A “magical, mystical garden” was the design theme Franca Lynch envisioned for her wedding to Johnny Prim on April 19, 2008. There would be lush, romantic flowers, floating silk butterflies and invitations with a fairy emblem, all in soft, natural hues. The only problem? The site of their nuptials—Franca's parents' waterfront home—is at the opposite end of the design spectrum, with a sleek, modern structure and furnishings. So with the help of Heather Barrie, Charleston-based wedding planner and owner of Gathering Floral + Event Design, they blended these styles in a seamless way, and even incorporated some Scottish elements (honoring the bride's heritage) and Spanish accents (a nod to the country where she was born).
The crowd celebrated at the cocktail hour, toasting with white sangria and indulging in Southern specialties by caterer and 2007 MB Trendsetter Callie White, including lump crab hushpuppies and mini cheddar cheese and ham biscuits. Dinner, inside the home, was equally decadent: At small tables topped with pale green and cream flowers in a mix of modern and vintage vessels, guests sat upon contemporary Lucite chairs and dined on potato-leek soup garnished with a Parmesan wafer and beef tenderloin in a red wine shallot sauce.
Afterward, Atlanta Rhythm and Groove played outside in a clear tent so the newlyweds and their guests could dance under the stars. “This was the best part; we'd made sure there was music everybody could dance to,” says Franca. Birdcages and butterflies, and lots of greenery and fresh flowers dangled from above, enhancing the magical garden feel. Even the cake—an artful, botanical-covered confection by local baker Jim Smeal—and favors (butterfly- and crystal embellished cupcakes) helped bring the pair's wedding fantasy to life. —Betsy Goldberg
Learn from Franca and Johnny
Keep a Secret: Franca's parents kept the rehearsal dinner under wraps, even from the couple. Guests were told to meet at the house and then were transported to a nearby marina, where they boarded her parents' yacht. “It was a great way to kick off the weekend!” says the bride.
Plan Some Private Time: Immediately following the ceremony, the pair slipped away to a table for two, set with drinks and hors d'oeuvres, so they could “soak in the moment,” as Franca says, before the cocktail hour.
Create a Kids' Corner: The couple had a small tent with babysitters and various activities, including painting, to entertain young guests. They received the artwork upon returning from their honeymoon.
Elizabeth Fillmore, elizabethfillmorebridal.com
Courtney Gunter, gunterdesign.com
Callie White, calliesbiscuits.com
Jim Smeal, weddingcakesbyjimsmeal.com
Gathering Floral + Event Design, gatheringevents.com
Gayle Brooker, gaylebrooker.com