Belle of the Ball

Belle of the Ball | Two sweethearts (who met at the national deb ball) pull out all the stops for a properly perfect Southern spring wedding

Ashley Powell & John Nosek
March 14, 2015
Lowndes Grove Plantation

Mama always knows best. Just ask Ashley Powell, whose mother cut out a photo of a bouquet from a wedding magazine more than 20 years ago on a hunch that it would one day inspire her daughter’s Big Day. Sure enough, soon after Ashley said “Yes” to her beau, John (“JB”) Nosek, Mrs. Powell slid the clipping across the table to Easton Events planner Augusta Cole, and an abundant springtime wedding was launched.

Aside from the tear sheet, the seeds were planted at the 2011 National Debutante Cotillion and Thanksgiving Ball in Washington, D.C., where Ashley, an attorney, was serving as a debutante coordinator. When an errant escort (JB) arrived minutes before rehearsal began, “I teased him about shaving his shaggy beard,” she remembers. “He, of course, ignored my fussing and tried to charm me.” Tried … and succeeded.

Two-and-a-half years later, the lovebirds were planning to trek down to Charleston from their digs in Greensboro, North Carolina, for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, but an unexpected snowstorm thwarted the trip. As Ashley cooked a consolation breakfast, JB broke out a Valentine’s Day card and, with the roads all iced up and the ring “burning a hole in his pocket,” she says, he proposed. “The eggs were totally ruined, but we didn’t care,” she laughs.

Eventually the pair did make it to the Holy City, and with guests in tow. Why Charleston? It holds a special place in Ashley’s heart (she spent childhood summers at the seaside resort Debordieu in nearby Georgetown) as well as his (JB, a real estate entrepreneur, is a Citadel grad). And as for spring, “I wanted people journeying from dreary March weather in other areas of the country to feel like springtime was in the air,” Ashley explains. Mission accomplished.

While arrangements for the ceremony at the Citadel’s Summerall Chapel were understated whites and greens, Blossoms Events’ florists held nothing back for the reception at Lowndes Grove Plantation. Says Ashley, “I was truly amazed when I walked into our tent and smelled an enormous garden.” One of the groomsmen even joked that “Fourteen countries don’t have
flowers because of this wedding.”

The major culprit was the voluminous, three-tier chandelier that hung above the dance floor. “It had a great ‘wow’ factor,” Ashley says. Based on the palette from that keepsake magazine clipping, buds and blooms in pink, peach, and cream dotted every surface; even the passed hors d'oeuvres matched the color scheme.

The decadent results were just what the former debutante had in mind: a celebration rooted in old-fashioned, gracious Southern entertaining, but one that was singularly hers. “Many elements of our wedding had been done by other couples before,” Ashley says, “but the variety in the palette and the abundant florals were unique to ours. All my wishes came true!”             


Vendor List:

Wedding design: Easton Events,

Photography: Corbin Gurkin,

Florals, bars, draping, dance floor, staging: Blossoms Events,

Venues: Summerall Chapel, (ceremony); Lowndes Grove Plantation, (reception) 

Tabletop: DC Rental,

Lighting: Technical Event Company,

Linens: La Tavola,

Lounge furniture, tent: Snyder Event Rentals,

Catering, wine and bar service: Patrick Properties Hospitality Group,

Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal,

Stationery, signage: Dulles Designs ~ Exquisite Stationery,

Bride's attire: Oscar de la Renta, (gown and veil); Jimmy Choo, (shoes); Cacky Bride + Aid, (day-of dresser)

Bridesmaids' attire: Lulakate,

Beauty: Wedding Hair by Charlotte,

Groom’s attire: Tom Ford,

Groomsmen’s attire: Men’s Wearhouse,

Barber: Old South Barber Spa,

Music: Classical Charleston, (ceremony); The Celebrity Allstars, (reception)

Transportation: Absolutely Charleston,

Getaway car: Charleston Style Limo,

Videography: Blueberry Creative,

Welcome bags: A Signature Welcome,