Chase Holliston Gorman & Eric Washburn
May 5, 2018 • The William Aiken House
When Chase Holliston Gorman and Eric Washburn were matched on eHarmony, they bonded over their shared love of canines (they first met in person at an Atlanta dog park), travel, and their burgeoning second careers—she traded fashion merchandising for veterinarian school; he left the police force to become an airline pilot. By the time they were ready to swap singlehood for matrimony, Chase was in Saint Kitts working 70-hour weeks to complete vet training, so the bride-to-be turned the planning reins over to her mother, Katherine. “My mom’s a rock star,” explains Chase, adding that she has “amazing taste.”
Katherine, who is based in Hilton Head with her husband—and Chase’s dad—Ric, was aiming for what she describes as her daughter’s “cashmere and blue jeans” style when she was linked with Charleston planner Christina Baxter. (The Gormans were renovating a historic property on Broad Street when their contractor told them they simply had to work with her.) One coffee meeting later, the nuptial team was set, and an alfresco Tuscan theme was in place.
The event, says Christina, “was designed to feel as though you were at a beautiful home with a formal setting inside and lush gardens outside.” King Street’s The William Aiken House, with its two-story carriage house, piazzas, checkerboard marble paths, and expansive grounds, could not have been more suited. The site, one of the city’s most visible wedding venues—sidewalk passersby often pause to “join” celebrations by peeking through the expansive wrought iron fence—was utterly transformed, but not with the usual brigade of blooms. Rather, at 7 a.m. the morning of the wedding, local landscape architect Linda Greenberg brought in an army of towering Italian cypress trees, shapely English boxwood topiaries, and white florals that mimicked ground cover to reconfigure the outdoor spaces. This was the first wedding she had tackled, says Christina, and the results were remarkable.
Throughout the day, true to plan, worldly elements melded with Charleston charm: invitations from Mac & Murphy were printed on handmade Italian paper; the bride wore a wedding gown from New York-based, South Carolina-born designer Carol Hannah; during cocktail hour, a European cheese cart was wheeled out as Oysters XO’s shucking servers roamed the crowd; and by reception’s end, guests took to a custom dance floor patterned after Italianate tile.
“Eric and I don’t like being the center of attention,” says Chase, “so our wedding needed to be one thing: a great party.” By all accounts—from the initial skeet-shooting gathering and Lowcountry boil on Friday to the grand reception on Saturday, and Sunday’s send-off with Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits—it was mission accomplished. —