“It was a beautiful affair that let upcoming brides and grooms see vendors in action and see how all the different elements of the vendors can come together to create a wedding.” – John + Whitney, guests of the second Charleston NotWedding and winners of The Big Giveaway.
Last year, we started a little something called The Big Giveaway. If you bought a service or product from a vendor you found through The Big Fake Wedding, you had the opportunity to enter to win a killer prize package. One lucky couple would receive a “Newlywed Starter Kit” featuring a beautiful Lamon Luther farm table, a case of delicious Ferrari wine, and fabulous trip to Thailand from Luxury Concierge Travel. We were flabbergasted at the response to The Big Giveaway; we were completely inundated with a flood of entries, all giving glowing endorsements of our wonderful vendors. To our talented 2014 vendors, to everyone who booked them, and to all of you who continue to support The Big Fake Wedding — we thank you!
Although we wish we could have given each and every participant the incredible prize, only one couple could win. It happened to be two guests at the second Charleston NotWedding, one of our most packed, ridiculously humid (yet stunning!) events to date — bless their hearts. John and Whitney, the sweet, deserving winners of The Big Giveaway, booked a total of four vendors from The Big Fake Wedding family for their beautiful October wedding. Not only this, the precious pair also wrote up the most lovely, thoughtful testimonial of the vendors that contributed to their special day. We are so excited to share their experience below!
Before settling on a venue, we toured and analyzed 17 various locations around Charleston, from charming historic homes, beautiful tranquil plantations, ballrooms, parks, to waterfront properties. The Historic Rice Mill was number 17. We had already attempted a deposit with a previous venue, but after looking at several photographs of the first Charleston NotWedding, we decided to go have a look. Upon entering, we were greeted with beautiful exposed brick, tin ceilings, an enormous mahogany bar leading out to an outdoor patio, and a gorgeous view of the sailboats resting on the Ashley River. It was elegant, yet understated, with all the historic charm and character of Charleston that we were looking for. We passed on our original venue and selected a date right away: October 3, 2014.
The ceremony was held outside by the water, and we were very fortunate that the rain held out just in time for us to finish our pictures. After the ceremony, our guests proceeded to cocktail hour to mingle under the lights of the covered patio provided by OtherBrother Entertainment. The lighting provided just the right touch that we were missing.
I think many people can attest that wedding planning has its many ups and downs, but having amazing vendors truly makes the process a lot easier. Although many people also might tell you that the little details won’t matter, personal details were important to us. They were a way for us to have that extra little piece to hold on to after the white dress is put away and the wedding excitement fades. When we stumbled upon Back40Life and their custom wedding signs and décor at The Big Fake Wedding, we knew that would be the perfect touch to welcome our guests to our wedding. The sign is currently on display in our house, and we still love it!
We cannot say enough wonderful things about The Historic Rice Mill, Good Food Catering, and Eve Gray, our wonderful venue coordinator. Although our initial face-to-face introduction didn’t occur until the second Charleston NotWedding at Boone Hall Plantation, she was so easy to reach and completely spoiled us from our catering tasting (we ate way too much!) all the way through our wedding day. Even with several dietary restrictions, Good Food Catering was more than happy to work with us to customize a menu that suited our needs. Our guests were provided with a beautifully stationed dinner of rib-eye, shrimp and grits, swordfish and pasta. After all the food, we had more than enough of a reason to dance the night away with the Blues Factor Band!
Between Eve, and our amazing coordinator, Amanda Assey Lewis of Southern Chic Weddings and Events, we could not have been in better hands. Even when small snags and hiccups occurred (yes they will happen!), these two were right by our sides. With their professionalism, talent, devotion, compassion, sense of humor, and eye for detail, they brought a sense of calm over even the most stressful situations and made us feel like we were truly the only thing that mattered in the entire room. We cannot express our gratitude enough to them and their teams for all their hard work to make our day truly special.
Although she is not currently a vendor with The Big Fake Wedding, we cannot leave out our photographer, Lauren Kinsey of Lauren Kinsey Fine Art Photography. Photography was a top priority for our wedding budget along with the venue, and to this day, we do not regret our decision or our investment as it truly ended up being so much more. Lauren was with us almost since day one. She knew our history and was completely invested in our story, our style, our interests, and our hearts. We were fortunate enough to have an engagement shoot over the summer with her to show her the city we loved and get to know her better; however, we didn’t fully comprehend how much a strong connection with a photographer, both personally and artistically, would impact our wedding day. On our wedding day, Lauren made us feel completely comfortable in front of the camera. We will forever cherish our first look shoot with her as she captured the tears streaming down both of our faces when we first saw each other. She provided assertiveness during group pictures and a warm hug, kind words, and a sense of calm whenever needed. Throughout our entire wedding, we did not feel like we were working with a vendor, but a friend that will forever be in our hearts.
Looking for rockstar vendors to book for your own special day? See your city’s vendors in action at The Big Fake Wedding — get tickets here.