Page 1

Winter/spring 2017


From the editor

Every issue of Carolina Bride, I notice a thread of similarity tying all of our features together. This time, it’s the couples’ stories. If you have a touch of cynicism about you, I can appreciate that. But the couples we interviewed this issue are so smitten with their new spouses and their plans for happy marriage so genuine that you can’t help but cheer them on, wishing them a happily ever after. This is an issue for your inner hopeless romantic. We have lots of young love: Elizabeth, our cover bride (page 10), met her husband, Christian, days after they started their college careers at Clemson

Our cover bride is Elizabeth Binnicker, who married Christian Brown on Nov. 12, 2016 at Forest Lake Presbyterian Church in Columbia. Read their story on page 10. Photos by Liz Roberts

University. And they’re on the older end of our young-love spectrum. M’Lee and T.J. (page 40) met when she was 14 and he was 16, and they never looked back. I love M’Lee’s description of their relationship: “You might say we didn’t really fall in love, but rather grew into love.” Mary Lee and Hunter (page 18) have known each other since elementary school. After cultivating a deep friendship, they started dating – cautiously – their junior year in high school.

Volume 13, Number 1


Winter/spring 2017

Sara Johnson Borton President and Publisher Bernie Heller Vice President of Advertising Kathy Allen Director of Marketing Rebekah Lewis Hall Special Projects Coordinator Questions about content in Carolina Bride? or 803-771-8624 Questions about advertising in Carolina Bride? 803-771-8372

Jessi and Bryant (page 44) had a shy young love; they went to a high school dance together “as friends” because neither would admit to a crush on the other. (Spoiler: They eventually admit it, but it takes a while.) Here’s another plot line: A girl sees a guy at a party. She thinks he’s out of her league, but she walks up to him and introduces herself anyway. When Carrie and Mitch (page 48) started running into each other in the Vista after that, they weren’t strangers. And now they’re happily married. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a favorite. In 2014, Sonya (page 36) went to the Dominican Republic with her girlfriends and met Richard at the casino. She cried the whole flight home. They eloped four months later, living in different countries while they waited a year and a half for the government to process Richard’s visa. They had a gorgeous celebration last fall at the Lace House after he joined his Curl up with some tissues, and embrace the romance.

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.


bride in the United States.


in this issue Elizabeth & Christian................. 10 Mary Lee & Hunter..................... 18

Lowcountry insert


Rosalie & Rob............................. 24 Missy & Scott............................. 28 Katelyn & Ian.............................. 30 Lowcountry Reception Venues.32 Sonya & Richard........................ 36 M’Lee & T.J................................. 40 Jessi & Bryant............................ 44 Carrie & Mitch............................. 48 Advertiser Index......................... 55 Reception Venues...................... 56


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& Christian

Their next chapter By Lezlie Patterson


Special to Carolina Bride


y the time a beaming Elizabeth Binnicker walked down the aisle on her daddy’s arm, by the time Christian Brown loudly and clearly pledged his devotion to his bride, and by the time the couple danced the night away at an elegant reception, Elizabeth and Christian already had a lot of shared memories. They had stories, funny and sweet. They had a favorite place, mutual friends and promising careers. And their Nov. 12 wedding created more. Elizabeth and Christian met within days of arriving at Clemson University their freshman year. During those first days of college, they fell in with a group who remained good friends throughout their time at Clemson, and who stood up with them at their wedding. Some of those friends were also the ones to encourage Elizabeth to ask Christian to be her date for her sorority’s cabin weekend getaway in Gatlinburg, Tenn. “We were supposed to take a date, and some of my friends said I should ask Christian,” Elizabeth recalls. “They helped me write a text, asking him to be my date. I sent it, then we all sat there waiting for him to

Photos by Liz Roberts, Liz Roberts Photography

reply. It was very dramatic.” Mostly because Christian took several hours to respond “yes.” “I honestly wasn’t sure how to respond to her text and thought about it for a few hours before texting back,” Christian says. “Most of my friends remembered her as the ‘nerdy’ girl in school, but I got to know her as a confident and boisterous college freshman. I said I would go with her, and it’s all history after that.” That was in February 2009. They look back on photos from that trip and laugh about how young they were. “By the end of that trip, we were dating,” Elizabeth says. “We never went out with anyone else.”




lizabeth spent one semester abroad but returned to spend the summer with Christian at his family’s home on Avery Island in Louisiana. After they graduated from Clemson in 2013, Elizabeth took an office job in Washington, D.C., and Christian worked at an outdoors business in a small Colorado mountain town. “We couldn’t have been living two more different lives,” Elizabeth said. “We made it work, but after a year, we decided we wanted to live in the same city.” That city ended up being New Orleans, Christian’s hometown, where he is employed with Iberia Bank. Elizabeth got a job with SMG, which manages facilities including the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where the Saints host NFL games, and the adjacent Smoothie King Center and Champions Square. She made new friends and embraced the city. They talked about getting married, and Elizabeth knew Christian would ask her soon. But his timing was a complete surprise. “I did not see it coming that weekend,” Elizabeth says. Christian made up an excuse to take Elizabeth to a picturesque spot on Avery Island in Louisiana, where his family’s hot sauce company, Tabasco, is headquartered. Avery Island is a special place for Christian because of his family ties and childhood memories there. It was special to Elizabeth because of the summer she spent there with Christian. “The surprise was a group effort on both sides of the family,” Christian says. “It was a lot of trickery on everyone’s part. “I made up something about how I had to be at a dinner with family members that Saturday night. She, of course, took the bait and wanted to join me for the weekend.” But the subterfuge didn’t end there. “Right when she was finishing getting ready Saturday afternoon, I asked for her help in running a quick errand for my uncle (who was


waiting nearby with my aunt and a camera). I told her we had to wait on him at the boathouse, a shed where my uncle keeps his boat that has a perch on the top of it overlooking the marsh.” At that point, Elizabeth actually contributed to the cause. “I was about to suggest we go up to the perch to watch the sunset when she took the words out of my mouth, which probably contributed a lot to the surprise,” Christian says.



he sunset was incredible, Elizabeth says. “I had him taking pictures because it was so beautiful. Then I turned around, and he had my ring. “I immediately started bawling and tried to say yes at the same time!” “When she began sobbing, I knew I had successfully pulled off the surprise,” Christian says. Then Christian, whom Elizabeth says is not good at keeping secrets from her, started tell-

ing her all of his surprise plans for the weekend. Her family had arrived in New Orleans to help them celebrate with a big family dinner. “It was more than I could believe,” she says. “I’ve joked with him since saying, ‘That was so much fun! Let’s get engaged again!’ ” Elizabeth did not want a long engagement. “I was too excited,” she said. “I couldn’t wait.” The proposal was in February, and the wedding followed nine months later. “I had a vision of what I wanted my wedding to be,” Elizabeth says. The problem: Elizabeth lived in New Orleans and was planning a wedding that would happen more than 650 miles away in Columbia. The solutions: Elizabeth’s mother, Kim Binnicker, and wedding planner Cricket Newman Designs. “Cricket Newman took pictures I sent her in a million emails and put together an amazing wedding, just what I wanted,” Elizabeth says. “They are seriously amazing! Planning from

so far away in a short time frame is difficult, but they made the process so easy and fun. And of course, I could have never done it without my mom.” Kim Binnicker enjoyed the process from beginning to end. “There is not one thing we would change about the entire weekend,” Kim says. “It was such a perfect weekend. We wanted everybody to just have a good time. And I think that was accomplished.” Sara Eaves, the wedding planner from Cricket Newman, said the Binnickers made planning the wedding easy. “They were such a sweet family,” Eaves says. “It was a very elegant, beautiful winter wedding, the type of event that could convince anyone to get married in the winter.” Finding a place for the wedding was easy – Elizabeth and Christian got married at Forest Lake Presbyterian Church, where her parents, Jeff and Kim Binnicker, are active members.

Finding a venue for the reception wasn’t as easy. “That was tough,” Elizabeth says. “We looked at a lot of places, and I wasn’t loving anything.” Until she walked into 1208 Washington Place. The historic former bank building in downtown Columbia, with its recessed textured ceilings, vintage floors and chandeliers was exactly what Elizabeth had been waiting for. “It was exactly what I had in mind,” she says. The rehearsal dinner, also planned by Cricket Newman, was held at City Market in the Vista. “It was magical,” Elizabeth says. “There were so many toasts. I cried the entire time, I was so happy. All our closest friends and family were in one place.” The food was delicious, she said, and included recipes and favorite dishes from Christian’s family. Her wedding day brought more magic. Elizabeth and her seven bridesmaids spent the day at an upstairs ballroom at 1208 Washington Place. Staff members from Pout and Blue Orchid came and fixed the girls’ makeup and hair. “It was super relaxing,” Elizabeth says. They had visitors stop by throughout the day before they left for the church at 4 p.m. With daylight saving time ending the week before, the 6:30 p.m. wedding was a nighttime event. Elizabeth liked that. “It gave it an elegant tone,” she says. “I loved it was dark.” Kim Binnicker will always remember the moment when she saw her daughter walking down the aisle on Jeff’s arm. “A calm came down on me,” Kim Binnicker says. “I saw her look at her daddy and saw the look on her face. She was so happy.”




ne of Elizabeth’s favorite moments was when Christian said his vows. “He was so clear, so loud and very direct. He just did an awesome job. That was the highlight of my entire day.” Christian nerves had been settled once he saw Elizabeth appear at the other end of the aisle.


“I was a nervous wreck for about the three hours up until the ceremony,” Christian says. “Once I walked through the doors and toward the altar, everything seemed to wash away. Seeing Elizabeth walk through the doors at the other end of the church was probably my favorite moment from the wedding.” Photographer Liz Roberts caught it all for the Browns. “She captured some amazing photos,” Elizabeth says. Christian had 10 groomsmen, and Elizabeth had seven bridesmaids. Elizabeth veered away from vibrant color, opting for more neutral, elegant colors. The bridesmaids dressings were platinum, and flowers were white and green. Elizabeth had wanted camellias, a flower Christian’s great-great-grandfather had cultivated on Avery Island. But the flower was out of season, so they used the foliage from it. The bridesmaids’ bouquets had Sahara roses. Elizabeth’s maternal grandmother had passed away, but she made sure her presence was felt at the wedding. In her bridal portrait, she wore her grandmother’s fur stole. She wore pendants on her veil from her grandmother’s wedding dress, and she had a swatch of fabric from her grandmother’s dress sewn into her dress, with her initials and the date embroidered in blue. She also used the lace from her mother’s wedding dress on her custommade gown. On a pearl bracelet, she wore a pendant that had been passed down from her great-great-grandmother. All of the women in her family have worn it on their wedding days. Photographer Roberts loved the traditional touches. “At the reception, they drank champagne from a cup that had been drunk from at many weddings on the groom’s side,” Roberts says. “These are absolutely beautiful people on the outside, and they are genuinely as beautiful on the inside.” Elizabeth’s dress was designed and created by Suzanne Perron in New Orleans. She wanted a long train for the ceremony (“Every young girl dreams of walking down the aisle with a long train”) but she didn’t want to be encumbered with a bustle during the reception. So she took off her

removable train after the wedding ceremony. “That was perfect,” Elizabeth says. “It was the same dress, but had a totally different look.” And it worked. Elizabeth and Christian danced until the end of the reception. “People were literally dancing all night long,” she says. “It was most certainly a party. The band, The Company Band, was so awesome. And so much fun.” Christian says seeing all of their friends and family from around the world all in one room together was a highlight.

“I distinctly remember thinking during the reception that this was probably going to be the only time this would happen,” he says. Elizabeth and her father, Jeff, danced to “Brown-Eyed Girl” for the father-daughter dance. “I have dark brown eyes, and my sister has blue eyes, so this was one of my dad and my favorite songs when I was growing up.” Southern Way catered the reception, incorporating New Orleans dishes such as fried shrimp po’boys as the late night snack. “It was an elaborate, big party but also warm and relaxing,”

Roberts says. Elizabeth and Christian left to a canopy of sparklers. And then it was time for Elizabeth’s second favorite moment of the day. “It was when we were in the getaway car,” Elizabeth says. “Christian and I were cheering. We were just so excited. Excited we were married. Excited that we pulled it off. It was just the two of us in the car, and we were cheering the whole way to the hotel.” It was a shared favorite moment. “We pulled up to the hotel after the reception, and I thought, ‘It’s just us from here,’ ” Christian says.

“That was an extremely exciting but humbling moment for me.” They boarded a plane a few hours later – a 6 a.m. flight – for their honeymoon in Palm Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “My favorite memory (from the honeymoon) was waking up in our villa on a private beach and opening up the doors to a turquoise ocean just feet away from the end of our bed,” Elizabeth says. “It was amazing and the most relaxing week. We also loved traveling to get there. We were in multiple planes and boats, and getting to the island was half the fun.”


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Mary Lee Hunter



Photos by Katie Hart, Palmetto Duo

Faith and friendship By Lezlie Patterson


Special to Carolina Bride

ary Lee Free’s wedding was not the one of which she had always dreamed. But it still ended up being her dream wedding – mostly because she married the man of her dreams. Mary Lee always had wanted to get married in Charleston, but when it was time to plan her July wedding, she decided that wasn’t practical and opted to stay in Columbia. She wanted an outdoor wedding. A last-minute thunderstorm changed that plan. But Mary Lee and her husband, Hunter Coultrap, loved every second of their indoor Columbia wedding.

When Hunter heard about the storm, he worried that his bride would be disappointed. “I knew that she was so excited about the pictures, and outside was so pretty,” he says. “I called her on the phone and told her everything was going to be OK. And once I stepped into the new inside space, I knew ... this place was gorgeous, and everything was going to be fine.”



unter has known that all along. Mary Lee and Hunter met in elementary school. They grew up as childhood friends in Raleigh, North Carolina, and evolved into high school pals before they began dating their junior year.

“Early in high school, we became very good friends,” Mary Lee says. “We lived in the same neighborhood and would take walks together. And talk.” During those walking talks, they discovered that they both wanted religion and music to be a big part of their lives. Still, Mary Lee was reluctant to date Hunter, fearful that if that relationship didn’t work out, she would lose the friendship she treasured. “I didn’t want to break up and miss the friendship I valued,” she says. “So we went into it like, ‘We’ll see how it goes.’ ” It went fantastically. “It was always so easy,” Mary Lee says. “It was never awkward.”

Hunter was never worried. “I knew that we were best friends before we were ever romantic toward each other, so I figured with friendship as the foundation, then we could build the romance and affection on top of that,” Hunter says. Mary Lee grew up in a Gamecock family and knew she wanted to go to the University of South Carolina. She was thrilled when Hunter decided to pursue a music degree at USC. “What is cool for me to see now is that God was working all things for me to be close to Mary Lee, close to an awesome church that brought us closer together, and surrounded by friends and people that continued to build us up,” Hunter says.


After dating for six years, Hunter proposed to Mary Lee at Asbury Hills, a United Methodist Church camp near Greenville in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mary Lee had spent time there and shared it with Hunter as one of her “favorite places in the world.” So in December, following their May 2015 graduation from USC, Hunter took Mary Lee to Asbury Hills. “I kind of knew it was coming soon,” Mary Lee says of the proposal. But she didn’t think it was coming when it did. Hunter made sure of that. The proposal, which Hunter calls the “long game,” took about 18 months to plan. “Mary Lee told me that she didn’t think that I could ever surprise her,” Hunter said. “And I thought, ‘challenge accepted.’ “I know that she has a highly analytical brain and is amazing at noticing and anticipating details, so I figured I would have to have a plan that seemed to be going nowhere in the day-to-day.” Unknown to Mary Lee, Hunter had driven from Columbia to Charleston to have dinner with her father and ask for his blessing. “Not everything went as planned,” Hunter says. “The camp where we went was technically closed that week, but I pleaded with the groundskeeper to let us in. I also got a phone call from my photographer ... that he overslept and was an hour behind us on the trip, so I had to make some small adjustments in timing on the way to the mountain. “But as a whole, I couldn’t have asked for a better result. I love the story.” Hunter took Mary Lee before the big cross at Asbury Hills, played worship music, told her how much he “enjoyed doing life together” and asked her to marry him. She said yes.



hey had a short engagement, getting married July 16, 2016. “We’re both teachers and knew we wanted to get married in the summer,” Mary Lee said. She teaches music at St. Joseph’s

Catholic School, and Hunter teaches at Conder Elementary. “I had it in my head that I wanted an outdoor wedding,” Mary Lee said. She liked the idea of being able to have her outdoor wedding in a picturesque setting and then have a climate-controlled reception at the same location. Senate’s End fit the bill perfectly. And that climate-controlled space turned out to be important. At the end of the rehearsal the night before, when everyone was anxious to get to the dinner, Mary Lee’s father insisted that they do a quick run-through of “Plan B” – the just-in-case-it-rains plan. Everyone who moaned and groaned appreciated it the next day when the thunderstorm struck about 20 minutes before the wedding. “It was amazing how quickly the staff at Senate’s End moved the chairs and decorations inside and made it a beautiful wedding spot,” Mary Lee says. “It ended up being so pretty.” And Mary Lee got her outdoor photos. “What is really cool is that the sun came out after our ceremony so we were still able to get pictures taken outside, which is what I wanted the most for her,” Hunter says. Photographer Katie Hart of Palmetto Duo snuck Mary Lee and Hunter outside during the reception. “I love being a part of weddings at Senate’s End because the venue has so many pretty, photogenic spots,” Hart says. “They have the garden area, the woods behind the venue, the river and the downtown skyline within walking distance … and the Hall itself is stunning, with the brickwork and hanging lanterns.” Mary Lee and her bridesmaids spent most of the day at Senate’s End. They started the day at home with coffee, watching “The Princess Diaries.” Then at 11 a.m., they went to Senate’s End, where they decorated the venue, had lunch, and had Image Makers Salond do their hair and makeup before the 6 p.m. wedding. Mary Lee put framed photographs of Hunter and her through the years around the reception.


ceremony, which was really good for my nerves,” Mary Lee says. She stood on one side of a door, Hunter on the other. They reached around and held hands while he prayed. “He stayed with me until he made me laugh,” Mary Lee says. “We got to connect. I needed that.” Hunter said he could tell Mary Lee was a bit overwhelmed by the people, details and wedding chaos. “She is a rock star, so I knew everything was going perfectly ... but I wanted to calm her nerves by reminding her that at the end of the day, God is still worthy to be praised and we would be husband and wife,” Hunter says. “I couldn’t see her behind the door, but I told her that her hand looked nice and she laughed. “I have this thing in our relationship that when she is upset, we can’t leave the moment until she smiles, and that’s how I wanted to leave her.”

Hart caught the moment. “You could really see the emotion of the day on their faces,” Hart says. “I love when Hunter kissed her hand.” Mary Lee’s wedding might have been in Columbia, but she had a whisper of Charleston with sweetgrass and cotton in her floral decorations. “Our florist (Woolbright Flowers and Gifts) knew that we wanted to incorporate the Southern, Lowcountry theme into our decorations, so he added the cotton,” Mary Lee says. The sweetgrass and cotton also were in the boutonnieres. “It was ... the perfect Charleston touch we wanted.” She saved the sweetgrass and uses the cotton as décor in their house. That isn’t the only wedding keepsake adorning the Coultraps’ home. During both the ceremony and

the reception, the newlyweds sang together, with Hunter playing guitar. After saying their vows, they sang “Jesus Paid It All.” “We wanted to lead worship as husband and wife,” Mary Lee says. It was one of their favorite moments of the day. At the reception, they sang “Meant to Be,” a song they listened to Melissa Polinar sing while they were growing up. Hunter used two old guitars for the songs. Guests signed those instead of a book, and the guitars hang in the Coultraps’ home. “We had so much fun (at the reception),” Mary Lee says. “It was the fastest three hours of my life.” They spent their wedding night at the Inn at USC and left two days later for Banff, Canada. The Rocky Mountain resort town in Alberta was a great escape from the hot Columbia summer and a perfect honeymoon spot.


he wedding party consisted of six bridesmaids, six groomsmen, a 9-month-old flower girl and a 4-year-old ring bearer. The flower girl, Mary Lee’s niece, Mary Dale, was pulled in a wagon down the aisle by her father. “She was more the bearer of cuteness than flowers,” Mary Lee says. The bridesmaids wore blush pink dresses from Evelyn’s Bridal (also where Mary Lee got her dress), and the groomsmen sported slate blue bow ties with their gray suits from Granger Owings. Mary Lee and Hunter decided to wait to see each other for the first time until the ceremony. “I actually teased Hunter and told him, ‘You’d better cry when you see me,’ ” Mary Lee says. But they did spend some time together prior to the ceremony, sight unseen. “Hunter prayed for us before the



From this day forward



Denise Gonsales Photography

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


osalie Bott didn’t want a wedding. It wasn’t because she was struggling with choosing vendors or colors, or making a guest list and seating charts. And it surely wasn’t because she had cold feet. “I was really struggling with the idea of being the center of attention,” Rosalie said. “At one point Rob joked that he would carry me down the aisle if he had to.” But her doubts began to fade when she met Jessa Overbeck, catering and events director at the South Carolina Yacht Club on Hilton Head Island. “I think a lot of planners have it in their minds what they think brides want rather than reading their brides. Jessa’s ability to reassure me that she could make the day low-key and casual really put me at ease.”

An opinionated person by nature, Rosalie was able to pick what she liked right away, making the wedding planning experience relatively simple. “I chose the colors blush, ivory and gold. And I wanted to keep things soft and simple, so we used a lot of garden roses, peonies and hydrangeas,” she said. Rosalie’s dress was layers of silk and tulle, and adorned with delicate lace roses. She added a hint of sparkle with a rhinestone headpiece and ivory heels with crystal embellishments — her favorite part of the outfit, she said. Rosalie’s two sisters served as maid and matron of honor and wore blush-colored lace dresses with beaded belts. Rob wore a navy blue tuxedo and black bow tie, while two brothers wore matching navy suits with rose-colored ties.

The couple exchanged vows at a 2 p.m. ceremony at Holy Family Catholic Church. A reception followed at 4 p.m. at the Yacht Club, where guests mingled outdoors enjoying a cocktail hour with an open bar before heading inside to feast on plated surf and turf dinners of steak and salmon. “The menu was phenomenal. Food was one of the most important things to us. Our No. 1 priority was making sure we got to eat our meals,” Rosalie said. The Yacht Club made the couple’s chocolate layer cake, and each guest received homemade pecan and caramel turtles, made by Rosalie. The newlyweds shared a first dance before their photographer, family friend Denise Gonsales, whisked them away for a portrait session that made the most of a beautiful Lowcountry sunset.

The next morning, guests were invited to Sunday brunch hosted by Rosalie’s parents at their Hilton Head home. “From the first day, one of the only things I cared about was the brunch on Sunday morning. It was by far my favorite part because it was more my style,” she said. “It was relaxed and it was a different setting where we could talk and catch up with friends and family.” At brunch, Rosalie put out the top layer of their wedding cake and every guest took a slice as they relived the memories of the night before. “It’s important to remember your wedding day is the first day in your new life together. It’s not as much about that day as it is how you get to that day. Remember to not pick fights or try to take things too seriously.”


Rosalie and her husband, Rob Cameron, met through a mutual friend while working toward their MBAs at the University of Notre Dame. After continually being pushed together, they gave in. They dated two years – the majority of it long distance – before Rob asked Rosalie to marry him one evening in November in after dinner in Boston. “He was a complete basketcase. He was so nervous he could barely pay at the end of the meal,” Rosalie said, chuckling at the memory of Rob, a Navy man, unraveling under the pressure. “When he proposed on the walk home, he was trying to tell me how much he loved me, but I don’t know if any of his sentences really made sense. Although, he did manage to say, ‘will you marry me?’ ”

By Cate Fitzpatrick

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

By Britt Croft

he world of weddings has changed so much in the past few decades, even substantially in just the last few years. I love when couples really make their weddings their own and a true display of what is most important to them. If you’re looking for a way to make your wedding a little more unique, here are a few things I’ve seen that aren’t necessarily "traditions," but easily could be.


While some couples write letters to each other to read on their wedding day, it’s not as common as I wish it was. This is definitely one of the things I would have done differently on my own wedding day. I think it’s such a special way to connect and it really drives home the significance of the day.


The moment a dad sees his daughter on her wedding day is very special. They can be some of the most emotional moments of the day. I love having these moments captured for my couples. A daddy-daughter first look can be very candid, or more planned – similar to bride and groom first looks.


Bridal portraits are a very Southern tradition, but I think more brides should take advantage of the opportunity to get in front of the camera before their wedding day. The benefits are endless, including getting a trial run of your hair, makeup, and dress. It’s also such an opportunity to slow down and enjoy what’s coming. Having bridal portraits done before the wedding means you and your photographer aren’t pressed to take quite as many formal portraits of you alone on your wedding day, which in turn frees up time for other photos or more time with your groom, friends, and family. Britt Croft is a South Carolina and Georgia wedding and portrait photographer. She is passionate about creating real, timeless, and romantic images that tell a story and are full of life. Contact her at

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Relationships between siblings are so special. It’s one of my favorite things to see a bride or groom dance with their brother or sister after the first dance and the parent dances. Siblings play such a big role in our lives and a wedding day is a big time for them too. Sibling dances can be a great way for a bride to honor her brother or for a groom to honor his sister.



Reception exits aren’t exactly uncommon, but I think they should be a thing at every wedding. Since you have a planner and/or a venue team taking care of breaking down your reception, leave with all the excitement of your friends and family sending you off. It’s such a great part of the night and it’s so sweet to see couples soak in that moment as they set off to their vehicle. Reception exits can be as simple as bubbles, seeds, or streamer wands, or as elaborate as



5 photo moments that aren’t traditions, but should be

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




Kim Branagan Photography

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

Seaside elegance


was New Year’s Eve and Missy Kubasek and Scott Bower were headed out to dinner. At the door, Scott stopped and tossed her a fortune cookie leftover from the previous night's takeout. “It read ‘you’re about to make someone very happy in your life.’ I didn’t really think much of it,” Missy said. “Then he threw me another one. I opened it and there’s the diamond ring.”

Missy and Scott chose Shipyard’s Beach Club on Hilton Head Island as the setting for the light, airy, elegant wine-themed affair. The venue gave the couple a space to have an outdoor ceremony with an ocean setting without having to hold the ceremony on the beach. Missy’s wedding dress mirrored the casual elegance of the day. The sleeveless ivory gown had a lace overlay and a corset back. A dusty rose sash with a diamond broach added to the elegance. The couple participated in a wine ceremony during their vows, each pouring their separate decanters of red and white wine into a marriage decanter. The mixed wine was then poured into glasses for Missy and Scott to drink. A whiskey barrel tabletop was created for this ceremony using wooden pallets.

About an hour before the wedding, and just as vendors finished staging the outdoor ceremony, Mother Nature surprised everyone with an afternoon thunderstorm. Photographer Kim Branagan said the sheeting rain and wind would be enough to make any bride anxious, but not Missy. “She could not have been more composed. Rather than stress, she trusted her vendors and, staying true to the wedding theme, had a glass of wine,” Kim said. About 30 minutes before the ceremony, the rain subsided. And at 6:01 p.m., Missy walked down the aisle under clear skies.

Elegance spilled over to the reception, where five rustic farm tables were placed end-to-end and set with chiavari chairs, ivory and silver table runners, votives, greenery, flowers, and tall vases topped with pale pink roses and green hydrangeas. Wine corks held place cards and dinner was served family style under the warm glow of cafe lights. Servers kept the glasses full, pouring from a wine list specially crafted by Missy and Scott. As a show of appreciation, each of the three dozen guests received an empty wood picture frame and a thank-you note. “During the reception we went around and took photos with every guest. Then we mailed each person a photo for the frame,” Missy said. “That’s the great part of having a small wedding. You can do very personal things like that. There’s a lot to be said for keeping your wedding small.”


It wasn't long after that the Ohio natives decided on a July wedding on Hilton Head. With six months to plan a destination wedding, Missy knew she needed help. That's when an online search for a planner connected her with Lisa Kenward of Lisa Kenward Events. “Missy and Scott wanted their wedding celebration to be an intimate event with a touch of elegance. They wanted their guests to feel welcomed and all the details to reflect their personalities,” Lisa said. Missy and Lisa chatted weekly by phone, sorting out details such as lighting, linens, floral, music, transportation, and timelines. Then, two months into the planning, Missy’s mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. “We were an inch away from giving up,” Missy said. “Lisa told us to take a step back and she took the bull by the horns, lining up vendors and sending us photos of venues. If it wasn’t for her, the wedding wouldn’t have happened.”

By Cate Fitzpatrick

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



Reese Moore Photography

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

By Cate Fitzpatrick


oftly crashing waves and a subtle ocean breeze set a picturesque backdrop and perfectly captured the relaxing spirit of Katelyn Chiappazzi and Ian Fletcher’s intimate Sunday afternoon wedding on Hilton Head. “We kept the guest list to less than 20 of our closest friends and family,” Katelyn said. “Everyone was so comfortable and it was wonderful to spend time with the people we don’t often get to see.”

love with The Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa and its bullhead lawn and deck space. “This allowed us to have the ceremony near the ocean without having it on the beach,” Katelyn said. Another perk: The venue had a planner. “She took care of everything,” Katelyn said of Dawn Farrell, the Marriott’s event manager. “She was the most down-to-earth person and I didn’t stress. She was on top of it all.” Once the big things were decided – venue, food, and photographer (Reese Moore Photography) – the details fell into place.

A small guest list meant the couple could treat friends and family to a premium party. “We have expensive taste, so we went all out,” Katelyn said. Guests noshed on nearly a dozen different hors d’oeuvres and sipped from a premium open bar. Dinner included, among other things, a prime rib carving station and multiple pasta stations. Dessert featured treats from Sweet Carolina Cupcakes and wedding cake decorated with colorful chocolate seashells. On the tables, centerpieces of white hydrangeas and glass bowls of sand and candles sat atop shimmery gold-and-white chevron runners Katelyn's wedding gown was actually a bridessprinkled with shells and votives. Place settings maid dress. It featured a romantic lace overlay and included gold chargers topped with navy linens contoured cap sleeves that continued around to a with gold starfish napkin rings. keyhole back. She added a hint of sparkle with a The couple left the music to Pandora ­— “We beaded belt. The bride carried a bouquet of white put it on shuffle and it was perfect,” Katelyn hydrangeas tied together with gold jeweled ribsaid. — and shared their first dance to George bon. Her maid of honor wore a knee-length navy Strait’s “Give It All We Got Tonight.” lace dress and carried a similar bouquet. “Our wedding was so intimate and everyone Across the aisle, the groom and his father wore felt like they had a place. Having a small wedding navy pants and vests, blue-and-white checkered made the day feel so much more real. I would do shirts and gold ties. it again in a heartbeat,” Katelyn said.


North Carolina residents Katelyn and Ian were dating two years before he surprised her with an engagement ring. “Ian proposed one afternoon while we were fishing on the dock. I cast my line near his and he pretended to get annoyed when they got tangled,” Katelyn said. “So I went to the other side to fish and when I turned back he was down on one knee with a ring. I honestly thought it was a joke!” Ian’s timing was thoughtful and perfect. He knew Katelyn wanted to get married on Hilton Head and proposed a week before they were headed to the Lowcountry on vacation. After visiting a few venues, the couple fell in

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


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Sonya Richard

after starting our relationship. She gave me the yes, and within three months of our relationship, she told me to set the date because she could not spend more time without me. I asked if she would like to come live with me in my and she said yes. That When did you know your spouse country, was a wonderful answer. We later was the one? decided to live in the United States, S: When my friends and I arrived at where we could have a better life. the airport to return to the United In the year and a half we waited for States, I could not stop thinking my visa to be processed, we were about him. I cried the entire flight. separated. My wife visited every R: Two hours after I met her, she two months, and every time, we had stolen my heart. grew closer. When there is true love, a chain can break open; seas Tell me about the proposal. and mountains can be crushed. S: We knew it would be a challenge with us living in separate What was your favorite part of countries, and we knew that we the wedding day? were made for one another and S: Hearing my husband say his did not want to prolong our time vows in English. He had written apart. So, we decided to get marhis own vows and memorized ried after dating for four months. each word. I knew he had worked R: I proposed marriage two months hard to do this.

How did you meet?

S: My girls and I were at the casino in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Richard and I were introduced, and it was love at first sight. We kept in touch, and he dedicated himself to learning English.


Sonya Capell was on an all-girls vacation in the Dominican Republic when she met Richard Desena Bautista. Four months later, on Dec. 2, 2014, they eloped with only Richard’s immediate family present. On Sept. 2, 2016, they celebrated their marriage – and Richard’s move to the United States – with a big ceremony and reception at the Lace House. Sonya, 33, is from Columbia and works in human resources, and Richard, 28, is a chef. They live in Atlanta. Sonya translated Richard’s responses from Spanish; answers have been edited. R: The brightest moment for me was when I saw my wife arrive with her father – such great beauty and happiness that made me cry.

How has having different native languages affected your relationship?

S: We are constantly learning from each other. In the beginning, I thought it would be impossible, but my husband did not want language to be a barrier. I usually talk to him in Spanish, and he replies in English. He will tell you that I am fluent in Spanish since I can communicate with him and he understands every word; however, I am still learning with the help of my in-laws and my husband. R: Before I met my wife, I knew basic English for the performance of my work. (After we met) I felt her heart in the air; all the time that we spent together, I began to understand more of her language.

Love is the language that my wife and I are both fluent in, so I am able to understand and communicate with her very well.

Tell me about the first wedding ceremony and why you did them separately. S: Our first ceremony was simple and quick. My father wanted to give me away; since I am his only daughter, he was upset he would not have that opportunity. Also, I had always envisioned my “fairy tale” wedding, so my husband promised that when he could come to the U.S., I would have my American wedding. Needless to say, that made my father happy.

What part of marriage are you looking forward to?

S: I am looking forward to starting a family. I can’t wait to raise bilingual babies. Richard will be a great father.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Bravura Bridal (Marietta, Georgia), Maggie Sottero gown; TK Bridal (Atlanta), reception dress • GROOM’S ATTIRE Savvi Formalwear (Atlanta) • WEDDING PARTY ATTIRE, Bill Levkoff • BAR JW Bartending • CAKE Gardenia’s Custom Cakes & Catering • DESSERT BAR My Dessert Bar • CATERER Simply Delicious Catering • DECOR South Carolina Wedding Company • DJ DJ Babyface (Aukeaus Solomon)• FAVORS/GIFTS LuckyDucks2650 on Etsy • FLORIST American Floral • HONEYMOON Dominican Republic • HOTEL BLOCK Columbia Marriott • INVITATIONS/PAPER GOODS Sandi Spells Design (College Park, Georgia) • JEWELRY Jared and Kay Jewelers, Vera Wang Love rings • LIGHTING Ambient Media • MAKEUP Kimberly Asia Hall, Sarah & Co. Studio • OFFICIANT Rev. Anthony Bracy • PHOTOGRAPHY Studio Two One Two • PLANNER Avila Dawn Events• PRESERVATION Ed Robinson Cleaners • REHEARSAL DINNER Liberty Tap Room • RENTALS Party Reflections; Lake Murray Event & Rentals • SOLOIST Cyretta Crowell, The Root Doctors• TRANSPORTATION First Class Limo Service • VENUE Lace House • VIDEOGRAPHY MEA Entertainment

Photos by Patty Hallman, Studio Two One Two


Wedding Album

Photos by Studio Two One Two

Saima Walima and Zeeshan Khaliq were married Sept. 24, 2016, in Chicago. A groom’s reception followed Sept. 30 at the Columbia Marriott.


Palmetto Duo

Megan Gunter and Joey Pender were married Sept. 9, 2016, at the River Road House and Jasmine House.

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engaged for two years. You might how beautiful everything was. I say we didn’t really fall in love, but realized our dream wedding was rather grew into love. about to come to fruition. T: Hearing the ukulele music Tell me about the proposal. It was our sixth year attending his begin and seeing my beautiful bride-to-be walk down the aisle family’s Easter lunch together. and take my breath away. This particular year, T.J. wanted my family to join his family. I What advice would you give a bride or groom who’s planning a didn’t think much about it because our families certainly knew wedding? each other. (He wanted my family Plan for unexpected expenses there for the proposal, but I didn’t because there will be some. know that was why he invited Your reception looks like fun. them.) We always get in a big circle What’s your recipe for making and pray. Right before the prayer, sure everyone has a blast? said he wanted to say someKnow your audience, and try to When did you know your spouse T.J. thing. He called me out, got down satisfy the majority’s taste with was the one? on one knee and proposed. This is food, beverages and music. Mingle We were so young, but neither another way that T.J. is so special with all your guests, and let them of us had any interest in anyone to me – he included family. know you value their presence. If else once we met. Talk about children will be at your wedding, young love and childhood sweet- What was your favorite part of involve them in some way. We had the wedding day? hearts – we fit the bill perfectly. M: Arriving at the venue and see- the children circle us and blow Prior to our wedding, we were sweethearts for eight years and ing all the vendors setting up and bubbles as we danced our first

How did you meet?


Childhood sweethearts M’Lee Grandy and Timothy “T.J.” Guy were married Sept. 16 at Southern Oaks in Gilbert. M’Lee, a 22-year-old radiologic technologist from BatesburgLeesville, was just 14 when they met. T.J., 24, is originally from Saluda and works as a curing operator at Michelin in Lexington. After M’Lee graduated from college and started her job last spring, they bought a restored farmhouse in Batesburg-Leesville . “We have actually had a very busy year,” M’Lee said. Answers have been edited.

We met at a friend’s birthday party on Lake Murray when I was 14 and T.J. was 16. We realized that we had common interests and mutual friends. Although I was attending King Academy and T.J. was at Saluda High School, we were surprised we had not met before. We are both big Harry Potter fans, enjoy playing Scrabble, fishing, camping and we both love spending time doing things with family. It appealed to me that he loves and appreciates family as much as I do.

dance. Also, take care of the formalities – cutting the cake, toasts and speeches – early, before your senior guests begin to leave.

Newlywed life is...

... exciting and full of new responsibilities. It can take a while to settle into a routine. There are things we have both had to learn about maintaining a home. We are careful to let some things go in order to have a “date night.”

What part of marriage are you looking forward to?

We want children in the future – just no time soon. We look forward to landscaping our yard this spring and other projects at our home. Right now, we are a content couple, enjoying living together and being on our own.

What else?

Our last name is “Guy,” so our hashtag was #ItsAGuyThing.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Fabulous Frocks (Charleston), Wtoo by Watters gown, Erica Koesler veil; Aldo, shoes• GROOM/GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Kennedy’s Men’s Clothing • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE • FLOWER GIRLS’ ATTIRE • DJ Yarborough’s Entertainment • VENUE Southern Oaks, wedding, reception, rehearsal dinner• CAKE Tina’s Cake Boutique • CATERING Hudson’s BBQ; Southern Oaks • FAVORS/GIFTS Mary’s Cakery & Candy Kitchen (King George, Virginia; transported by groom’s aunt), custom candy wrappers • FLORIST White House Wedding Flowers • HAIR/MAKEUP Brooke Moseley, bride; Southern Gentleman’s Barbering Co., groom • HONEYMOON Royal Caribbean • INVITATIONS/PAPER GOODS Vista Print, save-the-date cards and invitations; Nancey Keeler, calligraphy; UPS Store, wedding and reception programs;, napkins and custom matchbooks • OFFICIANT Rev. Brian H. Coker (groom’s uncle) • PHOTOGRAPHER Shandi Wallace Photography • PLANNER Pam Reeder, Southern Oaks • PRESERVATION/ ALTERATIONS Elite Alterations • REGISTRY Target; Bed, Bath & Beyond • SPECIALTY CANDIES Nancey Keeler • TRANSPORTATION Ann Lyons Wedding Cars



Convenient location, competitive costs at Orangeburg Country Club


he Orangeburg Country Club is a perfect backdrop for the wedding you have always imagined – and so much more. Situated between Columbia and Charleston along the banks of the Edisto River, OCC is not only exquisitely beautiful, but also conveniently located and competitively priced. Our on-site event planner, Lauren Gray, cares as much as you do about making your wedding day perfect. From lush flowers to elegant décor to a scrumptious menu, Lauren is happy to discuss options to fit your budget while providing you with impeccable customer service. From the moment of your initial inquiry until your grand exit from your spectacular reception, our staff pays careful attention to every detail. Bride Shannon Upchurch shared her experience this way: “I still can’t get over how perfect everything was for our wedding day! The food was fabulous, and the staff did a phenomenal job!” You owe it to yourself to investigate this gem! One other surprise: Membership is not required to schedule your wedding or any other event at OCC! Visit or call Lauren Gray at (803) 534-5988 to get started on your happily ever after. LIFES TREASURES PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC


Capital City Club offers weddings at highest level


t the Capital City Club, we have a saying: “The only thing we overlook is the view.” With our executive chef executing world-class dishes, our experienced private events team delivering personalized professional service, and our detail-oriented staff meeting your every need, we never fall short on delivering magical moments. The Capital City Club is your one-stop shop for the perfect occasion, with more than 25 years of wedding experience. Capital City Club is on the top floor of the tallest building in the state ‒ no one can offer more romantic views, dramatic sunsets and natural beauty. Our ballroom looks west and offers sweeping 180-degree views of the Congaree River and beyond. Although Capital City Club is Columbia’s premier private club, you don’t have to be a member to host a wedding or other private events. Contact Jacquie Lee at jacquie.lee@ to plan your special day on top of the capital city! 1201 Main St., Suite 2500 803-256-2000 |

experience begins here...

Courtesy of Life’s Treasures Photography, LLC.

A once in a lifetime

Wedding Ceremonies and Receptions | Rehearsal Dinners | Luncheons Non-member bookings welcome. Call and schedule a tour today.


2745 Grif�ith Drive | Orangeburg, SC 29118 | | (803) 534-5988




How did you meet?


We were introduced through friends in middle school. (Bryant attended E.L. Wright, and Jessi attended Cardinal Newman.) We became better friends in high school when Jessi transferred to Spring Valley, and we reconnected a few years after college.

Jessi Dickerson and Bryant Fuller were married Sept. 10, 2016 at the Lace House. They’ve known each other since middle school, but they didn’t date until after college (though they did go to a high school dance together. “We went as friends and were too shy to realize that we both had crushes on each other,” Jessi says). Soon after they started dating, a promotion transferred Bryant to Atlanta. Four years of long-distance love later, Jessi, 29, and Bryant, 30, live in Atlanta together. They plan to adopt a kitten soon.

up Black Mountain. There was no one else I would have as much fun with in a situation like that.

Tell me about the proposal.

B: Sept 9, 2015, at 15,000 feet, hiking in Colorado. Freezing and close to miserable. I had to ask a couple days before I originally intended because I thought she was When did you know your spouse going to kill me. I got the answer I sought, but I don’t think she’ll was the one? ever go camping with me again. B: It was more of an evolution than J: Bryant might be right – this a lightning strike. I knew for about might have been my last off-trail a year before asking, but gave it an camping trip. Although it was extra year for good measure. planned for a long time, we had J: I knew the first time we went no idea what we were getting camping together. I grew up going ourselves into. About an hour camping, but we always stayed into the five-day hike, I was thinkon trail and had tons of preparaing, “What have I done, and why tion – maybe even a camper or am I doing this?” It was the most two. The first time I went camping intense and strenuous thing I with Bryant, we got a late start. It have done in my life. Well worth started snowing as it turned dark, it when he proposed overlooking and we had to set up camp halfway a 15,000-foot cliff. I was on cloud

nine, and that is the only thing that got me through the trip alive.

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

B: Try not to stress. It’s over before you know it and much better than you could have imagined. J: Hire a wedding planner – even just for the day. Meagan Warren was amazing and affordable. I am a huge planner, so I thought I would be able to do everything, but I wanted to be able to enjoy it, too!

Whose war medals did you incorporate and how?

J: I had a rosary, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart tied to my bouquet. The rosary was handmade by my maternal grandmother, who I miss every day. She, next to my mother, was the strongest lady I have ever known. The medals belonged to my maternal grand-

father, Jeronimo Garcia-Soto. He was killed in action during Vietnam. I wanted to honor them for building the foundation that established our family.

Your flower girls were adorable. How did they enhance the day?

J: My flowers girls were so excited and had been practicing their roles for months. They took their jobs very seriously! Olivia Kay Hite is 4, and Margo Mae Dickerson, my niece, is 2. I will always remember walking back down the aisle after the ceremony and hearing them yell, “Titi and BB, wait for me!” as they were running to hold our hands.

Newlywed life is...

Better than people have warned! People have told us the first few months would be difficult, but we are enjoying it! We love finally living in the same city!

Photos by Becky Williamson, Becky Williamson Photography

45 BRIDE’S ATTIRE Evelyn’s Bridal • GROOM/GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE their own tuxes with Brackish bow ties • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE Bella Bridesmaids • BAND Men of Distinction • CAKE Parkland Cakes • CATERING Southern Way • FLORIST Fern Studio• HAIR/MAKEUP Jennifer Nolan Beauty • HONEYMOON Secrets, Maroma Beach, Mexico • INVITATIONS/PAPER GOODS/CALLIGRAPHY Nalabe (Charlotte, North Carolina) • LIGHTING Ambient Media • MUSIC, CEREMONY Columbia Strings • MUSIC, COCKTAIL HOUR Chase Asmer • OFFICIANT Rev. Jacob Helsley • PHOTOGRAPHER Becky Williamson Photography • PLANNER Meagan Warren Weddings • REHEARSAL DINNER VENUE 701 Whaley • RENTALS Party Reflections • TRANSPORTATION Southern Valet • VIDEOGRAPHY Earthswell


Golden Isles: A romantic getaway close to home



ew companies specialize in lighting design for receptions and special events, so Rufus Carson and Joe Bates at Ambient Media are literally lighting the way. Dramatic lighting services for weddings and receptions have gained popularity over the past few decades, letting couples control the mood of their event ‒ illumination with a purpose. Inspired to bring big-city pizazz to celebrations in the Midlands, Carson and Bates maintain high standards of knowledge and performance among their technicians and emphasize safety, knowledge of electrical distribution, calculated rigging of lighting and loads, and professional courtesy.




iverbanks Zoo & Garden is an exotic alternative to the traditional wedding venue, providing a magical backdrop for your special day. They have two unique facilities and ceremony areas for weddings – one located in the zoo and one set in the botanical garden. “It was an absolute perfect day, and we had a fabulous time,” said Tracey Hagerty, whose daughter recently married here, adding that the staff was “easy to work with.” They handle everything for the facility and catering – menu, bar, room layout, chairs, linens, setup and tear-down – making the planning process easy! Contact McKenzie Roland at 803-602-0847 or mroland@riverbanks. org to get started.

500 Wildlife Parkway

n the Georgia coast, midway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, lie the Golden Isles, made up of four barrier islands – St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island and Little St. Simons Island – and the historic port city of Brunswick. The mild climate and southern hospitality, along with fine restaurants and shopping, phenomenal golf and sundrenched beaches unite with modern technology and an array of function spaces to accommodate groups of all sizes and types: destination weddings, honeymoons and more. The Golden Isles create a magical setting for any coastal wedding or romantic getaway. Pristine stretches of beach are punctuated by century-old trees draped in Spanish moss. The breathtaking landscape, historic churches and landmarks define an atmosphere of a bygone era filled with romance. This stunning location will make your special day a memory that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re looking for an on-the-beach, toes-in-the-sand ceremony, or a formal and traditional indoor event, the Golden Isles have plenty of wedding venues to choose from. To learn more about the Golden Isles and available wedding vendors, please visit, or call 800-933- 2627.

The P erfect Place for Weddings, M e etings, and Social Events. • Seating Capacity for up to 250 • Tables & Chairs Included • Set-up & Tear-down Services Included • Attendant On-site • Dance Floor & Stage Available • State-of-the-Art Audiovisual Equipment • Free Parking and Free WIFI • Catering Kitchen

Located in Doko Meadows Park, 171 Langford Road, South Carolina 29016

Contact Steve Hasterok at 803-754-0501 or for rates, information, and tours.


Photos by Julia Murray, Julia Fay Photography





Tell me about the proposal.

Mitch proposed Nov. 25, 2015, the day before Thanksgiving. A few days prior, he asked if I wanted to put up the Christmas tree and go to dinner. I didn’t think anything of it because Mitch enjoys holiday festivities. On the 24th, he confirmed our plans, but a few hours later, my friend Kayla invited us to a Friendsgiving. We put up the Christmas tree and decided we would go to Kayla’s. Right before we walked out the door, Mitch asked if I knew one of our ornaments opened. I replied “yes,” which he wasn’t expecting! Then he asked, “Did you look inside?” When I opened the ornament, there was a note inside that said, “Will you marry me?” Mitch was down on one knee, with a second ornament with a ring in it. I’m not even sure I said yes. I just grabbed him and hugged him. After a few

Carrie Howle and Mitch Malyerck were married Nov. 12, 2016 at Wavering Place Plantation. Carrie, 27, is a registered nurse who grew up in Columbia, and Mitch, 33, is a machine operator from Ballentine. They met six years ago when Carrie introduced herself to Mitch at a birthday party. “I remember thinking on my way home I would never have a chance with someone as handsome or kind as he was – and now we’re married!” she said. They live in Irmo with their dog, Goose. Answers have been edited.

minutes, I finally saw the beautiful ring! (My father is a custom jeweler. Mitch and my dad made my engagement ring together, which is extremely special!) Then we celebrated with our friends, even though that wasn’t Mitch’s plan.

and we fell in love the first time we walked the grounds. The grounds and house are so beautiful that it really makes decorating easy.

You had a table of sweets instead of a big wedding cake. Why? What kinds of sweets did you have?

What advice would you give a bride or groom who’s planning a We are not big cake people, but we do love our cookies. Mitch wedding? Just sign the papers! ... Just kidding! Let the small things go. Everything is not going to be perfect, and everything is not going to go the way you think it will. Let it go. You’re surrounded by family and friends who love you, and they will never know that you had the wrong chairs, or your brother walked down the aisle before the groom (true story).

Tell me about Wavering Place.

There is something romantic about Wavering Place Plantation,

and I probably make cookies at least once a week, maybe twice. Don’t judge! So cookies are our thing. We wanted the wedding to be all about things that we love. We met with Nicole Story from Izzabee’s and tried an assortment of amazing sweets and picked our favorites! Nicole has so many great ideas that I ended up giving her some freedom. That was the best decision! We did a small two-tier naked strawberry champagne cake to cut, sea salt chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin whoopie pies,

brown butter Rice Krispie treats and shortbread cookies. The Rice Krispie treats and pumpkin whoopie pies were to die for!

Newlywed life is...

Mitch said “the bomb.” No, but really. We genuinely love being married. Some people may not feel this way, but something changes when you get married. You deal with problems together easier, you compromise, and you always know you’ll work it out. Because in the end, you are in this together.

What part of marriage are you looking forward to?

We hope to buy some land, build a house, and start a family there. We can’t say what the future will hold, but we know that we are always going to get through obstacles together, celebrate together, and support each other 100 percent.

BRIDE’S ATTIRE Jo-Lin’s Bridal, Allure Bridal gown; Etsy, Mi Bridal Veil • GROOM’S ATTIRE Belk, Austin Reed suit • BRIDESMAIDS’ ATTIRE David’s Bridal, biscotti dresses • GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE Belk, Ralph Lauren suits • CAKE Izzabee’s Confectionaries • CATERER Southern Way • DJ Butch Davidson (bride’s uncle)• FAVORS/GIFTS Etsy, Sip Sip Hooray koozies• FLORIST Patty Boykin; Marie Taylor• HAIR/MAKEUP Kathryn Langston, Bombshell Beauty Studio • HONEYMOON Asheville, North Carolina • HOTEL BLOCK Hampton Inn & Suites • INVITATIONS Etsy, P27Creative customdesigned; Mitch printed at his print shop • JEWELRY Howle and Howle Jewelers • LIGHTING Ambient Media• OFFICIANT Scott Malyerck (groom’s uncle) • PHOTOGRAPHER Julia Fay Photography • PLANNER Carrie said, “Myself!” • REGISTRY Bed, Bath & Beyond; Amazon • REHEARSAL DINNER Hay Hill Garden Market; Moate Backyard Caterings • RENTALS Party Reflections; Thompson’s Rental Service • TRANSPORTATION Columbia Brew Bus





he charm and uniqueness of our historic building and the hospitality of the staff ensure that each wedding is special in its own way. What sets us apart is the ambiance, the vibe of being in a venue that is more than a century old. Another advantage is that each guest is free to choose the catering, bartending, floral and entertainment business they want for their special event. Our goal is to provide a space where memories can be made – where people come together to celebrate life and love and in an atmosphere of comfort, excitement and joy. Contact Tom Chinn at 803-771-0101 to start planning your event. 701 Whaley St.


ith more than 10 years in the wedding industry, the DJs at Big Time Entertainment are no strangers to carrying off a successful wedding reception. The team’s attention to detail and communication with clients create seamless, stress-free events for couples. Big Time has won WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Award for the past six years. According to one couple, “Even the venue staff said (Big Time was) the best entertainment and lighting company they had ever worked with!” Trust Big Time to read the crowd and keep your dance floor packed so you can enjoy your celebration with family and friends. Contact Cameron Glover 803-429-6001 |

701 Whaley was the absolute perfect venue for our wedding. It was the best day of our lives, and we are just so happy we experienced such amazing moments in such a beautiful location. JAMIE AND MICHAEL FULLER | married December 2015


DJs • Musicians • Decor Lighting • Photo Booths “The wedding was a great success!


Even the venue staff said you were the best entertainment & lighting company they had ever worked with.”







803.429.6001 •


et us take care of the details – you focus on making memories. Situated in downtown Columbia on the scenic campus of the University of South Carolina, the Inn at USC Wyndham Garden is an elegant boutique hotel offering a blend of historic grandeur, modern living amenities and Southern hospitality. The charming hotel delivers impeccable services and a perfect location for out-of-town guest accommodations, rehearsal dinners, bridal luncheons, send-off brunches and small receptions. Our 3,000 square feet of agelessly romantic event space can be arranged in various layouts. 1619 Pendleton St. 803-779-7779 | Jana Medlin, director of sales Macy Hill, events manager



icture a storybook wedding on an intimate island against the backdrop of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean with a pristine beach and lush, subtropical surroundings, where wildlife runs free. Add to that everything you and your guests could possibly want to enjoy as you prepare for that magical day – two championship golf courses, tennis, pools, chartered offshore fishing and even cocktail sunset cruises. This is Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort, casual elegance in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry. It all starts with a phone call to our wedding team at 1-866-522-4399. They would love to help you plan the most important day of your life.

Wedding Album


Laura Macaulay and David Carlson were married Oct. 8, 2016 at Mount Tabor Lutheran Church in West Columbia. A reception followed at Stone River.

Studio Two One Two


Everything under the sun!


e offer a wide range of rental facilities, from beachfront shelters, to indoor and outdoor park facilities, to lake houses, to historic plantations. Charleston County Parks include venues to suit all tastes and price ranges.

Visit | 843-795-4386



oko Manor offers an elegant, serene setting for a wedding. The unique facility is set in a 25-acre park and boasts fantastic customer service and attention to detail. The Manor offers indoor and outdoor spaces at reasonable rates – which include tables and chairs, setup and tear-down, a bridal room, WiFi and on-site attendants. Clients may choose their own caterers, and a full catering kitchen is available. Adjacent to Blythewood’s Town Hall, Doko Manor is easily accessible from Interstate 77. The venue is an easy drive from two metropolitan centers – 30 minutes from downtown Columbia and 75 minutes from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Contact director Steven Hasterok or assistant manager Johna Sutton at 803-754-0501, or find Doko Manor on Facebook.







The marriage of Erin Louise Taute and Steven Charles Eigenbrot was celebrated May 14, 2016 at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in the Golden Isles of Georgia. The bride is the daughter of Debe Taute of Orlando, Florida, and the groom is the son of Carol and Ed Eigenbrot of Mantua, New Jersey. Jekyll Island became a special place for the bride and groom during their courtship. The dog-friendly beaches and unique history of this little island were among the many reasons they love and ultimately decided to celebrate their special day there. The bride has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in sports studies from Miami University. The groom received a bachelor’s degree in finance and international business from the University of Maryland, an MSA and MBA from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. The bride and groom are both employed with the University of South Carolina. Erin serves in the College of Education as the director of development, while Steve functions as the associate athletics director for Athletics Development. The couple resides in West Columbia with their dog, Riley. They are proud Gamecocks.


Your Honeymoon Expert

Sharing our family recipes since 1946.

Advertiser Index


(803) 584-4475

(803) 771-7385



Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort

Happily ever after begins here.

Golf & Beach Resort

DJs • Musicians • Decor Lighting • Photo Booths “The wedding was a great success!


Even the venue staff said you were the best entertainment & lighting company they had ever worked with.”





2016 2015 2015






T: 803.602.0900



SPRING VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB We believe it’s the details that make the difference.

803-788-3080 x103 300 Spring Valley Road Columbia, SC 29223 Contact: Rhonda Stone Clubhouse Manager/Special Events Coordinator


Lake Murray SC Vacation Rentals and Wedding Services 803-315-7668

Reception Venues

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

403 North Lake ▯ 403 North Lake Drive, Lexington ▯ historic home with 1.5 acres of English gardens Contact Marcie Huber or Rodney Huber    803-808-2992

701 Whaley ▯ 701 Whaley St., Columbia ▯ flexible space for large and small events Contact Tom Chinn    803-771-0101

Agape Conference Center ▯ 1622 Main St., Columbia ▯ restored historic conference center Contact Bob Lane    803-528-9556

The Big Apple ▯ 1000 Hampton St., Columbia ▯ historic grand ballroom, balcony, dance floor and banquet facility; dance lessons available Contact Richard Durlach or Breedlove    803-518-6147

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

Brookland Baptist Conference Center ▯ 1066 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia Contact Marnie Robinson or Monique Flowers   803-744-7909 or 803-744-7927

Buck Ridge Plantation ▯ 231 Gundog Trail, Neeses ▯ banquet hall, covered veranda, gazebo, and picturesque lake Contact Melissa Clarke   803-531-8408

Capital City Club ▯ Capitol Center, 1201 Main St., Columbia ▯ ballroom Contact Pamela Richards   803-256-2000

City Art ▯ 1224 Lincoln St., Columbia ▯ art gallery Contact Wendy Wells   803-252-3613

Clarion Hotel Downtown ▯ 1615 Gervais St., Columbia ▯ ballroom and smaller banquet rooms Contact Stacee Davenport    803-771-8711

The Club at Rawls Creek ▯ 2121 Lake Murray Blvd., Columbia ▯ banquet space and outdoor pavilion Contact Jessica Duncan   803-781-0114

Columbia Conference Center ▯ 169 Laurelhurst Ave., Columbia ▯ ballroom Contact Kelly Beasley   803-772-9811

Columbia Country Club ▯ 135 Columbia Club Drive West, Blythewood ▯ wedding ceremony and reception venue with full-service catering Contact Heather Lathrop    803-754-8100

Columbia Museum of Art ▯ 1515 Main St., Columbia ▯ museum, lobby, atrium, conference room, terrace and exterior patio Contact Special Events Office   803-343-2212

Corley Mill House and Garden ▯ 221 Corley Mill Road, Lexington ▯ home with garden space Contact Sheila Hall or Stephanie Hall    803-957-1818

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


Contact events manager   803-726-1603

Doubletree by Hilton ▯ 2100 Bush River Road, Columbia ▯ elegant event space with a Southern touch Contact Norine Morris    803-744-0141

EdVenture Children’s Museum ▯ 211 Gervais St., Columbia ▯ museum, outdoor terrace, galleries Contact Theresa Dozier    803-400-1151

Embassy Suites Columbia-Greystone Hotel ▯ 200 Stoneridge Drive, Columbia ▯ two ballrooms Contact Alexa Wegner    803-252-8700

EventUs, LLC ▯ 709 Woodrow St., Suite 307, Columbia Contact Annette Hoover  803-608-2242

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 

Fort Jackson Officers’ Club  3630 Semmes Road, Columbia  outdoor wedding venues and elegant reception space Contact Carol Neal   803-782-8761 or 803-751-4906

Fripp Island Resort  2119 Sea Island Parkway, St. Helena  indoor/outdoor facilities including screened Creek House and Beach Pavilion Contact Group Sales Department   888-741-8974

Gibson Commons  140 Gibson Road, Suite C, Lexington  ballroom and outdoor gazebo Contact Amanda Kammer   803-358-7122

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

Hilton Garden Inn  434 Columbiana Drive, Columbia  ballroom Contact events manager   803-407-6640

Historic Lace House at the Governor’s Mansion  800 Richland St., Columbia  historic home with garden area Contact Michelle Langdon    803-737-2235

HoFP Gallery  2828 Devine St., Columbia  urban art gallery with outdoor terrace Contact Tensia Cassinetti    803-799-7405

Inn at USC  1619 Pendleton St., Columbia  elegant boutique hotel on USC’s historic campus Contact Ashley Foster    803-231-3606

The Lake House at Lake Carolina  100 Lake Carolina Blvd., Columbia  open-air space with screen windows and doors Contact Julia Burley    803-461-0915

Leaside  100 E. Exchange Place, Columbia  ballroom, Florida room and secluded patio Contact Alex Cebry    803-783-9136

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

The Manor at Doko Meadows  100 Alvina Hagood Circle, Blythewood  banquet and reception rooms and a lakeside pergola Contact Steven Hasterok    803-754-0501

Marriott, Downtown  1200 Hampton St., Columbia  two ballrooms and a tremendous two-story atrium Contact sales director   803-771-7000

McCutchen House  University of South Carolina campus, Columbia  restored home with Horseshoe as backdrop Contact Carolina Catering 

 803-777-7919

The Medallion Center  7309 Garners Ferry Road, Columbia  banquet space with pavilion, grand ballroom, salons and spacious entry Contact Brandi Owens   803-256-1222

Robert Mills House and Gardens  1616 Blanding St., Columbia  outdoor event rental space with beautiful gardens   803-252-7742, ext. 11 Contact Alex Cebry    803-783-1061

Mitchell House and Gardens  421 North Lake Drive, Lexington  historic home with covered patio pavilion; full-service facility Contact Phyllis James   803-359-5325

Mossy Oaks Farm  2986 S.C. 174, Edisto Island  creekfront pecan plantation   803-414-2898

Orangeburg Country Club  2745 Griffith Drive, Orangeburg  grand ballroom, banquet facilities and scenic ceremony options Contact Lauren Gray   803-531-9673


Millstone at Adams Pond  5301 Bluff Road, Columbia  home with tentable areas, covered back porches and dining rooms

Advertiser Index

Palmetto Collegiate Institute and Leonard L. Price Gardens  104 Hendrix St., Lexington  renovated school and gardens Contact Jennifer Dowden   803-356-8238

Pine Island Club  331 Pine Island Road, Columbia  reception hall on Lake Murray 803-781-6491

River Center at Saluda Shoals Park  5605 Bush River Road, Columbia  park area, conference center and wedding gazebo Contact Jennifer Cantey (River Center) or Angie Senn (outdoor space)   803-731-5208

The River Road & Jasmine Houses and Gardens  2204 North Lake Drive, Columbia  homes with garden space Contact Sarah Christmus or Elizabeth Christmus    803-315-4953 or 803-781-3315

Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens  500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia  botanical gardens, unique animal houses, Magnolia Room, Ndoki Lodge

  803-602-0900

Rock Bottom Pond  1530 Buck Hill Road, Ridgeway  outdoor ceremony area overlooking pond and enclosed reception shed with fireplace  803-438-9788

Seawell’s  1125 Rosewood Drive, Columbia  banquet hall Contact Cal Seawell   803-771-7385

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

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

South Carolina State House  1100 Gervais St., Columbia  grounds, gardens, steps and rotunda Contact State House events coordinator   803-737-3880

South Carolina State Museum  301 Gervais St., Columbia  main and planetarium lobbies, mezzanine, observatory, Vista Room Contact Margaret Farish    803-898-4901

Southern Oaks  2401 U.S. 378, Gilbert  rustic home and barns; new 5,600-square-foot reception area; antique furniture and decor Contact Pamela Reeder    803-647-4518

Spring Valley Country Club  300 Spring Valley Road, Columbia  country club and reception venue Contact Rhonda Schock Stone    803-788-3080

Springdale House and Gardens  3150 Platt Springs Road, West Columbia  house and garden pavilion Contact Kathy Wright   803-794-5557

Stone River  121 Alexander Road, West Columbia  event venue, wedding planning Contact Patti Ginther or Lindsay Colvin    803-727-8047

T&S Farm  3500 Pond Branch Road, Leesville  banquet hall with beautiful grounds

Contact Sherrie Jumper    803-532-8135, ext. 213

Wavering Place Plantation  427 Adams Hayne Road, Eastover  house and gardens   803-269-7761

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


Contact Bill Chandler   803-786-6088

Wintergreen Woods  1032 Corley Mill Road, Lexington  reception hall, covered veranda and two courtyards Contact Casey Covell or Dixie Covell   803-957-8888

Woodlands Country Club  100 Norse Way, Columbia  private dining rooms and banquet space Contact Derrick Owens   803-602-0253

Woodrow Wilson Family Home  1705 Hampton St., Columbia  outdoor event rental space with beautiful gardens   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






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Carolina Bride, winter 2017  

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

Carolina Bride, winter 2017  

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