Mary Chris + Will | Oct 26, 2019
Elegant fall wedding with odes to worldly travel and a warm, seasonal color palette at 701 Whaley in Columbia, South Carolina
Mary Chris had just moved to Charlotte for a new job during the summer of 2015, when a mutual friend and coworker of Will’s planned a group boat outing. She caught Will’s eye at the lake, and they really hit it off at another friend outing to a NASCAR race, followed by endless dancing at a local pub.
“Our relationship truly blossomed after that day and he was such a gentleman during the courting process,” said Mary Chris. “There was no looking back for either of us.”
Fast forward to a trip overseas, where Will was insistent on a visit to the Parque del Oeste in Madrid for sunset. As Will was uncharacteristically snapping selfies of the two in front of the reflection pool, Mary Chris caught him mid nod to a photographer nearby - his cue that the proposal was about to happen!
“Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!” said Mary Chris. “I obviously said YES.”
Following a traditional Basilica ceremony, Mary Chris and Will celebrated their “I Do’s” at a restored historic space, boasting original columns and aged, distinctive walls. The elegant decor reflected the couple’s classic and simple, yet worldly and eclectic style, and incorporated odes to their travels and their “joie de vivre.”
“When we got started with the planning process,” said Mary Chris, “all I knew I wanted was café lights, a great band and a warm, celebratory vibe.”
Inside the bridal suite, Mary Chris relaxed with her ladies as the glam team worked their magic. While the bride slipped away to get into her gown, the bridesmaids changed out of their floral-print robes and into mismatched, soft blue chiffon gowns.
“My bridesmaid dresses were slate ocean blue,” said Mary Chris. “That color showed up throughout the venue whether it be infused into the copper paisley tablecloths, the oriental rug under our cake or velvet accents.”
As for Mary Chris, she left her bridal party speechless when she revealed her simple, ivory gown with a form-fitting silhouette and gorgeous cap sleeves. Every detail was breathtaking, from the plunging open back to the tiny buttons lined all the way down.
“I was pretty sold on a very simple and elegant look when it came to the dress,” said Mary Chris.
She dolled up the classic gown with a rhinestone and satin belt, Swarovski crystal-clad stiletto sandals and a gorgeous, lace-trimmed royal veil. For hair and makeup, she kept it natural with a touch of glam and swept her hair into a low tousled bun with loose tendrils and twists.
For her neutral bridal bouquet, fall tones popped with deep merlot, peach and dusty roses, sages, ivories and loose, rich greenery. Her bridesmaids carried smaller versions, and Will and his groomsmen wore boutonnieres made of greenery and ivory that complemented their sophisticated black and white tuxedos.
“Florals and greenery were a big part,” said Mary Chris. “It helped give the space that warm, inviting, organic feel I was looking for.”
The main double-door entrance of the Basilica was adorned with two wreaths full of greenery and sprinkled with ivory and blush florals, and simple greenery wrapped around both railings. There were two floral arrangements framing either side of the altar, organically strewn together with greenery and soft, romantic blooms.
“We left the decor for the ceremony very simple,” said Mary Chris. “The Basilica itself is stunning with beautiful vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows surrounding the pews, intricate marble centerpieces and statues, and old wood carved doors.”
Once all the guests were seated in the pews, Mary Chris and Will tied the knot during an emotional and heartfelt church ceremony, featuring a powerful choir and organist, and beautiful, traditional vows.
“Being married in a church and celebrating the sacrament of marriage was important,” said Mary Chris.
Following their much-anticipated kiss, the newlyweds joined their guests for a lively cocktail hour before the reception. The gathering was sprinkled with odes to Spain, including a Spanish guitarist, a spread of jamón and assorted Spanish cheeses, and refreshing signature sangria.
Their reception was even spicier, with rich copper and rust velvet tablecloths and vibrant floral arrangements overflowing with maroon, apricot, mauve and dusty pink flowers. The warmth was complemented by the deep teals and softer blue tablecloths and accents incorporated in the main room.
“The decor was elegant,” said Mary Chris, “but the designer incorporated an oriental rug, lounges, throw pillows and candles to give the room such a comfortable and familial vibe as well.”
The one-of-a-kind seating chart, a framed collage of vintage maps including various destinations the couple visited, led guests to tables set with rustic cross back chairs and marble chargers. Each table was made stunning by centerpieces full of dahlias, garden roses, ranunculus, chocolate cosmos, delphinium, hellebores, foxglove and zinnias in glass vases, metallic goblet bowls and brass drums.
“I wanted this celebratory, dancing in the moonlight vibe,” said Mary Chris. “The planner hung café lights, Spanish moss and other vines from the ceiling of this industrial building and put a tree literally in the middle of our wraparound bar.”
In honor of the couple’s Spain engagement, the odes to the places they have traveled and the food made the day tailored to them. From the carefully curated food to the lively dance floor, the day was truly their own.
“If you know Will and me, you know we like to get down on the dance floor and are not scared to have a good time,” said Mary Chris. “We did just that, but were accompanied by all of our friends and family...it didn’t get more personalized towards us than that.”
For dessert, they cut a four-tiered wedding cake with textured buttercream icing and modern watercolor marble design. The cake was accented with gold foil and garnished with two clusters of soft pink fresh-picked flowers. Best of all - they are saving the topper to celebrate their one-year anniversary!
To wash down the cake, they also passed around late-night, heart-shaped pizza to pay homage to the couple’s mutual love for a good ‘za. The cheesy goodness refilled everyone’s energy and sent them back out on the dance floor, where the party lived on all night long.
“I always get a smile on my face when I think about the dance floor and the band,” said Mary Chris. “There was sweat, spilled drinks, laughs and killer (or not so much) dance moves shared by everyone.”
Showered with a little bit of rain and a lot of love, Will grabbed Mary Chris’s hand after the last dance, and led her under an umbrella to their sleek black getaway limousine.
Congratulations, Mary Chris and Will!
Looking for a wedding caterer to add flavor to your reception? Check out our list of vetted vendors HERE!
Hayden Olivia Bridal
Bonnie Brunt Cakes
Pout Salon Process Hair Studio
Southern Way Catering
The Band Punch
Paper Goods + Calligraphy
Iris & Marie Press
Jennings King Photography
Meagan Warren Weddings
Rentals & Decor
La Tavola Fine Linens
Lighting Ambient Media
The Basilica of Saint Peter
Hart to Heart Media