Jess + Joe | Oct 26, 2019
Rustic, southern wedding with earthy tones and lush greenery at Gold Bug Island in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Jess and Joe are both Raleigh, North Carolina natives and North Carolina State University grads, however they didn’t meet until years later through a dating app. After they had their first date over brunch and spent hours talking, Joe instantly knew that Jess was a keeper, and it didn’t take long for her to realize the same thing.
On a Saturday night after a nice dinner, they were walking to a comedy show when Joe asked if Jess could put his keys in her purse. She said yes, and he immediately started to chuckle.
“I had been dropping hints for months about wanting to get married and Joe told me when I least expected it that it would happen,” said Jess. “He was right!”
Jess took the key ring back out and realized it was very few keys, and when she looked closely, she saw a diamond on the carabiner! Joe took the ring and asked her to be his wife, and they kissed in the street outside the theater.
“It was quick, a bit of a blur, and also one of the best memories,” said Jess. “I, of course, spent the first part of the show staring at the sparkler on my finger and grinning from ear-to-ear.”
With a simple romantic, rustic theme, their wedding day was the perfect mix of excitement and low-key vibes. Dim lighting, earthy tones, simple florals, greenery and the beauty of the natural landscape all added to their dreamy vision. The couple wanted their friends and families to get to be on the water and dance the night away.
“We wanted everything to be beautiful but also feel relaxed and fun,” Jess said. “We wanted our guests to experience the Charleston feel as well.”
As Jess and her bridal party, in matching blush satin lace-trimmed robes, spent the morning getting their hair and makeup done, they popped champagne and clinked glasses to the bride. The ladies soon slipped into their jade green, mismatched bridesmaid gowns, and eagerly awaited Jess in her bridal look.
“The minute I walked into Jess' getting ready room her bridal party's amazing positive energy hit me,” said their photographer, Kelsey of Kelsey Halm Photography. “And it didn't slow down all day!”
When Jess walked out, her bridesmaids were speechless. She was a vision in a sleeveless, ivory gown with a high-neck, lace bodice and a full tulle skirt. To add to the simple yet elegant look, her hair was braided into a low bun updo and she wore her mother’s veil.
“I wanted some lace and to be a little sexy but not revealing,” said the bride. “And I had to be able to dance since Joe is a wonderful dancer.”
Jess completed the look in a pair of satin peep toe wedges and a pair of dainty stud earrings. She carried the most beautiful bouquet, full of fresh greenery, baby’s breath, white roses and pink carnations.
“When I was a young girl, my dad used to give me carnations every year for my birthday, so it was important to me that pink carnations be in my bouquet,” said the bride.
In another room, Joe was getting suited up in a sleek, dark gray tuxedo with a black bow tie and baby’s breath boutonniere. To add a little flair to the classic look, he wore a jade green and white patterned pocket square.
For Jess, the best moment of the entire day was her first look with Joe. As she excitedly and nervously walked toward him on the lawn, she was unsure if she could even get the word “Joe” out without crying. When she tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around and looked so happy.
“He kissed me about 100 times, and it truly was the happiest I have ever seen him in my life,” said Jess. “The love we both felt in that moment, and excitement to say our vows later that day, made it perfect.”
She also shared a special first look moment with her dad, which was a wonderful moment together that neither of them will ever forget.
On a lawn surrounded by natural beauty, the wedding ceremony was set with minimal décor since the marshy creek served as the most romantic backdrop. At the end of the aisle, there was a large wooden arbor that the bride’s family friends had also been married under. It was covered in greenery and florals, and the designer even added Jess’s grandmother’s walking cane so she could watch over the ceremony in spirit.
“We wanted all of our guests to feel welcomed, accepted, and join in the love we have for each other and for them,” Jess said.
Burlap ribbons tied into bows and single stem carnations were added to the ends of rows of white folding lawn chairs, and there were lush palm trees scattered all across the lawn. Before guests took their seats, they signed their names and wrote notes to the couple on a wooden canvas.
As the wedding party, including their two adorable ring bearers, lined up, Jess suddenly realized that the rings were missing. Her bridesmaids sprung into action, asking if she wanted to hold the ceremony to go get the rings. The bride didn’t want the guests to wait, and after a laugh, decided they could use her engagement ring and just find another one for Joe.
"Joe of course, being the laid-back guy he is, laughed and his mother said, ‘this will be a great story one day,’” said the bride. “She was right.”
They borrowed the ring of a male friend and got married just the same. After a beautiful ceremony that incorporated Bible verses, a reading from Mark Twain and a special poem called A Blessing for the Journey, they shared their first kiss as a married couple, cherishing every memory and moment.
“One of the most wonderful parts of the wedding for me was being able to wear my mom’s veil,” said the bride. “It was special to have my mom help me put it on and walk down the aisle with my dad knowing I was wearing a piece of their marriage, 30 years strong, as I married the love of my life.”
When the sun began to set behind the bridge on the water, Kelsey Halm Photography gathered the wedding party for pictures on the lawn and the dock. Meanwhile, the space was being transformed into the rustic, romantic reception the couple had dreamed of.
Under the colorful night sky and twinkling string lights, the indoor-outdoor reception was set for a fun-filled evening. Outside, a food truck was parked for the party and inside, tables were set under wood beam vaulted ceilings.
The tables were covered in ivory linens and topped with candles inside wooden lanterns for a romantic feel. There were burlap table runners, votive candles, sprays of eucalyptus greenery, single stem roses and sprigs of baby’s breath to add a rustic touch to each table.
On another table, the couple placed a “date jar” for guests to share their favorite date night ideas with the newlyweds. Every little detail of the evening was perfect, even the gorgeous fall weather.
“The weather said rain, but Charleston didn't fail us!” said the photographer. “We had absolutely perfect weather, not that rain would have dampened their party anyway... Jess and Joe danced into the night!”
For Joe, his favorite part was all the dancing. From the couple’s first dances and parent dances to the guests spinning around on the dance floor, it was such a special moment to look around and realize all their loved ones were there, dancing, laughing and celebrating the best day of their lives.
Once everyone had worked up an appetite on the dance floor and indulged in some southern cuisine, it was time for something sweet. They had a beautiful, three-tiered white fluted cake adorned with green eucalyptus ribbon and topped with two white roses. It was displayed on a rustic, wooden stand with “Mr. & Mrs.” painted in white letters.
After the cake was cut and toasts were made, the guests lined up with their multicolored glow sticks and gave the new couple a magical sendoff. Under the sparkle of the string lights and surrounded by their loved ones, Jess and Joe left hand in hand with nothing but love and excitement for the future.
Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.!
Still looking for the perfect photographer to capture your special day? Check out Kelsey Halm Photography HERE!
Kelsey Halm Photography
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