Dani & Aaron | Palmetto Bluff, SC
In the fall of 2002, Danielle Kirschbaum headed off to her freshman year at George Washington University, while her best friend got settled in at New York University. “I went home to New York City to visit my family and see my friend, and that’s when I met his roommate,” Danielle remembers. That roommate was of course Aaron Rapke. The pair hung out during Danielle’s trips home over the next four years, but Aaron moved to Los Angeles after graduation. “I moved to New York City, and was shocked to bump into Aaron in the lobby of my apartment building. It turned out his sister was living there, too!” says Danielle. They started to date, and when she moved to Los Angeles for graduate school in 2008, things got serious. In December of 2015, Aaron and Danielle were in the car on their way to Malibu for lunch at Nobu with Aaron’s dad—or so Danielle thought. “We pulled over by the beach on the way, which wasn’t an uncommon thing for us to do,” she recalls. The spot Aaron chose to stop was where they’d first said “I love you,” and it was where he also decided to get down on one knee.
The pair enjoyed their engagement, visiting venues from Napa Valley and Carmel to Rhode Island and Cape Cod, and didn’t book a spot until November of 2016, when they saw Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina. “We loved the idea of choosing a location most of our guests hadn’t been to before, and taking the city folk to the South seemed like a lot of fun,” says the bride. So that's exactly what they did, filling the weekend of March 19, 2017 with bike rides, boat tours to see dolphins, and a Low Country boil before walking down the aisle on Sunday afternoon. “Our planning process was short, and having Kristin Doggett from Bellafare to help with all of the details was invaluable,” Danielle says.
Danielle was tempted to get a poufy statement dress to fulfill the “princess for a day” feeling, but the fitted silhouette and delicate lace of this Ines Di Santo gown caught her eye instead. “I wore a big tulle overskirt for the ceremony to get that princess vibe, but it was slightly sheer so you could see the lace beneath,” she describes.
The bride carried a soft bouquet (of peonies, roses, and jasmine vine) with a special detail. “My father passed away after I graduated from college, so I wrapped one of his Hermes ties around the stems,” Danielle says.
Aaron’s boutonniere also featured a pop of pink from jasmine vine, while his groomsmen sported seeded eucalyptus, tied with olive leaves and twine.
Each woman in Danielle's bridal party selected her own blush-hued dress, while they all carried bright bouquets featuring orange ranunculus as a pop of color. “The scenery at Palmetto is so striking, so I wanted them in something simple and elegant that wouldn’t be too busy for the setting," says the bride.
The couple’s ketubah was printed on slate blue paper and displayed at the ceremony.
A woven seagrass aisle runner led to a chuppah draped with branches, framing the water and palms in the background.
Aaron’s sister’s children served as ring bearers and flower girls, with the boys in tuxedos and the flower girl in a fluffy tulle skirt.
After walking down the aisle, Aaron and Danielle exchanged vows they’d written themselves. “Aaron is a writer by trade, so I knew I had to put my all into my vows to match his,” says Danielle. “It was a fun and emotional process. We really wanted to express what we mean to one another in front of those we love most, and sharing our vows was such a special moment.” Per Jewish tradition, the couple exchanged plain bands during the ceremony, using Danielle’s grandparents’ rings. “My mother and sister used them at their weddings, too,” the bride says.
Cocktail hour took place by the plantation ruins on Palmetto Bluff's main village green. Guest sipped Artillery Punch (a mix of cognac, bourbon, rum, champagne, and lemon) and lounged in vignettes of upholstered furniture rentals. “I wanted to incorporate a few modern elements to represent our life in L.A.,” explains Danielle. The metal-and-glass coffee tables fit the bill!
Guests found their name cards tucked into acrylic trays, which were filled with seashells.
The tables were a mix of bare wood farm tables and ones topped with white linens. Swirling glass chargers echoed the water and paired beautifully with rose gold flatware.
Votive candles and taper candles (arranged in cool marble holders) and clustered around centerpieces of ranunculus, sweet peas, and roses in blush, cream, and pink hues (by the talented Amy Osaba!).
“My mom’s speech was second to none,” says Danielle. “She’s an amazing speaker, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.” The bride’s mother read a portion of a letter that Danielle’s late father had written her after dropping her off at college for the first time. “He had shared his dreams for my future and his confidence that I would achieve them. It’s as though it was meant to be saved for our wedding day.”
The four-tiered wedding cake featured layers of vanilla buttercream and fresh berries, and was topped with ranunculus and jasmine vine. Cake was, of course, followed by a killer dance party. “My friend found a band at a bar in Nashville and hired them for her wedding, and we hired them too,” says Danielle. “They aren’t a traditional wedding band. They have a lot of soul and funk—and killer voices! It was like being at an amazing bar with live music, which is more our style.” As a surprise, the ring bearers and flower girl presented the bride and groom with a choreographed dance they’d been working on for months. “They stole the show, and everyone’s hearts!” the bride says.
After planning such a gorgeous wedding, the bride has this advice for ladies like you: “The most important part of the wedding is having the people you love together. A flower arrangement may not look how you imagined, but no one will know or care. Let it go and live in the moment, because those are the memories you’ll keep with you.”