GENNA & TODD
November 4, 2017
Johns Island, South Carolina
Tell us how you met: We met in the most romantic way possible…through a dating app. Our first face-to-face meeting was at Charleston's Blind Tiger Pub. I was 10 minutes early. He was 20 minutes late. (of course) I liked that he was smart, funny, and an individual. He liked that was energetic, outgoing, and positive. We clicked right away and never looked back.
Proposal Details and date: Todd proposed on 11.13.16 while my dad was in town from Atlanta. After an amazing meal at Wild Olive, one of our favorite restaurants, he got down on one knee (right on the said of the booth. He asked if I would let him be the man that keeps me smiling forever. Stunned into silence, I nodded emphatically (and cried a little).
How did you select your venue? Todd and I have very unique tastes. We don’t like doing what’s been done before. None of the typical Charleston-area venues (plantations, churches, country clubs, historic homes) felt like the right fit for us.
Luckily, we had moved in together at a renovated barn-house on Johns Island in 2016. The backyard has a bunch of gorgeous live oaks that open up to a marsh view. We couldn’t imagine a more beautiful—or personal—spot.
Tell us about your dress shopping experience. Describe your gown and designer and tell us who all was along for the ride.
My gown was Tiger Lily by Matthew Christopher. I went to two boutiques in downtown Charleston as well as one in Atlanta. And although I liked a lot of dresses I tried on, there was something different about Tiger Lily.
According to the description online, it’s an asymmetrical silk Mikado trumpet gown. I loved that the form-fitting bodice made me feel held in/secure (like I was wearing Spanx). When I tried it on, Michelle at Maddison Row South said, “Only a gay man could design dresses that fit women this well!” And I must say I have to agree.
The dress had a modern sweetheart neckline (which felt very sexy to me) and inset diagonal panels of silk duchess at the waist and hip (a super-cool, understated feature). The best part of the dress is the fabulous skirt—bursts of Mikado organza “scarves,” each edged in more silk, trailing away to a modified, chapel-length train.
I did not think I would want a dress that fluffy. I really wanted something that felt glamorous and modern. But I loved Tiger Lilly from the moment I put it on—the drama of the scarves at the bottom, the asymmetry of the skirt, and the subtle pattern that runs through the body.
Todd came along for dress trials (clearly, we’re not very old fashioned) as well as two of my good friends. They all took photos and videos of me as I tried on the different dresses. Tiger Lily looked great in every photo, from every angle—whether I was sucking in or bending over or just standing naturally. That was the kicker for me. We drank champagne and called it a day. J
(I later had the back of the dress dropped down about 3 inches.)
Describe your hair and makeup: Gwen Stefani was the inspo for my hair and makeup. I wanted a glam-rockstar look. I wanted a dramatic bridal faux-hawk and Kelly from Lashes & Lace nailed it. I also opted for two layers of false eyelashes (va-va-voom!) and a bright pink lip. No blushing natural bride here. ;)
Bridesmaids Attire (color and designer): We didn’t have a traditional bridal party. My sister and my best friend were with me all day to help me get ready. But there were no matching dresses.
Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Todd wore a burgundy custom-made velvet tux jacket and pants by Tom James. Todd also had his two closest friends with him as he got dressed for the day. Again, no matching attire for them either.
Did you decide on a first look? Why or why not? We did do a first look. I liked the idea of us getting to see each other by ourselves before everyone else. And we wanted to minimize how much photography time cut into the cocktail hour. To me, it’d be a surprise how I looked whether Todd saw it beforehand or coming down the aisle.
Ceremony – please describe the site, decor and any personal details you included: The ceremony was at the edge of our backyard, underneath oaks and two dangling chandeliers, with Johns Island marsh in the background.
I danced down the aisle with my dad to Paul Simon’s “You can call me Al.” It was something we’d talked about when I was just a teenager and he remembered, so we did it. Todd and I wrote our own vows and were married by our close friend who got ordained in order to do so. My best friend read a love poem by Tyler Knott Gregson, and both of our fathers offered words of wisdom during the ceremony. Our recessional song was “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC. In his typically flashy fashion, Todd put on sunglasses before receding down the aisle.
How did you decide on your aesthetic + color palette? We didn’t want a theme/aesthetic as much as we wanted the wedding to feel authentic to who we are as individuals and as a couple. We let our space and style guide our decisions.
The color palette included jewel tones and gold accents. In general, we love bright, bold colors: magenta, deep purple, turquoise, and gold, so that’s what we went with. Deep purple and gold ended up being predominantly featured.
Personal Touches: For me, the personal touches were the gold Chuck Taylors I was wearing for shoes, Todd’s steampunk cufflinks, floral wreaths we had made for the dog’s necks, the chicken parm served with dinner (one of Todd’s favorite dishes), the chicken biscuits served late night (one of mine), and the vows we wrote together. Although, I sort of feel like everything was a personal touch. And I love that.
Tell us all about the reception décor: Ashley (our wedding planner) could probably give you a better idea, but I’ll give it a shot…We had three long farm tables (dark wood) that were left uncovered with floral runners down the middle. Those were flanked by 8-top square tables with white linens and floral centerpieces. Tables were dotted with mercury glass tealights. Chandeliers and café lights hung overhead from the oaks. Napkins were purple. Silverware was gold. Plates were gold-rimmed with a sort of scalloped edge. The glasses were mismatched vintage in jewel tones. They were stunning.
Describe your cake and or sweets: Cake pops in three delicious flavors and an ice cream cart!
I love a cake pop because they’re so easy to eat! No mess! And I’m just not a fan of cake-cutting or cake-face-smashing. So, we went with cake pops, and they were beautiful and delicious.
Todd loves ice cream so as soon as he heard there was such a thing as an ice cream bicycle that you can rent for events, he was in.
Cake Pops were cake batter, red velvet, and cookie dough. And Ice Cream was Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Key Lime.
What was on the menu for the evening?
Chef’s Selection Antipasto Board: Sliced Cured Meats, Roasted Peppers, Salthouse Mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Local Seasonal Vegetables, Assorted Olives, Marcona Almond
Family-Style Dinner Service:
Fresh Trophie Pasta: Haricot Verts, Pesto, Parmesan
Roasted Brussel Sprouts: Caramelized Onion, Brown Sugar, Aged Balsamic
Ashley Farms Chicken Parmesan: Herb & Pecorino Breadcrumb, House Made Mozzarella, San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Marinated Arugula
Porchetta: Heritage Farms Pork Belly, Sage Breadcrumbs, Roasted Garlic, Meyer Lemon, Parmesan
Describe your flowers and the blooms that were included: Medium sized bouquet, loosely handtied with satin ribbon. Asymmetrical. Jewel tone colors. Flowers included roses, ranunculus, lisianthus, astilbe, along with several types of greens including eucalyptus and ivy.
The Invitation + Paper Details: The invitations were from Wedding Paper Divas. They featured a modern brushstroke design in deep purples and black with personalized gold foil detail. I loved the design and also the contemporary, casual tone of the language.
Guest Count: 100
The Favors: The guests took home the geode slices with their names on them as the favor. We also had welcome bags for out-of-town guests featuring Rewined-esque candles from a local maker with scents inspired by the Charleston area (Pralines on Market, King Street Coffee, Sweet Grass, Folly Beach, and Spanish Moss).
Late night snacks/special treats: French Fry Cones with Garlic Aoli and Fried Chicken Biscuit with Tabasco Honey Butter. (I consider myself a Fried Chicken Biscuit connoisseur, so I was most excited about these.)
Best Piece of Advice for Brides-to-be: Don’t think about what anyone expects you to do or what anyone says you should do. Make choices that feel good to you and reflect who you and your spouse are as people. Make your wedding completely your own.
What was your first dance song? We danced to “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé, transitioning from the slow version (from the Fifty Shades soundtrack) to the faster, original version.
What is your favorite picture from your wedding day and why? It was a full moon that night, and one of our photographers specialized in long exposure. So, she waited for the right moment until the moon was visible in the sky over the oak trees and grabbed us off the dance floor. We went and stood down by the marsh near the ceremony site under the chandeliers as she took photos.
I love these pictures because it’s amazing how she got it all in: the moon, the oaks, the chandeliers, and us. And also, because it gave us a chance to step away from the madness and chaos of the dance floor and quiet ourselves and hold each other and really feel that moment. I’ll never forget it. Even if I didn’t have the photo to remind me.
Is there anything else our readers would love to know about your wedding day?
1. Instead of taking Todd’s last name, we both took each other’s last names as our middle names. So, I’m now Genna Sevier Shelnutt and he’s now Todd Shelnutt Sevier. It’s our way of representing our equal partnership, while still reflecting the change and lifelong commitment.
2. At the end of the reception, our DJ got everyone off the dance floor and inside the house, including photographers, wedding planners, caterers, guests, family…everyone. Then he played our favorite song (“Take Me to Church” by Hozier), and he too walked inside, so we could end the night dancing alone under the stars. It was such a special moment.
What are you plans and goals as a newly married couple? We want to continue growing and thriving together. We love travel and new experiences. We don’t want to have children, but we do want to have our fair share of rescue puppies. We’re going to continue to push each other out of our respective comfort zones and live our best lives.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Couple’s Private Residence on Johns Island
Photographer: Andrew Cebulka
Planning & Design: Ashley Nicole Events
Floral Design: First Bloom of Charleston
Bride’s Gown Designer: Matthew Christopher
Dress Boutique: Maddison Row South
Hair & Makeup: Lashes & Lace
Accessories: Ilona Rubin of Petite Delights on Etsy
Men’s Attire: Custom made burgundy velvet jacket by Tom James
Shoes: All-Gold Chuck Taylor All Star high tops
Cake & Sweets: ABCD Cakes and Scoops Ice Cream Bicycle
Catering: Salthouse Catering
Rentals: Ooh! Events, Snyder
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Lighting: Technical Event Company
Ceremony Music: Lucas the DJ
DJ or Band: Lucas the DJ
Officiant: Richard Clarke (close personal friend)
Restrooms: Nature’s Calling
Transportation: Coastal Limo