Emily and Travis were married in February 2020 in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina, a month before COVID became a household word. I look back on this wedding with extra fond memories as they signal to me a simpler time when you could hug everyone in sight and the ultimate reception goal was a crowded dance floor. And this Tara Guérard event was one to remember!
The couple had me at hello with their spectacular invitations from The Lettered Olive. The main invitation included real ferns pressed between acrylic panels. The graphic but organic black and white paper design was incorporated into the inner envelope liner as well as the the custom lampshades at the reception. Other motifs included charming watercolor illustrations of the bride’s dogs, for a very personalized touch.
The couple decided against a first look, opting to have a dramatic ceremony entrance into the traditional nave of Grace Cathedral in the historic district of downtown Charleston. Following the service, they were greeted by their dogs for a celebratory photo in front of the church. We took family and wedding party pictures in the courtyard before heading off to the reception.
The Gaillard provided plenty of space for the couple’s large guest list. Tara Guérard divided the space into two zones with a large sheer curtain. One half included an elaborate cocktail and dinner lounge with Southern-style food stations scattered throughout the room. This side of the design also included her signature extra long bar along one end of the room, ensuring that no one had to wait for a drink. Tara showcased the stunning Jim Smeal cake on a floating platform mounted from the ceiling. The whole room was designed in a restrained color palette of black and white with lush, deep green accents.
To kick off the dancing, the dividing curtain was pulled back to reveal a dramatic black and white dance floor with hanging floral installations of thousands of white tulips floating overhead. Simply Irresistible, of the the country’s most coveted bands, provided the dynamic dancing music. And lounge areas along the side gave everyone a place to continue their conversations (or rest their feet!).
Near the end of the evening, Emily changed into a sequin dancing dress by Naeem Khan, a look styled by Julie Sabatino of The Stylish Bride in New York. Julie, an industry friend of mine, also styled the Mother of the Bride look, a stunning velvet dress by Robert Danes at Bergdorf Goodman. The groom also made a late evening wardrobe change from his Gucci double breasted suit to a burgundy velvet smoking jacket.
At the end of the night, Emily’s Naeem Khan dress really had a chance shine amid the sparkler exit in front of the Gaillard. What a night!
Event Design + Planning and Floral Design: Tara Guérard
Videography: Siegel Films
Hair: Meg Workman Beauty
Makeup: Cheryl Quinn Makeup
Invitations + Welcome Bags: The Lettered Olive
Invitation Calligraphy: Claudia Engle
Envelope + Signage Calligraphy: Hatch Cove Designs
Catering: Cru Catering
Cake baker / designer: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal
Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals
Cocktail Hour Entertainment: Joe Clarke Big Band
Reception Band: Simply Irresistible
Cigar rollers: Cigar Row Events
Photo Booth Lounge: Theo Milo Photography
Lighting: PDA Stage
Ceremony venue: Grace Cathedral, Charleston
Reception venue: Charleston Gaillard Center
Wedding gown designer: Modern Trousseau
Bridal Assistant: Cacky’s Bride Aid
Second Wedding Dress: Naeem Khan
Bride’s shoes: Christian Louboutin
MOTB gown: Robert Danes, Bergdorf Goodman styled by Julie Sabatino / The Stylish Bride
Bridesmaid dresses: Jenny Yoo
Groom’s wedding attire: Gucci
Groom’s velvet reception jacket: Knot Standard
Film Scans: Fast Foto