Inspired by JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s intimate wedding at the nearby Cumberland Island, Elizabeth and Andrew wanted to create a destination weekend where all of their friends and family could truly relax and enjoy themselves from the moment they arrived. After attending several beautiful destination weddings for friends, they wanted somewhere unique that no one had done before. Once their search shifted to the southeast they came across JEKYLL ISLAND CLUB, a quaint hidden gem in the Golden Isles. "Upon visiting, we fell in love with its charm and preservation of its historical past. As an interior designer, I was enamoured with the architectural significance of Crane Cottage designed by Chicago architect, David Adler. I immediately envisioned myself walking out the front doors arm in arm with my dad for the ceremony, cocktails in the courtyard and later waltzing on the adjacent manicured lawn for our first dance as husband and wife." Captured by Charleston wedding photographer ELIZABETH LANIER the wedding was classic and timeless with personal details scattered throughout.

HOW DID YOU MEET? On the evening of Valentine’s Day in 2015, I had a Galentine’s date planned with one of my best girlfriends and shortly after dinner then a few drinks, we came across Andrew and friends at a bar on Division Street in Chicago. We got to talking, discovered a handful of mutual friends and best of all, realised that his sister was a sorority sister of mine at SMU in Dallas! Later on we ended up dancing the night away and as they say…the rest is history!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL: It happened to be a spontaneously gorgeous spring Friday in May in Chicago where the temperatures had finally gotten warm and the sun was out all day. While I was finishing up a client install, little did I know Andrew was patiently waiting for me at our apartment we shared in Lincoln Park. As I walked in, candles were lit, flowers were set and our favourite band, Coldplay, was playing. In the most intimate setting, Andrew got down on one knee and proposed. We later went out to a lovely dinner he surprised me with and met up with a few friends to celebrate!

TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS/ATTIRE: I spent a weekend shopping around several boutiques in Chicago with my mom and had a pretty specific idea in mind of the dress I wanted. I ended up finding the perfect one at MIRA COUTURE where we ultimately designed a custom dress for my mom as well! I had fallen in love with designs by MIRA ZWILLINGER so I opted for one of her embroidered veils to pair with the simplicity of my dress.

DID YOU HAVE ANY DIY ELEMENTS? One of my favourite fabrics is a large scale espalier pattern by Pierre Frey so I decided to feature it in a couple areas including the front facade of the bars as well as our seating chart. I had a very simple vision for the seating chart and with the handiwork of my dad, he built the five-foot by six-foot seating chart clad in the same timeless French fabric!

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS: Given the natural beauty of our surroundings and that I wanted the details of our wedding to be timeless, we opted to go with whites and lush greens. Working with the talented Lindsay Coletta and the vision of our planner, Molly McKinley, they helped execute a stunning installation. Details from a flower arch at the front door to floating flowers in the fountains and a stunning display to disguise the band’s stage, everything was flawless.

FAVOURITE DETAIL OF THE DAY: It’s hard to pick just one! After postponing our original wedding date due to the pandemic and given the travel required of our guests, we felt so honoured by every person that made it to our special weekend. I wanted to make sure they all knew just how much we appreciated their attendance so I wrote thank you notes to each guest. These were placed at their table setting when they sat down for dinner. I knew that the weekend would go by quickly and in case I didn’t have the opportunity to connect with every person, I wanted to be sure I had at least a quick moment with them, in writing, to share my heartfelt thanks.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO A COUPLE PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? Hire a planner it’s the best investment to your wedding and will allow you to fully embrace every moment the day of. Molly McKinley did a remarkable job helping us and brought so much value to every decision we made throughout the process.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? There might be a tie for two of the most memorable moments– the first would be when right after my dad finished giving his speech and toast he busted out a ukulele and called up one of my bridesmaids, Elizabeth Lyons Reily, who is a country singer and the two surprised us with performing “You’ve Got a Friend In Me”. It brought me to tears! The other most memorable moment was when the reception was over and Andrew and I were due to make our exit, we were surprised with the most spectacular fireworks show by my parents!

WHAT ASPECT OF THE WEDDING WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU BOTH? We both felt strongly about having constant music and a good flow throughout the whole timeline of events. All the way from pre-ceremony to the final farewell, we planned musical segments at every turn. Our fabulous band conducted a traditional New Orleans-style second line to bring everyone from cocktail hour into the reception tent. Then, after the reception was over and we made our exit, we surprised our guests with headphones for a silent disco!

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR HONEYMOON: We decided to honeymoon in San José del Cabo at the One & Only Palmilla immediately following our wedding. Throughout our many travels, we had never been to Mexico together and it was the most divine place to relax, eat and soak up the beautiful scenery.

A huge thank you to Charleston wedding photographer ELIZABETH LANIER for sharing this stunning wedding with us. Specialising in destination weddings, Sarah and Will of Elizabeth Lanier Photography, capture sophisticated, adventurous, and wildly in love couples all over the globe. Their passion for documenting authentic love stories and genuine relationships between the clients they photograph inspires discerning couples worldwide to entrust their most cherished memories to Elizabeth Lanier Photography. Head over to their portfolio to see more and be sure to check out this Fresh, lush green and white wedding inspiration.