Winning Looks

Winning Looks | Stray off the beaten fashion path like these Lowcountry couples and their wedding parties


Victorian Charm
Emily Hills & Lucas Bengal
September 22, 2012; Family Land on John’s Island

If you were to see Emily Hills and Lucas Bengal on any old day, they’d likely be sporting comfy vintage finds and well-worn hand-me-downs from his or her grandparents. For their wedding, they wanted that same easy, throwback style, so when Emily saw a quartet of dresses by Wish at Out of Hand in the sizes of her four bridesmaids, it was kismet. “I wanted my bridesmaids to be comfortable, feel beautiful, and not wear solid colors,” Emily says, adding, “I also wanted something soft, feminine, and romantic.” Her other criteria? Nothing strapless. “I think strapless wedding and bridesmaids gowns should be outlawed!” she laughs. “You shouldn't have to worry about pulling up your dress all day.” For her own ensemble, Emily donned a Mexican wedding gown her mother bought on King Street in the 1980s and her grandmother Hills’ shoes from 1952. As for the gents, “I was dealing with a group of men who live in baggies—especially my husband,” says Emily. To fit their cozy-meets-affordable needs, they sported white oxfords and Banana Republic slacks, which Emily paired with bow ties and suspenders from Etsy. Lucas wanted to wear a vest, too, but waiting till the wedding day to shop found him empty handed; fortunately, a Belgian wedding guest loaned him an H&M number. Last on the passed-along list were the cameo necklaces that Emily gifted her ’maids, made by local jeweler Play it Again Cam from pieces the bride’s maternal grandmother, the late June Black, had bequeathed. Grandma Hills got in on the style game, too, bringing her own Wedgewood cameo to the party for a little show and tell (inset). 

Shopping Sources
Bridal gown: Vintage
Bridesmaids gowns: Wish from out of Hand;
Groom’s vest: H&M (coming to King Street in Charleston fall 2013)
Men’s slacks: Banana Republic;
Men’s bow ties and suspenders: Etsy vendor (out of business). Try Barry Beaux;
Bridesmaid necklaces: Play It Again Cam;
Cameo: Grandmother’s own

Photograph by PAIGE WINN PHOTO

To Each Her Own
Sarah Hollis & Chris Murdoch
November 10, 2012; Legare Waring House

For anyone who’s ever worn a less-than-flattering bridesmaid gown, meet the patron saint of perfect wedding party attire, Sarah Hollis. Sarah, who runs the local group 428 Main Vintage Rentals, shopped for a different frock for each of her seven gals and sent them options in varying sizes with return labels. “I didn’t think varying styles in the same fabric was going to satisfy my obsession with texture,” explains Sarah, who shopped with companies with great return policies. Her ’maids declared the results superior, and they gushed even more when Sarah (who wore Modern Trousseau) gifted each—and her flower girl—antique lockets sourced on Etsy and eBay, each engraved with their initials. 

Shopping Sources
Bridal gown: Modern Trousseau
Bridesmaids’ dresses, left to right: Eva Franco’s “Trinity” lace dress,; Adrianna Papell’s lace shift from Nordstrom,; Hitherto’s bowknot pocket shift from BHLDN,; Max & Cleo’s “Chloe” skirt from Bloomingdales,; Maeve’s gold cutout shift dress from Anthropologie, Mongrels’ “Blurred Calendula” dress in common from Anthropologie,; Monogram sequin shift dress from Banana Republic,
Bride’s & bridal party shoes: Ted Baker’s Keanah 2;
Lockets: Various Etsy shops (; eBay (


Vintage Glamour
Lorianna Ferrogine & Mark Stickler
October 19, 2012; Lowndes Grove Plantation

Lorianna Ferrogine is not a matchy-matchy woman, so she wasn’t a matchy-matchy bride. After finding a 2008 beaded Liancarlo gown, she commissioned a 1920s-style veil from Modern Trousseau, then asked her sisters (her bridesmaids) to choose their own dresses, comfort and either pale blush or neutral color the only criteria. Other winners? The newsboy style of her ring bearer (inspired by Fried Green Tomatoes, she says), her Samantha Wills bracelet-ring, plus a bouquet from Out of Hand wrapped in her grandmother’s rosary.

Shopping Sources
Bridal gown: 2008 Liancarlo from Claire Dratch in Bethesda , Maryland
Bridal veil: Custom made by Modern Trousseau,
Bridal headpiece: Icing on the Cake from Elysium Salon,
Bridal bracelet: Samantha Wills,
Rosary: Family heirloom
Bridesmaids’ gowns, left to right: Alice and Olivia and Parker, both from


Short, Sweet, & Sassy
Sonja Teri & Nicholas Bowers
September 15, 2012; Private Home on John’s Island

You might have guessed that L.A. pair Sonja Teri and Nicholas Bowers would have a singular look for their wedding day togs. After all, she’s a graphic artist and gallery owner, and he’s the art assistant to icon maker Shepard Fairey. Because it was a backyard affair, the look was casual and cool (in temperature as well as aesthetic), and bridesmaids slipped into short BHLDN skirts while groomsmen pulled on Etsy-sourced leather suspenders over khakis. Sonja mellowed out her Nicole Miller gown by pairing it with Vincent Camuto wedges, and Nicholas tacked hipster cred onto his J.Crew suit when he wore it with vintage boots and a new denim bow tie. With direction from the bride (who had a six-page mood board to guide everyone), the junior wedding party sported their own clothes. For icing on the cake, the girls’ dance shop ensembles were graced with custom headbands from the Sonja’s pal, Tarina Tarantino, a jewelry-making favorite of Hollywood A-listers. 

Shopping Sources
Bridal gown: Nicole Miller, available through Maddison Row;
Bridesmaids’ skirts: BHLDN;
Bridesmaids’ tops: Their own
Bride’s shoes: Vince Camuto’s “Hattie” sandal through Nordstrom;
Groom’s attire: J.Crew’s “Ludlow” suit,; denim bow tie Etsy shop Simone’s Rose Boutique (
Groomsmen’s attire: J.Crew pants and shirt,
Hair accessories, jewelry: Tarina Tarantino,


Updated Classics
Lauren Jones & Johnny Harbin
September 7, 2012; Boone Hall Plantation

Myrtle Beach natives Lauren Jones and Johnny Harbin know when to back off of a good thing—stylistically speaking. “The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall is so rustic and old-looking,” says Lauren, “we wanted our wedding party in classic but trendy pieces that were simple and elegant and wouldn’t take away from the scenery.”  While Lauren wore a Nicole Miller gown in a pale cream, the gals picked their own jersey knit, full-length dresses in a smoky rose palette. The guys kept things cool with khaki linen suits and open collars (save for the tied-up groom). The time-honored look scored an update when Johnny, who’s in the surf apparel industry, gifted each Clae shoes.

Shopping Sources
Bridal gown: Nicole Miller, available through Maddison Row;
Bridesmaids’ gowns, from left to right: Rachel Pally,; Rebecca Taylor,; Heather; convertible dress from Etsy; see BL Couture’s shop for a similar gown Rachel Pally,
Men’s suits: Men’s Wearhouse;
Men’s shoes: Clae;