One Couple's Elegant, Natural Wedding at Cherokee Plantation in South Carolina

Real Weddings

What do you get when you mix natural Southern beauty with the glitz and glam of the Gatsby era? You get the September 29, 2012 wedding of Gillian, 31, and John, 32, an airy, sophisticated celebration that brings North and South together in perfect harmony.

Gillian and John met through a mutual friend on Nantucket during the summer of 2009. Their romance eventually brought them to New York City, where John got down on one knee on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A year later, the couple invited 70 of their nearest and dearest to spend three days with them at Cherokee Plantation in Yemessee, South Carolina. "My family has been going there to celebrate holidays for over a decade, and we were so happy to be able to share it with everyone," says Gillian. The couple and their guests spent the weekend playing golf, shooting sporting clays, riding horses, being pampered with massages–and celebrating at a beautifully timeless wedding that balanced elegance with Southern charm.

Gillian wore a classic fitted Ines DiSanto gown with a delicate lace overlay. "The back was open with tiny pearl buttons. I felt amazing in it!" she says. John wore a super formal white tuxedo jacket, which he paired with a classic black bow tie.

The formal invitation was written in a lovely blue ink, a twist on the traditional.

Gillian chose pewter Manolo Blahnik peep-toe pumps, complete with crystal brooches, to wear under her gown. John paired his tux with customized needlepoint cufflinks that commemorated their wedding date.

The bride carried a bouquet of white and cream roses, ranunculus, sweet peas and lilacs. John's cream rose boutonniere was tied with a navy blue ribbon.

The couple wed in a traditional outdoor ceremony. Urns full of hydrangeas, roses and greenery flanked the aisle and marked the altar.

The skies opened up just after the ceremony, sending guests running for the tent. "My favorite photo from the day was the most unexpected, taken as we giddily hurried to the tent under an oversized umbrella," says Gillian. Thankfully, the rain stopped 30 minutes later and the rest of the evening was beautiful and clear.

Soft draping transformed the tented reception into an elegant affair, while chandeliers strung from the ceiling cast a glow over the tables. Guests were seated at a variety of round, square, and rectangular tables. Some of the wooden tables were left uncovered, a nod to Cherokee Plantation's history.

A mix of high and low arrangements featured tulips, hydrangeas, peonies, and roses in shades of white, cream, pink, and lavender. Low mercury vases added a touch of shine to the otherwise simple tables. Textured tablecloths were used for another layer of visual interest.

Each place was set with a classic gold-rimmed charger. The menu was printed on pale green paper and cut to fit the plate. "It featured an image of one of Cherokee's oak trees, draped in Spanish moss," says Gillian. "I've loved that tree forever, and was thrilled to have it on my wedding menu!"

The simple two-tiered cake featured a floral applique pattern reminiscent of the bride's dress. "It was delicious!" she gushes.

Lounge seating areas beckoned guests (when they weren't on the dance floor, of course!). As dusk fell, the couple surprised their family and friends with a firework display to mark the happy occasion.

The couple departed through a wave of sparklers. "You set the tone for your wedding," says Gillian. "They feed off your energy. So don't stress! Remember: everyone there loves you and is there to see you have a good time."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Cherokee Plantation || Wedding Planner: Ellen Robinson of WED || Bride's Wedding Dress: Ines DiSanto || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair & Makeup: Stuart Laurence Salon || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo Collection || Groom's Tuxedo: Ralph Lauren Black Label || Florist: Sara York Grimshaw Designs || Invitations: Studio R || Music: Big Ray and the Kool Kats || Catering: Cru Catering || Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal || Rentals: Snyder Rentals || Lighting: Technical Event Company || Videography: Siegel FIlms || Photography: Marni Rothschild Pictures

&mdash:Jaimie Schoen

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