For years, Los Angelian Jenna Benjamin dreamed of traveling to Charleston. Two years into dating Matt Cook, she got her wish and then some when Matt proposed at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens. When choosing a Big Day venue, the indoor-outdoor possibilities at the posh Belmond Charleston Place stole Jenna’s heart. Jessica Cruz of Cruz Coordination helped the couple pull off an intimate destination wedding there with a ceremony in front of the hotel’s Market Street Circle fountain, a cocktail hour in its hidden courtyard, and an elegant dinner in The Palmetto Café. The night flowed seamlessly from space to space, including one surprise: mid-reception, Matt asked Jenna to walk with him across King Street, where she found their names emblazoned on the marquee of the Charleston Place’s 1939 Riviera theater. Talk about a cinematic touch to one heck of a romance!
• Keep it in-house. Having all the festivities an elevator-ride away from their hotel rooms made the weekend more relaxing for both the couple and their guests.
• Know that bigger isn’t always better. Thanks to the couple’s modest guest count (77), the banquet chefs who cater events at The Palmetto Café could make everyone’s dinner to order.
• Take advantage of a one-stop shop. Belmond Charleston Place supplied the day’s florals, linens, cake, catering, and bar, and Rick Burton—the hotel’s chief concierge—officiated
• Minimize decisions. Since the couple was planning from afar, a venue that would be visually impressive without elaborate added décor was a major plus.
• Stick to a theme. From the cake design to the bride and bridesmaids’ bouquets, if it wasn’t dripping with orchids, it didn’t make the cut.
When a belle of an old-guard Charleston family opts for a pre-ceremony “first look” with her groom, it means times are changing. See why a sneak peek worked for Kathleen Hay and Andrew Hagood, and why you might follow suit