An Orange, Pink, and Gray Wedding in Charleston, South Carolina
A Southern Affair
After all, Charleston was the perfect location logistically -- the majority of their guests were traveling from elsewhere in the country. Carter is from Oklahoma, and Fred grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. The couple really wanted to show off the city's unique beauty, and with the help of event planner and creative visionary Tara Guerard of Soiree, they planned a weekend of activities to do just that. Festivities included a backyard barbecue on Thursday and a rehearsal dinner at Spooks and Spirits on Friday followed by a party at Confederate Home -- both the right amount of eeriness appropriate for Halloween, which happened to be the night before the wedding.
Welcome to Charleston
Welcome bags given to guests were filled with a visitors' guide, a current issue of a local magazine, homemade rosemary-roasted cashews, cheddar-pecan biscuits in custom glassine pouches, and a booklet created by The Lettered Olive that detailed the events of the weekend, a transportation schedule, and the bride and groom's favorite sights to see around town.
The Lettered Olive also created the save-the-date, which introduced guests to a natural theme of birds and branches and the color palette of warm grays, orange, and pink.
Ceci New York created the custom-designed, letterpress wedding invitations, which echoed the bird and branch elements. A laser-cut sleeve reminiscent of a birdcage was slipped over each invitation, and the door could be opened to see the orange bird on the band underneath. On the outer envelope, a custom postage stamp with the same bird illustration was used.
Unique Wedding Dress
The branch theme actually started when Carter found her dress -- a hand-painted tulle gown by Carolina Herrera.
Carter's something blue was a dainty blue ribbon sewn onto an underlayer of the skirt of the dress. Her ring, from Croghan's Jewel Box, was inspired by the engagement rings worn by the women in Carter's family.
Soiree by Tara Guerard put together all the lush floral arrangements, including these darling boutonnieres wrapped in gray ribbon.
Father and Daughter
Carter's father, Mike, escorted her down the aisle at the 5:30 p.m. ceremony. Her veil, a floor-length stunner by Romona Keveza, had a slit so she could lace her arm through her father's.
The French Huguenot Church was chosen for its intimacy and remarkable architecture. The Charleston Heartstrings Quartet played during the traditional Episcopalian ceremony.
Flowering branches enhanced the altar while large white dahlia blooms and orange-and-white striped grosgrain ribbon hung along the pews.
As a surprise to all the guests, The Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir -- waiting out of sight in the mezzanine level of the church -- burst into song once the couple were pronounced husband and wife. Carter and Fred walked back up the aisle to "Oh Happy Day."
The newlyweds opted to take portraits before the ceremony. Photographer Liz Banfield captured the pair near the church, then again on the property of their reception venue.
The bridesmaids wore chocolate-brown dresses in a variety of styles from J.Crew.
The Bride's Family
Carter, with parents Karen and Mike, and sister Katharine, in Washington Square Park.
The Bridal Bouquet
Attached to the silk ribbons in Carter's bouquet was a gold necklace given to her by her parents. Carter's mother came up with the design -- a diamond-eyed bird resting on a branch with a diamond hanging over it -- and had jeweler Valerie Naifeh create it.
The romantic bouquet by Soiree by Tara Guerard includes dahlias, peonies, and lamb's-ear leaves.
The Groom's Parents
Fred's parents, Fred and Linda, also had their portrait taken before heading off to the reception.
Cocktails on the Lawn
The evening's menu was heavy on Charleston's classic comfort food, a love the bride and groom share. During cocktail hour, the 180 guests enjoyed an oyster bar, mini pulled-pork sandwiches, and mini grilled pimento cheese sandwiches from Good Food Catering.
The team at Soiree set up several lounge areas around the lawn, as well as on the grand porch. Hurricane vases filled with oranges and placed atop red and white runners served as understated decoration.
All the details, both big and small, were customized for the special occasion. Paper cocktail napkins were imprinted with the couple's names.
A "Blushing Bride" vodka and cranberry drink was garnished with wooden stir sticks custom-printed with the bird design.
Guests found their names and table assignments on calligraphed die-cut birds tied to branches.
Soiree progressively shifted the decor for the evening's different areas. The dinner tent was set up on a sea-grass carpet and punctuated by cream textured linens and gray and cream Ikat runners. Napkins were tied with orange and white ribbon and adorned with a fresh dahlia bloom at each setting. Printed menus were tucked into each napkin. Guests began their dinner with a special salad created from the bride's family recipe. They also dined on quail breast stuffed with grilled harvest apples, calvados sauce, and fresh chives, served with grits and sauteed haricots verts. The meal was perfect for a fall evening.
Carter brought in a beloved Tony Duquette book to help inspire the decor for the wedding. In the book is a photograph of a bird cage with a table for two nestled inside. With the bird theme already in play, Tara Guerard installed a large atrium with removable glass windows to house the wedding party's table -- a play on the photo in the book.
A pashmina shawl was tied to the back of each female guest's chair. The cream, gray, or light pink wraps not only tied into the decor, but kept the ladies warm as the evening's temperatures dropped.
Mama Burts's Tea
Fred grew up drinking Russian tea made by his grandmother, Sandy Burts, affectionately called "Mama Burts." To honor her memory at the wedding, Carter had the recipe for it printed on coasters and served at the coffee bar after dinner.
The Dancing Tent
The decorations in the dancing tent were more vibrant and bold. A large, white bar was set up in front of orange shelving filled with stemware and candles. Additional lounge areas, with Ikat pillows and black lacquered tables topped with candles in mercury-glass votives, bordered the dance floor.
A large red birdcage filled with glowing candles hung above the dance floor. Carter changed into a second Carolina Herrera dress toward the end of the evening, its narrower silhouette perfect for dancing to the music played by the band, Atlanta Rhythm and Groove. Here, Carter and Fred share their first dance together as husband and wife to "It Had To Be You."
Jim Smeal created this custom confection, with gray branches piped onto each tier and orange-berried twigs and birds nested atop the cake. The tiers alternated between carrot cake and coconut cake.
The large iron birdcage that housed the wedding cake was another homage to the Tony Duquette book.
Bird nests filled with chocolate quail eggs -- an idea inspired by a wedding that ran in Martha Stewart Weddings while the bride was planning her own nuptials.
Bite-sized pecan pies (the Southern staple is one of Fred's favorites) were topped off with little leaf-shaped pie crusts and dollops of fresh whipped cream. Mini pumpkin pies replaced the traditional groom's cake.
Carter's mother made her famous bread-and-butter pickles, which were jarred, wrapped, and tied with a letterpress tag.