Ellison Brown and Weston Jackson had a dreamy plan in place for June 2020—a wedding for 300 guests at Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church with the reception to follow at Alhambra Hall. When indoor events were cancelled, the couple (who met while attending Presbyterian College) was determined to keep their original wedding date. “I didn’t want a do-over,” with a wedding on one day and a party at some time in the future, Ellison said. Plan B was immediately obvious: a wedding ceremony at the bride’s parents’ weekend house (where the couple had gotten engaged the previous summer) followed by a reception at their Mount Pleasant residence.
The guest list was pared down to immediate family and wedding party, with other guests joining virtually through Zoom. Caterers Dish & Design Catering were able to alter the original buffet plan and deliver a sit-down pool-side dinner. The couple enlisted “all hands on deck” to get the yard in perfect shape for the ceremony. The backyard firepit area turned out to be an ideal spot for an “altar,” and Weston built a nine-foot wooden cross to substitute for the one they would have stood beneath at the church.
Despite the change of venue, Ellison says she didn’t have to compromise any of her original must-haves: the couple still had their first dance, but on the rented ballroom floor in the garden. And the smaller guest list turned out to be an unexpected gift, allowing the couple to enjoy more time with each other.
Home Wedding Dos & Don’ts
Do hire a day-of coordinator. Ellison says her mom is “a rock star,” who wore “15 different hats on the day of the wedding” and still managed to look gorgeous while doing it. In retrospect, though, it would have been good to have a professional dedicated to carrying out those tasks.
DON’T hesitate to enlist the help of your wedding party. They want to be there for you and feel included in your Big Day in more than just a ceremonial role.
DO treat the outdoor area for insects in advance to avoid a buggy ceremony.
DON’T give up what’s important to you. A backyard wedding doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate all the traditions you’d integrate into a ceremony or reception in a venue.
DO play up the natural beauty of your backyard and echo the naturally occurring hues in your color scheme. The table setting for this reception, for example, tied the beautiful natural hydrangeas in the yard to the centerpieces.
DO take advantage of the fact that in your yard, you can make your own rules. The Jacksons were able to incorporate their dog, Hank, into their ceremony by having him bring their rings down the aisle!
Photography: Maggie Braucher Weddings
Florals: Fresh Weddings & Events
Catering: Dish & Design Catering
Baker: The Cake Stand Charleston
Bar: Mix Bartending
Linens: Snyder Events, Professional Party Rentals
Stationery: Reaves Engraving, Inc.
Musicians: Emerald Empire Band
Bride’s attire: Bridals by Jodi
Beauty: Skyler Biller (hair), Cheryl Quinn (makeup)
Bridesmaids: Show Me Your Mumu
Groom’s attire: Men’s Warehouse
Videographer : Jodi Lee Film & Photo
Transportation: Lowcountry Valet & Shuttle Co.