Charleston Weddings {Amanda + Derek} Pepper Plantation

Our first issue of A Lowcountry Wedding Magazine served up quite an amazing group of Southern soirees filled with darling details from the top vendors on the coast of Carolina.  They were pretty amazing if I do say so myself, and Amanda + Derek's Pepper Plantation wedding was at the top of the list!  We all love Charleston weddings and when captured by Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay they tend to take our breath away.  The minute I caught a glance of Amanda's dreamy neutral color palette I was hooked and the loveliness didn't stop there.  The beautiful bride, her mother and sister teamed up with those talented ladies over at Ooh! Events to pull off a Lowcountry bash for books and the details are bound to make you swoon!  Dying to see more?! Check out all the details in our complete digital edition of A Lowcountry Wedding Mag available for purchase here!

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"Derek is a Southern gentleman from Alabama, and I'm a California girl.  Derek moved to California for his job and since he didn't know anyone there when he moved, his boss suggested he join eharmony to help him meet people.  Since I was always meeting the wrong men, my friends and I popped open a bottle of wine one night and they created my profile for me.  He was the first guy who contacted me. We began emailing, then texting, then finally met.  After a year and a half of dating he proposed!  (There is more of our individual bios on our wedding website that you are welcome to use if you want more information).

Since all of my family lives in California, and all of his family lives in Alabama, we were going to have the wedding somewhere in the middle, but finally decided on Charleston.  I had traveled there before and fell in love with the city.  I knew this was going to be a challenge, planning a wedding from across the country, and couldn't have done it without the help of my Mom and Sister."

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What made you choose your venue? What elements drew you to it?

When booking The Pepper Plantation we literally had to take a leap of faith.  Planning from California, we had never seen the Charleston wedding venue in person but fell in love with the pictures we saw online.  We found out that March 16th was the only date available.  I remember calling Derek and saying, "I think we should just book it."  I don't know what came over me.  I think I was eager to put a big, fate, red check mark next to something on my endless "wedding planning" list.  When the day finally came to see the venue in person, we were so happy!  We love the open wood beams on the inside, and the rustic/masculine feel.  Also the fact that it's just outside donwtown Charleston.  "We did good babe" was what Derek told me after walking around the venue for the first time.  I think we did good too.

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Tell us all about the details!  Did any have special meaning? What was your favorite?

My Mother worked at a florist in Orange Country, CA for many years so the flowers were her department, and they turned out beautiful.  We had to book all of our Charleston wedding vendors in advance without any interviews.  This is where A Low Country Wedding helped tremendously.  I found most of my vendors through your site.  After booking, my Mom, sister and I made a "girls trip" to Charleston where we set-up meetings with everyone!  It was quite a trip!  Coincidentally, my husband's job relocated him to Greenville, SC so I ended up moving there with him in January.  My Mom would ship me homemade details to bring to the wedding.  She created a custom moss-covered "H" (for Holley) to sit on the mantle, and it sits on the mantle in our home today.  My sister made all of my programs and shipped those to me.  They shipped me horseshoes to have as a lawn game.  One of my favorite details was our guestbook that they had ordered off etsy.  Guests would "leaf" their fingerprint on a hand-painted tree.

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    I also loved the antique bar we rented, our cigar bar and the lawn games we had for guests to enjoy (corn hole and horseshoes).  With so many activities going on, it was such a fun afternoon!  Our guests from California loved all the "Southern" touches that they never would have experienced at a wedding in California.  We also collected pictures of us as children and put mine on the "Ladies" room door and his on the "Gentlemens" room door.  This was such a cute touch that our guests loved.

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    I hate taking pictures (and so does Derek) but one of the most surprising aspects of that day was how much fun we had taking pictures with our photographers.  Sean and Elizabeth are SO unbelievably awesome at what they do.  They met with us before the wedding a couple times, spent quality time with us, laughed with us, I mean... really got to know us.  The first time Derek took me home to meet his family in Alabama, he took me hunting and I shot a Buck.  I think that made him fall in love with me! ;-)  This CA girl had never even shot a gun.  Anyway, Sean knew Derek was a big hunter and brought this really cool antique gun for us to pose with.  They brought fun props (like old cameras) for us to play around with.  It made our pictures tell our love story and every time I look at them I smile at how much fun we have together.

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    For the week of the wedding, my Parents rented a huge beach house on the Isle of Palms for my entire bridal party to stay in. It was the most favorite week of my life.  Every day we had a different assembly line going on.  We bought pralines from the open market in downtown Charleston, stuffed them in bags tied with ribbon, made homemade "Love is Sweet" stickers and gave them to guests as favors.  We made my seating chart, bought the frame for my guestbook.  Every where I looked the night of my wedding reminded me of the love from my family and girlfriends.  Without their help, I would have been a disaster.

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How did he propose?  How long were you engaged for?

I knew the engagement was coming.  We had to talk about the move to South Carolina and the timeline of everything.  I am the hardest person to surprise because I guess everything.  Every time Derek would say we're going out to dinner... ask me to go on a walk... I would think "this it it!! get ready!!"  He KNEW I was anticipating it.  One night I was going to his house after work.  I was stuck in Los Angeles traffic and in a bad mood when he called and said he wouldn't be home until later that evening because he had to help his boss move.  He said he would leave the key to his house in the tomato plant we had just planted together.  I get to his place, go up the steps to the door, look in the tomato plant and there is a ring box.  He opens the door, crying like I've never seen him cry before, got on one knee and proposed.  He definitely surprised a girl who can't be surprised!

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What’s your favorite picture from your wedding and why?

This is such a difficult question.  I LOVE all of our pictures, really and truly.  I cannot give enough praise to Sean and Elizabeth.  A picture that stands out in my mind is one that wasn't planned.  Derek and I were on the dance floor with all of our family and friends having the time of our lives, unaware that anyone was taking a picture of us and Sean & Elizabeth captured that perfect moment.  It's in black & white and we're just staring into each other's eyes.  I love it!

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Tell us a little bit about your menu…

Since the majority of my guests were coming from California, I really wanted them to get a taste of the South.  We had boiled peanuts by the bar during cocktail hour and pimiento cheese was passed around with some other delicious creations by The Crazy Dutchman.  (When I first started dating Derek, I had never even heard of pimiento cheese).  Shrimp and Grits, pork tenderloin and delicious sides were served at dinner with sweet tea of course.

Specialty Drinks?

When I first moved to South Carolina I discovered Firefly Sweet Tea vodka, so of course that had to be my specialty drink!  Derek chose scotch as his signature drink to go along with the cigar bar we created near the outside fireplace.  We had custom matchbooks made with our names and a deer with antlers on the front to appeal to all the men.  He also made sure to have the local Palmetto micro-brew as a beer selection.

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Something old: My Grandmother's handercheif with blue embroidery (also counted as my something blue).

Something new: My hairpiece and earrings

Something borrowed: I borrowed my sister's bracelet that she wore on her wedding day

Something blue: My Grandmother's handkerchief with blue embriodery

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Most valuable piece of advice you’d give to a newly engaged bride

Really take time to enjoy the process and the big day.  It is SO easy to stress about every little detail and become Bridezilla.  Try to not worry about what other people will think.  Think about what you want, what you love, your love for your fiancé and take help from whoever offers!  Most importantly,  soak up every moment of your wedding day.  After months of planning, it goes by way too fast.  I remember being on the dance floor and the wedding planner tapped me on the shoulder saying it was time to prepare for our farewell.  I started crying because I wasn't ready for the party to be over!

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Charleston Wedding Vendors  

Venue: The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation  /  Photographers: Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay  /  Reception Band: Travis Allison Band  /  Ceremony Music: Charleston Virtuosi  /  Bridal Shop: The Dresser Bridal Couture  /  Cake: Ashley Bakery  /  Bar & Catering: The Crazy Dutchman Catering  / Event Planner, Florist & Rentals: Out of Hand Events & Ooh! Events  /  Hair & Make-up: Generations of Designs  /  Invitations: Invitations on Main  /  Officiant: Glenn Eubanks