Turn off the Lights

Turn off the Lights | Pump up the romance at your reception when you cut the overhead lights and rely instead on the soft glow of real candles and twinkling trees
Lisette & Krysto 
The River Course at Kiawah Island
When Londoners Lisette and Krysto chose Charleston for their destination wedding, Tropical Storm Bonnie wasn’t even an inkling of a worry. But sure enough, she rained down on their day and forced them off the marsh where they planned to exchange vows and onto the porch of Kiawah Island’s River Course clubhouse. But all wasn’t a wash, thanks to a brilliant use of lighting. Alise Taggart shifted the 70 guests and then set out a multitude of lanterns. “They looked so romantic with all that rain coming down behind us,” says Lisette. From there, the silver linings only got better. “I’ve always dreamt of having hundreds (or thousands) of fairy lights in trees for my wedding,” says Lisette. “And since the dining room was so cavernous for our smaller party size, I wanted to shrink it down.” Bring on the twinkling trees, and tables with at least eight tapers, seven mercury glass votives, and as many clear votives that could fit. Enchanted garden wish? Granted.
Get the Glow
Learn the rules. A venue that allows open-flamed candles (meaning those without a sheath) is the exception rather than the rule, especially in a town with as many historic properties as Charleston. Ask before you book your location.
Choose candles that burn long. Tapers tend to burn an hour per inch of height. Drafts, jostling, and bases that don’t hold the taper erect can diminish the burn time.
Mix light sources. Here, a mix of twinkling fairy lights (20,000 in total), tapers, and votives gave a layered look to the lightscape.
Plan your attack. Light candles using gas sticks about 15 minutes before guests arrive to the reception.
Double up. For the head table, double the number of candles used elsewhere.
Wedding design: Alise Taggart Events, www.alisetaggart.com
Images: Eric Kelley Photography, www.erickelley.com
Venue: River Course at Kiawah Island, www.kiawahislandclub.com
Rentals: Snyder Events, www.snyderevents.com
Linens: La Tavola, www.latavolalinen.com
Trees: Angel Oak Nursery, www.angeloaknursery.net
Florals: Fern Studio, www.fern-studio.com
Cake: Sablee, www.shopsablee.com
Music: Palmetto Strings, www.palmettostrings.com; The River Town Band, www.therivertownband.com
Bride’s Gown: Monique Lhuillier, available in Charleston through Maddison Row, www.maddisonrow.com
Beauty: Wedding Hair by Charlotte, www.weddinghairbycharlotte.com
Transportation: Charleston Style Limo, www.charlestonstylelimo.com
Groom’s attire: Tom James (tux), www.tomjames.com; Thomas Pink (bow tie) www.thomaspink.com