One Couple Tied the Knot in the Ruins of a South Carolina Church — And It Was Amazing

Real Weddings

Savannah Guest and Gabe Slotnick got engaged in a dreamy place — on the beach in Martha's Vineyard, to be exact — so it makes sense the couple would seek out equally stunning spaces for their October 24, 2015, wedding. Enter: The Old Sheldon Church Ruins and Richfield Plantation in Yemassee, South Carolina, two breathtaking venues steeped-in-history that could effortlessly accommodate the couple's 150 guests.

Savannah says they pictured an old-fashioned and timeless day, with a neutral and natural color palette of ivory, champagne, and green. And despite planning the fete from far away, the bride thought wedding planning was a blast. "I love hosting and planning events and parties so creating our wedding was a dream job," she says. The couple had help, too. Sparkles Event Decor & Design was on hand to help create the laid-back but classic look the couple craved, while Hunter McRae Photography captured it all on camera.

Savannah selected an ivory taffeta wedding dress with a deep sweetheart neckline from Essence of Australia. "From the second I tried it on, it just felt like me," the bride says. But despite her conviction, she couldn't bring herself to swipe her credit card that day. Instead, Savannah continued to shop for another six months before returning to the store to nab the gown she knew was right all along.

The bride personalized her dress with a custom ribbon made of thin strips of ivory satin that she tied at the waist. She carried a bouquet of ivory and champagne roses with greens.

Savannah's sister spotted the perfect gown for the bride's 'maids: A floor-length vanilla crinkle chiffon dress with a sweetheart neckline and spaghetti straps. "It looked good on everyone," Savannah says. Bonus: It complemented the colors in the Old Sheldon Church Ruins.

The couple's flower girl donned an ivory dress and wore a floral wreath in her hair, which the craft bride made herself. And couple's ring bearer slipped on a sweater vest and navy pants. "The ring bearer decided he didn't want to walk down the aisle, so he covered his face with the pillow and his dad carried had to carry him down," Savannah laughs. "It was absolutely precious and will be a memory forever."

Gabe and his groomsmen wore navy suits and light blue ties. But their real pop of color came from their socks: The guys were sure to lift their pant legs for a shot of their rainbow colored accessories, which featured everything from stripes to dinosaurs.

The couple's ceremony was held outdoors, in the ruins of what was once the Old Sheldon Church. "The ruins were a place I visited often as a child, and I love their history and architecture," Savannah says. Its awe-inspiring architecture (or what remains of it) meant the couple could use a light touch when it came to décor. With the exception of marking off the reserved rows with magnolia flowers and ivory ribbons, the couple went decoration-free.

Savannah's father walked her down the aisle as a cellist performed. "Walking down the aisle and seeing so many people who have played such important roles in our lives was one of my favorite moments of the day," Savannah says. "That feeling of being surrounded by so many people who care about you was truly amazing. It felt like time stopped for a minute."

The groom's father read a speech during the ceremony. "It was very sweet and added a special touch," the bride says.

Savannah and Gabe welcomed their guests to the outdoor reception with a cocktail hour that included a charcuterie display and his-and-hers signature drinks, including a Manhattan and the Slotnick's House Lemonade, a mixture of vodka, St. Germaine, champagne, and lemonade.

Cocktail tables were topped with white linens and mason-jar arrangements of roses, baby's breath, and greens, while reception tables were decorated with burlap table runners, similar centerpieces, and votive candles held in brushed gold, rose gold, and antique gold containers.

The couple's three-tier carrot, lemon, and chocolate wedding cake was iced with cream cheese frosting.

After a traditional Southern dinner, Savannah and Gabe held an oyster roast with 12 different food stations. "Our guests put on aprons that were embroidered with the words, 'Just Shuck It,' and were able to shuck their own oysters," Savannah says. As you can imagine, the experience was a hit.

"There will be bumps in the road," the bride says of planning a wedding. "But I promise that day will be better than you imagined and everything does fall into place. Soak it all in, because it goes by so quickly. Enjoy the feeling of being surrounded by everyone close to you who have all gathered to support and celebrate you."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Richfield Plantation || Wedding Planner & Rentals: Sparkles Event Decor & Design || Bride's Wedding Dress: Essence of Australia || Veil: White by Vera Wang || Jewelry: Nelson Coleman Jewelers || Shoes: Steve Madden || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Macy's || Wedding Bands: Classic Creations || Florist: The Petal Palace Florist || Invitations: Rachel Slotnik || Music: Andrea Casarrubios; The Swamp Nots || Catering: Flowers Seafood Company || Photographer: Hunter McRae Photography

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Can't get enough of this couple's beautiful celebration? Then check out another South Carolina wedding in the video below.

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