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charleston wedding planners

Charleston Wedding Planners {Pure Luxe Bride}

I asked my gal pals (and Charleston wedding planners), Francesca and Blake of Pure Luxe Bride to help us out a bit.  With the recent wave of newly engaged ladies in search of how to kick off their Lowcountry wedding planning journey, we thought it was necessary to have them share a few tricks of the trade.  They whipped up the their top 5 things every Groom and Bride-to-be need to accomplish to enjoy their engagement and the entire wedding planning process.  Ladies, take it away…. pure luxe bride

We are so thrilled to be writing this guest blog post for A Lowcountry Wedding, and what better topic to discuss than how to get that wedding planning ball rolling?! After some serious Pure Luxe brainstorming, we came up with the five most important steps to help you get started.

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1. Do your research

The very first step in planning your wedding must include research. It is very important that you weigh all your options when it comes to venues and vendors, price ranges, and of course, planners. To get married in coastal South Carolina or the church your parents were married in? An indoor or outdoor ceremony? How much does a wedding cake typically cost? These are all very important questions that your research can help you answer.

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2. Discuss your budget and stick to it

After you've begun your research, you'll become more familiar with the pricing of all things weddings. You'll learn that getting married on a week day or in the off-season could cost exponentially less than a Saturday wedding in March. You'll decide whether you and your spouse-to-be prefer a band or a DJ to help you dance the night away. Discussing a budget and sticking to it is the most important aspect of wedding planning - hands down. Get your finances in order and figure out the best allocation of your resources for your special day. Unfortunately, you can't spend money that you don't have BUT you can do a lot with the money you do have. Figure out what number works for you and do your best to stay within it. Everything else will fall into place with the help of your planner and vendors.

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3. Be realistic

Creating a budget is a difficult task in itself, but creating a realistic budget can be even more difficult. Your dream wedding is within reach; it just requires a creative spin and a few adjustments here and there. The worst thing to happen in your planning process is when reality becomes a distant memory, and the ideas of draping the entire tent emerge. If details like this aren't in your budget, don't even go there! A bride who's dreams become bigger than her budget makes for a disappointed bride and the last thing we want is for our brides to be disappointed!

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4. Think about your guest list

One way to combine your research and budget in a realistic and all-encompassing fashion is through a tentative guest list. Discussing who the essentials, probably's, maybe's and definitely not's are ahead of time can really help you manage your budget. A huge amount of your decisions and costs will be based upon how many people will be invited/attending your wedding. Small pricing details also come into play once you're familiar with your guest count such as save the dates/invitation pricing, escort/place cards, favors and more.

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5. Work as a team

As exciting as planning your wedding can and will be, it is very easy to get caught up in the craziness of all and forget the real purpose behind it all. Remember that you and your future-hubby are a team and your decisions should be joint. Include him not only in the big decisions such as guest count and catering choices, but also in the smaller details like the color scheme and florals. Chances are, he'll leave these decisions to you but he'll love that you included him and wanted his opinion. Most importantly, make sure to just simply spend some time together, sans wedding details. Have a movie night, take a cooking class, or just sit on the couch and catch up - whatever you do, make time for one another.

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 You can contact Pure Luxe Bride via:


Phone: 843.412.2495





The Bride's Guide to a Stellar Send Off {Pure Luxe Bride}

You've exchanged vows, cut the cake, and danced the night away with family and friends on the dance floor. Now its time to say goodbye to all of your wedding guests that helped to celebrate your wedding day. As the reception comes to an end, family and friends will gather around to send off the bride and groom. Why not get creative and have a unique departure from your wedding reception? Not only is a creative send off a fun way to end the celebration, but it leaves a lasting impression. To help make this moment perfect, and to get the creativity flowing, Pure Luxe Bride has identified several ideas for the bride and groom looking to depart their reception in style. Send off ideas that Pure Luxe Bride loves....

-  Ditch the birdseed for a handful of colorful confetti! This fun and colorful send off provides a modern twist to the traditional birdseed toss. Not only will this departure be colorful and fun for wedding guests of all ages but, it will photograph nicely. (Most venues will require a bio-degradable confetti which can be found here )

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Photo Credit: Amelia + Dan Photography

-  Looking for another way to make a bright and colorful exit from you wedding? Decorate your wedding guests with neon glow sticks and neon plastic sunglasses. This retro and colorful exit is the perfect departure for the playful and fun bride and groom.

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Photo Credit: Reese Moore Weddings

-  For the traditional couple having a romantic inspired wedding, have wedding guests toss handfuls of lavender upon departure. This sweet and romantic inspired departure is timeless, and will smell lovely as well.

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Photo Credit: Emily Madison Photography

-  Sparkler send offs are always a favorite with Pure Luxe Bride! Who wouldn't want to depart through a tunnel of beautiful sparklers?! This idea is perfect for any theme that the couple is incorporating in their wedding day. For elegant and romantic themed weddings, have a vintage car waiting at the end of the sparkler tunnel. We especially love the 36 inch sparklers from Sparklers Online -they burn for about 4 minutes!

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Photo Credit: King Street Studios

-  Incorporating transportation for departure that is unique to Charleston is another great idea. For the lowcountry bride and groom getting married and celebrating by the water, depart by boat for a true Charleston exit. If you are marrying downtown, exit by bike taxi or find a fun pair of wheels like this Boss Hog from Shuttle Hogs.

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 Photo Credit: Amelia + Dan Photography

What's the Difference Between a Wedding Planner and a Wedding Designer?

I'm constantly chatting with brides via email, on facebook or even twitter.  Most of their questions I can handle, but sometimes I've got to turn it over to the experts...and lord knows the Lowcountry is home to many!  To shed some light on one of the most popular topics, I decided to bring in Caitlin Sullivan + Lauren Burtis of the fabulous Calder Clark Designs to answer the age old question, "What's the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding designer." So ladies, take it away.... charleston weddings

Newly engaged couples often question the difference between a wedding planner and wedding designer, and which professional better suits their needs. Simply stated, a wedding planner is a logistician. A planner’s role is to lead the client to the correct vendors, determine how to transport guests from point a to point b, help manage the budget, keep the client on track throughout the planning process, and make sure everything runs efficiently on the big day. There is tremendous value in having a planner for your wedding because it allows brides the luxury of enjoying their engagement and they ensure that the months leading up, and the big day, run as smoothly as possible.

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On the other hand, a wedding designer focuses on the look and feel of the day, much like an interior designer. A wedding designer has a good understanding of spatial planning and is, therefore, able to think through the layout and flow, and what works or doesn’t work in an event setting, which is paramount when it comes to an event’s integrity. When hiring a wedding designer, the client can expect someone to translate their ideas and loves into a cohesive look. A designer also understands the importance of basic lighting components. For example, well-designed weddings, like interior spaces, need ambient lighting such as votives and table lamps, task lighting such as pinspots and uplights, and overhead lighting such as chandeliers in order to feel complete. A wedding designer also has the ability to give the bride advice on where they should splurge, and where they should save their money. They know that elements such as a beautiful hand painted dance floor or a floral centerpiece draping from tabletop to floor, have incredible impact on an event, while some elements such as ceremony programs might be less impactful. A wedding designer’s value lies in their ability to create well-designed events with strong emphasis on details and decor.

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We at Calder Clark Designs are a team of both planners and designers; we pride ourselves on our ability to balance all aspects of our job including both logistical planning and event design. We get to know our clients well and pull out elements that are special to them; whether it be serving a family recipe, or including a pattern or color palette that inspired the interior of their home. Our goal is for guests to leave our events feeling like every detail was custom to the bride and groom, and was a reflection of them. Additionally, because we are full service, we give our brides and grooms the ability to step back and be the guests of honor, while their parents host, and everything continues to run smoothly because we are behind the scenes. As wedding designers and planners, we find that every day brings something new, and we love the challenge of balancing it all for every couple’s special day.


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- Caitlin Sullivan + Lauren Burtis of Calder Clark Designs



Contact Calder Clark Designs at:

62 Cannon Street

1st FLOOR  

Charleston,   SOUTH CAROLINA 29403






Hiring a Wedding Planner {Ashley Nicole Events}

This week we've shared some serious inspiration from some of our favorite Charleston wedding vendors for your big Lowcountry Wedding!  We had Magnus + Rachel's Charleston wedding engagement at Marion Square, Meghann + Jordan's stunning wedding at The Sanctuary and Christine + Garrett's College of Charleston e-session!  To wrap up this week we're welcoming Charleston wedding planner Ashley, of Ashley Nicole Events, to give us some much needed guidance on just why you need to hire a wedding planner.  She addresses many common questions and even shares a few personal experiences that will have you running to hire a planner!  So, ladies, let's welcome Ashley Nicole Events... charleston weddings, charleston wedding coordinators, ashley nicole events, richard bell photography

The Importance of a planner


Who will tell me when to walk down the aisle? Who will help decorate while I’m getting dressed? Who will make sure all of my gifts are gathered when the reception is over?


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These are some of the questions I get all the time from brides, moms, dads, and friends of the family.  At the end of a reception I get these questions followed by “without you this would have never gotten done”.  A planner has many roles the day of the wedding and throughout the planning process.  From being the “go between” with the couple and vendors to being the DJ announcer because the “Friend” that you decided to use didn’t want to DJ anymore.  There is always something that is going to arise that a planner will assist with and make sure everything still runs smoothly.

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Here are a few stories and how I remedied the situation:

Just recently, while handling a “day of’ wedding, there was a cake crisis.  The room was a little on the stuffy side and not to mention about 200 bodies were in this room.  The 4 tiered cake had begun to slip, thus cracking the entire bottom layer.  With the help of the catering manager and my assistant we moved that baby out from the center of the room as fast as we could.  The top three layers had to be taken off, then placed back on the cake stand, and the bottom layer re-iced to make it look presentable.  The bride and groom had no idea this was even happening until a few days after the wedding.  I received a phone call from the bride thanking me for saving her cake!

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I received a phone call from a couple that was getting ready to wed that very weekend.  They needed help with the ceremony coordination and a few other things.  Normally I don’t just do ceremony coordination, but I certainly didn’t want to leave them high and dry to do it on their own.  So I agreed.  We went for our final walk though and the bride asked the venue manager about placement of the candles.  He told her they did not handle those things and recommended hiring a planner for the “little things that are always forgotten”.  Enter planner.  This poor bride just needed help with a placement of a few items, so I agreed to help.  I wanted to make sure her day was just the way she envisioned it in her mind.  And so it was.

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These are just some of the stories from my personal experience and trust me there are many, many more.  Having a friend designated to handle certain things throughout your wedding day is not the best plan for any couple getting married.  Often times that friend may get tired or bored doing what you have asked them to do and completely quit on you.  Then what?  What if your limo is a half hour late?  Who will handle getting another limo or even a refund while you are on your honeymoon?

lowcountry weddings, groom wearing a kilt

Here are a few questions and answers that I hope will clear up the misconception of having a planner vs. someone else.


I can’t afford a planner; it’s just not in the budget!

Everyone is budget savvy these days and quite frankly I can see why.  To put on a wedding is very expensive.  That is why hiring a planner is a key element.  A true planner (and I’ll get to that below) has relationships with many wedding professionals in the area.  They will help negotiate with your dj, catering company, photographer, etc to stay within your budget.  But you say, I still can’t afford one.  Well think about it this way.  If a planner costs $2500, and she has helped save you $700 from the photographer’s package, $400 from the rental company, $800 off the venue, and $600 off the dj service, then you have just paid for your planner!! Plus I’m sure there will be more savings throughout the remainder of the planning process.

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Why can’t the catering manager/venue manager handle it?

He or she already has plenty on his/her plate.  From making sure the cocktail hour food is out and ready for those hungry guests, to making sure the servers are clearing tables and replenishing the food as needed.  A venue manager is there to make sure the music isn’t too loud and the staff is doing as told.  They don’t want to have to worry about 105 candles being lit before the guests arrive or making sure all other vendors are there at the time they are supposed to be.  A planner will do all of those things for you.  Check in vendors and make sure they are on time and have everything they need and were supposed to bring.  FYI – a lot of catering and venue managers say they help out with all of this stuff, but remember, they will make sure all of their duties are completed before getting to your list of to do’s.

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True Planners vs. hobby planners

I mentioned it briefly above, but having a true planner that plans weddings on an everyday basis is key.  Anyone can call themselves a planner, but someone that is a professional will have special connections with well known wedding vendors.  Plus, planners are familiar with venues and their special requirements. A person who does it for a hobby might not know the particular requirements and might be the cause of you not receiving your deposit back or even worse.  Stick with a professional!

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I have a plenty of blogs bookmarked and my Pinterest board is overflowing with great ideas, I can handle this myself.

Who doesn’t love Pinterest?  I certainly do.  It is full of amazing ideas from previous weddings and styled photo shoots.  But wouldn’t it be nice to get fresh new ideas from someone who knows whether or not that centerpiece will go with the theme or ideas you have chosen?  A planner not only is there the day of, but we are available throughout the whole planning process.  We want to make your vision come to life.  You see something in your mind and want it a certain way, we will make that happen.  Planners also bring fresh new ideas to the table.  New color schemes that you would never have thought to put together.  Layout processes, centerpieces, rentals, how big of a tent do I need, I need my dress steamed, so on and so forth.  These are all things a planner will do to make sure everything runs smoothly.  This is a season in your life that you should enjoy and a wedding planner will help take the stress out of planning

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So all in all, it is a great idea to have a planner.  Be it a full wedding planner/designer, or a day of coordinator.  It will make things much easier on you, your family, all the wedding vendors involved, and help you enjoy this special time in your life!  It is well worth the ease of mind to have someone taking care of all those little things you forgot or to help sort through all those pins you have been working on over the past year.

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“Designing an event is more than just the planning; it’s turning your dreams into reality!”

-         Ashley Nicole Events