Carolina Nuptials

A Lowcountry Love Affair


June 24, 2015
Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Hopkins Studios

Madeline and Joe are two West Virginia lovebirds who wanted a quintessentially Southern wedding. Thankfully, they knew just the place and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina was their destination of choice. “Joe and I had visited Hilton Head Island numerous times throughout the ten years we had been dating and many of our close friends and family were able to vacation with us,” says Madeline. “Our family and friends all responded well to the idea of a destination wedding and many took the opportunity to stay a little longer to make it a family vacation.” 

With both the bride and groom having large families, some of their loved ones were unable to attend the wedding away, but this was something the couple was prepared for. “With both of our families being pretty big, Joe and I chose to have a destination wedding because we knew whether we had our wedding in West Virginia or South Carolina, the majority of our guests would have to travel.”

Once the couple knew they wanted a South Carolina Lowcountry wedding, it was only a matter of finding the right venue and planning team. “Joe and I knew we wanted an outdoor wedding with a more Southern feel,” says the bride. “After researching venue locations, Rose Hill Mansion was a picturesque venue that allowed our family/friends to enjoy the Southern charm and elegance that we fell in love with…”

While the couple’s choice in venue did result in some added logistical steps, as it’s somewhat off the beaten path, Madeline and Joe felt it was worth the extra effort. “We chose a remote location where we were able to bring everything in, which we preferred because we had a long engagement and the time available to make those decisions,” explains the bride. “Because we were able to bring everything in, [all the details] for the wedding and reception were hand selected – from the linens to the silverware. If you don’t have the time to select everything, then I wouldn’t recommend choosing a location where everything must be brought in because, without the available time, it could be quite stressful.” 

Madeline and Joe really embraced the wedding planning process and were patient and thorough in designing their entire W-Day start-to-finish. “I thoroughly enjoyed planning a destination wedding,” says the bride. “I had a wonderful wedding planner, Jennifer Leiti, who recommended an excellent team of vendors, all of which made the planning process so much fun. We had a longer engagement which provided us more time to focus on the details and pretty much all the decisions had been finalized a month before the big day – which gave us more time to interact with our family and friends as they arrived on the island…”

For this destination wedding couple, hiring a wedding planner was an instrumental part in them pulling off the W-Day of their dreams. “I would highly recommend to anyone who is in the beginning stages of the destination wedding planning process to hire a wedding planner,” says Madeline. “With the long distance it is so much easier having someone who knows the local vendors and is able to communicate your thoughts and ideas to them to come up with something unbelievably perfect. Whether via email, phone call or FaceTime, we were able to stay in touch and make decisions appropriate to our timeline without having to travel to Hilton Head every other month.”

In the end, the couple knows they made the right decision in opting for a wedding in South Carolina vs. West Virginia. “If we would have had the wedding [at home], I believe our wedding would have been very different because the settings are so diverse that time of year,” explains the bride. “We would have relied on a different setting, color scheme and climate to pull together a different idea.” When asked for any final words of advice for other couples currently planning their own destination wedding, this is what the couple had to say.

“Make the most out of every moment leading up to the big day. Some moments may be great, some maybe not so good, and some you will look back and laugh about in the future. The big day does honestly go by fast, so just have fun and celebrate with all the important friends and family who are around you on your wedding day!”

Vendors: Photographer: Hopkins Studios, Wedding Planner: Embellished Events, Ceremony/Reception Site: Rose Hill Mansion, Florist: A Floral Affair, Stationery: Crane & Co., Cake: Custom Cakes, Hair & Makeup: Karisma Salon, Gown Designer: Sassi Holford, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Lord West & The Havana, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Bari Jay, DJ/Lighting: JLK Events LLC, Catering: Celebrations Catering and Events, Tent/Rentals: Amazing Event Rentals, Desserts: Sweet Carolina Cupcakes, String Quartet: Charleston Virtuosi, Transportation: Silver Oak Transportation

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