After all, Charleston was the perfect location logistically -- the majority of their guests were traveling from elsewhere in the country. Carter is from Oklahoma, and Fred grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. The couple really wanted to show off the city's unique beauty, and with the help of event planner and creative visionary Tara Guerard of Soiree, they planned a weekend of activities to do just that. Festivities included a backyard barbecue on Thursday and a rehearsal dinner at Spooks and Spirits on Friday followed by a party at Confederate Home -- both the right amount of eeriness appropriate for Halloween, which happened to be the night before the wedding.
Welcome bags given to guests were filled with a visitors' guide, a current issue of a local magazine, homemade rosemary-roasted cashews, cheddar-pecan biscuits in custom glassine pouches, and a booklet created by The Lettered Olive that detailed the events of the weekend, a transportation schedule, and the bride and groom's favorite sights to see around town.
Ceci New York created the custom-designed, letterpress wedding invitations, which echoed the bird and branch elements. A laser-cut sleeve reminiscent of a birdcage was slipped over each invitation, and the door could be opened to see the orange bird on the band underneath. On the outer envelope, a custom postage stamp with the same bird illustration was used.
The branch theme actually started when Carter found her dress -- a hand-painted tulle gown by Carolina Herrera.
Carter's something blue was a dainty blue ribbon sewn onto an underlayer of the skirt of the dress. Her ring, from Croghan's Jewel Box, was inspired by the engagement rings worn by the women in Carter's family.
The French Huguenot Church was chosen for its intimacy and remarkable architecture. The Charleston Heartstrings Quartet played during the traditional Episcopalian ceremony.
Flowering branches enhanced the altar while large white dahlia blooms and orange-and-white striped grosgrain ribbon hung along the pews.
Attached to the silk ribbons in Carter's bouquet was a gold necklace given to her by her parents. Carter's mother came up with the design -- a diamond-eyed bird resting on a branch with a diamond hanging over it -- and had jeweler Valerie Naifeh create it.
The romantic bouquet by Soiree by Tara Guerard includes dahlias, peonies, and lamb's-ear leaves.
Soiree progressively shifted the decor for the evening's different areas. The dinner tent was set up on a sea-grass carpet and punctuated by cream textured linens and gray and cream Ikat runners. Napkins were tied with orange and white ribbon and adorned with a fresh dahlia bloom at each setting. Printed menus were tucked into each napkin. Guests began their dinner with a special salad created from the bride's family recipe. They also dined on quail breast stuffed with grilled harvest apples, calvados sauce, and fresh chives, served with grits and sauteed haricots verts. The meal was perfect for a fall evening.
Carter brought in a beloved Tony Duquette book to help inspire the decor for the wedding. In the book is a photograph of a bird cage with a table for two nestled inside. With the bird theme already in play, Tara Guerard installed a large atrium with removable glass windows to house the wedding party's table -- a play on the photo in the book.
The decorations in the dancing tent were more vibrant and bold. A large, white bar was set up in front of orange shelving filled with stemware and candles. Additional lounge areas, with Ikat pillows and black lacquered tables topped with candles in mercury-glass votives, bordered the dance floor.
A large red birdcage filled with glowing candles hung above the dance floor. Carter changed into a second Carolina Herrera dress toward the end of the evening, its narrower silhouette perfect for dancing to the music played by the band, Atlanta Rhythm and Groove. Here, Carter and Fred share their first dance together as husband and wife to "It Had To Be You."
Photography: Liz Banfield Photography
Lighting & Linens: Soiree by Tara Guerard
Videography: Artistic Eye Productions
Makeup: Moore Makeup
Hair: Kristy Olson, 843-864-6322
Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones for The Lettered Olive
Gospel Choir: Voices of Deliverance Gospel Choir, contact Robbi Kenney, 843-478-1956
Wedding bands: Croghan's Jewel Box
Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals; Snyder Lounge