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Happy and John
After a surprise proposal, Happy and John decided on a winter wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. "John loves its Civil War history, and I adore its soft, haunted air," she says. Once they found Lowndes Grove, a grand riverfront plantation, the rest of their black-tie affair easily fell into place, in part due to its simplicity. "We wanted it to feel natural -- no over-the-top details, no extravagant flowers, no chichi foods," she says.
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"We rolled the dice and lucked out," says Happy about booking their "Gone with the Wind"-esque manor online without seeing it in person.
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The entire suite was designed by the bride: A gatefold invite, graced by a family crest, shared info on the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and next-day brunch.
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A Custom Crest
A closer look at the couple's invites: The family crest Happy designed -- initials from the pair's last names encircled by foliage -- honored their new start together, while bright-red edges "gave them the festive Dr. Seuss kick they needed," says the bride.
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White ranunculus, flat cedar, holly, rosemary, and seeded eucalyptus were bound with a plush velvet ribbon.
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John pinned a cluster of cedar, rosemary, and ranunculus to his lapel. His crew wore sprigs of juniper in lieu of flowers.
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An Artful Accessory
"I'd wanted to wear one all along," says Happy of her goddess-style head wreath. To make sure her florist, Charleston Stems, got it just right, she quickly drew up this sketch on copy paper with colored pencils.
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The Finished Hair Wreath
And the real deal, made of gardenia leaves, rosemary, and seeded eucalyptus, with a few white ranunculus and garden-snow spray roses added in here and there, was exactly what she'd envisioned.
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Happy's six bridesmaids wore draped, floor-length ivory J.Crew gowns tied with green velvet ribbons. "I wanted us to look like we were all on the same team, but still be instantly recognizable as the bride," says Happy, who stood out by adding the head wreath and subtracting the sash.
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A friend officiated the nondenominational service, held on the banks of the Ashley River. Though a tad chilly, "I had on my adrenaline sweater," says Happy.
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Hurricane vases were filled with moss and a candle. The place cards and table numbers were cut and hand-painted by the bride at 5 a.m. the morning of.
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Attendees donned black-tie duds. "I thought formality would help make everyone feel extra special," says Happy.
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Location: Lowndes Grove Plantation
Planning: Red Letter Events
Catering: Fish Restaurant
Flowers and Bride's Hair Wreath: Stems
Stationery and Calligraphy: Happy Menocal (the bride's company)
Photography: Tec Petaja
DJ: DJ Wade of Other Brother Entertainment
Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals
Gown: Ivy & Aster
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