In June of 2007, Elly Poston and a group of friends were home in Charleston for the summer after their freshman year at college. “We went to a house party, and I met this charming and funny boy. We’ve been best friends ever since," remembers Elly. That boy was Josh Cooper, and their fast friendship kept them close through college and their first jobs, lasting seven years before the couple finally started dating in 2014. Elly was living in New York City at the time, but she soon moved to South to take a job at Southern Living—not too far from Josh’s hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
In January of 2016, Josh joined Elly in New York City for a wintery weekend. “I should have known something was up when he ironed his flannel shirt,” says Elly. But she was completely unsuspecting as they noshed on bagels and strolled through Washington Square Park. “I thought Josh had slipped on the ice, but the next thing I knew I had a ring on my finger and we were celebrating with friends at the Marlton Hotel!” says the bride.
Elly grew up spending time at Kiawah Island with her family, and Josh fell in love with it as he visited with the Postons. “We thought a wedding at Kiawah would be a treat for our friends and family—like summer camp, but with cocktails!” says the bride. The set the date for April 1, 2017, and invited 240 guests to join them off the South Carolina coast. The bride, an interior designer, put her skills to good use. She teamed up with Gathering Events to create a cocktail party at home, complete with maidenhair ferns, grass baskets, custom lamps, and throw pillows in the bride’s favorite fabric. “I knew Heather and Mary Ruth would speak my ‘fern and crusty pot’ language perfectly,” Elly says.
With the Kiawah River in the background and Virgil Bunao behind the camera, Josh and Elly made it official with a classic Southern wedding that was as close to “at home” as they could get. Keep scrolling to see more!
“I thought I wanted a straight and simple gown, but of course I fell in love as soon as I twirled in this one,” says Elly of her Legends Romona Keveza wedding dress. The fitted silk bodice had a boat neck, scoop back, and which gave way to a full silk organza skirt. She had the lining embroidered with her new monogram and wore a diamond and pearl bracelet that had belonged to Josh’s grandmother.
The couple had their families, ring bearers, and flower girls stand with them at the altar. Elly’s cousin and best friend wore blush and stood at the altar, and the rest of her ‘maids were invited to wear white and take seats of honor. The textured bouquets combined maidenhair and sword fern, garden roses, spirea, sweet peas, allium, peonies, fringe flower, Solomon’s seal, and eucharis and nerine lilies.
To complement his navy tux, Josh’s boutonniere combined lily of the valley and jasmine vine. “I love that my 18th century engagement ring is an antique, and I wanted Josh to have ‘something borrowed,’ too,” says Elly, who gave her groom a vintage Jaeger-leCoultre watch on their wedding day.
The couple had five ring bearers, the oldest of whom wore a navy blazer to match the groom. “The boys stole the show, and had to be bribed down the aisle with gummy gators!” Elly laughs.
Elly and her bridesmaids got ready in the ladies’ locker room at The River Course, and her cavalier, George, couldn’t miss the fun. “He sat at my feet through the entire hair and makeup process, really calming my nerves,” says the bride.
To enhance the breathtaking river views, Josh and Elly added a floral arch, natural wooden chairs, and arrangements of roses and ferns.
The younger ring bearers wore Swiss dot Jon Jons, while the flower girls wore white dresses and crowns of ferns.
Elly’s veil had been worn by her great grandmother, grandmother, mother, and aunts. “We had to remove a huge bow my aunts had added in the ‘90s, but we were able to restore it to its original Brussels lace glory!” Elly says.
Josh’s uncle officiated the ceremony, making it a family affair full of cracking voices and happy tears.
Guests headed to the club house for cocktails, sipping vodka-sodas dressed up with grapefruit juice and mint. “Josh and I missed the cocktail hour because we were taking portraits – we had to nix pre-ceremony pictures because they’d begun paving the roads after we got dropped off for our first look and the bus couldn’t come back to get us!” Elly laughs. “Mary Ruth put me in the front seat of her car, Josh grabbed champagne from the bar, and we had to hurry to the ceremony!”
Outdoors, the umbrella stands were wrapped in greenery to add a natural look. Inside simple furniture was accented with candlelight and straw baskets, and Elly’s favorite ferns were draped on the railings.
At dinner, white linens were topped with organic arrangements of nerine lilies, spirea, allium, and greenery. Dinner was a true Lowcountry supper, with shrimp and grits, oyster fritters, and ham biscuits on the menu. Late night, guests noshed on “Palm Frites” (named by the MOB) – truffle-parmesan fries passed on the dance floor.
The Atlanta Party Band played “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” by Barry White for the first dance, then guests flooded the dance floor. “The best advice I got from friends was to be gracious to our guests as I make my way to the dance floor, then stay there!” says Elly. “We enjoyed every second. It’s the happiest blink, regardless of any snafus!”
Wedding Planner & Floral Design: Gathering Events || Venue & Catering: The River Course, Kiawah Island || Bride's Dress: Legends Romona Keveza || Bride's Jewelry & Wedding Bands: Croghan’s Jewel Box || Hair & Makeup: Paper Dolls || Bride’s Aid: Cacky’s Bride Aid || Groom's Attire: Suit Supply || Paper Products: Studio R || Cake: Ashley Bakery || Entertainment: Atlanta Party Band || Rentals: Snyder Events, Eventworks Rentals, BBJ Linen || Lamps: Dana Gibson || Videography: Josh Rainwater || Photography: Virgil Bunao