Enchanted Charleston Gay Wedding


June 3, 2024
Words by Katy Anderson
Photos courtesy of Danielle Harris Photography

Ashley and Stephanie’s Charleston wedding story is an ode to Southern charm, meticulous planning, and the importance of making your wedding day truly your own.

Why Charleston? “We had guests coming from all over the country,” Stephanie says, “so the location wasn’t a huge deal. Charleston just stole our hearts – the beaches, the shopping, the history, it’s all unbeatable!” They fell in love with Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, with its Spanish moss-draped trees that seemed to whisper of southern magic. As Ashley puts it, “It was everything I dreamed of – perfectly magical.”

Planning a destination wedding can seem daunting, but Stephanie assures us it was “so fun!” Their secret weapon? A phenomenal wedding planner, Tara Nicole Weddings and Events. Tara took care of all the logistics, vendor selection, and even helped them navigate the venue’s regulations. Stephanie emphasizes the importance of a good planner, especially for a destination wedding, saying “There are so many moving pieces… you really can’t afford not to have a great planner.”

The couple also credits Tara with suggesting they skip the DIY route. “The time and stress just weren’t worth it,” Ashley says. There was one exception, though – a special chalkboard sign that read “It was always you,” a sweet tribute Ashley crafted herself.

Guests were happy to embrace the travel aspect. Some flew in, others drove down in a giant family van – a fun way to kick off the celebration! The couple let their loved ones choose their own accommodations, and everyone came together for the big event.

Coordinating with vendors from afar could have been a challenge, but Stephanie and Ashley had a brilliant solution. They flew to Charleston for a whirlwind weekend in February. In those four days, they met with the venue, caterer, and florist, had their cake tasting, and even did hair and makeup trials! This trip was not only productive but also a fantastic way to solidify all the important details.

While destination weddings often come with additional costs, Stephanie assures us the core expenses like flowers and décor would have been similar regardless of location. The extra costs came from travel and accommodations for themselves, the vendors, and the wedding planner. However, they believe the trade-off was absolutely worth it. “We wouldn’t have had anything near as beautiful here in Indiana,” Ashley says. “The southern charm, the Spanish moss trees – it just wouldn’t have been the same.”

So, what advice do they have for couples planning their own destination weddings? Stephanie says it best: “Spend the money on a good wedding planner. It’s your day, do what makes you happy, and don’t be afraid to make it your own!” Whether it’s a custom cake flavor or ditching the veil altogether, your wedding should reflect your unique love story. Congratulations to Stephanie and Ashley, and thank you for sharing your magical Charleston wedding with us!

Vendors: Photographer: Danielle Harris Photography; Planner: Tara Nicole Weddings and EventsCeremony/Reception Site: Magnolia Plantation and GardensFlorist: The Bearded FloristStationery: MintedCake: Ashley BakeryHair & Makeup: Paper DollsGown Designer: Pronovias Atelier from Marie Gabriel Couture Bridal; Bride’s Suit Designer: Jin Lee Master TailorBridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Allure from Gretchen’s Bridal GalleryLighting: AV Connections Charleston; Rentals: Event Works RentalsCatering: B Gourmet Catering

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