The Perfect Kickoff

The Perfect Kickoff | Weddings are weekend-long affairs these days. Jump-start yours with a welcome party like this one, where far-flung guests fell fast and hard for the Lowcountry life

Maddy Rohde & Gerald Fawcett

May 27, 2017 • Palmetto Bluff • Moreland Landing


Proposals are tricky when they are aimed at partners who have a strong feeling one’s heading their way. So it was for Maddy Rohde and Gerald Fawcett, who met in at Southern Methodist University and dated five years before each was itching to say “I do.” When the couple made Fourth of July plans to visit Maddy’s parents’ house in Palmetto Bluff, her head started spinning. “Part of me thought, ‘OK, this will be perfect, he should do it there in my favorite place and with my family nearby,’ ” she laughs. But Gerald, who was living in Dallas at the time along with Maddy, wasn’t keen on a predictable ask, so he teamed with her co-workers to set up a fake, last-minute business meeting hours before their flight, a meeting that just so happened to be at SMU. As she scooted across campus to make it on time, she saw Gerald. “Apparently I said, ‘Hi, what are you doing here?’ ” says Maddy who was flustered he was “interrupting” before an important appointment. When he suddenly dropped to one knee, though, she burst into tears, said “Yes”… and then worriedly looked for her co-workers while wondering how to shift back to work mode. Eventually the ruse sank in and she even began to glow a little as the photographer Gerald had hired snapped shots of the pair.


When Maddy and Gerald got to Palmetto Bluff, they were (surprise!) joined by his family, too, and in no time, the planning talk began. Surely, the location was more or less a given. “Palmetto Bluff feels like an oasis from the hustle and bustle of our lives,” says Maddy. “The flickering street lights, the beautiful trees with Spanish moss, the calming wind that comes off of the May River—everything makes it feel like a retreat for my soul. And since a wedding can be stressful and hectic, it meant a lot to be in a calming place to keep my focus on what the weekend would be about: starting our lives together as husband and wife.”


While the wedding was a stunning sight to see (visit to see it), this welcome party-slash-oyster roast at Moreland Landing hit just the right note, too. “People were dancing the entire night,” says Maddy. “It was an epic way to kick off our Memorial Day weekend wedding and felt like a Lowcountry dream.” And isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?




Wedding Design: Ashley Rhodes Event Designs
Photographs: Perry Vaile 
Welcome party venue: Moreland Landing at Palmetto Bluff
Florals: Em Creative Floral 
Catering, bar service: Montage Palmetto Bluff
Draping: Party Tables
Linens: Nüage Designs; La Tavola Fine Linen; BBJ Linen
Lighting: Technical Event Company 
Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals (tables, lounge furniture, glassware); Ooh! Events (dining chairs, bars, swing, lanterns); Amazing Event Rentals (wooden canoe)
Boat rental: May River Excursions 
Videographer: Withers Films
Cake: Minette Rushing

Print & Decor: Emily McCarthy
Music: 20 Ride, EastCoast Entertainment
Bride’s attire: Morra Designs (earrings); Cate Lyons (dress)
Transportation Shuttles: Old Savannah Tours
Cart Rentals: Club Car (cart rental) 
Restroom Trailers: Royal Restrooms

Wedding design by Ashley Rhodes Events