5 Things Every Bride Can Learn from This Black-Tie Wedding in Georgia

Real Weddings
Bride and Groom in Sea Island, Georgia

Photo: Shawn Connell for Christian Oth Studio

Elizabeth Haddad, 27, and Christopher Schwartz, 28, took their time heading down the aisle. The pair were friends for three years before their first date, then were together for four before he popped the question. So it was no surprise that the pair chose to host a three-day destination wedding weekend on Sea Island in Georgia, where time seems to move a little slower. "We wanted to have time to really celebrate with everyone," says Elizabeth.

The couple invited 125 guests to The Cloister at Sea Island for a black-tie ceremony and luncheon, followed by a twilight dance party. "We didn't sit down all night," says the bride. "We made every second count!"

Here are five tips that will make your wedding an equally smashing success.

Stay calm
"We planned everything down to the last detail," says Elizabeth, "but life still happens." The ring bearer's grandmother was in an accident, so he and his father missed the ceremony to go to the hospital with her. "Thankfully, she's fine now, and they were able to make it to the reception. Our ring bearer is quite the dancer!"

Prioritize your guest list
"We wanted to keep the wedding on the smaller side," says the bride," so we pared the list down and made sure to invite only the people we're closest with." No better way to turn your wedding into a total love-fest!

Give everyone a break
To maximize the time spent celebrating, the couple sat down for a luncheon after the morning ceremony, then gave guests the afternoon off. At 8 PM, everyone regrouped for cocktails, snacks, and lots of dancing.

Since the couple had two events after their ceremony, they kept the color schemes similar — and reused the arrangements from the luncheon to dress up the evening reception! "The moods were so different that no one even noticed," Elizabeth says. "We just added some sparkly elements to dress everything up."

Recruit talented friends
Elizabeth is friends with New York designer Jes Wade, so the bride worked with her to create a custom dress for the evening event. "I wanted something beautiful but not too bridal that I could wear again," says Elizabeth of the metallic full-skirted dress. "It has a similar shape to my wedding dress, but is short — perfect for dancing!"

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