A Romantic, Rustic Wedding in Columbia, South Carolina
Coleen and Brandon
The phrase “summer lovin’” never loses its luster because of couples like Brandon and Coleen. The South Carolina natives met as children but got to know one another during their college years, first through daily emails and eventually during summer break when the two returned home and dated around town. Six years into their relationship, the couple wed on February 1, 2014, in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Surrounded by 120 guests, the pair said “I do” during an afternoon ceremony in the Grand Hall of 701 Whaley. The bride and groom embraced the natural beauty of the warehouse-turned-event-space to create a balanced elegance that never veered too masculine or feminine.
Oh So Suite
“As a graphic designer, I could not help but play a major role in the paper details and signage for our wedding,” says Coleen, who chose thick, creamy white paper for the invites and moody gray ink for the script. Copperdog Press letterpressed the elements of her suite to hone the natural-yet-structured aesthetic of her celebration. To package the bundle, the bride tied each suite with thin brown or gold velvet ribbon through a brown letterpress square card that displayed the couple’s logo and wedding website, and then mailed them out in gray envelopes calligraphed in gold ink by Jenna Rainey.
Love at First “Site”
The couple held their ceremony and reception in the Grand Hall of 701 Whaley in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Built in 1903 and originally used as a warehouse for a local mill, the hall grabbed the couple’s attention from the moment they spotted this grand wooden staircase framed by a 12-foot-tall window. “The space fit us and our personalities to a tee,” says Coleen. “It screamed ‘This is the one!’”
Fern Studio designed the stairway vignette (one of Coleen’s favorites from her day). Candles were tucked inside glass votives to fill the early evening celebration with soft lighting. Because the pair loves the outdoors, the floral design studio draped lush greenery over the staircase and anchored the arrangement with sliced wood for a dose of masculinity.
Coleen’s ivory trumpet-style gown had a subtle sweetheart neckline. She accented her waist with a chocolate-brown velvet sash that she purchased from ShyMyrtle. Matching ribbon bound the bride’s bouquet, lined her cake, and held the ceremony doors closed during the nuptials. “The velvet was a tiny detail that I felt tied together the rustic feel of the entire wedding,” says the bride. Brandon paired his charcoal J.Crew suit with a navy-blue checked button-down and Calvin Klein silk tie.
The bride searched for accessories that were simple, knowing that she wanted statement earrings with a vintage air. Coleen snagged these Givenchy danglers from Belk.
“My bouquet would make any girl feel like a bride,” says Coleen. Hers included white garden roses, lisianthus, sweet peas, gardenias, chocolate cosmos, scabiosa, anemones, eucalyptus, dusty miller, brunia, blackberries, and loose greenery. A bluish velvet ribbon (her day’s “something blue”) blended into the grouping of hand-tied streamers that held her bouquet together.
The Bride's Side
Coleen’s four bridesmaids wore eggplant chiffon gowns in the cut of their choice from the Wedding Shoppe, Inc. in St. Paul, Minnesota. The bride scored a discount for her attendants by winning runner-up in the store’s Pinterest contest. She had her good friend knit wraps as the bridesmaids' gift, thinking the combination of a slight February chill and a sleeveless dress called for a warm shrug. Dawn and Coleen picked a unique yarn color -– that matched the neutral wedding palette -– and pattern pairing for each 'maid.
Twice as Nice
Fern Studio created a floral head wreath to make the flower girl feel extra special. Instead of the traditional flower petals and basket accessory, Coleen gave her an understated sliver metal bucket filled with champagne-colored tissue paper confetti to sprinkle on her walk down the aisle.
Having a Hair Day
Worried that a suit and tie would be too stuffy for the ring bearer (and his Mohawk), the couple instead let him shop his own closet.
A Private Moment
Brandon walked down the venue’s staircase and stood next to his bride, who was waiting alone with her eyes closed, took her hand, closed his eyes and said a quick prayer for only the two of them to hear. After he finished, they both opened their eyes to soak in the look on each other’s faces. “What a moment. It was ours and ours alone,” says Coleen.
Center of Attention
Fern Studio simplified the ceremony’s floral and candle arrangements by creating a single garland to draw the crowd’s focus to the front of the room. Because the couple used the Grand Hall for both the ceremony and reception, they collaborated with the lighting crew to divide the space into two with a long ivory draping that doubled as a backdrop for the garland.
A Celebratory Ceremony
Coleen and Brandon took extra care for their service. “The one thing that was truly the most important was the promise we were making to each other and the One we were making the promise before,” explains Coleen. Typically untraditional, the pair did opt for traditional vows. “We felt that even though these words and phrases had been said many times before by many different people, they still hold great power and truth in the real and original purpose of marriage and how it should be modeled,” says Coleen.
Because Brandon is a music lover who plays bass, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar, the two knew the ceremony and reception tunes would be extra important. Brandon’s good friend, Dave, played guitar and sang for the ceremony, including one number that he wrote himself.
Coleen purchased or designed all of her celebration signage, like this grouping that directed guests toward the reception’s double-door entrance. The bride handwrote the logo and directives on this large chalkboard with white chalkboard paint and asked her florist to add green and cream flowers to the area for warmth. The blooms also softened the bold 3-D letters that she and her mom happened upon at a local TJMaxx. The ampersand purchased from Hobby Lobby completed the trio. The bride borrowed the dark bronze lanterns from her parents’ porches to light the way to the evening’s second half.
Slate-gray linens covered the tables to accentuate the neutral color scheme of creams, tans, ivories, champagnes, tarnished brass, gold, and warm wood tones reflected in the arrangements and displays throughout the venue.
The centerpieces included white astilbe, privet berries, ferns, bay leaves, and rosemary. Wood-based candles and candles lit inside glass votives illuminated the flowers in the tablescape that were grouped in mercury glass and tarnished brass vases. The floral design team incorporated succulents, thyme, and twine elements among the arrangements.
Symbols of Love
The collection of letterpress letter blocks and ampersands on the old wooden printing blocks was Coleen’s favorite decor item (they earned a permanent place in her home). Here, some of the rich wood blocks that she found on Etsy and eBay are still covered in splatters of ink. Fern Studio displayed them using different colors, heights, and fonts for each character to add visual interest.
The couple toasted their marriage with glasses that belonged to the bride’s parents. A friend gifted her mom and pop the stemware, which is imprinted with the South Carolina state seal in gold, when they first moved to the area. Coleen plans to keep the glasses in the family.
Coleen’s handwriting graced the dainty handheld vanity mirrors that she found on Etsy and eBay, which queued attendees to sign their guestbook poster. “Because we love the look of a gallery wall in a home and I have quite a collection of posters and prints, we thought a framed guestbook poster would be a great addition,” says Coleen. The bride also created marriage advice “Mad Libs” for guests to fill out for entertainment or in addition to the official guestbook.
Attendees young and old cut loose, and even organized dances (like the limbo) were danced to perfection. The set finished with a sing-along to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” led by the father of the bride and the groomsmen.
Breakfast for Dinner
The couple selected popular brunch fare to be served via stations. After enjoying passed hors d’oeuvres of mini cinnamon roll lollipops, guests chose their starting points for the main attractions: fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits, chicken and waffles, made-to-order omelets, or mimosas.
The powdered doughnuts plated atop a galvanized metal cake stand were a sweet addition for the children attendants. The BHLDN faux boxwood greenery shaped in a “W” for their last name perched at the top of the tower, and sliver serving tongs from her mom’s personal collection made self-service a cinch.
An Atypical Wedding Brew
Because the groom’s coffee of choice is pour-over style, and after all, coffee and breakfast do go hand in hand, the couple decided to roll out this coffee bar (manned by Drip Coffee) to complement the cuisine. The pop-up cafe entertained guests and gave the couple another opportunity to incorporate their wedding logo: It was stamped on the coffee-cup sleeves. The actual coffee bar was formerly a wooden piece of the bride’s grandmother’s china cabinet.
Jennifer Baron, a local pastry chef, made the dessert-table goodies, which included cheesecake squares in original, turtle, and salted caramel, and blueberry streusel muffins. BHLDN white ceramic owl placeholders held dessert ID tags because the bride has always had a soft spot for the bird and wanted to incorporate it into the decor in some way.
Jennifer Baron designed the buttercream confection, while Fern Studio adorned it with golden velvet ribbon and a few standout blooms. The dessert flavor was a surprise not just for the guests, but for the newlyweds, too, who waited until the reception to taste the raspberry creme and almond cake for the first time. The sweet sat on a simple vintage-styled silver cake stand from Home Goods, and Coleen tied gold velvet ribbon to the World Market silver filigree server.
Cookie favors gifted in kraft brown sleeves were stamped with the couple’s logo and sealed with washi tape. Guests enjoyed chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and sugar cookies covered in white icing and imprinted with the celebration’s recurring symbol, an ampersand. “We wanted the cookie favors to be something that the guests could take with them and enjoy on the way home with the rest of their cup of warm coffee,” says Coleen.
Hello to Married Life
The sparkler send-off added the final romantic touch to the overall atmosphere. The couple ran to a car filled with balloons and streamers and soaked up the last farewells as they rolled up the windows and down the driveway. “We were off ... our new adventure had just begun,” says the bride.
Photography: Landon Jacob Productions
Location: Grand Hall of 701 Whaley
Event Planning: Robin Cannon
Catering: LeeAnne Ellis of Capital City Catering
Coffee Bar: Drip Coffee
Flowers: Fern Floral & Event Design
Officiant: Pastor Paul Johnson
Stationery: Coleen Williams
Calligraphy: Jenna Rainey of MonVoir
Cake: Jennifer Baron
DJ: Mark Rhoden
Rentals: Palmetto Party Rentals
Hair and Makeup: Ana Batemen at Cline’s Salon
Lighting: Ambient Media