A Christmas-Themed Wedding in South Carolina
Shelby and Barrett
Shelby Storey and Barrett Blackburn were 15 and 17 respectively when they met in high school on a church retreat. "I think we talked every day after that trip," says the bride. They did the long-distance thing through college, but within a year of Shelby's graduation, they both were living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and it was time to take the next step.
After dating for about a decade, Barrett popped the question on the back porch of his home, while they enjoyed cocktails before heading out to dinner for the night. Shelby (an interior designer with a home and gift store called Storey Home) and Barrett (a civil engineer) set the date of December 10, 2016, and chose Montage Palmetto Bluff as the setting. Shelby grew up vacationing in Bluffton, South Carolina, and always loved the resort, so picking "her happy place" made total sense. They enlisted Tara Guérard Soirée to design and plan the wedding—a wintery fête with touches of the holiday spirit woven throughout, in a subtle palette of pale blue, emerald green, and gold. About 450 guests were in attendance for the chilly December wedding, which celebrated the season and the love of the high school sweethearts.
Invitations were letterpressed and foil-stamped with gold beveled edges. A debossed velvet belly band tied the elements together. The bride's monogram graced the top of each card (as you're not technically supposed to use a fully-joined monogram between the bride and the groom until post-ceremony)
Welcome to Town
Barrett sported a classic tuxedo and bow tie combination at the black tie affair. Shelby donned an Oscar de la Renta veil and gown to which she added lace sleeves, her late grandmother's ring that she wears everyday, earrings that Barrett gave her when she graduated from college, and Jimmy Choo shoes.
The couple chose to see each other before the ceremony—a time which they both cite as a favorite part of the day. "It calmed some nerves for sure," Barrett says. Adds Shelby, "I was so nervous, anxious, and worked up the whole day, and seeing him calmed my nerves."
The Bridal Bouquet
Shelby kept her bouquet classic by carrying a petite cluster of lily of the valley. The choice was inspired by Kate Middleton's wedding to Prince William.
Shelby's 12 attendants wore emerald Camilyn Beth gowns with ruffled necklines. "I wanted something that was different," Shelby says of the dresses. Most of the bridesmaids were college friends, with the exception of Shelby's maids-of-honor who were her first cousins (and best friends).
The Flower Girl
Shelby's cousin's daughter, Hensley, served as flower girl. "She couldn't have done a better job," says the bride.
A floral cross and garlands along the window frames dressed up the interior of Palmetto Bluff's Somerset Chapel. The couple's preachers from childhood officiated the service, which included scripture readings and a performance by a children's choir.
Since the temperature ended up being chillier than usual, cocktail hour was kept on the shorter side. Guests moved to the lawn overlooking the May River and perused the ruins of an old mansion.
Sips and Bites
Servers passed petite crab cakes with Low Country remoulade, and a jazz trio played, while guests grabbed cocktails at a custom-made bar.
Taking a Cue
Shelby's parents have been married for 31 years (and Barrett's, for 35), setting a great example of a happily ever after for the newlyweds.
'Tis the Season
Pearlescent ornaments were calligraphed with each guests' names on one side and an illustration of the chapel on the other. The couple excitedly added theirs to their Christmas ornament collection. "It's so fun to have a piece of that memory," Shelby says of the wedding day keepsake. "We hope that guests felt the same way!"
The Grand Entrance
The couple's event designer had French doors with glass panels created for the tent's entrance, which was accented by a bold, striped awning and white planters of boxwood.
The Reception Tent
"I always wanted a garland wall," Shelby says of the back of the reception tent. Tara Guérard brought the idea to life with a trellis pattern backed in plush blue suede. Hanging lanterns covered with greenery and orchids made it that much more dreamy.
Glass footed compotes held arrangements of a mix of white flowers (including tulips, freesia, and orchids), ferns, and leaves. Gilded votive candle holders and white taper candles in turned wood holders added a warm glow. The combination of the powder blue suede tablecloths, green accents, and golden touches showcase the somewhat wintery palette.
Decorative Table Numbers
In keeping with the holiday spirit, table numbers were embroidered on to ribbons affixed to wreaths on the back of chairs.
Velvet-covered booklets outlined the meal inside and also guided guests to their seats, thanks to rose gold etched name plates on the front. Dinner began with a shrimp bisque with tarragon oil, and a salad of roasted apples, winter greens, pomegranates, Midnight Moon goat cheese, and white balsamic dressing followed. For the entrée, braised beef short rib with winter vegetable ragout, cauliflower purée, and bordelaise was served.
"I loved that we decided on the seated dinner," Shelby explains. "It gave us a minute to sit down, relax, and talk face-to-face with family and friends before the night really got started. Seeing everyone mingling and being there to celebrate us was super special."
Dressing up the Tent
French linen-upholstered chairs, daybeds, and lounges gave everyone ample seating to relax on during the reception. Side tables and wrought-iron footed tables rounded out the setup. As a surprise to the bride, event designer Tara Guérard, designed a custom dance floor using a vinyl application. "I wanted a modern but old school effect," Tara says. "We had talked about a bathroom tile Kelly Wearstler had designed early in the planning process," she adds of the design inspiration that also brought all of the colors together for the space.
The First Dance
Barrett picked "Treasure" by Bruno Mars for the first dance song. "We're not the best dancers so it was embarrassing but so much fun," Shelby says. The bride and her dad shared a dance to "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5 and Barrett and his mom took a spin to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
The Wedding Cake
Jim Smeal made the five-tier cake, which boasted four flavors: pistachio, hazelnut, almond-apricot, and orange. The design was a white textural buttercream in a faux-bois style with white gardenia and dark green sprigs made of gumpaste.
A Sparkler Sendoff
The newlyweds were sent off through an aisle of sparklers held by their loved ones before heading to the after-party in a ballroom on the property.
Photography, Corbin Gurkin
Location and Catering, Montage Palmetto Bluff
Event planning, Flowers, Décor, and Lighting, Tara Guérard Soirée
Videography, Siegel Films
Stationery and Calligraphy, Lettered Olive
Rentals, Snyder Event Rentals
Bride's gown and veil and mother-of-the-bride's dress, Oscar de la Renta
Bride's shoes, Jimmy Choo
Hair, Kristy Cuthbert, 843-864-6322
Makeup, Deidre Outlaw, 571-220-7748
Bridesmaids' dresses, Camilyn Beth
Lighting, Production Design Associates
Transportation, Carolina's Executive Limo Line