South Carolina CharmWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Studio A Images
More often than not, destination wedding couples don’t hail from the same hometown and thus opt for neutral territory when it comes to their wedding. Such was the case with Kris and Amy, so they opted to say “I do” in one of their favorite destinations, which also happened to be the first place they vacationed together: Charleston, South Carolina.
It was the city’s beauty, Southern charm, and food which sealed the deal for this couple. Amidst the planning, Amy and her mom made a much-needed visit to Charleston. The three-day whirlwind planning session put this bride at ease and assured she had a working relationship with each vendor. Thankfully, Amy had a partner in crime…her venue’s coordinator.
“I would recommend finding a planner or coordinator local to your destination,” says Amy. “Most venues offer this service – and it’s worth every penny. He/She [will be] a treasure chest of information. Plus, it will save you the time and stress of researching vendors online from scratch. For me, I prefer personal recommendations, so when my coordinator said she really liked and trusted a certain [vendor], I knew I could trust her opinion. I also followed up her suggestions with additional research.”
In the end, the couple kept their wedding as intimate as possible and stuck to their guns on what they wanted for their big day. “Knowing it’s a lot to ask people to travel for a wedding, we invited only family and close friends,” says the couple. “If we had the wedding in either of our hometowns the guest list would have easily tripled! People would have also had more of a say in what our wedding was like. Since it was on neutral territory, our parents weren’t able to go crazy inviting all their friends and neighbors (aka people we have never met!), or tell us how the ceremony/reception ‘should be.’ We were able to have our wedding exactly how we envisioned it – causal, like everyone came over for a backyard BBQ.”
To help accommodate their guests, the couple reserved rooms at two local hotels. However, they were surprised to learn that most guests preferred to book their own arrangements. “Many of them wanted a complete Charleston experience, so little bed and breakfasts were a popular choice,” say the newlyweds. One of the favorite activities for the guests was a huge map of the United States provided at the reception on which guests placed push-pins where they’re from. It also served as a talking point to get people mingling.
Kris and Amy have some final advice for other couples considering or planning a destination wedding: “Take a deep breath .A destination wedding might seem daunting at times, but everything will come together for your big day. Let other people help you with the planning – especially if that person is local to your destination! Congrats – and be sure to enjoy yourself…after all the hard work you put into the big day, you’ll deserve it!”
Photographer: Studio A Images, Ceremony/Reception Site: Creek Club at I’On, Florist: Bloom at Charleston Place, Cake/Desserts: Sugar Bakeshop, Hair & Makeup: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair & Finishing Touches, Rentals: Eventworks, Chalkboard Artist: Christina Bailey, DJ: Jay Maxwell’s Music By Request, Gown Designer: Jacqueline’s Bridal, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: J. Crew
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