All you need is Love
Updated: Sep 23, 2019
The top 5 days to get engaged are Christmas Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas Eve, New Year's Day and New Year's Eve. (If you are newly engaged and reading this, congratulations!) Since we've just passed 4 of those days, with the 5th right around the corner, and since today is my (second) 2 year wedding anniversary, I thought it would be a good time to share the vendors I chose, who made our "big day" one for the books.
Quick backstory for those of you that don't know, I am a "hurricane bride". In October 2016, Cat 5 Hurricane Matthew barreled through Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, threatening to make landfall in Charleston on October 8th, my wedding day. Thankfully by the time it showed up on the east coast of the US, it had weakened to a Cat 1; sadly this good fortune was too little, too late. A state of emergency had been called four days prior, reversing highway lanes, closing the airport, and enforcing mandatory evacuations. In a crazy turn of events, Robbie and I were still married on October 8th, in Atlanta, and it was the best day ever!
Fast-forward 3 months and we were gearing up for #Idotaketwo. Somehow, we were able to quickly reschedule the wedding (I spent 16 months planning), keeping every member of our 18 person bridal party, and almost every single vendor. It can be hard to navigate the world of wedding planning and luckily we had some serious professionals on our side who showed compassion and did everything they could to give us the day we'd envisioned.
I did 95% of the planning myself, so you can be sure I researched and vetted tons of options before making my final decisions. In no particular order, these are the Charleston vendors I used and 100% recommend!
Attire: Wadmalaw Wild Ties (Felicia Wheeler)
Felicia fashioned 12 duck feather bow ties for the bridal party and our dads. The feathers came from Robbie's hunting trips and were a nice keepsake for the guys. You can read more about WWT in a previous post here.
Band: Finesse (via East Coast Entertainment)
Terrence and his band mates gave a 10/10 performance! Our guests danced the entire night and friends still talk about how incredible the band was. With little direction, Finesse played the perfect set list, I couldn't have written it better myself. Finesse was worth every penny - I would book them again in a heartbeat.
Catering: Hamby Catering (Caroline Griesedieck)
We used Hamby for our rehearsal dinner as well as for our wedding and they knocked both events out of the park. Their food was delicious and Caroline was extremely professional, attentive and kind. Since then, we have used Hamby for other events and will continue to look to them first for all of our catering needs.
Dessert: Sweet Southern Bellas (Heather Greene)
Not only are Heather's confections delightful, but I believe her bubbly personality and dedication to customer service are what make her so successful. We had a small topper cake to cut into and served 4 flavors of mini cupcakes to guests. For our 1 year anniversary, instead of eating frozen, stale cake, Heather offered individual, fresh-baked jar cakes in our wedding cake flavor (at no additional cost!), allowing us to participate in an old tradition with a modern twist.
Flowers: Charleston Flower Market
I don't know much about flowers, but Catherine was able to take the few ideas I did have and create bouquet and table masterpieces. The flowers were more beautiful than I could have imagined and stayed within budget.
Each website was easy to use and had ample options. Keep an eye out for promotions, such as free envelope addressing, it was a life saver.
Makeup: Paper Dolls (Kelley & Shayla)
Just before the wedding there was a hiccup with my makeup artist. The owner immediately took care of the issue and the wedding day went off without a hitch. Kelley and Shayla executed each girls' preferred style and finished ahead of schedule.
Photography: Aaron and Jillian Osteen
Our photos tell our wedding day perfectly. Aaron and Jill went above and beyond for us throughout the planning process and made us very comfortable in front of the camera. They shot a number of different angles and styles and I felt we had a lot of options to choose from.
Transportation: ACW Limo
A trolley was the perfect form of transporting for our 20 person bridal party. The company was very easy to work with, arrived on schedule and was in spectacular shape, inside and out.
Planning Tips from my own experience
*Set one day a week to work on wedding planning with your fiance, you don't want to burn out, or let it take over your life.
*Use Pinterest wisely - try not to compare yourself to or copy everyone else, let your wedding be a reflection of you and your husband-to-be.
*Set a budget early on and stick to it! You can have a wonderful wedding on any budget, don't let anyone pressure you to spend more than you are comfortable with - spending more doesn't guarantee a better event.
*Don't be the last one to get your hair and makeup done - you will still look "fresh" if you are second to last and won't run the risk of being rushed if your schedule gets backed up.
*Unless you are extremely confident in the designer/salon, I would not suggest altering the style of your gown (i.e. changing a boat neck to a v-neck). It can end up being more costly than it is worth and some changes are irreversible.
Overall, I had a lot of fun planning my wedding(s) and like all other brides, think mine was the best! I'm already thinking about a 10 year vow renewal somewhere abroad, because why not?! If you have any specific questions about vendors or want to hear more about my wedding planning experience, drop me a comment or shoot me an email - I love reminiscing about one of my favorite days!