An Elegant Wedding With Old Hollywood Style in Charleston, South Carolina

Planned by Gregory Blake Sams

couple

Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

Everything seemed to come together in ways that Amanda Greeley, the owner, and designer of Thelma, didn’t expect for her wedding with Douglas Johnson in Charleston. “I hadn’t thought much about what my wedding would be like until it came time to plan it,” she admits. After quickly deciding to say “I do” in Charleston at the Gadsden House, she landed on a winter wedding—something she never considered—as January 25 was the only available date at the venue, and black-tie dress code at the suggestion of Douglas. Her visions suddenly came to life: “I imagined an intimate ceremony followed by a night of dinner and dancing,” she says. “I wanted the whole thing to feel like an elegant, adult-affair.”

I imagined an intimate ceremony followed by a night of dinner and dancing. I wanted the whole thing to feel like an elegant, adult-affair.

Amanda collaborated with Gregory Blake Sams of Gregory Blake Sams Events for event planning and design, working to evoke classic, "old Hollywood" movie feel in the venue, which is actually a stately Charleston home. Colors stuck to whites and olives, including on the dainty design of the porcelain, florals in her bouquet, and the wax seal-stamped escort cards. The dinner took place in a tent adorned with table lamps and rich olive fabrics, featuring a meal of filet mignon, gnocchi, and caviar, all topped off with coupes of Champagne.

Among the other things Amanda didn’t predict was her dress, an Oscar de la Renta strapless ball gown that she admits she second-guessed several times. When her bridal gown atelier, Jin Wang, mentioned they could adapt the fullness of the skirt, she was set. “It reminded me of the gown Grace Kelly wears in To Catch a Thief, one of my childhood faves,” Amanda says, referring to the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film.

By the end of the night, all the mid-century, classic vibes transitioned to something a little more funky and unexpected: a dance party at a 1970s nightclub, The Commodore. “It felt right because my husband and I have had some fun late nights there over the years,” the bride adds. 

Read on for all the details of Amanda and Douglas’s classic winter wedding, planned by Gregory Blake Sams and photographed by Lindsey Harris Shorter.

invitation
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
invitation
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

Amanda worked closely with the team at Mac & Murphy on the layout of the invitations, which resulted in a modern embossed design.

bride
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

It reminded me of the gown Grace Kelly wears in To Catch a Thief, one of my childhood faves.

bride
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
bride
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

“I had no intention of wearing a strapless dress,” Amanda says of her Oscar de la Renta ball gown made of silk and cotton lace. “I almost didn’t want this dress to be the one. I had seen it on the runway.”

bride
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

To help her feel more "herself" in the dress, the team at Jin Wang in San Francisco edited down the volume of the skirt. Amanda also added contemporary accessories to make it feel more modern. 

bride
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
bouquet
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
shoes
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

She wore gold and pearl Sophie Buhai earrings and champagne-colored satin Manolo Blahnik pump as well as her mother’s diamond tennis bracelet, a gift from her father in the 1980s. She carried an all-white bouquet

bridesmaid
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
bride with friends
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

Amanda opted for no bridesmaids but did get ready with three dear friends. 

bride
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
bouquet
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
bride
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

“It’s worth wearing something you feel comfortable and like yourself in,” Amanda says of her final bridal look. “I also loved that you could see the shoes peeking out from the front of the dress.”

bride with veil
 Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
bride with dad
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

Amanda’s father, David Greeley, escorted her down the aisle in a white dinner jacket. Amanda says that later that evening, her father’s speech was one of her favorite memories. “He looked amazing in his white jacket too,” she adds. 

ceremony
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
ceremony
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

Douglas donned a Ralph Lauren Purple Label tuxedo with a Gucci bow tie for the ceremony, which was officiated by his good friend, Andy Maham. The couple exchanged their own vows, including sweet stories about their life together. 

first kiss
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
couple
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

“Our vows were very ‘us,’” Amanda says. After their first kiss, the couple’s band played “What The World Needs Now,” cueing the guests to make their way to the cocktail hour and reception area downstairs. 

couple
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

“I love being a host so, first and foremost, we wanted to throw a great party for all of our family and friends,” Amanda says of the celebration. She handled most of the planning for the day while Douglas single-handedly organized their honeymoon to St. Barths and Anguilla. 

deocr
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter

The reception stuck to the olive green-and-white color scheme, including the statement arrangements at the entryway and the centerpiece escort card table

escort cards
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
escort cards
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
escort cards

Seating arrangements were printed on simple white tented cards, elevated by white wax seals.

tent
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
trees
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
trees
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

The reception took place in a tent outside. A clear tent filled with large plants and a classic black and white floor led the way to the “sexy” dinner party tent draped in olive green fabrics. 

menu
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
fortune cookie
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

Lamps were certainly a design feature throughout the celebration. The entryway was lit by a gold chandelier that would echo the small tabletop lamps and lampshades on the dinner tables. The Champagne bar included a more modern lamp, a nod to those set on the bar in the 1950s. 

dinner
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
reception
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
place setting
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
reception
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

“I wish it could have stayed up longer,” Amanda says of the tented reception space. Gregory Blake Sams worked with Small Masterpiece to design the table settings, which included Bernardaud porcelain plates, antique silver flatware, and menus that also served as place cards

reception
​Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter  

I love being a host so, first and foremost, we wanted to throw a great party for all of our family and friends.

table at dark
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

“Make sure you are having the wedding you want to have and not trying to please others through your wedding,” Amanda advises to other couples planning.

dinner table
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
couple at dinner
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

The menu included “classics,” the bride says, like parsnip soup, filet mignon, and cake. To add a few personal touches, they served caviar, a nod to discovering the delicacy on a trip to New York together, and a Champagne bar. The couple’s favorite local wine shop, Graft, curated the three special bottlings. 

dancing tent
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
couple dancing
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
couple dancing
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

A live band played throughout dinner and for the couple’s first dance. The newlyweds danced to “Fly Me to the Moon,” by Bobby Womack before cutting into their cake. The rest of the dancing would take place at The Commodore later in the evening. 

cake
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
cake cutting
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
champagne
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

Wildflour Pastry, one of the couple’s favorite local bakeries, crafted the four-tier confection filled with lemon almond cake. 

cake cutting
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
cake cutting

“The whole day was really special,” Amanda says. 

couple with cake
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter
cake
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
champagne
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

“I think it’s nice to remember that your wedding is extremely important to you and your partner and a handful of family members; everyone else is there to have a great time,” she adds. “It keeps it in perspective.”

getaway
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
couple
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
getaway ride
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

The couple did a quick outfit swap—to a Monique Lhuillier gold dress and a blue velvet Tom Ford dinner jacket—and arrived at the dance party in a vintage Mercedes Benz convertible. On the way, the couple found a radio station playing old-school R&B, which perfectly fit the mood, Amanda says.

after party
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
after party decor
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

The after-party took place at The Commodore, which the bride describes as a funk club with a very 1970s vibe. Mike Quinn and the Motown Throwdown played for the revelers, who danced under a massive lantern installation by BoomBalloons and munched on late-night Vietnamese bites from Little Miss Ha

reception exit
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 
reception exit
Photo by Lindsey Harris Shorter 

When the newlyweds arrived at the after-party, they were greeted by all their guests holding sparklers for a grand entrance. “I would do it all again if I could,” Amanda says.

Wedding Team

Venue Gadsden House

After-Party Venue The Commodore

Planner Gregory Blake Sams

Officiant Andy Maham

Bridal Gown & Veil Oscar de la Renta, from Jin Wang

Jewelry Sophie Buhai

Shoes Manolo Blahnik

Hair & Makeup Meg Workman Beauty

Reception Dress Monique Lhuillier

Groom’s Attire Ralph Lauren Purple Label; Gucci; Tom Ford

Engagement Ring Blair Lauren Brown

Wedding Bands Suzanne Kalan

Floral Design Sarah York Grimshaw Designs

Stationery Mac & Murphy

Ceremony Music Kiral Artists

Reception Music Mike Quinn and Motown Throwdown

Catering Gadsden House; Little Miss Ha

Cake Wildflour Pastry

Rentals BoomBalloons; La Tavola Fine Linen; Mayker Creative; Small Masterpiece; Snyder Events; Technical Event Company; Veil Charleston; Visual Comfort

Favors We Took to the Woods

Accommodations The Dewberry; Zero George

Photography Lindsey Harris Shorter

 

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