This Couple Celebrated Their Charleston Nuptials on the Porch of an 18th-Century Estate
Shortly after Paula graduated from the College of Charleston, she met Terence on a whim at a bar on the beach. Paula learned that Terence was visiting Charleston for the weekend from Chicago, which just so happens to be Paula's hometown—and the city she was planning on moving back to the very next week. The pair met up for a dinner date once she was back in the Windy City and their relationship took off from there.
Several years into their relationship, the couple took a New Year's Eve trip to Carmel, California. Terence took the opportunity to pop the question on their private hotel balcony. "We kept it a secret for a day, enjoying the moment distraction-free, and then told the exciting news to all of our family and friends," Paula says. To bring their relationship full circle, they decided to tie the knot at the William Aiken House in downtown Charleston, a block away from the bar where they initially met.
The couple chose a neutral color palette with accents of gold and blush for their décor; the scheme played into the locale's Southern romance, but offered a modern twist. Ultimately, their refined aesthetic was a contemporary translation of the vibe of their venue, a historic estate originally built in the 18th century. They invited 160 guests to join them for their destination nuptials in the city where it all began for their semiformal wedding on April 13, 2019. Paula describes the event simply, but poignantly: "It was most joyous and fun day filled with love from our closest friends and family."
The William Aiken House, full of greenery-covered nooks and crannies, provided the ultimate backdrop for the couple's nuptials—and played right into their theme of Southern romance.
Paula hit the jackpot when it came to wedding dress shopping—she chose the very first gown she stepped into: a form-fitting number from Sarah Seven. "I tried on a couple of dresses, but nothing compared to the first—I decided on that one," she says. She always expected to choose a wedding dress with sleeves, so she went ahead and had them added to the garment. Naturally, they ended up being her favorite detail.
The bride wore the same earrings that her mom and aunts wore at their weddings; she borrowed a veil that each of her sisters-in-law donned on their big days.
Paula's mostly-white bouquet, arranged by Urban Petals, was comprised of ranunculus, sweet pea, and barely-blush peonies.
The Groom's Look
Terence went with a navy Hugo Boss suit on the wedding day; he paired his ensemble with a matching navy shirt and tie, also from Hugo Boss.
Petite Bouquets for the 'Maids
The bridesmaids' bouquets—no two were the same—were smaller renditions of Paula's.
The First Look
Paula and Terence parted ways after sharing welcome drinks the night before the wedding; they came together again the next morning, meeting in Charleston's historic district for their first look. "The first look was way more meaningful and special than I ever would have guessed," Terence says. "It was one of the best moments of the entire day. I felt so happy, in love, and excited to finally be with Paula for the day."
Quaint Ceremony Setup
The ceremony took place outside, in front of the property's black shuttered windows and large door. The couple worked with Urban Petals to decorate the ceremony area with white petals, floral arrangements, and a statement greenery wreath, which marked the altar.
On the Aisle
A violin and cello duo played as guests were seated and the wedding party made their way down the aisle. Paula's father escorted her to the altar to Sting's "Field of Gold."
A Spiritual Service
At the start of the non-religious, but spiritual service, the officiant—a close friend—began with a moment of silence, asking guests to stretch their hands outward towards the couple "to send us their love," recalls Paula. The duo then exchanged vows they wrote together, making sure to incorporate themes of support, commitment, and shared values.
After they were declared husband and wife, they recessed back up the aisle to "Can I Have This Dance" by Francis and the Lights to get everyone into the party mood.
Find Your Seat
The couple had fun with their escort cards, creating scrolls with each guest's name and attaching them to Champagne glasses.
Paula and Terence's guests were a stylish bunch—most donned colorful ensembles, which suited the semiformal event style.
To the Porch
The reception took place both inside the William Aiken House and on the porch; the dance floor was located outside. A total of 15 tables were set up for dinner, with round tables inside and rectangular tables outside. While the tables inside held lush centerpiece arrangements and tapered candles, the couple wanted a simpler look for the tables outdoors, which held tea candles and smaller vases with single stems.
Tables that did feature traditional floral arrangements were just as stunning as their simpler counterparts; the abundant blooms, including peonies, sweet pea, and garden roses, were placed in brass vessels, which referenced the silverware.
Colorful Place Settings
Each place setting included a blush fabric napkin, a colorful patterned plate, and gold cutlery.
Plenty of Food
Along with passed hors d'oeuvres, guests enjoyed a tasty dinner that featured braised short ribs or quinoa stuffed peppers, twice-baked potatoes, and herb-roasted squash and zucchini. For dessert, the couple offered mini donuts and mason jars filled with blueberry crumble.
As if that wasn't enough to keep guests full, the duo also served buffalo chicken biscuits and grilled cheese later in the evening.
A Simple Cake
The couple worked with the venue to make a simple round two-tier confection, which they sliced into during their cake-cutting ceremony.
The First Dance
When the newlyweds first met in Charleston, Terence played Paula music from the artist Kygo, who has since become one of their favorite musicians. It was only natural for them to share their first dance to Kygo's remix of "Wait" by M83 right after dancing with their guests to "Firestone," another one of the band's hits.
There was one other special musical moment of the evening: "It's become a tradition amongst our friend group to end our weddings with 'I Will Wait' by Mumford & Sons. Everyone was on the dance floor jumping up and down to this song—it was electric!"
Photography, O'Malley Photographers
Venue and Cake, William Aiken House
Event planning, Kelly Strong Events
Day-of coordination, Peper Events
Flowers, Urban Petals
Catering, Patrick Properties Hospitality Group
Bride's gown, Sarah Seven
Hair and Makeup, Wedding Hair by Charlotte
Groom's suit, Hugo Boss
Lighting, Lowcountry Entertainment