Charleston’s temperate clime allows al fresco affairs nearly year-round and that’s something nationally renowned floral and event powerhouse Mindy Rice can relate to, given she calls Santa Barbara, California, home. In town for the 2015 Bliss & Bespoke retreat (the Charleston-based workshop and bond-fest for luxury wedding planners), she whipped up a swellegant open-air gathering for attendees that was equal parts lovely and achievable. And in spite of the nip in the air, she brought in zesty, cheerful color that was almost as warm as the company. Love how she transformed Out of Hand’s Pitt Street patio? Here are some of the best tips we picked up that can be oh-so-applicable to your own wedding get-togethers.
TRY THIS AT HOME
❶ Choose an Intimate Space
Small-scale venues allow conversations to mingle and toasts to be heard by all. (Surprisingly, almost 40 guests were able to dine in this space.)
❷ Opt for Benches
Shared seating fosters community and is a great way to facilitate guests connecting (or re-connecting) with one another.
❸ Incorporate Candles
Mindy loves lighting taper and pillar candles to up the ambience factor whenever possible. Since, she says, so many indoor venues ban open flames (like most historic Charleston properties) an outdoor party is a prime opportunity to shine.
❹ Forage for Florals and Fruit
Mindy hosts an annual winter DIY party near her home where guests scavenge the property for greens to make their own wreaths. Out-and-about floral options may wane during cool months, but simply supplement store-bought blooms with finds. Backyard greenery (like acuba leaves) is always abundant here; markets have citrus (like lemons) year-round; and filler (like straw) is perpetually stocked at craft shops.
❺ Add Color with Runners
To keep your budget down (especially for events outside the Big Day), choose plain white linens then warm them up with runners in rich hues.
Event design: Mindy Rice, www.MindyRice.com
Venue, rentals, décor: Ooh! Events, www.TheArtofCreating.com/OohEvents/
Photography: Corbin Gurkin, www.corbingurkin.com
Catering: Cru Catering, www.CruCatering.com
Placecards: Paper and Ink, Brenna Berger, www.BBPaperAndInk.blogspot.com
Florals: Mindy Rice, www.MindyRice.com; Out of the Garden, www.TheArtofCreating.com/OutOfTheGarden/
Luxury event planner’s workshop: Bliss & Bespoke, www.BlissAndBespoke.com