New-School Tradition

New-School Tradition | 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
Andrew Hagood & Kathleen Hay
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist & Family Home

Andrew Hagood and Kathleen Hay may have grown up two doors down from each other on Broad Street with parents who knew each other well (her dad always sits with his dad at Rotary Club meetings), but it took New York to connect them as adults. “I saw him at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and mentioned that I would be moving home,” says Kathleen. A week after she came back, he asked her out. Flash forward to Thanksgiving 2015, and Andrew knocked on her family’s front door with a proposal for Kathleen. After some excited running around the house with her siblings, says Kathleen, the two soon decided on a ceremony at The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and an at-home reception. “So many of my favorite life moments have happened here,” says Kathleen. “It’s a place of joy and celebration.” While their vows and party were as touching (and fun) as it gets, one of the most special parts of the day was their first look. Check out their tips below.
Know the background. Way back when, brides and grooms would meet at the marriage ceremony, where she would be “unveiled” and he couldn’t back out if first impressions fell flat. Today, “first looks” have the couple meeting before their vows for portraits.
Consider scheduling. Having a ceremony in the evening (like Kathleen and Andrew did)? If so, not only does a first look let you break the ice, it also lets you take advantage of natural light for photos. Wait until after the vows and it’s too dark, especially during the cooler months.
Decide how it’ll play out. Kathleen grew up in the home of her grandmother Mary Ramsay (of Croghan’s Jewel Box). Having her and Andrew’s first look where he popped the question (and where their reception was to be) only made sense. She says she’d feel silly tapping him on the shoulder to turn around (like many couples do), so they revisited his front-door proposal. Their attendants (and her parents) gathered around to cheer them on. After, everyone gathered for photos and previewed the reception décor.
Wedding design: JMC Charleston,
Images: Charlotte Elizabeth Photography,
Florals: Lotus Flower,
Catering: Cru Catering,
Bar Service: Icebox,
Stationery: RSVP Shoppe,
Calligraphy: Elizabeth Porcher Jones,
Music: Atlanta Groove Factory,
Bride’s attire: Amsale from White on Daniel Island (gown, alterations),
Beauty: Candice Herriott (hair); Charleston Onsite Makeup by Kelly Campbell (makeup),
Bridesmaid’s gowns: Monique Lhuillier from Bella Bridesmaids,
Dresser-stylist: Cacky’s Bride Aid,
Jewelry: The Goldbug Collection,; Croghan’s Jewel Box (jewelry),
Cake: Ashley Bakery,
Flower girls’s attire: Strasburg Children,
Groom’s attire: Berlin’s,