Briana, our stunning American bride is one who knows style. Her creative professional life was elegantly and seamlessly translated to her fall wedding with soul mate Zach where they exchanged vows in Charleston, Carolina. The town of Charleston is known for its bursting Southern charm and hospitality. Briana knew she had a special connection to the location when her sister wed there 8 years earlier. In her eyes, there was nowhere else she could see herself getting married when the time came. They wed amongst friends and family down at the Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation. Of course, a plantation wedding calls for decadent Southern feast, complete with grits and a mac & cheese table. Many special moments were shared that day, one of the most memorable was when the new couple danced to 'Piano Man' by Billy Joel. Their guests crowded around them, watching on at the love story that would continue to unfold for years to come.
How did you meet your (now) husband? At a bar! Romantic, right?
How long have you been together? Since June 2013 (almost 3 ½ years)
Do you have a proposal story? We were out of town at a beautiful resort (Loews Ventana Canyon) in Arizona. Zach had a work trip in which I joined and we decided to extend the weekend. After a wonderful dinner we went outside and sat by a fire pit, where he got down on one knee. I was so excited and shocked that I forgot to say ‘yes!’ After he asked, “Is that a yes?” he put the beautiful rose gold, oval diamond solitaire on my finger. We were able to enjoy the rest of the weekend to celebrate, just the two of us, before heading back to Ohio to celebrate with family and friends.
What was your wedding date?September 9, 2016
Location (Ceremony and Reception)
Where? The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina
What made you choose there? I wanted to have a destination wedding where guests could fly or drive and potentially make a mini vacation out of it. Charleston is an incredibly beautiful and historic city. One of my sisters was married in Charleston 8 years ago and after her wedding, I just knew it would be the place I would want to marry someday. My sister recommended I look at Boone Hall plantation. As soon as I saw photos online, I knew it was the place! Upon visiting the plantation, it really sealed the deal. The photos speak for themselves – it is just one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
How did you find it? My sister’s recommendation
How was the weather on the day? Absolutely perfect! We were nervous as it can be really hot in early September in Charleston. It’s also risky due to hurricane season. We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny day with a light breeze, followed by the most beautiful sunset!
What made you decide to get married on this particular date?I knew I wanted to get married in the fall. The venue is very popular and books out very far in advance. When I enquired about the venue (10 months before the date) the only dates available were Sept 9 and Sept 11. It made the decision quite easy for us!
The Wedding Details
Theme? Romantic, Rustic, Simple & Elegant. Ivory and warm neutrals like taupe and blush. I wanted the flowers and décor to be a bit understated since the venue itself, is just absolutely stunning.
Where did you draw your inspiration/ideas from? I have a background in concept design for apparel and I have always had a strong sense of style. I’ve always wanted a wedding with neutral tones that felt natural and timeless. Pinterest was my best friend! I was able to find all my inspiration from flowers to chairs to décor. A lot of my ideas were just in my head, but I was very pleased to find a trail of inspiration from other beautiful weddings
Were any aspects of your wedding D.I.Y? If so What?I found our program template, signs (guest book, bar menu, etc) and thank you notes which we had at each table setting, on Etsy. For the thank you notes, I purchased twine and wrapped the notes myself. Our florists placed a little greenery under the twine on each note. We also purchased several vases & candles to mix in with our florist’s. My favorite little votive holders were the copper ones we had placed outside on the cocktail tables.
Bridesmaids - who/relationship? 2 matrons of honor were my sisters (Jaima Lawrence & Kailyn Longoria). The rest included Jessie Russo, Shawnie Susie, Kelly Morris, Emily Glinski, Kelly Doran and Kirby Schuchter. The last 2 are my now sisters-in-law. The others are beautiful friends. One girl I’ve known since we were 7 years old!
Groomsmen - who/relationship? Best man was Bill Odorizzi (Godfather of the groom). The rest include Zach’s friends ranging from childhood to adulthood including Chris Caravajal, Michael Wood, Nick Keene and Stan Ferger
Flower girls/Page boys - who/relationship? My niece (Henley Longoria) & nephews (Paxton & Ryder Longoria, Luxon & Revere Lawrence)
Wedding Gown (the most important part!)
What made you decide to come into Karen Willis Holmes? I found my dress at a relatively new boutique (B. Loved) in Columbus, OH, where I live. I actually spotted the Caitlyn gown immediately. It is so beautiful and unique. I walked past it because it was one of the first dresses I saw, and I wanted to browse the entire boutique. Thankfully, the owner pulled it for me. It was the first dress I tried on! Shocked, I told my sisters that I thought it could be the one. I wanted to keep trying on because naturally, I thought maybe I just felt that way after trying on the first dress of my appointment. As we left the boutique, I asked my sister how I would know. She told me there would be one that stood out. Sure enough, a few weeks after my appointment, my mother and I visited Charleston to book the wedding venue & I could not stop thinking about the 'Caitlyn' gown! I returned with my mom, sisters, future mother and sisters in law and a few friends. That day, I said yes to the dress!
Where have you seen our gowns (if at all) before? I had never heard of Karen Willis Holmes. I’ve always loved Aussie style. I’ve always thought that Australia is first on the trend curve and then they move east (LA picks up the trends next!) After trying on the dress and falling in love, Lesley from B. Loved told me it was an Australian designer. I knew it was meant to be.
How many gowns did you try? Around 10
Where did you purchase your gown from (which store or stockist)? B. Loved Bridal Boutique in Columbus, OH
What did you especially like about your gown? The back is absolutely incredible – the intricate beadwork over mesh was my favourite. I also loved that it was a classic style with a twist. That describes my personal style to a tee.
Who is your bridesmaid dress supplier? The girls purchased their dresses through Bella Bridesmaids Charleston. I chose 3 designers and specific colors and they could choose which floor-length silhouette they would prefer. The designers included Natalie Deayala, Joanna August & Nouvelle Amsale.
Where did you get the groom and groomsmen’s suits? We wanted a simple, yet chic look, so we went with black suits. We allowed the groomsmen to wear their own black suits, and we provided ties, pocket squares and socks.
What accessories did you choose to finish your gown and also for those in your bridal party?
Earrings – Stephanie Browne
Rings (worn on right hand) – Turquoise ring – Young in the Mountains, as well as my late grandmother’s gold and diamond ring
For the bridesmaids, I just asked that they keep their jewelry delicate / minimal, preferably rose or yellow gold
Where did you get your shoes from? Stuart Weitzman
What advice would you give brides organizing their wedding? Breathe, relax & enjoy the process. You only get to do this once and it is such a blessing. My father reminded me, which was the best advice, to not lose sight of the purpose of the occasion. The venue, the dress and the décor is fun and lovely, but joining two individuals in marriage is the most special part of all. Cliché but so true! Brides, remind yourselves of this when you’re feeling the post-wedding blues.
What advice would you give brides searching for their wedding gown? Do not narrow yourself to what you think you may want. Be open-minded because what you see online or in a magazine may not be the best style for you. If you think you have found THE dress (and if it’s Karen Willis Holmes, chances are that it is!) do not rush it. Give yourself a little time, and if you can’t stop thinking about the dress…it’s probably the one.
Something Old? My father carried a small bible that his mother / my grandmother carried on her wedding day. She is no longer with us, so it was extra special to have a piece of her on our wedding day. I also had a couple of hankies and rings that have been in the family for a few generations wrapped up in ribbon in my bouquet.
Something New? The dress. The shoes. The ring. The husband!
Something Borrowed? The family hankies and rings. My something old is also my something borrowed.
Something Blue? The little blue KWH signature ribbon sewn on the inside of my dress. And the Young in the Mountains custom turquoise ring.
Photographer -Studio 1250
Philip Casey is the owner & head photographer. He has an incredible eye and is very affordable, especially for his level of skill and attention to detail. He truly loves the art of photography, and he does not just capture weddings. He was able to capture our day so beautifully, and photos are everything!
Wedding Coordinator - Southern Chic Weddings & Events
Amanda Lewis was the best vendor decision for our wedding day. She is incredibly organised and goes above and beyond to make sure her brides are taken care of and completely at ease. Throughout the planning process, I felt like I was her only client. She was very timely with responses and made sure my wants / needs were met first and foremost. I cannot recommend her enough. She is the best!
Florist - Flowers on Springtree Lane & Duvall Floral & Decor
Our family friends are local florists in Columbus, Ohio (Flowers on Springtree Lane). These lovely, talented ladies graciously offered to create all floral arrangements outside of the bridal party.
Duvall Floral & Decor, a vendor in Charleston, SC created my beautiful bridal bouquet, as well as my bridesmaids bouquets, the groom and groomsmen boutineers & corsages for mothers and readers.
Videographer - Lowcountry Wedding Films
Music - Lee Edwards Entertainment (DJ)
First Dance - “Die A Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett
Celebrant - Friend of the bride & groom (Nick Rinker)
Stationery - Oh my! Designs by Steph (Etsy)
Menu - Duvall Catering & Events.
We wanted to do Lowcountry fare, so we had stations which included pulled pork, a beef carving station, shrimp & grits, and, best of all, a mac & cheese bar! My favourite hors d’oeuvres was the mini chicken and the waffles with a bacon maple syrup pipette!
Cake - Mirabelle Bakery
Bombonieres - Duvall Floral & Decor
Hair - Ash & Co
Ashley Fisher - Wow! One of my favorite vendors. I am such a perfectionist and I met my match with Ashley! She is incredibly talented & detail-oriented. All the bridesmaids looked amazing, as well! Her team is efficient and a joy to be around. I was so sad when our hair & makeup was complete for the day because I wanted to keep hanging out with Ashley & her team! I cannot recommend her enough to brides anywhere (It would be worth it to fly her to your wedding location!)
Make-Up - Dannon Collard
Another vendor at the top of my list. She is incredibly kind and easy to worth with. She really knows how to bring out your best features and give you a natural glow (which is what I wanted). She uses an air brush which provided a flawless finish. Ash & Co also provided makeup for my bridesmaids. They, too, are incredible. Dannon & Ashley are friends and frequently work together so it was a really fun girls day getting ready for my wedding.
Wedding Bands - Custom made
Bridesmaids: Plum Pretty Sugar | Bride: Homebodii
At the end of the night, a friend of ours recommended that the DJ play “Piano Man” by Billy Joel as the last song of the evening. All of our guests made a giant circle on the dance floor with Zach and I in the middle. Everyone was singing and swaying. During the last minute or so of the song, everyone crowded in around Zach and I. It was like one giant hug, and you really could feel the love! Our photographer was able to capture the amazing end to the best day. Following this beautiful last song, we had a sparkler send off. We then headed up the torch-lit dirt road to our ‘getaway vehicle’ – a beautiful vintage bus! The upside to this was that it seated 50 passengers, so we gathered our friends and headed out to a dive bar in downtown Charleston to top off the evening. I simply could not let the night end too early!