Good things come to those who wait—an adage Bill McCombs hung his hat on after having to wait a month after meeting Meggie Dlugos for her to return from working in London before he could take her on their first date. “Bill took me to dinner and a concert—I couldn’t have imaged a more perfect first date,” says Meggie. “I was smitten from then on.”
Three years later, during the annual McCombs family trip to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, everyone gathered in front of the ocean to smile for a group portrait when Bill dropped to one knee and proposed. “I was completely shocked!” says Meggie. The surprises continued minutes later when Bill led his fiancée to the street side of the beach house, where her parents were getting out of a cab to join the celebration.
When it came to planning their wedding festivities, the couple—who live on the Tar Heel State’s Lake Norman—envisioned a destination fête near the water and within easy driving distance for many of their guests. Meggie’s parents had recently purchased a house on Sullivan’s Island, so Charleston quickly came to mind. All it took was one drive by Lowndes Grove Plantation for Meggie to make up her mind: “It was so magical,” she says. “Plus, we noticed that the plantation was on Margaret Street—my given name!”
Flipping through bridal magazines for planning inspiration, Meggie and her mother (an interior designer) noticed a running theme: Calder Clark was behind almost every wedding the duo loved. “My mom remembered that she and my dad had once been to a wedding that Calder planned, and said it was the most beautiful they had ever attended,” says Meggie. With Calder on board, they tasked her with creating a “romantic-English-garden-meets-rock-and-roll” vibe. To tick off that first box, Calder and her team got to work punctuating Lowndes Grove’s stately white exterior and reception tent with pale pink and cream blooms and greenery—a perfect palette for their Easter-weekend wedding date, notes Meggie. And as for the second? The bride’s brother, Jack—a lifelong guitarist—joined the Atlanta Showstoppers on stage to play a few numbers.
“Like many couples, Meggie and Bill had asked for the wedding to be super relaxed and unfussy—but they meant it,” says Calder. “They were unstoppably cheery and had nothing but smiles on their faces for the entire day.” After making a dent in the dance floor, the giddy newlyweds waved goodbye to their 275 guests from the deck of their getaway boat—a surprise from the bride to her water-loving new hubby—before honeymooning in Saint Lucia.
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