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For Southern Weddings V9, we asked a few of our wisest, most creative, and just plain fun friends how they celebrate their anniversaries. From simple takeout dinners served on wedding china, to trips back to honeymoon destinations, and everything in between, their ideas spanned every timeframe, budget, and tradition we can think of. Whether you’ll be celebrating your first anniversary or your fifteenth this year, we hope these ideas inspire you–we’ll be sharing a new one each Sunday!

Jen Dillender

We always dance. Wherever we are on our anniversary, we cut a rug – it’s mandatory.
– Calder Clark of Calder Clark Events, married 11 years

lisa Written with love by Lisa

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If you’ve never heard of Montage Palmetto Bluff, BOY do I have a treat for you today!

When John and I first visited this magical Southern destination a few years ago, it really did feel like we were stepping into another world — one where the light dripping through the Spanish moss is always perfect; everyone you meet is friendly, helpful, and relaxed; and each building and street is more adorable than the last. Since our first visit, things in Bluffton have only gotten more beautiful and accommodating, thanks to a recent multi-million dollar expansion and renovation.

It is truly my pleasure to give you the scoop on this Southern gem today, so let’s go take a tour!

Nestled within a lush 20,000 acre coastal nature preserve between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Montage Palmetto Bluff delights guests at every turn. The property includes:

— 200 guest accommodations, including private cottages, guest rooms, and suites
— six dining experiences
— three distinct pools
— a spa
— a vibrant village and marina
— and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf course

Combined with all of the other available recreational activities and the sheer pleasure of walking Montage Palmetto Bluff’s grounds, your guests will never run out of things to do during their stay!

Top two photos by Rach Loves Troy from this wedding, middle two photos by Perry Vaile from this wedding, and bottom photo of the Sommerset Chapel

Most famous of Montage Palmetto Bluff’s wedding offerings is the May River Chapel – you’ve likely seen it in past weddings we’ve featured, like Jennifer and Kerby’s and Leigh and Steve’s. I truly think it is the most picturesque chapel in the South! The Sommerset Chapel is a newer, equally beautiful addition to the property, and it has a slightly larger capacity (up to 185 guests).

Photos by Rach Loves Troy from this wedding

For your reception, venue options include beautiful lawns and green spaces, including the Village Green with the iconic ruins of the Wilson Mansion. These spots are perfect for tenting, and can graciously host up to 500 guests. I love the history behind these locations, which once hosted some of the most fabulous Southern parties of the early 1900s while the mansion was still standing – quite the legacy!

Photos by Perry Vaile from this wedding

There are two beautiful ballroom options for indoor affairs, as well. I love that even the indoor options incorporate Palmetto’s lovely surroundings, with large wraparound verandas and gorgeous windows.

Photos by Rach Loves Troy

Once you arrive, trust me, you and your guests are not going to want to leave, so thankfully there are wonderful rehearsal dinner options on property, too. From a romantic wine cellar to the fire-pit dotted May River Lawn to the open-air pavilion at Moreland Landing, perfect for an oyster roast and complete with a five-story tree house wrapped around a centuries-old live oak tree (!).

Montage Palmetto Bluff has you covered in the beauty department, too, with Spa Montage. There, you can indulge in a couples massage, take a dip in both hot tubs and cold plunge pools, and get your hair and makeup done for the celebration itself in their full-service salon.

Curious to see more of this Southern wedding wonderland? Take a peek at a few past Montage Palmetto Bluff weddings we’ve featured:
Jennifer and Kerby: married on the Village Green with a tented reception at the Village Green
Leigh and Steve: married at the May River Chapel with a reception at Moreland Landing
Janelle and Paul: married at the May River Chapel with a reception in the Oak Ballroom
Caroline and Wyatt: married at the May River Chapel with a reception under a tent on the Village Green and dancing in the Oak Ballroom

Of course, you can always head to the Montage Palmetto Bluff website for the full scoop,, including their wedding brochure and contact information. And P.S: Even if you’ve already planned your wedding at another location, there’s still hope! Montage Palmetto Bluff makes the PERFECT honeymoon destination :)

This post is brought to you by Montage Palmetto Bluff. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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In our editorial meeting this week, we were chatting about how for many couples, rain on their wedding day often ends up playing a big role in some of their favorite memories. This just so happens to be true for Meagan and Chris! Despite being terrified of the possibility of rain on their wedding weekend at Oldfield Club, when it actually rained just as their outdoor ceremony started, Meagan experienced one of her favorite moments. With her best girlfriends, lots of laughter, and a bit of champagne, not even the rain could dampen their spirits. After a few minutes, the sky cleared and their ceremony restarted. To honor her late father, Meagan and Chris were married by her cousin in a ceremony that was not only special, but full of joy–exactly what her father would have wanted. Don’t miss the funny way her cousin closed the ceremony!

Big hugs to Ashley Sewell for sharing this Lowcountry wedding!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My sister and one of my bridesmaids went shopping with me in New York. We went to one salon at a larger department store and I had one of the first appointments of the day. When we got to the door, there were a few other brides there also waiting for their appointments. When they unlocked the door, it was like a Black Friday sale at Target–people were speed-walking and throwing elbows. I don’t think I ever really recovered from that initial experience and didn’t love any of the dresses. We then headed over to Mark Ingram and the experience was completely different. The consultant was wonderful and gave her opinion in a way that I truly appreciated. My sister and friend got to sit in the dressing area and everything just felt so much more relaxed. They were having a Peter Langner trunk show that day and when I put on one of his dresses, it just felt right. My friend told me that she knew she had found her dress because after she tried it on, she didn’t want to take it off. When I tried on this dress, I got that same feeling and knew that I had found exactly what I wanted. Peter Langner was actually in the salon that day, and after getting his approval and a photo with him and Mark Ingram, I knew that I was done with the dress decision.

Chris and I both wanted to get married outside and it just so happened that the time had changed the Sunday before our wedding, so it was going to get dark early. In order to have a ceremony and a reception at a time that we both agreed on, we knew that photos would have to happen before the ceremony. We also wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests and didn’t want to be off taking photos during cocktail hour! Ashley Seawell was so helpful talking through all the details with us, and I really trusted her judgment when it came to timing and logistics for the first look. The actual first look was such an amazing moment and gave Chris and me the rare opportunity to spend a couple minutes alone just enjoying the day.

We used traditional vows for our ceremony but took a more untraditional approach for our officiant, as my cousin married us. He works in advertising and is, quite frankly, hysterical. My dad had passed away about ten years ago, and when he and my uncle would get together, it was like being at a comedy show. I knew that I wanted to have a ceremony that he would have enjoyed, because he appreciated a good laugh better than most people. My uncle walked me down the aisle and my cousin performed a ceremony that literally every single person enjoyed–we knew that we wanted our ceremony to be special, but we also wanted to laugh and enjoy this incredibly joyful moment! He even ended it with “and now, I have officially married my cousin!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I grew up in Texas and went to the University of Georgia, so I have a soft spot in my heart for the South. Chris grew up in Virginia Beach and spends most of his life fishing or thinking about fishing. We knew that we wanted to do a quasi-destination wedding that was in the US, but also knew that we needed to be on the water, as Chris had always wanted to go fishing with his groomsmen the weekend of the wedding. I started doing a lot of research and actually spent a ton of time on the Southern Weddings website researching venues. When I saw Oldfield, I immediately knew that was the spot. It is beautiful, on the water, has the most amazing people that work there, and had the ability to house our entire wedding party onsite, something that was very important to us given the amount of time and money people from across the globe were spending to get to our wedding. We really wanted to take all the thinking out of it once people got there. We used all of the venues at Oldfield for our events and it worked out perfectly. They all have a unique charm to them and it made each event seem different!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My amazing mother-in-law spent hours and hours creating the most amazing oyster garland. After we got engaged, I remember showing her a photo of an oyster garland and telling her about how cool I thought that was. She was able to bring the image to life! She collected oyster shells from oyster roasts, restaurants, etc. and then cleaned them, drilled holes in them, and strung them together to create this amazing garland. In addition to the garland, she made oyster candle holders and wreaths that were so beautiful and were perfect for our Lowcountry vibe. I’m currently trying to convince her to open a shop on Etsy. I also might have bought an oyster chandelier in the craziness of wedding planning. I’ll hang that in our house one day, right?

We used Minette Rushing for our wedding cake and the groom’s cake. For the groom’s cake, I surprised Chris at our rehearsal dinner with a cake in the shape of a marlin. It was such a fun little detail, and the actual cake was to die for. Toward the end of the welcome dinner party on Friday night, they were running low on the cake, but they didn’t want to cut the marlin cake. Well, my mom, who is a true sweet lover, was just not okay with only getting a couple slices of cake that night. She stuck her finger in the marlin and looked up and said, “now you can cut it.” We were all dying laughing, and of course, were excited that we all had more cake to eat! The wedding cake was perfect as well. Minette created a cake that was exactly what I wanted. All of this goes back to my theme of trust the experts. I think that Chris and I are most looking forward to our one-year anniversary so we can eat the cake top tier, because we didn’t get any at the wedding!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I both attended business school at the University of Virginia. Chris graduated two years before I did, but I never met him through recruiting or other alumni events while I was in school. He moved to New York after graduation and I then also landed a job there. I was on a walk with one of my friends from school right before I moved to the city when she told me that I should meet Chris when I moved. I didn’t really think much about it, as I was mentally preparing for a career in investment banking and a move to a completely new city.The night I moved to New York, I went out to dinner with some friends and we decided to stop by a bar called Village Tavern for a couple of drinks. I guess you could say the stars were aligned because Chris and his friends had the same idea. The people we were with knew each other and we all started talking. Chris and I were introduced, really hit it off, and a couple of weeks later, went out on our first date. I didn’t think it was possible, but I literally met my husband the day I moved to New York!
Tell us all about the proposal! My family is from Texas and we used to celebrate Thanksgiving in Mexico. Chris and I decided that it would be fun to honor that tradition and celebrate Christmas in Mexico with both of our families. On the Friday before we were scheduled to leave, I had just gotten home from a canned food drive for work and was busy packing. The apartment was rather clean and Chris looked nice, but I didn’t think too much about it, as we had dinner plans with our friends–plans that I thought I could get out of because I was super tired and couldn’t imagine having a big night before we got on our 6 A.M. flight for Mexico. I was in our bedroom packing when Chris asked for me to come help him with something. I stood there for a second thinking that maybe if I didn’t immediately respond, he’d figure it out. Well, he called for me again and I walked into the living room to find him in front of our little Christmas tree on one knee with maybe the most terrified look on his face! He asked me to marry him in our 600 square foot apartment with Frank Sinatra singing “Christmas Waltz” in the background, and it was perfect. We went to eat at Little Owl, one of our favorite restaurants, and spent the night celebrating with friends–and still made our 6 am flight to Mexico!
When did y’all get married? November 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings during our ceremony. One was n excerpt from “Gift From the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and the other was a quote from John Lennon: “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” The John Lennon quote is written in chalk on the wall of one of our favorite coffee shops in Hatteras, North Carolina. Chris spent most of his life going on fishing trips in Hatteras and we were glad that we were able to work in a special ode to that in our ceremony.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In his speech on Friday night, Chris said that I challenge him in ways that he would have never expected. One of those ways was enrolling us in dancing lessons before the wedding. I think I had this vision of us executing a perfect ballroom dance routine and Chris loving every minute of dancing practice. Neither of those things happened, but dancing lessons started to be a special activity for us. We were obviously not great at actually dancing, but through those lessons and the dinners that we treated ourselves to after the lessons, we spent a lot of time learning about how we work together and talking about expectations that we both had regarding our marriage. It started out as something we dreaded, and after it was all over, we both agreed that we should always try and make it a priority to find time for these special activities that we could do together to continue to learn about each other and grow as a couple. We are currently taking golf lessons and we might be better dancers!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I had obviously been stalking the weather and when I saw that it was going to be 80 degrees the weekend of our wedding, I thought to myself, I’m so glad I bought pashminas for all the female guests for the ceremony and have an espresso/coffee truck coming to serve guests warm drinks during our reception! I also noticed a little chance of rain around the time of our ceremony. Fast forward to our ceremony and I remember standing by the side of the house, looking up at the sky right before I was supposed to walk down the aisle, and telling my uncle that it was going to rain. The bridesmaids had all walked down the aisle and everyone was in their seats and I could feel the rain drops (my uncle continued to just say, “it’s not raining”). Ten seconds later, the sky completely opened up, so I ran into the house and sat in the bathroom as the entire wedding party and all the guests also ran into the house to take cover. My bridesmaids came into the bathroom with me, along with a couple of glasses of champagne. The champagne was opened and all the guests had a little pre-ceremony cocktail hour as we waited for the rain to stop. I sat in the bathroom with my bridesmaids and we just laughed and had an amazing time. Thirty minutes later, the storm passed and the sky looked beautiful, so we just picked up right where we left off, and Chris still cried when I walked down the aisle! During the planning stages, I was terrified of the possibility that it might rain that weekend, but when it actually happened, it turned out to be one of my most favorite memories of the day!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? You are most likely not a wedding planner and do not host parties for 100+ people on a regular basis. Trust the experts and listen to your vendors. Also, my biggest regret is not having a video of the speeches at our rehearsal dinner and of our ceremony. Even if you don’t have a videographer, make sure you capture these moments on video!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Chris and I just rescued an epileptic Pomeranian that we named Kirby Smart, after the new Georgia coach. We are still loving living in New York and are just excited about continuing this crazy journey together!

Photographer: Ashley Seawell Photography | Planner: Embellished Events | Venue and Caterer: Oldfield Club | Florist: Garden on the Square | Wedding Cake: Minette Rushing Custom Cakes | Rentals: EventHaus | Band: Papa-Sol via East Coast Entertainment | Paper Products: The Wedding Library | Bride’s Gown: Peter Langner | Bridal Salon: Mark Ingram Atelier | Hair and Makeup: Christine Stephens | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Groom’s Attire: Hickey Freeman | Ceremony Music: Charleston Virtuosi | Custom Map and Signage: Signet Sealed | Custom Monogram: Katherine Killeffer | Transportation: Old Savannah Tours | Espresso Truck: Corner Perk | Live Painting: Elaine Burge

Oldfield Club is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Bri A reply

    I’m so amazed by all the details that shine through (that oyster garland!!) and their love for each other is so clear! Thanks for sharing, Meagan!


  2. avatar Jess Metcalf reply

    That oyster garland!!! I love it!

  3. avatar Mel reply

    These are my favourite bridesmaids dresses!! Love, love, love!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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