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  • Elizabeth Edwards Bennett

A Charleston Bride

Updated: May 19

Welcome, Friend!


Planning a wedding can be exciting, fun, and stressful all at the same time. ! I want to share all the big and little details of this special day!


I just got engaged, now what?


The first question I got one minute into my engagement party was, "When and where do you want to get married?". Of course, I had dreamed of this day and what it would be like since I was a little girl. All of the sudden, I had no idea how to answer that question.


Before I write anything more, I would like to thank my mother for being so involved in helping me plan. I wouldn't have been able to plan this wonderful celebration without her. I feel so fortunate that we got the chance to do this together as I know that not everyone has that opportunity.


First, enjoy your engagement! Once you are ready to start planning, I would love to share with you what I learned along the way. Here are the details of my big day!


 

The Venue


Before searching for venues, draft a rough guest list to determine the venue size you need.

Booking your venue sets your wedding date and timeline. Different seasons come with various décor styles and color palettes. Once you've booked, you can search for other vendors with a clearer vision of your style. Popular months, especially April through October, book quickly, so secure your venue ASAP.

Next, decide on your wedding style. For instance, I wanted a "southern, timeless black-tie wedding" with emphasis on Charleston's charm. I chose a venue with character that needed minimal transformation to highlight the city's history and charm.

Finally, consider what your venue should include. I initially wanted a plantation wedding for its scenery and history but found these venues often require outsourcing all vendors. This led me to a city-style venue, which was perfect for us.


We landed on The Cedar Room. because it checked nearly all our boxes during the tour and felt right. The venue provides tables, chairs, food, and beverages in-house, offers an outdoor space for the ceremony with an excellent rain backup plan, and has character as a former cigar factory. Plus, they had a Saturday in May available, which was hard to find since we were less than a year out.




 

Wedding Planner.


After booking your venue, you'll have a date and direction for planning your wedding. My next priority was hiring a planner since we don't live in Charleston, SC. I needed someone local to provide expert vendor recommendations and planning advice. After interviewing several planners, I chose Bouquets and Bowties.

Chauncey, Riley, and their team were fantastic! They brought my wedding vision to life and were extremely organized, prompt, and helpful. Determine what you need in a planner. The partial planning option was best for me—I selected additional vendors, and they assisted with design, florals, timeline, and provided rehearsal and day-of coordination. Planners usually offer various packages.

 

Photographer


I've loved photography and capturing life's moments since I was a little girl. For me, looking at a picture and reliving that exact moment feels almost spiritual. That's why choosing my wedding photographer was so important, second only to the venue and planner. I wanted someone who could make us feel comfortable and tell a story through their photos. After interviewing many photographers, I chose Brandon Lata.


All the photos seen on this website are credited to Brandon Lata Photography.


 

Videographer


This was actually one of the last vendors I booked simply because I was not sure if I wanted it. Hindsight, I am so glad I did as I can look back each year and relive this special day. We chose, Aerial Illustrations .



 

My Bridal Look


I bought my gown at Gown Boutique of Charleston. It was so much fun! They keep the champagne and compliments flowing as you try on dresses. I brought my mother and my sister with me!

When shopping for a bridal gown, my best advice is to come up with 3 adjectives that you would like your guests to describe you as in your dress! Mine were as follows: timeless, elegant, and classic. At first, I envisioned myself in an A-line gown as I have always been a strong pear shape and I tend to shy away from tight dresses. At the second store, my consultant convinced me to try on a fitted gown which I was surprised that I really liked. I didn't commit to any in that store but I then had a vision for what I wanted. I went to The Gown Boutique and saw THE dress in the window and thought" I have got to try that one on". It was IT! I tried on a few others to make sure but kept circling back to it.

I went with a Stella York mikado silk gown in Ivory. The buttons down the back were my favorite part about it! I just felt classy in it. My "something borrowed" was my veil, which was my best friend/bridesmaid's. My "something blue" was my shoes. My "Something old" was my Gramme's bracelet with pearls that paired perfectly. My"Something new" was my earrings and my Goldbug bracelet my husband gave me that morning.



 

Bridal Glam


I chose Silhouetts on Site. They have a network of stylists and pair you with a hair and makeup team based on your date, number of people receiving services, and style! I had the lovely duo of Anna for Makeup and Holly for Hair. They helped make me and my girls feel so special and beautiful on my big day. I simply cannot recommend them enough!



 

The Groom's Look

Let's not forget about my handsome man, Mr. Bennett! His tuxedo was rented at Berlin's. We chose for him to wear a cream-colored jacket instead of a black tux jacket to match me. The bride gets to wear white so I thought the groom should too!



 

Getting Ready Venue


My venue did not have a place to get ready and since my family is from Nashville, TN they were traveling in for the big day. Because of this, we decided to rent a cottage at The Cottages on Charleston Harbor to stay and get ready in. They were DREAMY! My grandmothers, aunts, and other family members were able to float in and out of the cottage throughout the day making it so special! We chose to do our photographs there because the scenery is amazing. The cottages overlook the Charleston harbor providing a Lowcountry scene with lush greenery making the perfect backdrop.


 

First Look

At first, I was against a first look as I grew up with traditional views of seeing my husband for the first time when I walked down the aisle. When I started to really think about it, a first look made more sense. We were able to have an intimate moment alone despite a chaotic fast-paced day. Also, we got the chance to get our photos with the glorious backdrop of the Charleston Lowcountry as well as read letters to each other before the ceremony as our own "personal vows". It made the day more fun because we were able to enjoy most of it together!



 

Stationery


I chose to use a minted template for our save the dates and I recommend a site like this or the knot because they are usually cost-efficient, quick, and very nice looking! Since we decided the wedding would be Black Tie, I knew I wanted an "elevated" invitation.

A friend of mine referred me to a woman by the name of Donna Birtles out of Franklin, TN whom she used for her own wedding. Donna was a tremendous help when designing invitations and other paper products for the wedding. She was able to deliver a high-quality product at an affordable price and I could not have asked for anything more! Donna can be contacted via email at donnabirtles@comcast.net.



Florals


I chose Pretty Petals of Charleston for florals. I chose neutral tones with pops of purple and blue. They were very accommodating, and my mom and I tweaked the floral proposal many times until it was final.

For my bouquet, I wanted a monochromatic, upscale look with peonies and filler flowers. It turned out dreamy and full! To add color, we included secret garden roses in purple. The boutonniere was simple, with blue thistle for texture.

Following my planner and florist's advice, we used various heights for table florals and added candles to create dimension in the large reception space. Greenery added a romantic feel. For the head table, we used a runner with our chosen flowers and oyster shells to incorporate the low-country theme. The arbor, a last-minute addition, was gorgeous and created a stunning focal point for the ceremony. The lush greenery made the roses' colors stand out beautifully.