Lowcountry Love in South CarolinaWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Erin Rene Photography
Katie and Daniel go way back. In fact, they dated for eight years before getting engaged and beginning to plan a destination wedding in Okatie, South Carolina. After dating throughout college, the couple endured a two-and-a-half year, long-distance relationship before finally reuniting in Chicago. On a Sunday while relaxing at home, the couple’s favorite pastime, Daniel pulled Katie close and asked her to be his wife. She of course said “yes” and the planning process began.
Several of the couple’s friends had hosted traditional, hometown weddings and the couple knew they wanted to do something different and special. “Having our family and friends together the entire weekend made for more memories and a more cohesive event,” says Katie. “If our wedding had been in Atlanta, everyone would have gone home after the rehearsal dinner and reception instead of spending more time together as we did. Many of our friends came in early to experience Savannah and we gave them an excuse to get away for the weekend.”
It didn’t come as a shock when the couple broke the news to their family and friends that they had decided to get married away. “I knew Daniel was ‘the one’ from the time I met him,” says the bride. “I began talking to my parents about doing the wedding outside of my hometown three years before we ever got engaged. That softened our decision a little bit for them, as they were well prepared.” While the couple didn’t want to host their wedding in Atlanta, they did still want a charming, Southern event.
“The wedding reception and ceremony site in Okatie, SC is just outside of Savannah, Georgia,” explains Katie. “We wanted our guests to get the coastal, Lowcountry feel. The majority of our activities took place in Savannah, which is where we stayed and had my bridesmaid luncheon (The Olde Pink House) and our rehearsal dinner (Vic’s on the River).” The couple’s chosen venue, Oldfield plantation, was the perfect compromise as it had the Southern charm they were after, with the convenience of Savannah being nearby.
Katie and Daniel did the majority of their wedding planning from Chicago, so bringing in professional help was a must for them. “Having an excellent wedding planner was essential to this process,” says the couple. “Tara did an amazing job of advising on the timing of decisions and managing the occasional hiccups from the vendors. Tara’s support and her knowledge of Savannah enabled us to have a smooth planning process. [Our] overall experience was superb.”
Wanting to keep with the theme of Southern charm, the couple recruited their talented loved ones to contribute on several DIY projects. “My mother-in-law did the calligraphy for the invitations and we used the monogram she created for our koozies and menu at the wedding,” says Katie. “[Also,] my mom did a beautiful watercolor map of the main activities that we used in our welcome bags to guests.”
The couple did run into a hiccup along the way. “Dealing with hotel blocks from afar was tough,” says the bride. “The person we initially booked our first hotel block with left the company and took the description of our agreement with her. The hotel did not honor the agreement and we continued to battle from there.” Unfortunately, this is a somewhat common problem when booking accommodations for destination weddings. Always be sure to get every agreement in writing. Communicating via email with vendors is always a good idea and be sure to keep any and all correspondence in case you need it for future reference.
All-in-all, Katie and Daniel’s Lowcountry destination wedding had all the charm and one-on-one family time they had envisioned. When we asked what advice she would offer other brides, Katie had some stellar points. “Making sure you and your fiancé are aligned on what you want for your big day is key. We agreed that we wanted something unique that had meaning for the two of us. Having agreement helped us be more excited when it came time to make the trip into Savannah. As it sometimes took a plane ride and then a four-hour drive to get to Savannah – we needed to be committed to getting there.”
Vendors: Photographer: Erin Rene Photography, Wedding Planner: Tara Skinner with Posh Petals and Pearls, Ceremony/Reception Site & Catering: Oldfield plantation, Florist: A to Zinnias, Stationery: La Vita Allegra, Cake: Lulu Cakes, Hair & Makeup: Bride’s Side Beauty, Gown Designer: Maggie Sottero, Groom’s Clothing Designer: J.Crew, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: J.Crew, Lighting: JLK Events, Tent/Stage/Dance Floor Rentals: Savannah Special Events by Ranco, Violinist: JL Music Service, Band: Sandy B and the Allstars
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