A Blush, Slate, and Plum Color Palette Defined This Wedding in the Blue Ridge Mountains
In 2009, Lee met Marcus, a clinical case manager from a local nonprofit, when they were assigned to work with the same student in Washington, D.C. (she was a high school special education teacher with Teach for America). "Though our friendship wouldn't blossom into love until 2011, this early experience instilled in us a shared respect for one another and a commitment to work in the public sector," says the couple.
Nine years later, they found themselves engaged and planning a wedding for their 135 guests; they chose Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, as the destination for their October 26, 2019, celebration. "In addition to the picturesque setting, we appreciated that the hotel provided a welcoming and comfortable home base for out-of-town guests to relax and enjoy themselves over the long weekend," explain the bride and groom.
A color palette of natural tones accented with mauve, rose, blush, slate, and plum created a "painterly" aesthetic for the celebration. "The overall style was organic, minimalist, approachable luxury, with a European vibe inspired by the venue," they say. But the couple's main focus was their guests. "Our aim was to create a moment that both honored the deep love that we share for one another and also invited our closest loved ones into that experience," says Lee and Marcus. "Through the ups and downs of life we have had an incredibly supportive, diverse, and brilliant team of family, friends, and colleagues cheering us on—it was important to us that they have a memorable and enjoyable experience alongside us during this celebration."
Lee and Marcus chose the "Sea Froth" invitation suite from Creo Studio at Minted, adding custom gold leaf for an opulent accent. "The suite incorporated the color palette and captured the balance of modern simplicity and elegance we incorporated into the entire event," says the couple.
A Dream Design
The bride worked with designer Tara Strobach to create a custom Anne Barge wedding dress with a hand embroidered corset bodice and a fit-and-flare skirt. "Working with Tara was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Lee, who, along with her mother, aunt, and best friend, spent a weekend in Atlanta creating her dream gown in Strobach's studio. "It was a whirlwind creative jam where we conceptualized the whole thing from top to bottom, and it will go down in history as one of the most special weekends I've spent with the women I love."
Lee carried an asymmetrical bouquet from Kara Nash Designs, with deep berry-toned blooms that set off garden roses, dahlias, ranunculus, and lisianthus in shades of white, ivory, mauve, and blush.
Blush and Blue
Pretty in Pink
The couple's three nieces wore twirl-ready dresses with pink tulle skirts from Nordstrom and mini white jackets.
Hero of the Day
Marcus put his own stamp on a slate blue suit from Jos. A. Bank with a vest that included the rich purple of the wedding day color palette, and—as a "huge comic book fan"—socks featuring his favorite characters (he also gifted pairs to his groomsmen).
Boys in Blue
The groomsmen wore suits that matched the groom's, but Marcus opted for a lighter tie in contrast to their fig-colored ones.
Only Have Eyes for You
Sharing a private first look before the ceremony was a priority for Lee and Marcus, who posed on a hillside overlooking the mountains. "I thought she was just beautiful," says Marcus.
Says Lee, "This quiet, intimate moment was quite easily our favorite part of the day. Nothing can accurately capture how we felt when we saw one another—that moment represented not just the day but the years of growth, love, challenges, and joy that has brought us to where we are today."
At the Altar
"The floral design for the altar area of the ceremony was organic, yet structured as a semi-circle—a beautiful 'meadow' installation designed as if growing up in a natural, yet sculptural way," shares the couple.
Father of the Bride
After the family took their seats to Pachelbel's "Canon in D" and the groom and groomsmen entered to Eric Clapton's "If I Could Change the World," Lee's father walked her down the aisle as musicians from Collective Music Solutions performed Frank Ocean's "Thinkin' 'Bout You."
Lee's brother officiated the wedding, leading the couple through a ceremony that "incorporated spiritual and contemplative moments and included both Christian and literary readings." Lee and Marcus personalized their vows with thoughtful additions. "We included some favorite memories coupled with thoughts about our commitment to one another and admiration for each other," says the duo. "As always, we tried to balance humor and sincerity."
Marcus and Lee incorporated lavender throughout the wedding, including packets for guests to shower them with as they left the ceremony. A sticker on each container reminded guests that the herb "represents love, devotion, and luck—offering the promise of a new adventure." Instead of favors, guests also received a sprig of lavender with a card detailing the couple's donation to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation—an organization they chose because Marcus is a survivor of the condition it supports.
So in Love
After the ceremony, guests moved to the hotel lobby for apple cider old fashioneds and small bites as the newlyweds posed for portraits. They used this time to reflect on their married life ahead. "Enjoy the ride and process," says the couple. "Even in the midst of excitement, don't forget your true purpose—furthering your commitment to one another."
Dinner al Fresco
At the reception, a clear tent with open sides and white draping allowed guests to enjoy the views of the mountains at sunset, while lanterns strung with greenery lit the ceiling. Long wooden tables, covered rounds, and gold chairs created an elevated garden party atmosphere, and a white dance floor on the pebblestone ground gave guests space to party.
On Top of the World
The couple chose sheer runners and floral garlands to decorate the center of the long tables, adding figs and grapes for texture and color. Background views of the trees and hills showed off the location's best features.
On the round tables, centerpieces in low golden vessels overflowed with the same mauve, peach, blush, ivory, and deep-plum blooms as the bouquets. Votive candles added a cozy twinkle after dark.
Time to Eat
Ivory plates, gold flatware, and tall taper candles added elegance to the bare wooden tables. Menus detailed the meal of pear and fig salad, herb roasted chicken, braised short rib, roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash ravioli, and roasted potatoes.
Blush-colored goblets added a touch of femininity to the tablescapes.
The New Mr. and Mrs.
For their first dance, Lee and Marcus chose Jackie Wilson's "Higher and Higher." "We've always felt that we were better together and that we truly make one another more of the kind of people we want to be," says the couple. "This song captures that sentiment perfectly."
All Night Long
The dancing lasted well into the evening. To keep energy at a high point, sweets were served. Along with a two-tier wedding cake, dessert included a "Pittsburgh cookie table" put together by Lee's family. "My aunts and mother lovingly and carefully crafted hundreds of homemade cookies and transported them to South Carolina for the special day," says bride.
Photography, Kati Rosado Photography
Location, Catering, and Cake, Hotel Domestique
Event Planning, Beckon Events
Flowers, Kara Nash Designs
Videography, Elevated Eye Films
Music, Collective Music Solutions
Rentals, Berbank Events; Industry Event Rentals; Professional Party Rentals
Bride's Gown, Veil, and Shoes, Anne Barge
Hair and Makeup, Cotton Rouge & Co.
Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo for BHLDN
Flower Girl Dresses, Nordstrom
Groom and Groomsmen's Attire, Jos. A. Bank
Lighting, Professional Party Rentals
Transportation, Southern Valet
Engagement Ring, PenelliBelle
Wedding Rings, Beeghly and Keim Jewelers