day of the wedding, Brian and his groomsmen went out lunch before heading to the church while Asheley and her attendants stayed at the hotel and got their hair and makeup done by Kathryn Langston with Bombshell Studio. The ceremony was quick – again, kid-friendly – with Edgewire Music providing the music. After Holston charmed everyone with her run and leap down the aisle, everyone moved to the Vista for the reception at City Market. Southern Way catered a menu that included special macaroni and cheese, quail, oysters, shrimp and grits and bruschetta. The wedding cake was provided by Parkland Cakes. The Business Band had kids and adults dancing the night

away, and Ambient Media did to think of something fun for the lighting. their departure, explaining the tradition and giving her the parameters that it couldn’t be messy, or “hurt the birds.” veryone even had fun “So, she came up with when Asheley and Brian kazoos!” Asheley said. “There is left the reception. a kazoo factory in Beaufort, not “We had bubbles to blow, but far from Fripp Island where those weren’t the chosen exit Brian’s parents live. She had strategy for most of the guests,” been there with them over the Asheley said. summer, and she wanted to She and Brian asked Hoston have kazoos for everyone.



“So, Debbie and Steve got kazoos made, and there we were. It sounded absolutely awful! I think Meagan said it sounded like ‘drunken birds’ or something. But, it was so, so funny, and both kids and adults were into it.” It was a perfect way to end a perfect wedding for Asheley, Brian and Holston. “I liked having so many of my friends and family in one place,” Holston said. “My favorite part was dancing with everybody! And the mac and cheese! My friends all said they tried everything and it was sooo good.” Her dad and stepmom agree. “Everything just went so smoothly,” Brian said. “Having the people we wanted there, all of our friends. ... Having them there was very special. “And seeing all the kids; Holston’s friends, their families, all the kids running around was a pretty awesome piece of the day for all of us.”


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Meant to be By Lezlie Patterson

“As I finished reading his thoughtful card, I peeked over and saw him kneeling.” It wasn’t exactly how Chris originally had aren knew for most of a decade envisioned it. that she would marry Chris. He had planned to propose by the West She just didn’t know it would Columbia Riverwalk along the Congaree be as soon as it was. River after dinner at their favorite restauBut when Chris surprised her with a proposal at her home before dinner rant, Al’s Upstairs. But earlier that month, in October 2015, Karen didn’t hesitate to heavy rainfall – in some areas, more than 20 inches in just a few days – had resulted give him a resounding yes. “We were celebrating our dating anniver- in what meteorologists called a “thousandsary,” Karen remembered. “He came to pick year flood” in the Columbia area. The Congaree River crested at nearly me up, and I wasn’t ready. When I came out, he gave me flowers and a card. 32 feet – 13 feet past its flood stage – dam-


Special to Carolina Bride

aging the Riverwalk so severely that the park would remain closed for nearly two years. “Even after being with Karen for about eight years at the time, the drive over to her house was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life,” Chris said.



aren Ayala and Chris Boyer met online in 2008 on the social networking site MySpace. They discovered each other on a mutual friend’s page,

‘This is the kind of couple that everyone always knew would be together forever.’


and Karen initiated contact. Chris responded, and eventually they decided to meet in person. They realized they had a lot in common, including being born one day apart. Ten years later, they’ve both graduated from the University of South Carolina, and have celebrated their first wedding anniversary. Chris knew Karen was the woman for him since he was a junior in high school. “At the time, being teenagers, I was not able to afford an engagement ring she deserved,” Chris said. Karen wanted to get married in the spring, but she also wanted to wait until she graduated college. She was willing to have a 20-month engagement to make that happen. Karen started planning the wedding once they graduated while also juggling a new job at a local startup. They married on May 6, 2017. Karen’s goal: Stay on budget and still come out with a beautiful wedding. She succeeded. “Some of the vendors we chose were either good friends, people who I previously worked with before, and who I found, were really talented,” Karen says. One of those was Brittany Buckner, a longtime friend who coordinated the wedding – her first one – while she was still a student at the University of South Carolina. Karen tapped Hayden Media Co., who she had worked with at her first job, or video, and Brennan Booker Photography, whose work she had seen and admired, for photography. Karen, who now owns her own marketing business, did a lot of the coordinating herself; she designed the flowers she rdered from Fifty Flowers, as well as the invitation and Snapchat filter. While Ruth’s House provided tables and chairs, Karen did the layout design. “Karen has a great eye for design,” Buckner said. “... I was amazed at her creativity and her ability to create most of the decor and arrangements herself! I loved being able to execute a style so different than my own – she’s very modern; I’m very classic.” The couple also used WedTexts, a service offered by a Columbia-based company, to communicate with the wedding party and guests via prescheduled text messages. This allowed them to summon guests for things like the cake cutting, or to remind groomsmen they were due at the wedding venue in 15 minutes.

The rehearsal dinner was the night before the wedding at Spotted Salamander. Chris worked with his aunt and pastor, Kathy Harris, who married them, to develop the ceremony script.




aren and Chris married at the Seibels House and Garden. The Colonial Revival-style house, built in 1796 and now operated by Historic Columbia as one of its house museums, is believed to be the oldest surviving house in Columbia. The landscaping merges historic elements with heritage plantings to represent the evolution of Southern gardens from the 19th nd early 20th centuries. It was the gardens that attracted Karen to

the venue. “I’m originally from Miami. I grew up being surrounded by palm trees and all types of greenery, and I knew I wanted that tropical-type setting.” Her bridal bouquet blended a monestra leaf and white orchids, Karen’s favorite flower. The day of her wedding, the gardens looked just like she wanted. She and her four bridesmaids spent the morning at her home, drinking mimosas and fixing their makeup and hair. They put on their navy Atom Attire dresses from Etsy. The design of the dress allowed each bridesmaid to wear it in a different style. Karen purchased her Amsaledesigned dress from Nitsa’s Apparel in Winston-Salem. Buttons lined the back of the illusion-neckline, fit-to-flare white dress down to the train. A cathedral-length veil attached to the her


hair, which she slicked into a bun. Chris and his groomsmen wore midnight blue and black satin-lapel tuxes from The Black Tux. While everything Karen and her vendors had control over was perfect, Mother Nature was not cooperating. The forecast pretty much guaranteed it would rain on Chris and Karen’s wedding day. They scrambled to find a tent, but none were available. With inevitable rain looming, Chris and Karen started their evening wedding. The rain held off long enough for the ceremony and first dance before forcing a few adjustments that did nothing dampen the celebration. Rain started to sprinkle once Chris and Karen’s first dance finished, and a downpour quickly ensued. The garden wedding was moved inside the Seibels House. “We were thankful we had the opportunity to dance our first dance before the downpour,” Karen said. “The wedding was primarily supposed to be outside. But actually, the rain was timed pretty well. We moved the party inside and had a wonderful time the rest of the night. All that mattered to me at that point was that I married the man I love.” The inside space at Seibels House was a great backup plan, Chris said. “It got people to be physically closer together and made people make their way to the dance floor,” he said. The house featured different rooms that functioned as sitting and dining areas, a dance floor and a buffet room. “Having these spaces available for our guests made them extremely comfortable, although most of them ended up joining us on the dance floor,” Chris said. Buckner completely took over planning duties at the reception, which allowed Karen to relax and enjoy the reception worry-free. “She did an amazing job,” Karen said. Buckner is now the rental coordinator for Historic Columbia. She helps couples plan weddings at the housemuseum venues, including her first venue, the Seibels House.



he Boyers had three cakes at their wedding reception: a strawberry cake, a butter pecan cake and a chocolate bourbon cake. Sugarability made the cakes and Southern Gourmet Catering provided

Karen from their loved ones; this is the kind of couple that everyone always knew would be together forever,” Buckner said. “I’m so honored to have been a part of their love story. After the wedding, Karen and Chris didn’t have to worry about rain for a week. They went to Moorea, French Polynesian island just

northwest of Tahiti, where they stayed in an overthe-water bungalow. “It was incredible,” Karen said. “The island, its water, its people, and its food are something I will always cherish and be grateful for.” Karen and Chris live in Columbia, where Karen runs her own marketing business and Chris works as a civil engineer.


the food, which blended the seafood Karen grew up with in Florida as well as the Southern food Chris grew up with in South Carolina. “I loved the food!” Chris said. “We picked such a good caterer and menu.” Other highlights for Chris were when he and Karen were introduced, had their first dance, and the speeches given in their honor. “It all went very smoothly, and we got everything done just in time before it started to drizzle,” he said. Ed’s Bartending tended an open bar in the black- and white-tiled sunroom, and Nice Entertainment provided the DJ. “I loved watching the outpouring of love and support for Chris and



Jaclyn & AJ

Sylvia Schutz Photography

{ Hilton Head Island • Bluffton • Beaufort • South Carolina }

For Jaclyn Turner, there really wasn't one moment where she knew her boyfriend, AJ Sload, was "the one." Rather, "it was a multitude of moments where I thought to myself, 'there's no way a man this perfect exists,'" she said. AJ proposed over the Thanksgiving holiday while they were visiting family and decorating the Christmas tree — one of Jaclyn's favorite traditions. The two were married May 13, 2018, at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa. Jaclyn's responses have been edited. You and AJ both love the beach. Why did you choose to have your ceremony near it instead of on it?

We both loved how beautiful beach weddings are, but I always had reservations about the sand and wind by the ocean. I loved that the Marriott had a lawn overlooking the ocean so that we had a stunning view, but didn't have to worry about getting sandy or the wind blowing our hair around too much. The lawn also allowed our guests to be comfortable and to hear the ceremony, which was another concern I had about a beach wedding. Our officiant had a lapel microphone which allowed our guests to hear the entire wedding. It was short and sweet (17 minutes to be exact).

top that it overshadowed what my wedding day was all about — marrying the love of my life. I definitely wanted great food and drinks (and lots of it), a great DJ to keep the party going, and an amazing photographer to capture every detail for us to remember for the rest of our lives.

You had your wedding dress altered in a special (and rather smart) way. Can you explain?

My dress was a Juan Carlos Pinera mermaid design with a full lace bodice and organza bottom. I had it altered to make the organza bottom removable. It transformed into a fitted lace cocktail dress that I could dance the night away in without worrying about stepping on the long, beautiful train.

Tell us about some of your favorite wedding details.

Our colors were tiffany blue, pewter, and yellow. Our florist decorated an arbor with sunflowers and baby's breath, and the contrast of the sunflowers against the bright blue sky and the beach was more beautiful than I ever thought possible. We were married by one of our closest friends and our first dance was to an acoustic version of the Smashing Pumpkins song "Tonight, Tonight" sung live by our college friend.

What advice would you give to couples planning a wedding?

Relax and enjoy the process. I am an extremely organized person, and had color-coded spreadsheets galore. But at the end of the day not everything will go according to plan. As long as you remember that you are marrying your best friend and love of your life, that's truly all that matters. Everything will work out.


the adjoining Bullhead deck, and the reception that followed was held on the larger Basshead deck. I loved that the reception area was overlooking the beach The sapphire jewelry you wore Did you have problems fitting all as well, and had plenty of room was beautiful had sentimental. for guests to enjoy themselves on Whose was it? your guests on the lawn? the dance floor. Absolutely not. All 115 of our I wore a heart-shaped sapguests fit perfectly in the space. phire and diamond necklace What were some of your I loved how the lawn was large that belonged to my late greatenough for all our guests but still wedding must-haves? grandmother, and the sapphire I wanted a venue that was seemed intimate. and diamond engagement ring gorgeous, but not so over the The cocktail hour was held on my late grandfather gave to my

grandmother. I coupled both with new sapphire earrings.



Amanda & Chase

Ashley Seawell Photography

{ Hilton Head Island • Bluffton • Beaufort • South Carolina }

While Amanda Senn and Chase Davis went to the same high school, they were never high-school sweethearts. "I always saw him as the cute senior that would never be interested in a freshman," Amanda recalled. Amanda and Chase went their separate ways after graduation, but reconnected with "an undeniable spark" 12 years later. The two were married Jan. 14, 2018, in Bluffton at the Somerset Chapel in Palmetto Bluff. A reception followed at the Oldfield River Club. Amanda's responses have been edited.

Tell us about the proposal.

Chase had the ring for weeks, trying to decide where would be the perfect setting for popping the question. Then it hit him: Hilton Head Island. Ever since I was little I spent Labor Day weekend on Hilton Head with family. Now we've started the same tradition. We had walked down to the marsh to watch a beautiful sunset and it was on a bench by the water that he asked me to spend forever with him. After a brief moment of shock, I said yes!

You and Chase are from the Midlands, but Bluffton holds a special meaning to you. Why?

What were some of your wedding must-haves?

The priority for my wedding was for everything to have some kind of sentiment behind it. If it wasn't special or meaningful, I didn't care to have it. I knew I wanted a special way during the ceremony to honor each grandparent I lost. My "something old" was a piece of lace from my Mimi's wedding dress wrapped around my bouquet. My

"something borrowed" was my Mimi and Poppa's wedding rings pinned into my bouquet. The Bible our officiant read from was my Pop's, and my Mawmaw was supposed to be our flower girl. To honor her, I had my aunt (her daughter) walk a basket of white petals down the aisle and put it on the chair my grandmother would have sat in. We also had white roses placed in a chair for each grandparent we lost.

I understand you also had a pair of surprise guests.

I'm a huge Disney fan and at one point during the planning process I jokingly said to my mom, "I wonder if we could get Mickey Mouse at our wedding." Well she ran with it! She surprised us with having Mickey

and Minnie Mouse as special guests. I don't know who was more excited, me or my nephews!

What advice would you give to a couple planning a wedding?

Remember not to sweat the small stuff, stick with what your gut tells you is right, and try to focus on what the day is about which is about you and your soon to be spouse. It's easy to get caught up in what everyone wants, and yes it does matter to please your guests, but it is ultimately about uniting with your spouse.

Also, I absolutely recommend a videographer to capture those moments you might not have noticed, or gotten to see since they day will just fly by.


My grandmother passed away in 2009 and it always broke my heart knowing she wasn't able

to see me get married. I wanted a special way to honor her so we chose to get married in the town she grew up in: Bluffton. Throughout the entire planning process, I learned more and more about my grandmother and I felt like she was with my mom and I the entire time.


Iron Hook Photography


Kristen & Andrew

{ Hilton Head Island • Bluffton • Beaufort • South Carolina }

As Kristen tells it, it was her husband's blond mullet that really wooed her the night they first met. "I figured any guy who could wear a wig in a bar has to be confident and funny," she said. They had their first date the next day. On Oct. 21, 2017, Kristen Clark and Andrew Hatcher said "I do" at Lowcountry Presbyterian Church in Bluffton. Kristen's responses have been edited.

When did you know Andrew was "the one"?

I knew right away. I remember telling my best friend the next morning that he was the one. I think Andrew took a little more convincing. We dated a year and a half before he proposed.

You planned your wedding in nine months. How did you get it all done in a short time? Did you cut corners anywhere?

Andrew is a Bluffton firefighter. Did you incorporate any firerelated details into the day? Our cake topper was a groom climbing a fire ladder and the bride was waiting on top. We also cut our cake with an engraved fire axe, and stopped by the fire station for wedding photos.

What were some of your wedding must-haves?

The ceremony was very im-

portant to my husband and me. How would you describe your wedding? Did you have a theme? It was traditional, sentimental We didn’t really have a theme but it was traditional, classy, and simple. Nothing over the top, crazy. Our colors were gray and black and my flowers were a mix of gerbera daisies and lilies, which my mom had in her wedding bouquet.

and everything I could have dreamed. It was perfect. I cried like a baby when I walked down the aisle but my dress had pockets — which are awesome if you're a crier like me. We were married by the same Pastor who baptized me, and we

paid tribute to Andrew's sister who passed away a few years ago. Andrew and I also braided three cords to go with the Bible verse, "a cord of three strands is not easily broken." My other top priorities were a great DJ and a great photographer — because pictures really are forever. I love to dance and I wanted our friends to have a good time (we offered flip-flops for the women to switch into).

What advice would you give to couples planning a wedding? Have fun and enjoy making decisions together — this is the start of your lives together. And don't blow your budget; be sensible about your wish list. Have fun and enjoy the day with your friends and family and, most importantly, your new spouse.


I didn't hire a wedding planner so I could save money — my mother, mother-in-law, and I did everything. My mom and I are very organized and detail-oriented so I think that's why were able to get it done so soon. I made all of my appointments very early on and let's be real, I had the whole thing planned in

my head before Andrew even proposed. We had plenty of time for mailing our save the dates and invitations. I stayed on top of planning and there were even a few months that I didn't do much planning at all. And I didn't cut corners on any details. Actually, finding a church that would let us be married without being members was a little harder than finding a venue.

{ Hilton Head Island • Bluffton • Beaufort • South Carolina }


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They had planned on going to dinner at Cola’s (my favorite restaurant) and walking to the H: Brooks proposed on Dec. 23, State House to see the holiday 2016, and had gotten my parents’ lights. After dinner, we walked blessing a week earlier. In beto the State House, At first I tween, my mom was diagnosed didn’t realize he’d passed me, with stage 2 melanoma. Despite so by the time I saw him, he was this rather sobering news, she a few feet ahead of me. When encouraged Brooks to go forward I caught up to him he turned with the proposal he’d already around and was on one knee been planning. This was bewith a ring! I am not great with cause, as anyone who knows my surprises, so I got very flustered mother will tell you, there are and told him to stand up and few things she loves more than a said we couldn’t get engaged good celebration. without our families around. He told me to look across the street Tell me about the proposal. and up. He had arranged for H: The morning of the 23rd, my mom was scheduled to have her both of our families and some of our closest friends to be on the PET scan. Brooks and I went balcony across the street. They to the hospital and sat with saw me look and started cheermy dad, who asked if we would take his dinner reservation he’d ing and waving. When I looked back, he asked me to marry him booked for him and my mom.

Hallie, you had just gotten news about your mom. Did that affect the proposal?


Hallie Willm and Brooks Biediger were married Jan. 20, 2018, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. The two knew each other from childhood, when their parents worked together at Lexington Medical Center but didn’t start dating until years later, when they reconnected working at the same law firm. Hallie, 28, is an assistant public defender for the 11th Judicial Circuit, and Brooks, 33, is an attorney at Holder Padgett Littlejohn & Prickett, LLC. They live in Columbia. Answers have been edited. and we went across the street to join our family and friends for a champagne toast. It was absolutely perfect.

What were some of your favorite personalized details from your wedding?

H: I carried lace from my mother’s wedding gown around my bouquet. I had our initials and wedding dates embroidered on the back of the lace in light blue thread so it could be my something old and something blue.

What drew you to the Alumni Center as your reception venue?

We both have large extended families, so we knew we needed a space with plenty of room. We were also looking for something a little different, that hadn’t been done a lot before. Neither

of us had ever been to a wedding reception at the Alumni Center, and it’s really a beautiful space.

What advice would you give a bride or groom who’s planning a wedding? H: Decide early on the top three things that are the most important to you. Then, ask your parents, your spouse and your future in-laws to tell you the three things that are most important to them. It helps start a good conversation about what everyone’s priorities are and can help sidestep potentially awkward confrontations down the road. B: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Early on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the details of everything. You’ll relax more if you try to enjoy the process and not get too caught up.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Jo-Lin’s Bridal, gown and veil; BHLDN, lace bolero • GROOM AND GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Craig Reagin Clothiers • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE Jo-Lin’s Bridal • BAND The Voltage Brothers • CAKE Bonnie Brunt Cakes • CATERING Southern Way Catering • DECOR & PLANNING Meagan Warren Weddings • DJ, REHEARSAL DINNER Partytime DJs • FLORALS American Floral • HAIR Studio O2 • HOTEL BLOCK Hilton Columbia Center; Hampton Inn Columbia Downtown Historic District • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS ByFarr Designs • JEWELRY Links of London, Hallie’s earrings; Brooks Brothers, Brooks’s cufflinks • LIGHTING Ambient Media • LIVE PAINTING Trahern Cook, Easel Cathedral • MAKEUP Jamie Tran, Eyebrow Junkie • OFFICIANT The Very Rev. Timothy Jones, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral; The Rev. Monsignor Richard Harris, V.G. • PHOTOGRAPHY Sposa Bella Photography • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Belk; Bloomingdale’s; Pottery Barn. “We also asked our guests to consider a donation to one of three charities in lieu of a gift, if they preferred. Those charities were Transitions Homeless Shelter, Pets Inc., and the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.” • RENTALS Something Borrowed • TRANSPORTATION Southern Valet • VENUE, CEREMONY Trinity Episcopal Cathedral • VENUE, RECEPTION My Carolina Alumni Association • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER City Market

At Southern Way Catering, our philosophy is to provide our guests with the most delectable food, the most attentive service, the most memorable presentation and the most pleasurable event experience. We source local, fresh and sustainable ingredients to create customized menus full of exquisite flavors for our guests to enjoy at each event. Travel on a culinary journey with us as we explore the finest foods that the South has to offer. Our impeccable customer service is deeply rooted in southern hospitality and tradition, and our attention to detail and demand for the best is unparalleled. It is our goal for you to indulge in a delightful and satisfying culinary experience at your event whether it be through a seated dinner, a buffet style meal or heavy hors d’oeuvres. Come see, taste and experience the difference at Southern Way – you will be sure to leave with an unforgettable impression!


Photos by Jessi Nichols Photography jessinichols.com




You met at Clemson, right? Tell me about that.


T: Austin and I grew up only 20 minutes from each other, he in Irmo and I in Lexington, but we didn’t meet until the second semester of our freshman year at Clemson, at a friend’s house party. Our friends started hanging out more and more together, and eventually Austin asked me to dinner.

When did you know your spouse was “the one”?

A: There wasn’t any one moment, but I remember after a while we fit so well together and enjoyed doing much of the same stuff, even if it was staying in and being lazy, that I knew she was perfect for me. T: On the last night of our freshman year. We were celebrating with friends in the dorms and Austin and I were in the hallway

On March 24, 2018, Taylor Smith was a vision in white… and orange. Taylor’s shoes were a nod to her alma mater, Clemson University, where she first met her husband, Austin Pell. “If you ask anyone that ever went to Clemson, they will tell you that orange holds a special place in their heart. It is even more so for Austin and I, since that’s where we met and fell in love,” says Taylor. Taylor, 26, and Austin, 25, were married in the Memorial Gardens at the South Carolina Lace House. They now live in Marietta, Georgia. Answers have been edited.

alone together. We both said, “I love you,” and I knew.

Tell me about the proposal.

A: We both love traveling to the wineries in North Georgia and spending the day there with our dog, Avery, so it made perfect sense to propose at Wolf Mountain Vineyard. While we were at the vineyard “waiting” for our friends, we got a “tour” from one of the owners. He took us down to the wedding gazebo where I proposed to Taylor, overlooking the mountains. T: I’m pretty sure the first words out of my mouth were, “Are you serious?” Thankfully he ignored that. Afterward, we went upstairs, and both of our families were waiting there to celebrate with us.

Is that what inspired the wine in the box? T: We both love wine, and we

had seen wine boxes in ceremonies before, so we thought it fit us perfectly. I had my dad pick the wine from the year that Austin and I met, 2011. We wrote letters to each other the night before the wedding and put them in the box with our wine, and we also kept all of our wine corks from wines we had shared during our engagement and put those in there as well. We thought this would give us something sentimental to look forward to. And, frankly, we always love a good excuse to buy a nice bottle of wine.

was my way of paying respect to the place that is so important to Austin and I and our relationship. Also I really liked having a pop of color for something fun and individual to me.

You two just bought your first home together. How has that process been?

T: We actually purchased our first house the Monday before we got married – crazy, I know. The weekend after we got back from our honeymoon, our parents came up and helped us move in. I’m excited for us to start setting down roots in MariTaylor, tell me more about etta, finding our favorite restauthose orange shoes. rants and places that we can take T: Since Austin and I have been our pup on the weekends. dating I’ve always kind of picA: We wish we were closer to tured wearing Clemson orange our family, but I’m excited to shoes on my wedding day – much branch out on our own and to my mother and sister’s horror. make a life with the two of us Thankfully they got over it. This together.


BRIDE’S ATTIRE The White Magnolia (Atlanta), Hayley Paige gown • GROOM & GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Jos. A. Bank • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE Azazie.com • FLOWER GIRLS’ ATTIRE David’s Bridal • BAND Men of Distinction • CAKE Parkland Cakes • CATERING Southern Way Catering • FAVORS TotallyPromotional, coozies • FLORALS American Floral • HAIR process. • HONEYMOON Zoetry Riviera Maya • HOTEL BLOCK Hampton Inn Columbia Downtown Historic District, Hilton Columbia Center, Columbia Marriott • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS Reaves Engraving • JEWELRY Worthmore Jewelers (Atlanta), engagement ring and wedding bands; Kate Spade, earrings; family heirloom, bracelet • MAKEUP Pout • OFFICIANT The Rev. Gary Loadholdt, Redeemer Lutheran Church (Austin’s family church) • PHOTOGRAPHER Jessi Nichols Photography • PLANNER Meagan Warren Weddings • PRESERVATION & ALTERATIONS The White Magnolia • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Dillard’s; Williams Sonoma; Replacements • RENTALS Ambient Media, lighting and audio; Party Reflections • VENUE, BRIDAL LUNCHEON The Blue Marlin • VENUE, GROOM’S LUNCH Grill Marks • VENUE, CEREMONY & RECEPTION The Lace House • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER Corley Mill House & Garden

Photos by Patty Hallman, Studio Two One Two www.studiotwoonetwo.com



Jessica Maurice

In 2007, Jessica Martin and Maurice Faulk met at a party at Wofford University. “One of us had a case of the Irish flu,” Maurice jokes. Even though she wasn’t feeling well, Jessica was able to charm him. “I told Maurice he was beautiful, and we exchanged numbers,” says Jessica, who is from Columbia. On March 24, 2018 – more than a decade later – the couple walked down the aisle at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston. Jessica, 29, is a registered nurse, and Maurice, 32, is a corporate accountant; they live in Nashville, Tennessee. Answers have been edited.


You’ve known each other a J: It was up to Maurice. He didn’t music selection. We wanted good J: Always remember that your long time. When did you realize want to see me once we left wedding day is a day to celebrate music from start to finish; it’s your spouse was the one? our rehearsal dinner until the the love between you and him. key to a busy dance floor. M: Sooner than I was willing to openly admit. J: I knew Maurice was the one when I had failed my first attempt at my licensure exam after college. He dropped everything and drove 100 miles to come distract me, then encouraged and supported me when I decided to retake the exam. He was able to give me a kick in the rear when I needed it. M: She has always been the ultimate friend. One time she dropped everything she was doing, called out of work, and drove an hour and a half after working 12 hours the night before to be by my side.

Jessica, you did first looks with your dad and brother but not with Maurice. Why?

ceremony. M: I refused. I didn’t realize I was such a traditionalist until we started planning, but I wanted my raw emotion to be captured. The buildup to seeing her was wonderful. J: I decided that I wanted to keep my dress a secret to everyone except my bridal party. I am very close to my brother and such a daddy’s girl, I wanted to make sure I had a moment with each of them that was special.

Walk me through the process of planning your wedding.

M: An open bar, great food, and an excellent DJ. We wanted to party and made sure that everyone knew it ahead of time.

What are some of the highlights?

M: Celebrating with our family and close friends. Plus showing off how beautiful Jessica is, of course. J: My dad and I did a choreographed dance. We worked on the dances individually weeks leading up to the wedding and practiced together daily the week of. I cannot remember a time growing up where I ever saw my dad dance, so for us to do a choreographed dance was very special.

J: When it came to planning the reception, our priorities were good music and fun. We have been to so many weddings, it was What advice would you give easy to learn to dos and don’ts as a bride or groom planning a far as flow for the reception and wedding?

Enjoy the process with all of its highs and lows. M: It goes by quicker than you think. The day will be perfect no matter what you could or couldn’t afford or how you did or didn’t make it. Seeing the person you want to spend forever with looking back at you smiling and excited to share their life is indescribable. J: Lean on each other; the process isn’t always easy. While the opinion of family and friends may matter, you have to do what is best for you and your future spouse.

How is newlywed life?

M: Awesome. We are still in bliss. J: I get to spend every day loving my best friend and that’s so much more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Glitz Nashville (Nashville, Tennessee) • GROOM’S & GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Men’s Wearhouse • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE David’s Bridal • ALTERATIONS Elegant Alterations • CAKE Publix Bakery • CATERING Francis Marion Hotel (Charleston) • COORDINATION Gillian Crum, Francis Marion Hotel • DJ Doug Smith •FLORALS Lush Floral & Event Stylists • HAIR Kimberly Hall, Sarah & Co. Studio • HONEYMOON Norwegian Cruise Line • INVITATIONS Wedding Paper Divas; Minted • JEWELRY Etsy.com • MAKEUP Shatikka Perry; Kimberly Hall • OFFICIANT The Rev. Marion Bennett, Bethlehem Baptist Church (Lugoff) • PHOTOGRAPHY Patty Hallman, Studio Two One Two • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond • REHEARSAL DINNER “Food was provided by Maurice’s mom; venue was a rented beach house through Avocet Properties in Folly Beach.” • RENTALS Lush Floral & Event Stylists • VENUE, CEREMONY & RECEPTION Francis Marion Hotel (Charleston) • VENUE, BRIDAL SHOWER Peach Grove Villas Clubhouse (Elgin) • VIDEOGRAPHY Box Turtle Films





Leanne Tamela Brittingham and Matthew Seward Billesbach, both of Lexington, were united in marriage March 9 at Wintergreen Woods in Lexington. Pastor Allen Close officiated the 4:30 p.m. ceremony. A reception followed. The bride is the daughter of William and Tamela Brittingham. She is the granddaughter of Marjorie Brittingham and the late Hugh Brittingham of Pennsylvania and Mr. and Mrs Talmadge Penland of North Carolina. After earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of South Carolina, she is employed with Lexington Medical Center. The groom is the son of Richard and Karen Billesbach. He is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lindsley of

Venice, Florida; Mrs. Joann Billesbach of Norfolk, Nebraska; and the late Mr.and Mrs. Bill Billesbach. After serving for five years in the United States Marine Corps, he is pursuing a degree at Midlands Technical College. The bride was escorted by her father and given in marriage by her parents. Matron of honor was Katrina Harrison of Taylors. Bridesmaids were Tabitha Billesbach and Amy Rucker, both of Lexington. Best man was Cameron Stratton of Mooresville, North Carolina. Groomsmen were Richard McLaughlin of Washington, D.C., and Michael Albrecht of Oceanside, California. After their honeymoon in Aspen, Colorado, the couple reside in Lexington.

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Sarah Morgan Riley and Dustin Charles Scott, both of Columbia, were united in marriage April 21 at Cypress Trees Plantation in Edisto Island. The Rev. Holly Shoaf-O’Kula officiated the 5 o’clock ceremony. A reception followed at Cypress Trees Plantation. The bride, who was escorted by her father and given in marriage by her parents, is the daughter of Dr. John Wade Riley and Dr. Melissa Morgan Riley of Aiken. She is the granddaughter of the late Melissa Morgan Chestnut of Charleston and the late R.L. Riley and Sandra Seaman Riley. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Presbyterian College and a master’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina. She is employed with Lexington-Richland School District Five. The groom is the son of Robert Bradford Scott Sr. of Sumter and Deidre Martino Anderson of Lampasas, Texas. He is the grandson of the late Col. Charles William Martino of Clayton, Georgia; Sara Thomas Martino of Lampasas, Texas; the late O.C. Scott Jr. of Sumter; and Mary Faith Scott of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Presbyterian College and a master’s degree in business administration from Winthrop University. He is employed with McNair Law Firm as a certified public accountant. Harpist Kipper Ackerman and bagpiper George Grinton provided music. Maid of honor was Susan Katherine Wade

of Aiken. Bridesmaids were Ashley Elizabeth Stokes of Spartanburg; Ashley Atkins Scott of Sumter; Cullie Rebecca Reynolds and Blythe Elizabeth Reynolds, both of Columbia; and Dr. Allison Lee Hajec and Laura Ann Lane, both of Charleston. Addison Dupree Hudson of Lexington was flower girl. Best man was Robert Bradford Scott Jr. of Sumter. Groomsmen were Michael Ferrell Carli of Aiken, Benjamin Wade Riley of Charleston, Christopher Michael Stokes of Spartanburg, Horace Lee Scott Jr. of Sumter, Dylan Nathaniel Brandon of Greenville, and Kevin James Flanagan of Davis, West Virginia. Bryson Thomas Scott and Parker Bradford Scott, both of Sumter, and Thomas William Stokes of Spartanburg were ring bearers. Holly Kathryn Scott of Sumter was program attendant. After their honeymoon in Antigua, the couple will reside in Columbia.

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You might know me if...

C: You’ve ever bought a Mungo Home. (Christina is community sales manager.) L: You’ve been to a Gamecocks sporting event.


Was there a moment when you realized your spouse was the one?

C: I don’t think there was a moment for me. It sounds so cheesy, but my love for him grew every day – and it still does. L: I can’t pinpoint an exact time, but there were a couple things that stood out to me. My family is very important to me, and Christina clicked with them instantly.

Tell me about the proposal.

S: Logan proposed Dec. 10, 2016, on our three-year anniversary. He took me to Lights at the Zoo at Riverbanks, where we had our first date. Logan’s best friend, Chris,

For Christina Doty and Logan Myers, family and home are everything. “We’re both from South Carolina, we met here and fell in love here,” they said. So it was only fitting that the two held their reception at the South Carolina State Museum. “We were really excited! It felt right to have a place so iconic to our city as our venue,” they said. The two dated for three years and were married on Jan. 20, 2018, at Congaree Presbyterian Church in Cayce. Logan, 31, and Christina, 26, just bought their first home in West Columbia. Answers have been edited.

and his wife, Natalie, (who were both in our wedding) were hiding to film and photograph the moment. Afterward, our family and friends were waiting at a restaurant to celebrate! It was perfect.

What was the best part of your wedding day?

L: We got married at the same church as Christina’s parents. When we were previewing the church with them, her dad asked her mom to walk down the aisle just like she did when they got married. That day went through my head when I saw the church doors open. As blurry as your wedding day is, I knew that moment was one I would not forget. C: After the ceremony, we walked around to the side of the church and had our first moment alone. Logan had his arms around me and told me how beautiful I

looked, and I remember thinking it started. how lucky I was that this man was You had an adults-only ceremofinally my husband. ny and reception. What advice

It’s obvious tradition is important to you both. Christina, tell me about the dog tags.

C: The dog tags wrapped around my wedding bouquet belonged to my great-uncle. He was like a grandfather to me; he and his wife never had any children of their own. I always assumed he’d be there to walk me down the aisle with my father, so it broke my heart that he wasn’t there on my wedding day. It was really special to have his dog tags as my “something old” to carry with me down the aisle.

And Logan, the crowdsurfing?

L: It’s a group of best friends’ “family tradition.” As far as I know, it happens at most of our weddings, and we aren’t sure how

would you give another couple trying to do that?

So many of our friends and family have children, so the decision to have an adults only wedding was difficult. We had to consider the cost and tone of the reception we were attempting to achieve. Not having children there gave our friends and family the opportunity to relax, and a ton of people stayed until the end.

How has newlywed life been so far?

Better than we could have imagined! The stress of the wedding has dissipated, we’re settling in the house we’ve bought together and we’re excited to make it our home. We’re excited about traveling and starting a family together.

Photos by Laura Effinger, Lola Dee Photography loladeephotography.com


BRIDE’S ATTIRE Mori Lee • GROOM & GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Calvin Clein • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE LulaKate• BARTENDING Ed’s Bartending • CAKE Twisted Whisk • CATERING Little Pigs Barbecue • DJ Sound Quest DJ’s • FAVORS & GIFTS Sound Quest DJ’s, photobooth strips • FLORIST Pineview Florist (West Columbia)• HAIR Gabrielle Porter, Freja Salon • HONEYMOON Excellence El Carmen, Dominican Republic • HOTEL BLOCK SpringHill Suites by Marriott Columbia Downtown/The Vista • INVITATIONS basicinvite.com • JEWELRY Gemma Lane; grandmother’s ring on right hand • MAKEUP Sabrina Seidenstricker, Studio B (Lexington) • OFFICIANT The Rev. John D. White, Congaree Presbyterian Church (Cayce) • PHOTOGRAPHY Laura Effinger, Lola Dee Photography • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Pottery Barn; myregistry.com • VENUE, CEREMONY Congaree Presbyterian Church (Cayce) • VENUE, RECEPTION S.C. State Museum • VENUE, BRIDAL SHOWER Portrait Hill (a Mungo Homes development in Chapin) Clubhouse • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER Capital City Club • VIDEOGRAPHY HD Media

Photos by Katie Hart and Ann Elam, Palmetto Duo palmettoduo.com



Leslie Clare

The day after Colin Hennessy proposed to Leslie Clare Lyon, he had to leave the country for six months. In fact, with Colin’s job in the Army, the two spent their entire dating relationship long-distance. “When he left the first time for one of his missions, I had a Colin-shaped hole in my life – I couldn’t see my life without him in it,” says Leslie Clare. Four years later, Colin and Leslie Clare, both 27, married on Dec. 28, 2017, at the Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal. They now live in Columbus, Georgia. Answers have been edited.

LC: Colin had my grandmother’s blue topaz ring restored so that 2017 at Congaree National Park. At I could wear it as my “something the end of the walk, Colin gave Les- blue.” That was special to me, she lie Clare a scrapbook. She found a passed away several years ago and wooden box built into the book’s I wanted her to be a part of the back cover with the inscription wedding day. “Will you marry me?” on it. C: Leslie Clare’s dad set us up with What was your favorite part of an awesome vintage Cadillac convertible as our getaway car. Little the wedding day? C: Cake and steak. Oh wait, I mean, cold, but well worth it! marrying my beautiful bride! Leslie Clare, your dad is the Honestly, I really enjoyed being rector at the church where with her during the wedding ceryou married. Did you consider emony; we felt in our own world having him perform part of the getting to watch everyone else. ceremony? LC: I loved seeing everyone from LC: I always wanted my dad to both of our lives in one place at just be my dad that day. We had one time. It was really special to other people who are imporfeel supported and loved by so tant in our lives perform the many people as we started our ceremony since it was important life together. to me to have my dad sit with Do any special details stick out my mom and not be on duty for to you? that day.


When did you know your spouse six months, he visited Leslie Clare was the one? for a farewell weekend on Jan. 28, LC: From the beginning. Colin instantly made me feel comfortable. I felt like I had known him all my life; I was able to be myself no matter the situation. C: Leslie Clare and I spent all four of our dating years in a longdistance relationship. I was out of the country for half of that time with little contact. Leslie Clare stuck with me through it all. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this woman because of how much love she could show me through her sacrifices and patience.

Scrapbooking is a big part of your relationship. How did that play into the proposal?

Every year, Leslie Clare had made Colin a scrapbook. A week before Colin was leaving the country for

Any advice for a bride or groom planning a wedding?

LC: The best thing I did was stop doing things two days before the wedding. Whatever is done at that point is done; whatever’s not done, is not done. Sit back and relax. C: Don’t do what I did, if you can avoid it, and leave the country while your bride-to-be plans the wedding. Do what you can to help; even little things go a long way.

How is newlywed life?

It’s great, especially since we now live in the same state. Our first six months of marriage, in the tradition of our dating time, was spent apart due to job requirements. But now we are together, and it is great.

What’s next?

Traveling with each other instead of to each other.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Jo-Lin’s Bridal, Maggie Sottero gown • GROOM & GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Jos. A. Bank • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE Jo-Lin’s Bridal • BAND Ross Holmes Band • CAKE The Pastry Place • CATERING The Palmetto Club • DECOR Members of Good Shepherd Parish• FAVORS Blush Boutique & Home • FLORALS Members of Good Shepherd Parish • HAIR Laura Labuda, Purple Chair Salon • HONEYMOON “Paris in 2020!” plus a “minimoon” at the French Quarter Inn (Charleston) • HOTEL BLOCK Columbia Marriott • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS Printhouse Plus • JEWELRY Sylvan’s • MAKEUP Colleen Page • MUSICIANS Dr. David Lowry, organ; Tracey Steele • OFFICIANT The Right Rev. Dorsey Henderson • PHOTOGRAPHY Katie Hart and Ann Elam, Palmetto Duo • PLANNER Mrs. Sallie Lyon, mother of the bride • PRESERVATION & ALTERATIONS Jo-Lin’s Bridal • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Belk; Target • TRANSPORTATION Southern Valet, out-of-town guest shuttle; family friend, convertible for couple • VENUE, BRIDAL SHOWER Nonnah’s • VENUE, CEREMONY Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal • VENUE, GROOMSMEN’S BREAKFAST The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli •VENUE, RECEPTION The Palmetto Club • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER Cola’s

& Benjamin




Lauren M. Brown of West Columbia and Benjamin N. Ikenegbu of Anderson were united in marriage March 3, 2018, at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cayce. The Rev. Gregory R. Glenn officiated the 2 o’clock ceremony. A reception followed at Lexington Municipal Conference Center in Lexington. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Edward Brown. She is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Brown of Orangeburg and Mr. James Caldwell and the late Mrs. Rebecca Caldwell of St. Matthews. A graduate of Airport High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Winthrop University and a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in health promotion from Liberty University. She is employed with the Department of Health and Environmental Control as a nutritionist. The groom is the son of son of Mr. and Mrs. Chukwuemeka N. Ikenegbu of Anderson. A graduate of T.L. Hanna High School and Winthrop University, he is employed with Heartland Dental as practice manager of operations. The bride was escorted by her father and given in marriage by her parents. Keyboardist Mrs. Richelle Sinkler and soloist Mrs. Jocqueleen Herod provided music. Maid of honor was Brandi Hair of West Columbia. Matron of honor was Taniqua Canzater of West Columbia. Bridesmaids were Adrianna Bradley and Brittany Glover, both of Columbia; Audry Christine Counts Davis and Kendra Smith, both of West Columbia; Brittany Hill of Edgemoor; Gloria Ikenegbu of Anderson; Adrianna Lewis of Greenville; Brianna Parnell of Cheraw; and Talaya Richmond of Rock Hill. Junior bridesmaid was Grace Ikenegbu. Tristyn Caldwell and Caitlin Thomas were flower girls. Best men were the groom’s brother Chukwuemeka and Wade Murray of Anderson. Groomsmen were Jared Brown, Steven Ross, and Austin Smith, all of West Columbia; Elliott Cohen and Ian Deas, both of Charleston; Julius Davis and Stephen Rembert, both of Columbia; Nicholas Dendy of Laurens ; and Donald Weston of Sumter. Junior groomsman was Armani Thomas of West Columbia. Kamron Johnson of St. Matthews was ring bearer. Hostesses were Darielle High of Eutaville, Jasmyn Oliver of Greenville, and Justin Mood of Elloree. The couple honeymooned in the Bahamas and reside in Rock Hill.

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When did you know your spouse was the one?

E: Throughout the summer when we were long distance, ironically. I worked in Virginia so Cliff and I took turns driving between states. We explored several Virginia wineries on our weekends and had the most amazing conversations and adventures. C: My moment was when we were at Veritas Winery in Virginia and we talked about life after her graduation the next year. That’s when I told her I couldn’t see my future without her.

Tell me about the proposal.

C: I had thought about it for awhile because it’s hard to surprise Elizabeth. Hiding a ring box under your jacket is not easy! On March 4, 2017, we did some of our favorite things. Mini-golf, going to the

Elizabeth Szewczyk and Cliff Ballew almost didn’t meet. If Elizabeth’s friends hadn’t encouraged her to be more social, she never would have downloaded the dating app Bumble. “My roommates said I had to talk with only one match before deleting it from my phone,” she said. “That one match was Cliff.” Elizabeth, 25, is an admissions coordinator with the University of South Carolina, and Cliff, 28, is an administrative coordinator for the Guardian ad Litem program. They were married April 20, 2018, at the Lace House and live in Northeast Columbia. Answers have been edited.

restaurant of our first date and walking along our favorite path, the Riverwalk. E: It was an amazing surprise. When he got down on one knee, I couldn’t have cared less about the ring in that box – I simply wanted to hug and kiss him! (The ring was gorgeous, but not my priority in that moment.)

E: I was happy when she came to me for my input. Blue is my favorite color – I loved that she thought to add it.

Cliff, your socks are great. I take it you’re a Star Wars fan?

C: I have always liked Star Wars. I dressed up as Darth Vader many times in college for Halloween. What better way to How did you choose your col- walk down the aisle than with my stormtroopers next to me? ors? I love the blue antiques. It was funny during my dad’s E: I had my heart set on a speech when he turned to me romantic, neutral-themed wedding. No color! But when we and said, “In the words of Darth Vader, Cliff, I am your father.” started planning the wedding with these colors in mind, the You had such a sweet first wedding felt a bit forgettable. look. Tell me about that The blue antiques not only experience. Would you recomreminded me of my home in mend it? California, but had become E: Cliff and I are introverts by an item I had seen throughout nature, so it was wonderful many Southern homes. It was to have a moment to see each the perfect symbol of our marother in our wedding attire and riage between a West Coast girl to just be with one another and and East Coast guy. take the momentous day in to-

gether and process everything. C: Turning around and seeing my bride in her wedding dress actually took my breath away. She was stunning. I wouldn’t trade those private moments we had for anything.

What advice would you give a bride or groom planning a wedding?

E: While it’s contrary to popular advice, I would suggest planning your wedding day yourselves. I will be the first to admit that it’s a LOT of hard work and organization, but planning the wedding ourselves led to such a personal investment in who we picked to be a part of our day. E: However, we were thankful to hire a day-of-coordinator to help manage the vendors. She fielded all the day-of questions and allowed us to be more carefree.

Photos by Jessica Roberts, Jessica Roberts Photography jessicarobertsphoto.com

BRIDE’S ATTIRE The White Magnolia (Greenville), Tara Keely by Lazaro gown; Bella Belle, shoes • GROOM’S ATTIRE Men’s Wearhouse, tux; Allen Edmonds, shoes • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE David’s Bridal • GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Men’s Wearhouse • CAKE Catherine Chase, Chase Cakes • CATERING, RECEPTION Southern Way Catering • CATERING, WEDDING BRUNCH Capital City Catering • DECOR Antiques from South Carolina and California • DJ Party Time DJs • FAVORS Chase Cakes, cookies shaped like South Carolina and California frosted with wedding attire • FLORALS Fern Studio • HAIR & MAKEUP Jennifer Nolan Beauty • HONEYMOON Carribbean cruise • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS Fresh Cut Prints (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) • JEWELRY Reed’s • OFFICIANT James Ballew, brother of the groom • PHOTOGRAPHY Jessica Roberts Photography • PLANNING Sylvia Rish, day-of coordination • PRESERVATION & ALTERATIONS Hanna’s Alterations (Greenville) • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Williams Sonoma • RENTALS Something Borrowed • VENUE, CEREMONY & RECEPTION The Lace House • VENUE, MORNING-AFTER BRUNCH The 1425 Inn • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER The Members’ Club at Woodcreek

Photos by Jessica Roberts, Jessica Roberts Photography jessicarobertsphoto.com




You might know me if...


O: ...you can conceptualize the lovechild between Jessica Day from New Girl and Donkey from Shrek – the human equivalent of saying, “you too,” when the theater employee says, “Enjoy your movie.” H: ...you’ve seen Parks and Recreation. Everyone I know says Ben Wyatt must be based off me.

When their venue didn’t allow sparklers, Olivia Wicker and Hudson White didn’t break a sweat. Instead, the lifelong Star Wars fans swapped in lightsabers for their big exit. “I loved seeing adults acting like children and having an awesome time,” Olivia said. “I have never seen my grandma smile as big as she did while wielding a lightsaber.” From start to finish, Olivia and Hudson added personal, quirky touches to make their special day perfect. Olivia, 25, and Hudson, 28, married Oct. 7, 2017, at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet. Answers have been edited.

inseparable since then.

Tell me about the proposal.

O: The proposal was on Dec. 31, 2015. We were in Charleston for the day and ready to go home. I was annoyed and tired of walking, but Hudson insisted we go to the waterfront park and swing on the swings. We were just sitting on the swings talking when he got down on one knee. How did you meet? H: I am a huge introvert, so the O: We bonded over our mutual love for Harry Potter. Thanks, J.K. thought of proposing was terrifying to me – almost as terrifying Rowling! as asking her approximately H: After I graduated (from the 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound dad for University of South Carolina), I permission. I worked through came back for a tailgate, where I first met Olivia. We did talk about multiple proposal ideas before settling on Charleston. UltimateHarry Potter for almost an hour. ly, I made the right choice, but it In December, I was with my best was still super nerve-wracking! friend at a concert when I ran into Olivia again. We talked about Your wedding photos include personality typing, music and several shots of gorgeous rings. Harry Potter for the remainder of What is the story there? Is one of them “the” ring? the night. We have been

O: I’m a huge ring lover, so when I was thinking about my “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue,” rings came to mind almost immediately. My “something old” was my great-grandmother’s opal and pearl engagement ring from around 1905-10. My “something new” were my two wedding bands, one rose gold and one yellow gold. My “something borrowed” was the first ring my great -grandfather ever gave my grandmother. My “something blue” was my sapphire engagement ring. I love color and uniqueness. I get compliments on it almost every single day!

You had several cakes. Why? Were they different flavors?

O: What do you do when you’re torn on cake designs? Get all three! Treat yo’self! The flavors were red velvet with cream cheese frosting, chocolate with

salted caramel mousse, pumpkin spice with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, apple cinnamon with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, and funfetti with almond mousse. Everything was a huge hit with our guests and disappeared quickly.

What are some favorite moments from your wedding day?

H: Probably right after we walked back down the aisle. We had already done a first look, so this time was spent first with family and friends taking photographs and then spent alone with the photographer. This was probably the last little bit of calm time we had together for the next 24 hours. O: Would it be cliche to say I loved it all? I don’t care if it is because it’s the truth! Everything turned out so great. Our ceremony was perfectly untraditional and quirky and true to ourselves.


BRIDE’S ATTIRE J. Andrew’s Bridal (Peachtree City, Georgia), custom Hayley Paige gown; Sara Gabriel veil; Bel Aire Bridal halo headpiece; Badgley Mischka shoes; La Gartier and Etsy garters • GROOM’S & GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Men’s Wearhouse, Calvin Klein suits and ties • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE J. Andrew’s Bridal, Watters and WToo gowns • CAKE & DESSERT BAR Croissants Bistro & Bakery (Myrtle Beach) • CATERING, RECEPTION Austin’s Ocean One (Pawleys Island) • CATERING, REHEARSAL DINNER Hog Heaven BBQ (Pawleys Island) • DECOR, FLORALS & PLANNING Gigi Noelle Events; Olivia, chalkboards • FAVORS & GIFTS Little White Box Photobooth • HAIR & MAKEUP Beautiful Salon & Spa (Pawleys Island) • HONEYMOON Tahiti Legends, Moorea and Bora Bora • HOTEL BLOCK Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort; Hampton Inn & Suites • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS Wedding Paper Divas • JEWELRY Sylvan’s Jewelers, wedding bands; Carolina Fine Jewelry, engagement ring; Sara Gabriel earrings; vintage opal and diamond rings • MUSIC, CEREMONY Dustin Ashenfelder • MUSIC, RECEPTION Peter Jackson • OFFICIANT Tim Stumpff • PHOTOGRAPHY Jessica Roberts Photography • PRESERVATION & ALTERATIONS J. Andrew’s Bridal; Nick’s Tailoring • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Pottery Barn; Target • RENTALS EventWorks (Myrtle Beach) • TRANSPORTATION “Bonnie the mint green 1955 Crown Supercoach from Lowcountry Valet and Shuttle, and man, was she delightful!” • VENUE, CEREMONY Brookgreen Gardens Oak Allee • VENUE, RECEPTION Brookgreen Gardens Holliday Cottage • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER “We had a low-key rehearsal dinner at an oceanfront house in North Litchfield that we rented for the entire bridal party and their dates to stay with us.” • VIDEOGRAPHY Feagin Films

Photos by Jeff Blake, Columbia Wedding Photos www.columbiaweddingphotos.com




Columbia natives Ferris Kennette and Christopher deTreville were married on Feb. 17, 2018, at Shandon Presbyterian Church, with reception following at Forest Lake Club. The two met working together at Columbia Property Management. Now Chris, 34, works for Southeastern Real Estate Group, and Ferris, 27, works at Delta Dental of South Carolina. The couple stayed close to home; they live in Columbia and look forward to starting a family. Answers have been edited. and friends waiting to surprise me at Terra, where we had our first date. I was so clueless I had clothes in the washing machine that we had to bring back to town soaking wet.

You might know me if...

F: ... you eat at Casa Linda. We both answered that – apparently we eat there a lot.

When did you know your spouse was the one?

When you said you had your initials monogrammed on a pocket, I pictured one you could put your hand in. Why at the hemline?


F: Chris says just over time as we got to know each other and became friends and spent more and more time together. I still stand by the day he brought me Groucho’s for lunch at work.

F: So we can add the monograms of anyone else in the family who ends up wearing the dress.

Tell me about the proposal.

F: We got engaged on March 4, 2017, at Edisto Beach. Chris’s plan was to propose after a boat ride to our favorite sandbar with our dog, Zee, but of course the weather did not cooperate, and it was freezing and windy. We finally made it to the sandbar after a freezing ride, but it was already inhabited by a group of people

camping. We made it back to the house and just ended up walking on the beach, and Chris proposed! We had to rush back to Columbia, where Chris had a group of our family

Your reception looks like fun. What’s your secret to making sure guests have a good time?

F: Band and booze! Seriously, that is all you need.

What was your favorite part of the wedding day?

F: Having all of my friends and family in one place and getting

to spend time with everyone. C: The reception.

What advice would you give a bride or groom who’s planning a wedding?

Just relax! It is not the end of the world if everything doesn’t go off without a hitch, nobody will even notice. Enjoy the process and really enjoy the whole weekend, all of your family and friends are there for the two of you!

How is newlywed life?

Newlywed life is fun and enjoyable figuring out everything together. It is great to have someone to lean on.

What part of marriage are you most looking forward to?

We are both looking forward to starting a family and raising children in Columbia, the same way we were raised.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE London and Lace • GROOM’S & GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Brittons • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE Bella Bridesmaids • BAND, RECEPTION Atlanta Rhythm & Groove, East Coast Entertainment • BAND, REHEARSAL DINNER Mike Tronco and friends (members of Sensational Epics) • CAKE Bonnie Brunt Cakes (St. Matthews) • CATERING, RECEPTION Forest Lake Club • CATERING, REHEARSAL DINNER Southern Way Catering • DECOR & FLORALS Vicki Walker, Carolina Blossoms • HAIR Process • HONEYMOON St. Lucia • HOTEL BLOCK Columbia Marriott • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS Invitation Station • JEWELRY Mother’s diamond stud earrings in pearl jackets (something old) and an Art Deco bracelet in platinum with rectangular sapphires and oval diamonds (something borrowed) from a dear friend, Bob Boone • MAKEUP Cille Galante, Pout • MONOGRAMMING South Carolina Embroidery, coozies with a palmetto tree sketched by Ferris’s dad, monogrammed cocktail napkins, monogrammed tea towels for restrooms • OFFICIANT The Rev. Dr. Timothy Hoyt Duncan, Shandon Presbyterian Church • PHOTOGRAPHY Jeff Blake, Columbia Wedding Photos • PLANNING “My mom and myself!” • PRESERVATION & ALTERATIONS Fine Tailoring by Bea Licorish • REGISTRY Reflections of South Carolina • RENTALS Ambient Media, lighting; Plants Express, trees with lights • TRANSPORTATION Captain Telegram’s Trolley Services • VENUE, CEREMONY Shandon Presbyterian Church • VENUE, RECEPTION Forest Lake Club • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER Hay Hill Garden Market • VENUES, SHOWERS AND PARTIES Millaree Hunt Club; Forest Lake Club • VIDEOGRAPHY Absolute Video

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WORKSHOP DEVELOPMENT, INSTRUCTION & PHOTOGRAPHY Jessica Roberts Photography • AIRBRUSH TANNING Beautique Skin Studio • ATTIRE, BRIDE London and Lace• ATTIRE, GROOM The Groomsman Suit • CAKE Bonnie Brunt Cakes (St. Matthews) • CATERING Hudson’s Classic Catering • DESIGN, PLANNING & FLORALS Alisha Millwood, Amazing Moments Weddings • HAIR Amy Schaming •INVITATIONS Iris & Marie Letterpress • MAKEUP Eyebrow Junkie • MODELING Robert and Ashley Beary (really married!)• RIBBON Nettle Textiles • RING BOXES The Family Joolz, ivory and blush; The Mrs. Box, blue • RENTALS Something Borrowed • VENUE Aolian Hill Plantation (St. Matthews)

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You’ve known each other since childhood. How did you start dating?

L: Stephen was playing professional baseball. We started hanging out while he was home for a few months in his off-season.


When did you realize your spouse was the one?

S: Loren came California to visit me during one of my baseball seasons. When the day came for her to leave, we said our goodbyes, and Loren cried her eyes out and didn’t want to go. At that moment, I knew our love for each other was stronger than anything I had ever experienced and that she was the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. L: I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him when my father became sick and passed away. During everything

Both Camden natives, Loren Grimm and Stephen Carmon have known each other since they were 8 years old. The two went to school together and played Little League together, but it wasn’t until after college that they really found each other. Loren and Stephen were married Oct. 2, 2017, at Wavering Place Plantation and still live in Camden, where Loren, 27, is a fourth-grade teacher and Stephen, 28, is a commercial real estate property manager and baseball coach. Answers have been edited.

I went through, Stephen never wavered and never once left my side. From that moment I knew that I wanted to take on all of life’s highs and lows with him.

Tell me about the proposal.

We were both raised as die-hard Gamecock fans. On Dec. 17th, 2016, Stephen proposed to Loren at Williams-Brice Stadium. A brick was placed outside the stadium in Loren’s father’s memory. Stephen had Loren’s brother, Will, call Loren and ask her to take a picture of the brick for him. (At the stadium,) Stephen dropped to one knee and asked Loren to marry him right beside her dad’s brick.

Loren, a plaid patch with “RWG” is sewn into the hem of your gown. What’s the significance?

L: RWG are my late father’s ini-

tials. My mother had the heart patch created out of his favorite tie for my gown.

Tell me about the puppy.

L: Stephen has always been the most thoughtful gift-giver. On our wedding day, he gave me something old, new, borrowed and blue. My something blue was a box with a blue bandana and a note to cover my eyes. When I could remove the bandana, I saw my older brother Will carrying the sweetest French bulldog puppy with a nametag that read Blue on one side and my new name and contact info on the other. This sweet lump of love was my something blue.

You did a first look with your bridesmaids, and I love their reactions! L: I love that Holly captured

such a special moment with my best friends. While we were looking at our wedding photos for the first time, Stephen asked if that was the bridesmaids’ reactions to Blue.

What was your favorite part of the wedding day? S: Seeing Loren for the first time in her wedding dress and watching her walk down the aisle. L: I loved every minute. People ask me all the time “Aren’t you so relieved it’s all over?!” I always tell them no! I wish I could relive that day over and over again.

What advice would you give a bride or groom planning a wedding?

Don’t sweat the small stuff; in the end, everything will be perfect. Enjoy every moment. You blink and it’s over.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Ashley & Justin Bride • GROOM & GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Butler’s Fine Men’s Clothing (Florence) • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE Jasmine gowns • BAND Ben Fagan and the Charleston Groove Factory • CAKE Silver Spoon Bake Shop • CATERING Indigo Catery (Camden) • FLORALS Flowers Naturally (Camden) • HONEYMOON St. Lucia • HOTEL BLOCK Hilton Columbia Center; Hampton Inn Columbia Downtown Historic District • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS ByFarr • OFFICIANT The Rev. Kevin Roberts, VOW • PHOTOGRAPHY Holly Graciano Photography • PLANNING Meagan Warren, Meagan Warren Weddings • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Belk; Amazon.com • VENUE, CEREMONY & RECEPTION Wavering Place Plantation • VENUE, SHOWERS & PARTIES Studio Cellar; Columbia Fireflies baseball stadium suite • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER Hay Hill Garden Market • TRANSPORTATION Southern Shuttles

Photos by Patty Hallman, Studio Two One Two www.studiotwoonetwo.com





Tell me about the proposal.

Rachel Ortiz will tell you that she knew Britt Ellis was someone special a full 13 years before the two started dating. “Britt drove me home after school in 11th grade, the year 2000, when my ride left me. He didn’t hesitate to come to my rescue when I needed him.” A mutual friend helped to reconnect the two, and in 2013, they went on their first date. Rachel and Britt officially tied the knot April 27, 2018, at the River Road and Jasmine Houses. Natives of Irmo and Florence, the couple now lives in Lexington. Answers have been edited.

B: We were getting ready to go for a run at the Lake Murray Dam. I told her I had to run a quick errand and we went to the Irmo Park where we spent a lot of time hanging out and talking over the years. R: “Our spot,” where we used to meet up as teenagers. B: I took a while to get the nerve up to do it. I asked her right by the swing we used to sit on all the time. R: He definitely nailed the element of surprise with that proposal. I was wearing my gym clothes and had no makeup on.

What happened with your rings during the ceremony?

R: It was just a simple mistake but inevitably ended up being the comic relief of the

ceremony. The best man and matron of honor had the wrong rings, and we didn’t realize until the moment we were exchanging the rings that they were mixed up. B: My brother had the rings, but when it was time for the exchange, he handed me the groom’s ring. I was too nervous to notice, and I tried putting it on her finger. She was asking me under her breath why I was putting that on her finger. Most of the laughing is probably nervous energy. It was actually a really nice moment looking back.

about most in one place.

What advice would you give someone planning a wedding?

R: If you spend enough time researching off-season and retail sales, you can plan a nice wedding on a budget. Our wedding was planned on a fairly low budget.

What has newlywed life been like?

R: Humbling. We’re learning to put each other first, acknowledge our weaknesses and strengths in order to find a balance, admit when we’re wrong and not gloating What was your favorite part of the or criticizing, but offering or accepting wedding day? B: Seeing friends and family we haven’t seen forgiveness. What’s next for you two? in a long time. Also, watching my nephews R: Having children. dance the entire time! R: Having all of the people we love and care B: And just enjoying life together.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE BLDHN • GROOM AND BEST MAN’S ATTIRE Belk, Tallia Orange suits; The Tie Bar • DJ Andre Ball, Big Time Entertainment • CAKE, CATERING & DECOR Sarah Christmus, River Road and Jasmine Houses • FAVORS Mexican wedding cookies made by the groom’s uncles • FLORALS Something Special Florist and Gifts • HAIR Princess Wilson, The Phoenix Salon • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS Minted • JEWELRY Jared; David’s Fine Jewelry; Kate Spade • OFFICIANT Nathan Ruth, a longtime friend and notary public • PHOTOGRAPHY Patty Hallman, Studio Two One Two • VENUE River Road and Jasmine Houses and Gardens




Though Rachel Connelly and Steven Lasher were both living outside Columbia, they in Atlanta while boarding a plane to fly home. Rachel stole Steven’s seat, and a 45-minute flight was all it took for the two to realize they had met someone special. The two dated for five months and got engaged in September 2016. Rachel, 26, is an advancement coordinator at Columbia College, her alma mater. Steven, 31, is an account manager for Rite Rug Flooring. They were married Oct. 15, 2017, and currently live in West Columbia. Answers have been edited.

Things moved pretty quickly for you two. When did you know you had met the one?

S: Right away. I saved the receipt from our first date and keep it next to the receipt for her wedding ring. R: I always joked that I would be an old bride because I wanted to date my future husband for several years, but it was different with Steven. It all felt natural.


Tell me about the proposal.

R: My father’s family is incredibly close. We spend every holiday together and one of our favorite traditions is our annual apple picking trip in Hendersonville, North Carolina. This year’s trip was on Sept. 25, 2016. S: She wanted to carpool with her sister, but I insisted that we take my truck because I had the ring hidden in it. R: We spent the whole trip catching up. This was Steven’s first time apple picking with us, and he was going to miss out on the experience. R: While she wasn’t looking, I was taking pictures of her pouting in the passenger

seat, laughing to myself. When we got to the apple farm, I hid the ring inside our basket and waited until her whole family gathered around for a group photo to propose. R: He’s on one knee, in front of my family, at one of my favorite family traditions. I don’t even think I said “yes.” I just stood there sobbing and nodding.

And then, about a month later, Rachel got some pretty big health news, right?

R: I had been struggling with my health for the past year but didn’t think it was anything too serious. I only finally decided to go to the doctor so I could prove to my mom that everything was fine, but it wasn’t. My doctor told me that I had Type 1 diabetes and that my pancreas had stopped functioning completely.

How did that affect your engagement?

R: Planning was at a standstill. It wasn’t until that summer before the wedding that I started back. Thankfully, I wasn’t in it alone. We had a DIY day with some of the bridal party; my aunt and sister took over the re-

hearsal lunch and wrote all of my invitations; and Wintergreen Woods took care of just about everything else. Our wedding officiant even let us switch up our vows to include “in sickness and in health,” which held newly significant meaning to our relationship.

Tell me about the ceremony.

R: We went with a fall and apple theme. The bridesmaids wore apple-colored dresses, tables were decorated with apple-red roses and baby’s breath, Wintergreen Woods surprised us with an apple cider beverage station, and guests went home with their own jar of apple butter. S: I loved how simple we kept everything; nothing distracted from what we were all there for.

What advice would you give someone planning a wedding?

S: If you are going to spend a lot of money on something, spend it on the photographer. R: I would encourage couples to indulge in the experience of being engaged. Live in the moment at the wedding rather than sweating the small things.

Photos by Katie Hart, Palmetto Duo palmettoduo.com

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Jo-Lin’s Bridal and Formal Wear, gown; Carolina Couture, veil • GROOM AND GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Brittons • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE David’s Bridal • CAKE Carol Sturdier, Parties to Go • CATERING & VENUE Wintergreen Woods • FAVORS Kitchen Kettle Village (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), apple butter • FLORALS Lexington Florist • HAIR DIY by the bride • HONEYMOON Disney World • INVITATIONS & PAPER GOODS vistaprint.com • JEWELRY Etsy maker GlamorousBijoux, bride’s jewelry; Reeds, rings • MAKEUP Chris Dunn, friend of the bride • OFFICIANT The Rev. Roy Mitchell, friend of the bride • PHOTOGRAPHY Katie Hart, Palmetto Duo • PLANNING Dixie Covell, Wintergreen Woods • PRESERVATION & ALTERATIONS Jane Stevens • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; myregistry.com • REHEARSAL LUNCH Picnic catered by Hudson’s BBQ

Photos by Katie Hart and Robert Coffey, Palmetto Duo palmettoduo.com




How did you meet?

On Christmas Eve 2015, Melissa Dery had a special present under the tree: an engagement ring. Joshua Huffstetler, her boyfriend and the father of their children, gave her a box with photos and a message: “Grow old with me, the rest is yet to be.” The two were married May 26, 2018, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, with a reception at the Camden Shrine Club. Melissa, 33, is an assessment center program manager at LRADAC, and Josh, 30, is the general manager of Old Chicago on Gervais Street. The two live in Elgin with their two children, Kylie and Luke. Answers have been edited.

M: We met at TGI Friday’s in November 2008 while waiting tables together. Josh had just started working there, and I had worked there since 2006. I was working as shift leader that night and let Josh have my free shift meal.

M: I did not want to have the stress of wedding planning while taking care of a newborn and adjusting to having two children. We also wanted to be able to take a honeymoon and didn’t want to leave him too soon.

Melissa, what made you decide to wear How did you know your spouse was the one? your mother’s wedding gown?


M: I knew all along because we share the same work ethic and odd sense of humor. I really knew for sure when our daughter was born. J:I knew because she put up with my youthful antics.

M: My mother’s dress was in a box in my bedroom as a child, so I always knew this was a dream of hers. I tried the dress on in July 2017 and was surprised it fit (barely!) after having two children because my mother is very petite. When I tried it on again in JanuHow did you choose your venue? We initially were going to be married outside ary before my bridals, it would no longer zip at our reception site, but when we began tak- up. I found a great seamstress who removed the long sleeves to modernize it while keeping marriage prep classes at our church, we ing its classic and timeless look. knew any other type of ceremony wouldn’t be right for us. How were your children involved? M: Kylie was a part of my bridal photo shoot You had a long engagement. Is there a and was even pictured wearing my mother’s special reason behind that? veil and dress! She selected her own flower J: Our son Luke was on the way, and we girl dress, which she loved. wanted to be able to enjoy our honeymoon J: Luke got dressed with the groom and without worrying about him.

groomsmen, and Kylie got her hair done and got dressed with the bride and bridesmaids.

What was your favorite part of the day?

During the ceremony at St. Peter’s, we were holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes. Father Linsky said we would remember this moment forever. It was very special.

What advice would you give someone planning a wedding?

M: Take your time, prioritize the things that are most important, splurge a little, and don’t stress about the small stuff. If the details seem overwhelming, take time for yourself and your future husband and reflect on the reason for the day. J: The wedding is for you – no one else. Flowers die, but the mortgage bills keep coming.

What are you most looking forward to in your marriage? M: Seeing our children grow, growing old together and enjoying life together. J: Having a lifelong partnership and a best friend forever.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Mother’s gown and veil • GROOM AND GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Men’s Wearhouse • BRIDESMAIDS’ AND FLOWER GIRL’S ATTIRE David’s Bridal • CAKE Michele Young, a family member • CATERING Hudson’s Classic Catering • FLORALS American Floral, who “incorporated a piece of my mom’s dress on my bridal bouquet” • HAIR Deanna Hare (the groom’s mother), owner Marsha Stone, and Erika Robertson (“all are family”), Reflections Salon (Elgin) • HONEYMOON Carnival Miracle, Western Caribbean cruise • HOTEL ACCOMMODATION FOR BRIDE & BRIDESMAIDS Hilton Columbia Center • INVITATIONS Kristin Coulter Designs • MAKEUP Kylie Robertson • MUSIC, RECEPTION Mike Kelly, Josh’s sister’s father-in-law • OFFICIANT Father Gary Linsky, St. Peter’s Catholic Church • PHOTOGRAPHY Katie Hart and Robert Coffey, Palmetto Duo • PLANNING Jessica Kingery, JWK Weddings, day-of coordination • ALTERATIONS Juanita’s Designs • VENUE, CEREMONY St. Peter’s Catholic Church • VENUE, RECEPTION Camden Shrine Club • VENUE, REHEARSAL DINNER Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom

Reception Venues

1208 Washington Place ▯ 1208 Washington St., Columbia ▯ restored bank building with two ballrooms, twin vaults and a library events1@1208washingtonplace.com  www.1208washingtonplace.com  803-476-0285

403 North Lake ▯ 403 North Lake Drive, Lexington ▯ historic home with 1.5 acres of English gardens info@403northlake.com  403northlake.com  803-808-2992

701 Whaley ▯ 701 Whaley St., Columbia ▯ flexible space for large and small events 701whaley@gmail.com  www.701whaley.com  803-771-0101

Agape Conference Center ▯ 1622 Main St., Columbia ▯ restored historic conference center blane@agapesenior.com  www.michaelscafecatering.com  803-528-9556

The Big Apple ▯ 1000 Hampton St., Columbia ▯ historic grand ballroom, balcony, dance floor, banquet facility; dance lessons available bigappledance@gmail.com  bigappledance.com  803-518-6147

Ariel’s Special Events Facility ▯ 1734 Mobile Ave., West Columbia ▯ banquet hall with on-site catering info@arielsspecialevents.com  arielsspecialevents.com  803-936-0505

Brookland Baptist Conference Center ▯ 1066 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia www.brooklandbaptist.org  803-744-7909 or 803-744-7927

Buck Ridge Plantation ▯ 231 Gundog Trail, Neeses ▯ banquet hall, covered veranda, gazebo, and picturesque lake www.buckridge.com  803-531-8408

Capital City Club ▯ Capitol Center, 1201 Main St., Columbia ▯ ballroom www.capitalcolumbia.com  803-256-2000

City Art ▯ 1224 Lincoln St., Columbia ▯ art gallery www.cityartonline.com  803-252-3613

The Club at Rawls Creek ▯ 2121 Lake Murray Blvd., Columbia ▯ banquet space and outdoor pavilion www.golfrawlscreek.com  803-781-0114

Columbia Conference Center ▯ 169 Laurelhurst Ave., Columbia ▯ ballroom www.columbiameetings.com  803-772-9811

Columbia Country Club ▯ 135 Columbia Club Drive West, Blythewood ▯ ceremony and reception venue with full-service catering heather@columbiacountryclub.com  www.columbiacountryclub.com  803-754-8100

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center ▯ 1101 Lincoln St., Columbia ▯ bright, modern event space with in-house catering events@experiencecolumbiasc.com  www.columbiacoonventioncenter.com  803-545-0181

Columbia Museum of Art ▯ 1515 Main St., Columbia ▯ museum, lobby, atrium, conference room, terrace and exterior patio www.columbiamuseum.org  803-343-2212

Corley Mill House and Garden ▯ 221 Corley Mill Road, Lexington ▯ home with garden space info@corleymillhouse.com  www.corleymillhouse.com  803-957-1818

Courtyard Columbia Downtown at USC ▯ 630 Assembly St., Columbia ▯ banquet space


www.marriott.com  803-726-1603

Doubletree by Hilton ▯ 2100 Bush River Road, Columbia ▯ elegant event space with a Southern touch norine.morris@doubletreesc.com  www.columbiasouthcarolina.doubletree.com  803-744-0141

EdVenture Children’s Museum ▯ 211 Gervais St., Columbia ▯ museum, outdoor terrace, galleries tdozier@edventure.org  www.edventure.org  803-400-1151

Embassy Suites Columbia-Greystone Hotel ▯ 200 Stoneridge Drive, Columbia ▯ two ballrooms alexa.wegner@jqh.com  columbiagreystone.embassysuites.com  803-252-8700

Evergreen Plantation ▯ 4800 S.C. 187, Starr ▯ a 7,300-square-foot events facility built around a 190-year-old farm jessica@evergreen-plantation.com  www.evergreen-plantation.com  864-437-3400

A sampling of sites for weddings and receptions near the Midlands The Farm at Ridgeway  3248 U.S. 21 South, Ridgeway  rustic reception hall with outdoor ceremony venues thefarmatridgeway21@gmail.com  www.facebook.com/pages/The-Farm-at-Ridgeeway/57371956941

Fort Jackson Officers’ Club  3630 Semmes Road, Columbia  outdoor wedding venues and elegant reception space www.fortjacksonmwr.com/o_club  803-782-8761 or 803-751-4906

Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens  1615 Blanding St., Columbia  indoor-outdoor ceremony and reception venue rentals@historiccolumbia.org  www.historiccolumbia.org  803-252-7742, ext. 11

Hilton Garden Inn  434 Columbiana Drive, Columbia  ballroom www.hiltongardeninn.com  803-407-6640

Historic Camden  222 Broad St., Camden  house, garden, and historic tavern info@historiccamden.com  www.historiccamden.com/rentals  803-432-9841

Inn at USC  1619 Pendleton St., Columbia  elegant boutique hotel on USC’s historic campus events@innatusc.com  www.innatusc.com  803-231-3606

Historic Lace House at the Governor’s Mansion  800 Richland St., Columbia  historic home with garden area michellelangdon@gov.sc.gov  www.lacehouse.sc.gov  803-737-2235

The Lake House at Lake Carolina  100 Lake Carolina Blvd., Columbia  open-air space with screen windows and doors jburley@lakecarolina.com  www.columbialakehouse.com  803-461-0915

Leaside  100 E. Exchange Place, Columbia  ballroom, Florida room and secluded patio sales@thesouthernway.com  www.thesouthernway.com  803-783-9136

Historic Leitner House  7302 Woodrow St., Irmo  banquet rooms, wrap-around porch and surrounding garden info@historicleitnerhouse.com  www.historicleitnerhouse.com  803-603-8838

Lourie Center  1650 Park Circle, Columbia  flexible space in Five Points with two ballrooms and six classrooms louriecentersc.com  803-779-1971

The Manor at Doko Meadows  100 Alvina Hagood Circle, Blythewood  banquet and reception rooms and a lakeside pergola hasteroks@townofblythewoodsc.gov  www.dokomanor.com  803-754-0501

Marriott, Downtown  1200 Hampton St., Columbia  two ballrooms and a tremendous two-story atrium www.marriott.com  803-771-7000

McCutchen House  University of South Carolina campus, Columbia  restored home with Horseshoe as backdrop sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/hrsm/for_the_community/mccutchen_house_dining


The Medallion Center  7309 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia  banquet space with pavilion, ballroom, salons and spacious entry www.medallionconferencecenter.com  803-256-1222

Robert Mills House and Gardens  1616 Blanding St., Columbia  outdoor event rental space with beautiful gardens rentals@historiccolumbia.org  www.historiccolumbia.org  803-252-7742, ext. 11

Millstone at Adams Pond  5301 Bluff Road, Columbia  home with tentable areas, covered back porches and dining rooms sales@thesouthernway.com  www.thesouthernway.com  803-783-1061 www.mitchellhouseandgardens.com  803-359-5325

Mossy Oaks Farm  2986 S.C. 174, Edisto Island  creekfront pecan plantation info@mossy-oaks.com  www.mossy-oaks.com  803-414-2898

The Ole Oak Barn  1155 Holy Trinity Church Road, Little Mountain  rustic monitor-style barn nestled in rolling hills theoleoakbarn@yahoo.com  ww.theoleoakbarn.com  803-530-1360 or 803-509-4088

Orangeburg Country Club  2745 Griffith Drive, Orangeburg  grand ballroom, banquet facilities and scenic ceremony options www.orangeburgcc.com  803-531-9673


Mitchell House and Gardens  421 North Lake Drive, Lexington  historic home with covered patio pavilion; full-service facility

The Palmetto Club  1231 Sumter St., Columbia  warm, comfortable location for events of all scales cateringdirector@palmettoclub.org  www.palmettoclub.org  803-771-8767

Palmetto Collegiate Institute and Leonard L. Price Gardens  104 Hendrix St., Lexington  renovated school and gardens www.lexsc.com  803-356-8238

River Center at Saluda Shoals Park  5605 Bush River Road, Columbia  park area, conference center and wedding gazebo www.icrc.net  803-731-5208

The River Road & Jasmine Houses and Gardens  2204 North Lake Drive, Columbia  homes with garden space riverroadjasmine@gmail.com  www.riverroadjasmine.net  803-315-4953 or 803-781-3315

Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens  500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia  botanical gardens, animal houses, Magnolia Room, Ndoki Lodge planyourevent@riverbanks.org

www.riverbanks.org/planyourevent  803-602-0900

Rock Bottom Pond  1530 Buck Hill Road, Ridgeway  outdoor ceremony area overlooking pond; enclosed shed with fireplace rockbottompond.com  803-438-9788

Seawell’s  1125 Rosewood Drive, Columbia  banquet hall www.seawellscateringsc.com  803-771-7385

Seibels House and Garden  1601 Richland St., Columbia  indoor-outdoor ceremony and reception venue rentals@historiccolumbia.org  www.historiccolumbia.org  803-252-7742, ext. 11

Senate’s End  316 Senate St., Columbia  hall, manor house and garden in unique Vista location on the Congaree River info@duprecatering.com  duprecatering.com  803-748-4144

South Carolina State House  1100 Gervais St., Columbia  grounds, gardens, steps and rotunda scstatehouseevents@gs.sc.gov  803-737-3880

South Carolina State Museum  301 Gervais St., Columbia  main and planetarium lobbies, mezzanine, observatory, Vista Room facilityrental@scmuseum.org  www.museum.state.sc.us  803-898-4901

Southern Oaks  2401 U.S. 378, Gilbert  rustic home and barns; 5,600-square-foot reception area; antique furniture and decor southernoaks378@gmail.com  southernoaks378.simdif.com  803-647-4518

Spring Valley Country Club  300 Spring Valley Road, Columbia  country club and reception venue rhonda@springvalleycc.com  www.springvalleycc.com  803-788-3080

Springdale House and Gardens  3150 Platt Springs Road, West Columbia  house and garden pavilion facebook.com/pages/The-Historic-Springdale-House-and-Gardens/246450802864  803-794-5557

Stone River  121 Alexander Road, West Columbia  event venue, wedding planning events@stonerivercolumbia.com  facebook.com/StoneRiverColumbia  803-727-8047

T&S Farm  3500 Pond Branch Road, Leesville  banquet hall with beautiful grounds sherrie@shealysbbq.com  tsfarmweddings.blogspot.com  803-532-8135, ext. 213

Wavering Place Plantation  427 Adams Hayne Road, Eastover  house and gardens info@waveringplaceplantation.com  waveringplaceplantation.com  803-269-7761

The Windermere Club  1101 Longtown Road East, Blythewood  ballroom and patio on golf course


www.windermereclubsc.com  803-786-6088

Wintergreen Woods  1032 Corley Mill Road, Lexington  reception hall, covered veranda and two courtyards www.wintergreenwoods.com  803-957-8888

Woodlands Country Club  100 Norse Way, Columbia  private dining rooms and banquet space www.woodlandscc.com  803-602-0253

Woodrow Wilson Family Home  1705 Hampton St., Columbia  outdoor event rental space with beautiful gardens rentals@historiccolumbia.org  www.historiccolumbia.org  803-252-7742, ext. 11

To request that a venue be included in future publications, or to update information for a venue listed here, contact marketing@thestate.com.

VENUES, continued

Happily ever after comes naturally here. 1-866-522-4399

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PHOTOGRAPHY You day. Your way. · · · ·

Elegant Amenities Timeless Setting Warm Hospitality Upscale Services 2745 Griffith Drive, Orangeburg SC 29118 803.534.5988 www.orangeburgcc.com

Photo courtesy of Still Co.

Photo courtesy of Timeless Arts Photography


Charming. Captivating. Romantic.

A picturesque stage for your wedding.

Unique indoor, outdoor and garden venues for ceremonies, receptions and rehearsal dinners.

· Ceremonies · Catering · Receptions · Lodging 231 Gundog Trail Neeses SC 29107 803.531.8408 www.buckridge.com

316 Senate Street, Columbia (803) 748-4144 • duprecatering.com



Visit thestate.com/social for guidelines and rates. For more info: social@thestate.com | 803-771-8614


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The South Carolina Lace House is a uniquely beautiful and historic home located within the Governor’s Mansion Complex. The scenic gardens, combined with spacious bridal and groom suites, make this the ideal place to celebrate your special day.

L AC E H O U S E . S C .G OV • (8 0 3) 7 3 7-2 2 3 5 L AC E H O U S E @ S C P R T.C O M

Profile for The State Media Company

Carolina Bride, summer 2018  

A bridal magazine featuring vendors and weddings in Columbia and the Midlands of South Carolina. Produced by The State newspaper.

Carolina Bride, summer 2018  

A bridal magazine featuring vendors and weddings in Columbia and the Midlands of South Carolina. Produced by The State newspaper.

Profile for thestate