Big Top Goes Black Tie

Big Top Goes Black Tie | Charleston's Gaillard Center grand ballroom plays host to a wild, wonderful, over-the-top wedding to remember
Robert Brickman & Lesley Landrum
September 4, 2016 
Gaillard Center
Seven years after Lesley Landrum spotted Robert Brickman’s “ugly shirt” (her words) at a birthday party, the couple started planning a shindig of their own: their wedding. Their wish? For it to be “a grown-up kids bar mitzvah,” says Lesley. As they discussed their wishlist with planner Tara Guérard of Tara Guérard Soirée, an upscale carnival took shape and the Gaillard Center became a grand, black-tie big top for the day. After a ceremony in the venue’s lobby, the ballroom doors opened to Burke High School drum line’s infectious beats, silk aerialists twirling above bars, a magician, and even drag queen performances. “We threw out the rules about what a Southern wedding has to be,” says Lesley. “It’s OK to be a kid,” Robert adds. Case in point: though he skipped the ugly shirt this time around, he donned Lego cufflinks that had Lesley falling in love all over again.
 • Pick a central location. Being downtown meant guests could walk to the fête from their hotels.
• Pay mind to your vendors. With a menu that was a nod to the couple’s love of travel—it ran the gamut from chicken piccata and chicken tikka masala to okra jambalaya and hand-rolled sushi—a large, well-equipped indoor kitchen was critical for catering prep.
• Personalize a large ballroom. Custom carpet was brought in to dress the setting in the couple’s palette. Garlands and draping made the towering ceilings more intimate.
• Beware of Mother Nature. August and September are in the peak of hurricane season, and Lowcountry summers bring plenty of pop-up showers, so an indoor venue provided peace of mind.
• Soften a stately setting. Metal lanterns added a summery touch to the classical entrance and cast a mellow glow after the sun set.
Vendor List
Wedding design, florals, linens: Tara Guérard Soirée,
Photography: Liz Banfield,
Venue: Gaillard Center,
Rentals: Snyder Events,
Photo booth: TapSnap,
Lighting, sound: Production Design Associates,
LED bracelets: PixMob,
Catering: Cru Catering,
Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal,
Bar, wine: Duvall Events,
Stationery, signage: Lettered Olive,
Calligraphy: Claudia Hanlin,
Beauty: Kristy Cuthbert (hair); Deidre Outlaw (makeup)
Bride’s attire: Oscar de la Renta (ceremony gown, available in Charleston through Betty Bridal Atelier),; Naeem Khan (reception dress),; Cacky's Bride + Aid (day-of dressing),  
Bridesmaids’ attire: Alfred Sung (available in Charleston through Bella Bridesmaids,
Menswear: Berlin’s for Men,
Music: Charleston Virtuosi (ceremony),; Burke High School (cocktail hour),; Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters (reception), 
Drag queen performances: Alyssa Edwards,; Brooke Collins,
Silk aerialists: Cirque Works via East Coast Entertainment, 
Magician: Matthew Furman,
Videography: Artistic Eye Productions,
Transportation: Carolina’s Executive Limo Line,
Getaway vehicle: Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Company,
Valet: Coastal Valet,
Babysitting: Simply Southern Sitters,
Dog sitting: Charleston Dog Walking Company,
Ketubah: Oren Loloi,