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Taylor and John
In 2010, Taylor Thompson had been working at a Nashville-based finance company for only a few weeks when John Bensabat joined her group as a new hire. The two began going out regularly with their bigger group of friends, when one night at a bar, Taylor's best friend, Lindsey, joked that Taylor needed to go dance with John or she would. So Taylor joined him on the dance floor and from that night on the two were inseparable.
On November 7, 2015 (exactly five years after meeting at work), Taylor and John had a rustic-chic wedding at Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina. Although it rained sporadically during their fall fête, the couple's ethereal palette of dusty shale and copper décor could not have been better complemented by the weather. From their destination location to making the details their own, the pair was happy to share this celebratory time with 152 friends and family despite the rain.
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The Stationery Suite
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Guests were welcomed to town with canvas bags adorned with a design of the couple's Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Henry, and filled with Bluffton peanut brittle, Hilton Head Popcorn Company popcorn, bug spray, and a cup and koozie with the quote, "We interrupt this SEC football season to bring you the Thompson Bensabat Wedding."
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When Taylor tried on her silk faille Vera Wang trumpet gown, she loved the shape but wasn't sold on the back. After making adjustments to the bows, she was excited to be wearing the same designer as her sister had worn when she was a bride. She walked down the aisle with peonies, ranunculus, hydrangea, and roses in her bouquet by Em Creative Floral.
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Bridesmaids wore various styles of chiffon J.Crew dresses in the bride's favorite color—dusty shale.
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Taylor's niece served as the flower girl in a simple white dress, gold shoes, and a floral crown.
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As portraits wrapped up and the rain began to fall again, bridesmaids headed to the chapel together for the ceremony. The couple's nephews (who were the ring bearers) helped the ladies keep their dresses dry.
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The Ceremony Location
Since the chapel only accommodated 90 guests, many of the attendees had to stand outside during the ceremony. The side windows of the chapel were designed to roll up to 6-feet, and there are stairs and handrails on each side so guests can peer in. The rain made things a bit more challenging, but with help from some advance notice of the space limitations in the welcome booklet, and a chalk sign outside the building reading, "We are overflowing with love. Ladies, please sit a spell and gents, enjoy the fall air," guests made it work. And luckily, the sky cleared in time for people to huddle around the windows and peer in for the remainder of the ceremony.
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Without knowing it was going to rain, the couple planned not one, but two songs that flowed seamlessly with the weather. The ceremony began with The Bob Williams Duo playing a classical guitar and violin rendition of The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," and the sun shined through the windows of the Waterside Chapel as the clouds parted during the mothers' processional. "It was if the song welcomed the sun from behind the clouds," planner Ashley Rhodes recalls.
Taylor's entrance with her father to Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" welcomed not one, but two rainbows that stretched across the sky over the May River as the bride settled at the altar.
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The couple's Christian ceremony featured a scripture reading from Philippians 4:4–9 and Roy Croft's "I Love You." "I vividly remember the whole ceremony, but especially prior to our vows as Taylor and I were facing each other," says John. "I will never forget the emotions that came over me as I saw the love Taylor and I shared written all over her face. I can still see it today."
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Sage-green and gold program booklets echoed the design of the invitation.
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It was nothing but clear skies as the newlyweds recessed outside to Ray LaMontagne's "You Are The Best Thing."
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The Cocktail Hour
Hors d'oeuvres of chilled poached shrimp with a spicy Old Bay remoulade, meatballs with smoked Gouda, smoked salmon on an aged white cheddar cheese wafer, mini crab cakes with Lowcountry remoulade, and ratatouille vegetable bruschetta were served during cocktail hour under the tent. Guests sipped on the signature drink (a Moscow mule) while listening to The Bob Williams Duo.
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Garlands of eucalyptus and strings of lights hung over a mixture of farm and round tables. Centerpieces were copper lanterns, copper candle vessels, and floral arrangements of white flowers and greenery.
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The Seating Display
In lieu of escort cards, seating arrangements were calligraphed onto a single piece of wood that was milled locally.
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The Place Setting
Tables were named after places important to Taylor and John and displayed in hand-penned copper calligraphy on green bands around moss-gray menus that featured the couple's monogram. Dinner started with a salad of garden greens, spiced pecans, strawberries, shaved manchego, pickled red onion, and balsamic vinaigrette; and continued with grilled New York steak with garlic spinach and a roasted garlic potato pavé.
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The newlyweds chose Lionel Richie's "You Are" for their first dance song.
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Savannah Custom Cakes served a three-tier pumpkin cake with praline filling and cream cheese frosting (Taylor's favorite) for dessert—but not before the couple shared a bite with each other first.
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After hearing that University of Tennessee's Volunteers beat their rivals the South Carolina Gamecocks in football that night, orange and white pom-poms were passed around to celebrate, and a ring bearer was tossed in the air as the Tennessee fight song "Rocky Top" played. Glow necklaces were also given out, and were worn by most of the crowd when the newlyweds exited the reception amidst a shower of biodegradable confetti.
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Photography, Landon Jacob Photography
Location and Catering, Montage Palmetto Bluff
Event planning, Ashley Rhodes Event Designs
Flowers, Em Creative Floral Design
Videography, Hart to Heart Media
Officiant, Wayne Bogue
Stationery and calligraphy, Lowcountry Paper Co.
Cake, Savannah Custom Cakes
Music, Bob Williams Duo (ceremony, cocktail hour); Sweetwater Junction (reception)
Rentals, Amazing Event Rentals; EventWorks; Snyder Rentals; La Tavola Fine Linen
Bride's gown, Vera Wang
Bride's shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair and makeup, Bride's Side Beauty
Bridesmaids' dresses, J.Crew
Photo Booth, Shutterbooth