Labor of Love

Labor of Love | The groom and bride’s sister join forces to plan a surprise wedding
Just moments after proposing to Katlyn “Katie” Ozburn in July, Andrew Patterson leaned in and whispered to his freshly minted fiancée, “By the way, we are getting married... tomorrow.” After ugly crying (the bride’s words) and learning that all of her immediate family had made the trek to Bluffton to join them, Katie started wondering if she’d packed a white dress in her overnight bag. Her worry was soon forgotten though, when she learned that her best friend and older sister, Ashley, and her soon-to-be groom had taken care of every last wedding day detail. Her only task as the bride? To dress up, show up, and say “I do.” Read on to learn how the planning team pulled off that coveted element of surprise.    
Charleston Weddings: Ashley, did you anticipate Katie would be on board with a surprise wedding?
Ashley: Katie and I take a sister’s trip every year where we talk about life and her hypothetical wedding. So, I had a playbook before I even got started. As long as the people she loved were in attendance and she had a killer outfit, I knew everything would be fine. 
CW: So, how did you and Andrew go about secretly planning? 
Ashley: We parsed out the tasks, and mine was the bridal ensemble. It was even a surprise for Andrew, as he didn’t know what she was wearing until she walked down the aisle. Andrew, on the other hand, wanted the proposal to be his big to-do. Katie knew that she wanted to wed either late summer or early fall and that we were going to pull off a small “COVID” wedding at some point, so I encouraged her to go ahead and order the jumpsuit now, you know, just in case. It was from France.
CW: Smart thinking. Katie, what were you feeling when all of this was going down?
Katie: My immediate reaction was overwhelmed, but in a good way. From that moment on, after learning my sister was orchestrating everything, the next two days were completely filled with joy. You just have to continuously trust who’s doing the planning.
CW: All in all, how would you recap the day?
Ashley: In its essence, it was a fiancé’s desire to pull off an awesome surprise for his beloved; a father getting to hand his daughter a bouquet of flowers before walking her underneath the most insane live oaks; grandparents who have taken precautions and risked travel to be present, as always; a brother, who got to give a wedding speech he’d been writing for years and nailed it; a mother who got to see her daughter the happiest she’s ever been; and a sister who’s heard all about a perfect wedding in the perfect place, and got to take part in pulling it off in a less-than-perfect world during a less-than-perfect time.


Planning: The groom, the bride’s sister // Images: Nicholas Gore Weddings // Venue: Montage Palmetto Bluff // Florals: Farmgirl Flowers // Bridal attire: Rime Arodaky (jumpsuit); Christian Louboutin (heels)