A Luxurious New Year's Eve Wedding in Charleston, South Carolina
Lindsay and Evan
Lindsay Bissell, co-founder of A Signature Welcome, and Evan Marko, a private equity real estate investor, met in 2012 while Lindsay was visiting her business partner in Charleston. They were out to dinner with some friends, and Evan approached Lindsay as she was leaving the restroom. He ended up hanging out with them the rest of the night until their taxis arrived. The next day, Lindsay woke up to a Facebook message from Evan asking for her number. The pair began their relationship long-distance: Evan lived in Charleston, South Carolina, and Lindsay called New York City home. Two years later, Evan convinced Lindsay to move down South.
After more than three years, Evan relocated to Los Angeles for work, and the couple made plans to meet in New York City for Valentine's Day weekend in 2016. En route to dinner, Evan suggested they walk down the street to visit Lindsay's old townhouse. She obliged, and they made the trek in one-degree weather. Upon arriving to her old stoop, Evan dropped down to one knee and asked Lindsay to marry him, holding a ring made from both his grandmother and mother’s engagement stones. But the surprises didn't end after Lindsay said "yes": The bride-to-be's business partner and her husband had traveled from Charleston to New York to meet them at a restaurant, and Evan later took Lindsay to their first date spot. "The weekend kept producing surprise guests and on Sunday night, a group of 20 friends and family joined us for jazz and Champagne at the Top of the Standard to celebrate," she says.
When deciding on the day's events, Lindsay and Evan envisioned a traditional ceremony followed by a Mid-Century modern soirée to honor their grandparents (who were married in the '40s and '50s) and the many Sundays spent sipping bubbly and listening to jazz. On New Year's Eve in 2016, their vision became a reality, surrounded by 250 of their loved ones at The First Baptist Church of Charleston, followed by a roaring reception at the Carolina Yacht Club that lasted until 1 a.m.—well into the New Year and the official start of their happily ever after.
Lindsay designed the stationery, which was printed by Sas-E Ink. The circular save-the-date swiveled at the top and featured a logo she designed herself, which was inspired by fireworks and an urchin lamp ("A Sputnik-inspired logo seemed fitting for our New Year's Eve wedding," the bride says). The suite also included a map of Charleston, general information about the wedding weekend, and suggested hotel accommodations near the church.
The invitation and the response card were gold-foiled onto thick paper, and envelopes were calligraphed by Penned by Palmer, before being mailed with vintage postage.
Welcome to Charleston
"I designed a welcome gift highlighting the original matriarchs of our families, our grandmothers," says the bride, whose company designs such thoughtful treats to greet guests at weddings. "These extraordinary women are such an integral part of our lives." To honor them, Lindsay and her team at A Signature Welcome, sent guests a box of "grandmother's sugar," with a medicine kit and midnight snacks like peanut butter chocolate candy, powdered doughnuts, oatmeal cream pies, and peanut butter cup cookies, all tied with a silk ribbon that Lindsay hand-dyed.
Welcome notes were also included in the boxes. The front side of the cards pictured their grandparents and a description of each sweet treat that represented them. The backside outlined the weekend's itinerary.
Lindsay's bouquet, put together by Wimberly Fair Designs, featured a mix of white garden roses, peonies, sweet peas, and greenery, all tied together with silk ribbons. Lindsay's mother also tied the blue hospital bracelet from the day Lindsay was born into the bundle.
Evan's mother gave Lindsay this white mink fur cape as an engagement gift, which she wore to stay warm during portraits outside. She also sported an ivory textured satin bag by Judith Leiber and these Sergio Rossi embellished t-strap sandals, which she bought before her dress.
Lindsay and Evan enlisted the help of Bissell and Blaise Fine Jewelry (a former business venture of the bride's) to help design their wedding bands: hers was a platinum diamond oval eternity band, and his was an 18-carat gold ring.
When shopping for her wedding, Lindsay knew she wanted something high-fashion and not strapless. She traveled with her mother, sister, business partner, and friend to New York City to begin her search. The gang visited four ateliers during the trip, and, although she didn't find the one, she did pick out her contenders. She tried them on again in Los Angeles while visiting Evan, and another time when she came back to New York. With the finalists chosen, she decided on this Monique Lhuillier dress after slipping it on for the third time. "I loved how this dress was very high-fashion yet felt vintage at the same time," says Lindsay of her gown, which featured an illusion cap sleeve, beaded applique overlay, and a tulle-embellished overskirt, which she removed for the reception. She accessorized her look with a cathedral-length veil from Mark Ingram Atelier, and borrowed jewelry from her mother-in-law (the bracelet was from her own wedding to Evan's father in the '70s).
Evan sported a custom Billy Reid tuxedo with a Turnbull & Asser bow tie and Salvatore Ferragamo velvet loafers. His accessories were also gifts: he wore a vintage gold Rolex that his father gave him for his 30th birthday, studs from his brother, and gold-and-diamond cufflinks from the bride.
The First Look
Lindsay is the oldest child in her family, and her father requested his own first look with her. "It was a very emotional moment and he kept telling me how much he loved me," she says of the tender time.
Bridesmaids wore dusty neutral gowns from a variety of designers, and the flower girls wore dresses from Watters. The 'maids carried white bouquets of one type of flower, choosing from roses, tulips, freesia, anemones, dahlias, mums, and hydrangeas. The flower girls wore wax flower crowns with trailing silk ribbon, and the junior bridesmaid (to the left of the bride) carried bells and a small posy.
After attending nine of his groomsmen's weddings, it was finally time for Evan to choose his own party. They were made up of friends from kindergarten, college, and life in Charleston. Before changing into their own tuxedos, they went to Evan's brother's house for lunch and got ready for photos afterwards.
The ceremony was the couple's favorite moment of the day: For Lindsay, seeing everyone as her father walked her down the aisle to "The Prince of Denmark's March" by Jeremiah Clarke—and making eye contact with Evan at the end—was incredibly powerful. For Evan, watching the church doors open and seeing Lindsay with a smile on her face brought one to his.
During the service, the couple lit a unity candle while one of the bridesmaids sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by Robert Robinson, followed by a performance of "The Lord's Prayer."
Lindsay and Evan recessed to "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" by Handel from Solomon. Following a jazz band, guests held candles and lit the way from the church to cocktail hour at the Carolina Yacht Club, with the rain holding off until after they arrived.
The bar was the focal point of cocktail hour. The couple worked with Wimberly Fair Designs to design a 360-degree bar with a vertical garden sculpture in the center. It was made of two round bookshelves that were elevated and wrapped in greenery. The shelves were then filled with candles and glassware, and topped with stacked geometric figurines also dressed in fresh garlands. It was accented with up-lighting and pin spots to create a modern garden chandelier.
Three signature cocktails were served: The West 11th (made of bourbon and bitters, and named after the street Lindsay lived on in New York City), The Hills (a skinny play on a standard margarita and a nod to where Evan lived in Los Angeles), and the 7+8 Coffee (made with scotch, coffee, and cream, and named after the couple's Enneagram of Personality profiles).
Guests snacked on crostini with goat cheese and fig marmalade and seared yellow-fin tuna on a fried wonton with spicy guacamole, prepared by the Carolina Yacht Club.
Fill 'Er Up
Two Champagne carts were pushed by bartenders who refilled everyone's glasses throughout the reception, during which Lindsay and Evan toasted with her parent's silver wedding coupes.
The reception took place at The Carolina Yacht Club, where tables were set with 6-foot-tall centerpieces made of palm fronds in clear vases and moss topiaries.
Lindsay wanted the arrangements to feel modern, so Wimberly Fair Designs placed tons of clear vases with one kind of flower—from football mums, roses, and ranunculus to dahlias, white delphinium, and parrot tulips—along the length of each table. A wide variety of greenery—including Israeli ruscus and kale—was also used.
Pristine Place Settings
The place setting featured gold chargers with alternating beaded, round, scalloped, and geometric designs. Each one was topped with a Depression-era glass dinner plate, a sprig of Israeli ruscus, a gold foil-stamped place card, and a menu, which detailed the three-course meal of tangled green salad with mesclun greens, filet mignon with truffle-whipped potatoes and sautéed haricot verts, and wedding cake.
The First Dance
The newly-minted husband and wife made their first moves to "Manhattan" by Kings of Leon.
The cake was a white four-tiered confection with a floral cascade. Although guests ate all of it, the couple is treating themselves to coconut cake from the Peninsula Grill for their first anniversary.
Happy New Year!
Guest snagged white-and-gold fedoras, feathered tiaras, gold beads, and noisemakers in preparation for the ball drop. At midnight, the band led guests in a sing-along to "Auld Lang Syne" while cannons shot out gold confetti. Afterwards, the couple's favorite spicy chicken biscuits from the Carolina Yacht Club were passed out as favors and a late-night snack. The band then played Michael Jackson's "Love Never Felt So Good" to keep the party going.
Make a Getaway
Photography, Lauren Jonas
Location, The First Baptist Church of Charleston
Event Styling, Lulu McClain
Reception location, catering, and day-of coordination The Carolina Yacht Club
Flowers, Wimberly Fair Designs
Stationery and welcome bag, A Signature Welcome
Calligraphy, Penned by Palmer
Music, The Business
Bride's gown, Monique Lhuillier
Hair and makeup, Salon Väri
Flower Girl dresses, Watters
Groom's tux, Billy Reid
Lighting, OtherBrother Entertainment
Transportation, Lowcountry Valet