Riverfront Romance

Riverfront Romance | Wedding pros and a new venue team up for a romantic old-world garden party that’s full of inspiration
When a new wedding venue wants to show off its offerings, a staged photo shoot can help couples envision their special day there. Thus was the case with Whitewater Santee at the historic Middleburg estate on the Cooper River, which offers event space and beautifully restored accommodations that date to the late 1600s. The team enlisted Charleston wedding designer and planner Charlotte Whatley to execute the shoot, and she gathered a team of pros to pull out all the stops. Mock weddings such as this are also a win-win for vendors, too, as they get to flex their creativity and try out new approaches. 
Charlotte landed on the theme “old-world pastel garden party,” and pulled it off using soft pinks and grand style (think 17th-century Rococo inspiration). “I love color,” she says. “A lot of brides want simple, classic. I love to promote color as much as possible.” Though she admits, bright can be color-overload, so she wanted something more accessible. “And I love the whole Bridgerton vibe.” The pastels played out in the florals and pressed-flower table numbers, bridesmaids’ gowns, luxe blue velvet tablecloths, cake, and invitation suite. The mismatched ceremony and lounge chairs from French Eclectic and the borrowed gallery paintings lent an old-world elegance. The evening was crowned with Champagne toasts under an enchanting string light tunnel. 
Make the Look Your Own
  1. Mix and match. Unless you’ve got a bunch of decorative accent chairs from grandma’s attic on hand (or opt for wooden chairs), the mismatched ceremony seating could be cost prohibitive for a large wedding. But for an intimate occasion, the standout look is both eclectic and grand. You can also mix and match linens for your specialty tables—welcome, sweetheart, and cake tables—to make them stand out. 
  2. Spread out. “By using all the spaces you have available, you can create a wow-factor for guests,” says Charlotte. Here, the old oak trees set a romantic scene for the ceremony. The cocktail hour lounge and adorable mobile bar by Love & Bunches were in front of the main house, while the dinner reception was on the back lawn. Each was its own beautiful vignette. 
  3. Tablescape tips. Two things Charlotte noted she hadn’t seen before was the use of dried pressed flower table numbers and the paper flower place cards. 
  4. Outside-of-the-box lighting. Photographer Sarah Westmoreland had seen a string light tunnel before and wanted to photograph one. So Charleston Glow Company created a canopy of glowing warmth around the dinner table and set an enchanting vibe.
Planning & Design: Whatley Wedding Design
Photography: Sarah Westmoreland Photography
Florals: Artisan Blooms
Stationery: Studio Ack
Cake: AP Flour
Bar: Love & Bunches
Rentals: EventWorks, French Eclectic (lounge & ceremony seating)
Lighting: Charleston Glow Co.
Bridal & Bridesmaid Attire: Bella Bridesmaids
Groom Attire: Stitch & Tie
Beauty: Charleston Beauty Collab 
Models: Sabrina & Elijah Pinkard