A broken leg derailed Mark Wiltse’s European soccer career and landed him back at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina—this time to earn his master’s degree. “It was heartbreaking, but little did I know that months later I would be meeting the girl of my dreams,” he says. The lady in question? Lisa Joyner, a fellow master’s student and part-time bartender at the student haunt where they met. “Asking for her number may have been one of the scariest moments of my life,” says Mark. But the risk paid off: when Lisa’s shift ended the two tackled a few rounds of Photo Hunt at the bar and within 24 hours had planned another date.
Five years later on a trip to Charleston (the pair lives in Dallas, but Lisa is a Holy City native), Mark proposed at their favorite local restaurant, Sermet’s Courtyard on Daniel Island. With family nearby—Mark’s New Jersey native parents retired to Daniel Island—hosting their Big Day in the city was a “no brainer,” says Lisa, who wanted to let her hometown shine without the typical trappings of a Lowcountry wedding. Read: no plantations and nothing over the top. “We wanted a place that met our modern taste yet also maintained the Charleston charm and character we both adore,” says the bride.
A friend pointed her in the direction of the design mavens at Ooh! Events, and, with the news that the Gibbes Museum of Art was set to reopen following renovations to restore it to its Beaux Arts architectural roots, Lisa, Mark, and their planner, Megan Chandler, donned hard hats for a tour and secured the first available date seven months out. When the day arrived, Ooh! Events and their floral division, Out of the Garden, set the scene for a black-tie fête with Lucite furniture and sleek white calla lilies in keeping with the couple’s streamlined vision.
After the ceremony in the Rotunda gallery, guests headed out back for cocktail hour, a sit-down dinner, and the much-anticipated cutting of the cake. About that cake—the towering Jim Smeal creation was neatly placed on a “ghost” pedestal and set in the middle of a pebbled garden path. We crossed our fingers, says Megan, that the seemingly floating buttercream confection wouldn’t be knocked over ... or melt. After an early cake cutting, the party ramped up to the tunes of Sol Fusion. And was the discerning couple happy? Absolutely. “From the attire to the food to the band, décor, and venue—everything about the wedding was a representation of our style and personalities,” says Lisa.
In October 2015, it was the 1,000-year flood. This year, it was Hurricane Matthew. Bummer for Big Days? We think not. See how this couple—one of many—proves love trumps any storm that rolls into Charleston
Tara Guérard Soirée and LulaKate teamed up to create a custom bridesmaid ensemble that went from formal ceremony to garden party reception. Here’s what they fashioned (plus a few bonus accessories Tara recently fell for)