Made With Love

Made With Love | When a graphic artist bride and her design-savvy mother roll up their sleeves, they craft a DIY wedding as stylish as it is within reach

Tarah Catalano & Clint Boyleston Jr.
January 20, 2018 • The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation

Tarah Catalano and Clint Boyleston really ought to give praise to whomever thought up beer pong. Why? The frat party staple was the catalyst that led to them becoming Mr. and Mrs. Here’s how it went down: It was family weekend at Tarah’s Winthrop University, and when the freshman and her sister headed to a shindig at Clint’s fraternity, he challenged the pair to the classic game. Years later, as he proposed to Tarah on a deserted stretch of beach on Sullivan’s Island, Clint confessed, “I knew from the minute I met you that I wanted to marry you.” Her confession? “I honestly don’t remember the game ... ” Ahem. No matter how or when “they” started, the two agree that they are each other’s meant-to-be. After becoming bosom buddies post-pong, they started dating their senior year. “I specifically remember asking my best (girl) friend if it would be weird to date such a close (guy) friend,” says Tarah, who is crystal clear on that particular memory. “I mean, he checked all my boxes!” she says. “We spent the last semester together and things haven’t changed since.” The pair found their way to Charleston in 2013, and though they have ties to Chicago (she grew up there) and Williston, South Carolina (he grew up there), the Holy City won for their Big Day. Tarah, whose first job out of school was as a graphic designer for the posh letterpress house Lettered Olive, booked Boone Hall Plantation’s Cotton Dock, The Midnight City Band, and got busy crafting one delightful wintry wedding with her mom, Phyllis Catalano, who happens to be a whiz with flowers, interiors, and the like. Here’s a little of what they cooked up and learned along the way. Oh, and as for the newlyweds? To them, we raise our red Solo cups.

What Worked for Tarah as a DIY Bride
Charleston Weddings: Where did you start? Color, location, or time of year?
Tarah Boyleston: Time of year. Clint and I wanted to avoid the heat—and any missed Clemson games. 
CW: Walk us through how you got started with design plans.
TB: My mom and I gathered inspiration and compared notes. She saw terrariums in a magazine and we decided to make them ourselves. Since our tables were 24 feet long, terrariums with evergreens were an inexpensive alternative to large amounts of flowers.
CW: Your crest ties into the natural look really well. Tell us about it.
TB: I’m not a traditional monogram girl, but I’ve always loved a family crest. I sketched for a few months before I decided on the symbols and layout. Bits and pieces of it were used on the guest bags, bridal party gifts, and printed materials. The symbols were explained in the ceremony program: TC (our initials); cotton (Clint’s family has long farmed cotton in South Carolina); olive branch (my Italian heritage); Celtic knot (Clint’s Scottish heritage and my Irish heritage); oak leaves and acorns (my German heritage and the trees we were married under); and deer (to represent Illinois and South Carolina). We also stamped it on small canvas bags of magnolia leaves that guests tossed as we receded down the aisle.
CW: Nice. Now let’s see if we got this right: Your aunt made the cake; you and your mom tackled the tabletops and the ceremony arbor; she and her sisters did the flowers; and you designed the printed materials. How in the world did you stay organized?
TB: We played to our strengths and time constraints. If we knew something could be done DIY well before the wedding, we did it. If it would have been a burden during the week of the wedding, we asked a pro. 
We didn’t want to be the ones to set up on the Big Day, so we hired a wedding coordinator for week-of logistics, setting and cleaning up, and ceremony direction. I’m pretty type A, so I had about 10 different Google docs going.
CW: Color us impressed. What advice do you have for other DIY brides?
TB: Nothing is ever perfect, so don’t worry about something being perfect. There are so many details that you will slave over that will be done within an hour. Remember what elements are important to you. For us, those were the monogrammed candle labels for my bridesmaids and family; the copper trellis with cotton boughs we got from Clint’s family’s farm; and handwriting our vows (I later framed them). Last, I have to say it again, play to your strengths (and your loved ones’, too). Oh, and don’t drive yourself crazy by trying to sew linens if you’ve never sewn before!
Day-of coordination: Duvall Catering & Events
Photography: Corbin Gurkin
Venue, getaway golf cart: Boone Hall Plantation
Florals: Phyllis Catalano (MOB) with her sisters
Rentals: Snyder Events (white linens, chairs, tables, lounge, rockers, heaters, bars)
Runners, pillows: Phyllis Catalano (MOB)
Décor element sources: Pottery Barn (large gold lanterns, firs); Gardener’s Supply (copper containers); Dollar General (tall candle votives)
Bar, wine service: Spike by Snyder
Catering: Salthouse Catering (reception); Lou Malnati’s (late-night pizza flown in from Chicago) 
Baker: The MOG and her sister 
Printed materials: The bride (design); SAS-E Ink (printing)
Bridal attire: Martina Liana from Gown Boutique of Charleston (top and skirt); Etsy’s Gorgeous-Complements 2 (veil); J.Crew (earrings)
Bridesmaid Attire: Banana Republic (sweater); custom (skirt) 
Beauty: Paper Dolls Wedding Hair & Makeup
Menswear: JoS. A. Bank
Musicians: Adriana Villasuso, Madeline Hillsman (cousins of the bride) (ceremony); The Midnight City Band (reception)
Favors: Handsewn bags with Rewined candles; peanuts from the groom’s family farm; Chicago-style popcorn
Officiant: Trevor Catalano, bride’s brother