The two Charleston transplants, Kristen + Jake, crossed paths while working at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, but it wasn’t until one fateful night at a friend’s birthday party that they really hit it off. After staying up all night chatting and getting to know each other, Jake took the plunge and asked Kristen (and her pup, Zoe), to join him for afternoon at the Pitt Street Bridge. The trio enjoyed and afternoon of eachother’s company, the sunshine and the pluff mud and have been inseparable every since. When Jake began scheming for a surprise engagement, he immediately knew that site of their first date was the obvious location…but he just had to figure out how to get her there. The couple had since relocated to Savannah, so attempting to pull off a surprise proposal without being too obvious would be tough, but with the help of a few friends, and a fake “surprise birthday party”, Jake was able to make Kristen’s 29th birthday celebration a weekend to remember!
What made you choose your venue? What elements drew you to it?
Boone Hall Plantation was one of the most well rounded venues we could find. The drive in with the Avenue of the Oaks was the perfect scene we wanted to set as our guests drove in. We wanted a mix of indoor and outdoor, with a beautiful backdrop to give our guests a true taste of Charleston. We started out with just renting the Cotton Dock for our reception site, but then after touring the entire property, we knew we wanted to get married on the front lawn in front of the beautiful plantation house. The back patio offered the perfect area for our cocktail hour also.
Tell us all about the details! Did any have special meaning? What was your favorite?
We wanted to make sure that the entire weekend was focused on the guest experience.
We rented a gigantic beach house on the Isle of Palms, and stayed there with all of our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and their dates. It was only 2 blocks from the beach, it had a swimming pool and hot tub, and basketball court, a putting green, you name it! To kickstart the weekend, we had all of our family over Friday night for a cook out and just a chance to let everyone meet each other and relax. Our rehearsal dinner was on Saturday, and we did a catered dinner downtown at Granville’s Catering, and then took our guests on a sunset cruise through the Charleston Harbor on the Palmetto Breeze. That was Jake’s favorite part of the entire weekend!
At the actual wedding, we had a lounge out front of the Cotton Dock with cigars, craft beers, and custom made cornhole boards that were a truly family effort. Jake’s brother made the boards, Jake and I painted them to fit our look, and my mom made the bags. We also had a candy bar, and koozies as our wedding favors. My favorite detail of the entire evening was all of the custom made linens that my mom made – the napkins, the runners, and the backdrop for our photo booth. Jake’s favorite detail was the bottom layer of our wedding cake -funfetti – which is our absolute favorite!
Tell us a little bit about your menu…
We used Granville’s Catering for our wedding. Trae’s style is true Southern cooking, but elevated. We served she crab soup, cajun style shrimp and grits, crab cakes, fried green tomatoes with a balsamic reduction and crumbled goat cheese, and my absolute favorite which is Trae’s grandmother’s specialty – angel hair mac and cheese.
We didn’t do any specialty drinks, but we did have an open bar. Out front in the lounge area, we did serve specialty craft beers.
What’s your favorite picture from your wedding and why?
Our photographer was absolutely incredible – it would be very hard to pick just one photo. The one I love the most of just the two of us is in the rose garden near the front lawn. The sun was starting to set, he kissed me, and Carmen captured the moment beautifully.
Out of the entire day, what was the most memorable moment?
Leading up to the wedding, the one thing I was soo nervous about was the actual ceremony. I was so afraid I was going to be a teary, mumbling mess, and wouldn’t be able to get any of the words out. In actuality, the entire ceremony was the most memorable and special part of the entire day. We were both just grinning ear to ear, looking into each other’s eyes, and committing our lives to each other.
My color palette was a bright coral watermelon, tiffany blue, and tangerine. My entire color palette was created from a picture I saw of a bouquet on Pinterest – it was love at first sight!
How did he propose? How long were you engaged for?
From Jake’s perspective:
I had decided for months that I wanted to propose to Kristen on the Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant where we had our first date. The trouble was, trying to figure out how to get her there without my plans being too obvious, as we had moved to, and were living in Savannah, GA. I planned the engagement for the weekend of her 29th birthday, and we had purchased tickets to visit a tiger preserve in Myrtle Beach. Perfect! It also just so happened that my Aunt Jessamine’s birthday was the same weekend and (like the mastermind that I am) I had my cousin, Lynne, send us an invitation to a “surprise party” that was being thrown on…..the Pitt Street Bridge.
So I made the arrangements; I was freaking out because the ring was taking longer than they had originally told me, and I wasn’t able to pick it up until that morning. Kristen was dropping the dogs off at the kennel, and we were going to meet there and drive up to Charleston together. So of course when when we go to leave the kennel, the battery to the car was dead. At this point I was about to rip every hair out of my head….
Finally, we got the car jumped and drove to Charleston. We got to the bridge and started walking down to the end where there is a dock (I told her that is where the surprise party was, and thats why we didn’t see anyone yet). I was walking slowly, trying to let my cousin, DuBose, catch up with us as she was going to sneakily meet up with us to take photographs.
Once we got to a good spot, I stopped Kristen so that we could look over the Charleston bay together; it was sunset and a beautiful site. I let her know that there really was no party taking place. I got on one knee and let her know that the last four years together had been the best of my life, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her there to share it with. I asked her to spend the rest of her life with me.
Tell us a little bit about how you met your husband…
We were both working at Enterprise Rent A Car, in the city that we both love: Charleston, SC. We knew of each other through work, but hadn’t really ever hung out. Some of our mutual friends put together a surprise birthday party for one of my best friends (and now bridesmaids), Nicole Miles. We hit it off immediately, and literally stayed up the entire night talking and laughing, and getting to know each other. The next day Jake called and asked me out on an afternoon date. So he picked me up, along with my dog, Zoe, who has ALWAYS been my most loyal companion and took us to a place I had never been before… the Pitt Street Bridge. The Pitt Street Bridge is a beautiful waterfront view in the “old village” of Mount Pleasant. We spent the afternoon just walking, talking, and soaking up the sun. Feeling a little adventurous, Jake took Zoe down to the marsh to wade through the water, sniff around, and explore. While they were down there Zoe stepped in the pluff mud and cut her paw on an oyster shell! It wasn’t a bad cut but she got a few little bloody paw prints in my new company car! I still give Jake a hard time about it to this day, and let him know he is lucky I stuck around, haha!I The Pitt street bridge is still one of our favorite places in Charleston, and holds a very special place in both of our hearts.The last 4 1/2 years have been spent pretty much the same – continuing to get to know each other, making each other laugh, and making wonderful memories along the way!
A few weeks ago, thanks to the hospitable ladies of Easton Events, I had the pleasure of spending an evening knee-deep in Charleston wedding fashion (just how I like it!) at the lovely Zero George. If you’ve never moseyed on over to the quaint hotel on the corner of George and East Bay, you’re simply missing out. It’s effortlessly luxurious vibe made me feel like I had stumbled upon a little hidden secret in the heart of the Holy City. It was the perfect backdrop to enjoy a collection of swoon-worthy gowns from Maddison Row and their dreamy counterparts from Bella Bridesmaid. Charleston Events Hair and Makeup finished the off the looks with show-stopping hair and makeup while Sara York Grimshaw designed elegant arrangements throughout. As always, thanks to the talented Virgil Bunao for capturing all the pretty!
We always go gaga for a Charleston wedding at the swoon-worthy William Aiken House but this beauty designed by Southern Protocol is just what we need to get over that Tuesday afternoon hump. It’s elegant and preppy with a vibrant punch of color that keeps us wanting more. We’re digging Bride Kelsey’s stunning strapless gown and her man’s dapper attire (get a load of those shoes!), not to mention that killer cake from Delicious Desserts! Thanks to the talented Jennifer Bearden for capturing all these gorgeous details.
Whatever you pick to wear for your engagement photos, the best advice we can give is to make sure you’re comfortable in it! If you feel uncomfortable, you’ll probably look uncomfortable… and stay true to who you are! The rest of this is pretty straightforward, and remember if your favorite outfit goes against most of what we suggest, bring it to your shoot anyway. Regardless of what you two wear, you’re going to have lots of fun and get photos you’ll love!
1. Embrace Jeans. For whatever reason, jeans tend to photograph really, really well. We personally prefer the look of jeans in photos over khakis, but that is really more of a personal preference. They both look great.
2. Cute dresses. Another great thing for you girls to keep in mind is dresses! If you’re comfortable in dresses and have a few that you love (or want an excuse to go out and shop!), brightly colored dresses are a great option.
3. Bright and rich colors can really help separate you from the background! And don’t be afraid to wear patterns! As long as the colors and patterns that you and your fiancé chose are complimentary, go for it!
4. Fellas: Have a fun bowtie to throw on for a couple shots?! You certainly don’t need to wear it for the whole shoot, but it could be fun for your personal portraits!
5. Fun shoes. Don’t stress about this aspect, but if you do happen to have a fun pair of colored shoes, they always seem to photograph well.
6. Patterns: plaids, stripes and polk-a-dots always seem to photograph well!
7. Have fun with accessories. Bring a variety of jewelry, scarves, sunglasses, belts or hats. You don’t have to use them, especially if you’re the kind of person who usually keeps it pretty simple with accessories, but it doesn’t hurt to bring them along just in case! They typically add a nice element of texture and interest to your photos.
8. Pamper yourself with a manicure! Ladies, your photographer will probably want to get some hand photos in, especially for engagement sessions, so make sure that you’re nails are looking beautiful. You’ll thank us later!
Being too matchy-matchy. This might go without saying, but you don’t both need to show up in matching white polos and khakis. Here’s a good link about complementary colors in fashion.
Large logos! This is mostly geared towards the fellas, and there really aren’t many exceptions to this one. A couple photo session is no place for promoting a label. Even if it is your favorite brand! Try and pic something without large text running across the front of it!
Ladies: For tighter tops (or sleeveless tops/dresses), always bring a cardigan along or cute jacket for layering!
Ladies: Our advice is to try to avoid sleeveless clothing whenever possible. If your favorite top/dress is sleeveless, just bring a cardigan along!
Ladies: Try and avoid overdoing your eye makeup. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Makeup can go from classy to cheap with just a few too many swipes of liquid eyeliner!
Ladies: Never wear 4 inch stiletto heels if you’re a girl who lives and dies by adorable flats!
Fellas: Please, please, please don’t wear clothes that are too big for you. You’ll look bigger than you really are and kinda messy/sloppy if your dress shirts are too baggy!
Always consider the general style you’re both going for. Guys – this means that if she’s wearing a chic cocktail dress and heels, you should reconsider your cargo shorts and flip flops.
White shirts with jeans / black shirts with jeans. Don’t hate me, but they create boring photos. We’re just being honest!
Running shoes. Unless you’re literally shooting part of your session at the track, always keep the casual shoes non-athletic.
Anything that tells your story is a bonus – just be creative!
Tasteful “Save the date” , “Thank you” , “Merry Christmas” signs, or anything else you can think of to help involve your reason for having these photos taken.
If you play the guitar, bring it along!
4. If you own a boat and are out on the water a lot, consider scheduling your session on the boat!
5. Is there a street in town that’s special to you and your fiance’s story? If so, jump right in the middle and snap a fun shot of the street as your backdrop!
6. Your dog! We love dogs in engagement sessions! Some photographers may not feel the same, but some would love to see your furry four-legged friend at your session! But always arrange for a friend to come along and “doggy sit” while your photographer is snapping photos of just you and your fiancé!
7. If you’re a wine connoisseur, bring a bottle and some glasses along!
8. If your fiancé gave you a thoughtful gift or piece of jewelry that can be photographed, bring it along! It’ll help tell YOUR love story and document a special gift given!
9. If you love picnics and are a great cook or love to bake, set up a picnic in the park or at the beach! Bring a cute blanket along too!
10. If you and your fiancé spend a lot of time sipping coffee, bring a couple cute mugs with a carafe and enjoy ‘a cup of jo’ while you’re photographer documents your love for coffee during a part of your photo shoot!
On that note, we’re going to go pour ourselves a cup of jo and enjoy the cool Charleston temps this afternoon! Congratulations on your engagement!
The ladies at Ooh! Events took my breath away when they sent over this stunning Charleston wedding at the lovely William Aiken House, and I’m so excited to send you off into the long weekend with such a pin-able masterpiece. The mix of graceful peony arrangements with a touch of dusty millers and mercury glass sprinkled throughout gave an effortless elegance to this Summer affair. Not to mention lanterns hung from the trees! Thanks to the talented Brandon Lata Photography for capturing this timeless Lowcountry wedding! Oh, and is that not the most adorable flower girl you’ve ever seen!?
Rachele and Bobby actually tied the knot in Jamaica, but decided they wanted to do an engagement session while in Lowcountry for a friend’s vow renewal ceremony…so after meeting Charleston wedding photographer Dana Cubbage at Rachele’s cousin’s wedding, they knew she was the person for the job! Dana said, “Getting up early for a sunrise session paid off, as we dodged the rain that day and were able to get some great shots around downtown Charleston + Boone Hall. Rachele + Bobby were complete naturals in front of the camera + I loved watching them together. They truly have something special.”
Who doesn’t love kicking their Monday morning off with a cheery Charleston Wedding! With the help of that talented team over at Breeze, Michelle + Jeremy tied the knot at one of our favorite venues, Lowndes Grove Plantation, where they were married outdoors on the banks of the Ashley River. Branch Design Studio whipped lovely arrangements with punches of pink and orange, while Fish treated the guests to their signature cuisine! As always, we thank STUDIO 1250 Photography for capturing all the lovely details!