One Couple's Elegant Lakeside Wedding in South Carolina
Brittany Johnson and Alex Broe were seventeen and eighteen when they met in high school gym class. They started as friends and grew into more, making their relationship official the summer before Alex left for college at Georgia Southern University. They were reunited shortly, though, when Brittany began her freshman year at the same school.
Five years later, the Atlanta-based pair were at a winery in Georgia for lunch and wine tasting when Alex suggested they take a walk around the vineyard. After initially objecting because she was too full, Brittany agreed to go because Alex insisted. Before popping the question, Alex said, "I want to grow old with you." Brittany turned around, Alex was on one knee, and the rest—as they say—is history.
The high school sweethearts moved in together and began planning their special day. From the start, Brittany was adamant about having their wedding at Lake Keowee. The community is special to the couple because both of their families have been going there since Brittany and Alex were kids.
After more than seven years together, they returned to their summer getaway for a very special occasion. On October 21, 2017, Brittany and Alex tied the knot at The Reserve at Lake Keowee in front of a twelve-foot arch entwined with flowers and greenery. The newlyweds celebrated with 185 friends and family members, drank customized Moscow Mules, and enjoyed a surprise choreographed dance from their parents. "It was exhausting, amazing, and magical rolled up into a beautiful fall night," Brittany says.
The letterpress stationery suite, designed by Wide Eyes Paper Co., incorporated the couple's crest—a "B" for their new shared initial and two paddles as a nod to the lakeside nuptials. Using metallic gold ink, Rachel Knowlton Calligraphy addressed the envelopes—with vintage stamps from Magnolia Postage as a finishing touch.
The couple's planner, Allie Barham of Upstate I Do, suggested the color palette—slate blue, gray, and taupe—to complement the serene feel of the setting for Brittany and Alex's big day, and helped implement these designs into other elements throughout the celebration.
Welcome to Lake Keowee!
Brittany and Alex welcomed their friends and families with a bag of goodies, including "something sweet" (sour gummy fish, the bride's favorite), "something salty" (popcorn), and locally-made Cheerwine soda. The edible treats had custom labels printed with the couple's crest and artwork from the invitations. A weekend itinerary was included, though the koozies alluded to Brittany and Alex's laid-back attitudes: "Up at the lake, we just #gowiththebroe."
Lake Keowee, where the pair spent many summers floating and boating, was an easy choice of location for Brittany and Alex's big day. "It has always been our place to escape real life and just enjoy each other's company," the bride says. For this trip to the lake, though, they traded their swimwear for classic, elegant looks. One of the groom's favorite moments of the day? "Seeing Brittany for the first time was pretty cool," he says.
Alex sported a black tuxedo with a white shirt and black bowtie from Bridals by Lori—the same store at which Brittany tried on about 15 dresses before finding this Eve of Milady gown. "The second I put it on, I knew it was the one," she says. The shimmery number held added significance—Brittany's mother picked out an Eve of Milady dress over 30 years ago for her own wedding but couldn't afford it at the time. "I knew it meant a lot to her to be able to give her daughter the dress of her dreams," Brittany says.
Alex had Brittany's engagement ring custom-made by Gold & Diamond, in Tampa, Florida. Alex's band, from Sabri Guven Fine Jewelry, is engraved with the wedding date and the same words that are in his father's band: "Our beginning."
Alex's watch was a gift from his fiancée, as a reminder to be on time—he tends to run late!
Brittany wore pointed "Starling" heels from ASOS, and Alex paired his black shoes with fun superhero socks. The groomsmen all wore the same pair.
The Bridal Bouquet
Brittany's brother surprised her with the ultimate wedding gift: an adorable golden retriever puppy named Ducky!
Amy Osaba Design created this floral and greenery-adorned arch, to anchor the ceremony and complement the views of the lake beneath the lawn of The Reserve at Lake Keowee.
Guests sat in vintage church pews and wooden chairs, creating a relaxed feel and rustic look for the ceremony. Garden-inspired foral boxes lined the back of the last pew.
Alex's groomsmen entered the ceremony to the Game of Thrones theme song. Brittany arrived in a white Bentley and was escorted down the aisle by her father. Alex's uncle, Lonnie Broe, officiated, which was the couple's favorite part of the ceremony. "Standing up there with a familiar face was comforting," the bride says. "It's very nerve-wracking having all eyes on you!" Though the ceremony wasn't super religious, it still included Bible verses pertaining to love.
Brittany and Alex didn't write their own vows, but rather opted to read each other notes before the ceremony. "We felt that those intimate words were special to us and wanted to have it be a more private moment," the bride says. After saying "I do," the newlyweds made their way to cocktail hour, as Bruno Mars' "Marry You" played.
Meant to Be
Brittany and Alex posed with their parents, who have been friends since before the two started dating. Both couples have been married for over 32 years, and Brittany's mother and father offered a piece of advice for the newlyweds: Be patient and enjoy life together!
Little did Brittany and Alex know, their parents had a little surprise in store for them later in the evening.
The Cocktail Hour
"Broescow Mules" (a nod to the couple's last name) were served in copper mugs. The groom's mother is known for crafting her own masterful cocktails, so expectations were high. The signature sips, made with apple brandy, pumpkin spice, lime juice, ginger beer, and a fresh lime garnish, didn't disappoint!
The Escort Cards
A wooden board had an illustration of Brittany and Alex's crest above the words, "Your Seat Awaits." Each card featured the same watercolor art from the invitations, custom wax seals, and guests' names printed on vellum.
Prepared with Pashminas
Boat-shaped shelves held pashminas for guests to use as the evening's autumn chill rolled in. A small sign beside the blue and brown wool wraps read, "To have and to hold in case you get cold."
After cocktail hour, guests took a short shuttle to the top of the lawn at The Reserve at Lake Keowee, where a large sailcloth tent was set up for the reception.
The Head Table
The long table where Brittany and Alex sat had a canopy of flowers and greenery above it. Though the wooden surface wasn't covered by a linen, floral arrangements and simple, white candles added a lush touch.
The Place Settings
Each seat was set with a white plate and gold cutlery. "We wanted guests to feel free to leave their drinks and join us dancing," Brittany says. So, with the help of Upstate I Do, they created custom coasters, which reflected the festive ambience of the celebration: "Please don't take my drink, I'm busy shakin' it on the dance floor with Brittany & Alex." The coasters were tied to light-pink napkins with a blue satin ribbon.
Before the party began, though, dinner was served—featuring a menu of what the bride calls, "southern comfort with an elegant twist" including fried macaroni and cheese bites and grilled chicken.
Knowing their guests loved to socialize, Brittany and Alex arranged chic lounges within the tent. These comfy spaces gave attendees an opportunity to sit back, relax, and chat.
The First Dance
Brittany and Alex shared their first dance to "Let It Be Me" by The Everly Brothers. Then, their parents surprised them (and everyone else at the reception) with a choreographed routine. The two couples showcased their best moves in a lively mashup to classics including "YMCA" and "Jump On It". "It was a complete and total shock," the bride says. "We loved it!"
Steel Toe Stiletto performed during the reception and were a definite hit with guests. Brittany's most memorable song of the evening was Madonna's "Like A Prayer", which she requested that the band learn. "Everyone jammed out; it was awesome," the bride says. At the end of the night, everyone was begging the musicians not to wrap up.
Tessa Pinner Cake created these three confections, sourcing as many ingredients locally and seasonally as possible. The cakes were designed in the relaxed yet elegant style of the day with touches of slate-blue and gold-brushed detailing. Of the two flavors (blackberry cake with lemon curd and lavender buttercream, and sweet potato cake with pecan crunch and maple buttercream), the bride was surprised to fall in love with the latter—the epitome of fall, reflected in one bite!
Photography, Sarah Ingram Photography
Location & catering, The Reserve at Lake Keowee
Event planning & design, Upstate I Do
Flowers, Amy Osaba Design
Videography, Siegel Films
Calligraphy, Rachel Knowlton Calligraphy
Cake, Tessa Pinner Cake
Hair & makeup, The Beautiful Co. Hair & Beauty
Groom's suit, Bridals by Lori
Groom's wedding band Sabri Guven Fine Jewelry
Signage, Sofia Invitations & Prints