What They Wore (above, from left): Brelyn in Elizabeth and James’ “Annaline” top and “Aisling” skirt in rose from Beckett Boutique; choker from V2V; STEVEN by Steve Madden’s “Vienna” pumps from Belk; Santi clutch from Berlin’s for Women. “Bride” Hannah in Self Portait’s trumpet-sleeved shift dress in white from Hampden Clothing; gold bracelet, earrings, and diamond and gold ring from Croghan’s Jewel Box; gold and gemstone rings from RTW; Kate Spade wedge sandals from Belk. Berna in Finders Keepers’ “Real Slow” dress from Sapphire Boutique; Steve Madden’s “Stecy” pumps from Belk. (on table) Whiting & Davis’ “Dimple Mesh Minaudiere” clutch in pewter from Shoes on King.
When we ask featured brides what they loved most about their weddings—aside from actually tying the knot with their beloved—they talk about the time spent with friends and family; it’s something they often say they wish they had indulged in more than just on the day itself. We’ve all fallen into the trap of getting caught up by to-do lists rather than catching up with loved ones during the final countdown. But that’s where a bridal luncheon comes in, creating an oasis of sentiment and sanity amid the melee. Typically (especially in the South) hosted by a bride as a thank-you to her wedding party, mother, mother of the groom, and close female relatives, the gathering is usually held the day before the nuptials.
For this springtime fête, we called on Charleston-based event guru Calder Clark—named one of the best planners in the world by Vogue, a top U.S. planner by Harper’s Bazaar, and one of the best planners in the country by Martha Stewart Weddings (accolades all from 2016, no less)—to craft a get-together at a hidden gem downtown: the Planters Inncourtyard, where the iconic Peninsula Grill caters stellar affairs. For the models, we enlisted a troupe of Charleston, Charleston Weddings, and Charleston Fashion Week® interns past, one mother of a former intern to pose as the MOB, and a fabulous wild-card MOG.
Calder says small outdoor parties like this are no-brainer winners. “I’m convinced we don’t do this enough,” she says. “Everyone loves a light breeze and a little nosh outdoors—it’s like an elevated picnic.” Read on for her tips and takeaways for a gorgeous milestone celebration that only happens during this very special chapter in your life.
Scroll through the gallery above to find inspiration and tips for hosting a thoughtful, festive luncheon.
Cocktail: Berry and herb spritzer
First Course: Sweet corn bisque
Second Course: Pan-roasted scallops with braised butter lettuce, garlic chive potatoes, and citrus lobster broth
Dessert: Ultimate Coconut Cake accompanied by a spread of takeaway treats
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