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December 2006

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Fabulous Outdoor Fêtes - Flight of Fancy
Written By: 
Sarah Moïse Young
Photography By: 
Peter Frank Edwards

A touch of whimsy for a garden party.


Number of guests: 70
Estimated cost: $12,500

Charleston is such a popular destination for weddings that it can often be a challenge for even local couples to find a venue. One creative bride decided to bypass a swanky locale in favor of a personal paradise—her own backyard. A local artist who resides in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village, she asked Lisa Thomas of Out of Hand to design an evening to remember in her favorite setting.

INVITATIONS
Thomas created an avian affair, a nod to both the garden setting and a common motif in the bride’s paintings. The custom invitations featured watercolors of birds on Italian paper in a single chocolate folder with a pocket. “I like to weave the bride’s personality into the event,” says the veteran planner. “The bird theme was subtle but tied everything together, showing up on the invitations, throughout the décor, and on the cake.”

SETTING & DECOR
The quiet front walk under a canopy of oaks became the aisle, and the front porch—each column and shutter swathed in Monstera leaves, blue hydrangea, and glowing lanterns—the altar. “Instead of chairs or benches, we had signature Charleston seating—joggling boards—for the ceremony.” Following their vows, the newlyweds invited their party to join them in the side garden for dinner and festivities.

There, the reception went to the birds—elegant and colorful birds, that is. Thomas found antique alabaster birdbaths for centerpieces and vintage china painted with birds for the place settings. “Modern brides have many choices besides traditional gilded white china; for smaller weddings, borrowing china can really stretch a budget and create a personal feel and conversation point for guests,” she says. “And for larger parties, using different china at each table adds a unique touch.”

FOOD & DRINK
For the garden bar, Thomas lined one of the bride’s three-tiered iron planters with Spanish moss and filled it with bottles of sparkling water, white wine, and beer. For a colorful and sparkly specialty drink, she served the aptly named “Bird of Paradise,” a delicious concoction of Prosecco, fresh mango juice, and blueberries.

Before the newlyweds flew the coup for their honeymoon, they enjoyed a plentiful buffet dinner with guests. The menu from J.B.C. Catering was as colorful as the décor, starting with a nest of crab and mango relish with a tortilla “spoon.” Guests then enjoyed paella studded with shrimp, mussels, clams, and chorizo over saffron rice and tantalizing tapas, including roasted cauliflower salad, artichoke tomato confit, roasted peppers, and a bean salad.

TIPS
An elegant event doesn’t always have to be costly, says Thomas. She recommends borrowing china from your mother or grandmother or a joggling board from a neighbor. “It’s the simple but unexpected touches that make the most impact.”

RESOURCES:

  • Design & Florals: Out of Hand
  • Coordination: Monique Semper Flynn
  • Invitations: Create Ink
  • Ceremony Seating: Charleston Joggling Board
  • Tent & Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals
  • Food: J.B.C. Catering
  • Cake: Village Bakery




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