A Charleston Destination WeddingWords by Katie Martin
Photos courtesy of Hopkins Studios
Greg and Lindsay didn’t want to have “just another wedding,” so they started exploring the idea of having a destination wedding. At first they wanted to have their big day at an all-inclusive resort, but quickly decided that it wouldn’t be the right choice. After Greg and Lindsay imagined themselves having a wedding in the Southeast, they decided on having a Charleston destination wedding.
Like most couples, Greg and Lindsay wanted to have a wedding you’d never forget. “I really wanted something different for our wedding. Most of our friends had already been married at this point and their weddings were amazing,” says the bride. “From the Hotel Hershey to The Four Seasons in Baltimore and another with a New York City skyline view, I knew our wedding needed to be something special so our guests wouldn’t feel like they had gone to ‘just another wedding.’ All of our friends’ weddings were special and unique and I wanted our wedding to be something we’d never forget.”
When it came to choosing whether or not to have a destination wedding, Greg and Lindsay took a lot of steps in order to pick Charleston as their final wedding location. At first, the couple wanted to get married in an all-inclusive resort, but they had limited options to choose from due to it being hurricane season. After pushing that option aside, the couple fell in love with a plantation-style house.
“Greg loved the plantation style too,” says Lindsay. “I mentioned to Greg that as a teacher I used to work with someone who is now a wedding photographer in the Savannah area. I showed him some pictures Scott and Melissa Hopkins had taken and we quickly decided on Charleston, South Carolina. I guess you could say we fell in love with the pictures that could one day be our wedding.”
Once the decision was made to have a Charleston destination wedding, it was time for the couple to convince their family and friends. “Most of our family and friends loved the idea,” says Lindsay. “Some weren’t too thrilled with the fact that we were dragging them to Charleston in July and they had questions about how we were going to plan a wedding in a city 10 hours away. Our photographer quickly got us in touch with wedding planner, Shawn Rabideau, and the rest was history.”
The couple now had to decide where they would get married in Charleston. They asked their photographer, Melissa, for recommendations. “She gave me three different locations. We looked at all of them online and the pictures were gorgeous,” says the bride. “We decided on Boone Hall rather quickly and emailed our wedding planner in hopes that they still had some availability for the current summer (8 months out). We wanted to get married on a Friday, to give us more time with friends and luckily for us there were two dates still available in July. We sent in our deposit, sight unseen and began planning.”
For the wedding itself, wedding planners Shawn Rabideau and Michael Lepson took care of everything for the couple’s special day. “Planning a destination wedding can be stressful for some, but not for us,” says the bride. “Shawn and Michael did everything from organizing our two visits where we saw vendors, to the countless emails and video chats and most importantly executing the wedding and Thursday cocktail reception for our more than 100 guests at the William Aiken House. Having a wedding planner for a destination wedding is a must. I would argue for any wedding that it is essential. I was so relaxed the entire day of my wedding and didn’t think about a thing knowing Shawn and Michael were taking care of all the little details essential to the timeline of our wedding.”
On the couple’s big day, everything they had envisioned their destination wedding to be like came to life. “Seeing it all put together on our wedding day was so special,” says the bride. The couple even managed to avoid a storm on their wedding day just before the ceremony began. “The weather was hot, but somehow we managed to duck a storm that rolled in right as we were about to begin our ceremony. It brought a breeze that allowed most of our guests to sit comfortably during our ceremony. I never even broke a sweat through pictures or the wedding ceremony. It was my ‘told you it wouldn’t be too bad’ moment.”
For the logistics of the wedding, the couple’s wedding planners made it easy for the couple by giving them two to three options for everything, then having them choose their favorite. “We didn’t have to go back and forth on anything. Making the decisions was easy and fun,” says Lindsay. “We never got to a point where we couldn’t stand planning our wedding. Greg and I were really easy that way. We knew Shawn and Michael had put us in the hands of capable professionals and we let them do what they do best with minimal input from the start and the outcome was better than we could have expected.”
For the travel logistics for the guests, there were only a few issues, but everything was ultimately handled. “A block of rooms were reserved at three hotels. At each hotel was a guest bag with important timeline information for the weekend and refreshments,” says the couple. “We also had a wedding website with the information listed. We only invited our family and close friends to our wedding, so most people knew about the details from conversations and emails. The only issue we ran into was that one hotel filled up before the block end-date deadline. We couldn’t do anything about it and had to work with the other two hotels to ensure enough rooms would be available.”
Lastly, the couple wanted to give their advice on why a wedding planner is so important for making your big day run smoothly. “Get a wedding planner you trust, take their advice and remember that they are the professionals, so let them do their job and enjoy the process,” says Lindsay. By allowing the wedding planners to take over, Lindsay says that you’ll be more relaxed and stress free on your wedding day.
Vendors: Photographer: Scott and Melissa Hopkins; Ceremony/Reception Site: Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina; Florist: Justin Wham; Wedding Planner(s): Shawn Rabideau and Michael Lepson; Stationery: Lauren McPherson; Gown Designer: Marisa; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Enzo’s Custom; Bridesmaid’s Clothing Designer: Pisarro Nights-Rose; Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: The Black Tux; Bride’s Hair/Makeup: Gibson Salon; Catering: Hamby; DJ: Trevor with D&M Productions
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