South Carolina Aquarium Wedding

Cori & Steve

May 24, 2014

Ceremony & Reception Venue: South Carolina Aquarium

   After a memorable engagement, Cori and Steve were eager to keep the celebration going and set off to Charleston to find their dream wedding venue.  They were searching for an outdoor space on the water in Charleston’s Historic District and found The South Carolina Aquarium to be just what they had in mind.  Not only did the Aquarium meet their requirements, it also enabled the couple to utilize multiple spaces throughout the night and create an “unveil” for each part of their reception.  After settling on May 24th, the destination duo enlisted the services of Fox Events to bring their elegant Lowcountry evening to life. -EW

Charleston Wedding Vendors

Photographer: amelia + dan photography  //  Planning & Design: Lauren Fox and A.T. Bradshaw of Fox Events  //  Florist: Lotus Flowers  //  Gown: Anna Maier ~ Ulla-Maija  //  Bridal Shop: Le Jeune Marie  //  Bridesmaids Dresses: Parker//  Shoes: Christian Louboutin  //  Ceremony & Reception Earrings: Sara Gabriel  //  Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss  //  Groomsmen’s Attire: Express  //  Linens: BBJ & Connie Duglin  //  Cake: WildFlour Pastry  //  Catering: Brick Lane Catering  //  Bar: ICEBOX Bar  //  Invitations: Ink and Ivory //  Rentals: EventHaus  //  Programs: Mac and Murphy  //  Hair & Makeup: Lauren Fetter of Wedding Hair by Charlotte  //  Entertainment: DJ – James Brown//  Officiant: James A. Keating//  Rehearsal Dinner: Stars Restaurant //  Rings: MB Designs  


Tell us how you met: We met at the ‘neighborhood hotspot” that Steve was working at the time.  After a year of flirting, we final went on a date…and the rest is history.

Proposal Details: Steve proposed in New Orleans (where I was born) in Jackson Square in front of St. Louis Cathedral (where I was baptized).  As we walked through the square on the way to “brunch” he twirled me around (like he does often) and when I came back around he was on one knee with the ring.  After our moment he pointed out that my best friend and her husband were standing right in front of us – they were waiting with a bottle of Veuve (and they were able to make sure we had pictures of the whole thing).  Steve had also arranged for more friends and family to be seated on the park benches that line the square.  As we turned each corner another would appear with champagne glasses in hand.  We celebrated all weekend.

How did you select your date + venue: We knew we wanted to be outside and by water, but we wanted to be in the historic district.  We also wanted to do something different and have multiple areas we could move our guests through.  When went to check out the Aquarium we realized we could have an “unveil” for each portion of the day.   Upon visiting, we decided in that we were going to do the ceremony on the terrace, cocktail hour (and wedding party announcements) in the Deep Ocean Room, Dinner in the Great Hall and back out to the terrace for dancing under the stars.

Since we had a destination wedding we wanted to choose a date that would make it easier for our family and friends to make a long weekend or even vacation of it – we did it over Memorial Day weekend.  It also happens to be very close to the anniversary of our first date – not the reason just a nice bonus.

Cori & Steve's South Carolina Aquarium wedding

 The Gown: The “Eva” by Anna Maier/Ulla-Maija Couture.  This is one of the few remaining true Couture wedding dress designers left.

The Hair + Makeup: Lauren Fetter from Wedding Hair by Charlotte.  I wore soft curls for the ceremony.  For the reception I (or one of my bridesmaids) swept it up to compliment my Swarovski Crystal head wrap.  

The Accessories (Shoes, Jewelry, Veil): Christian Louboutin “Jazzy Doll” Shoes, Ceremony Earrings – Sara Gabriel, Reception Earrings – Sara Gabriel, Bracelet –Sara Gabriel, Head Wrap – Debra Moreland is Paris, Cathedral Veil

Bridesmaids Attire: “Audrey” Beaded Dress by Parker.  I was adamant that I was not going to do a traditional bridesmaid dress so I shopped contemporary brands that I love and found this.  I have already had 2 of my bridesmaid re-wear this and I know others are planning on it J.

Groom + Groomsmen Attire:

Groom – Hugo Boss Tailored Line Navy 3 piece suit

Groomsmen – Express Producer 3 piece suit in Navy

Cori & Steve's South Carolina Aquarium wedding

 Ceremony Site + Details: Terrace at the Aquarium.   In general, we wanted the ceremony to be very personalized—with lots of special touches. We wanted the ceremony to be meaningful.  In order to do that, a close family friend was ordained specifically to marry us.  Steve and I wrote our own vows.  We had two of our close friends do readings.  One scripture passage - First Corinthians (my sorority’s reading) recited by one of my sorority sisters.  The other-a poem about love and relationships [I’d give the specific here only bc you gave the other one—and I thought that 2nd passage was beautiful]

The grandparents, parents and bridal party walked down the aisle to songs that are special to us-all performed in string versions

Grandma/Moms – Just the way you are [Bruno Mars]

Bridal Party – Seasons of Love [from the musical, “Rent”]

Bride/FOB – Over the Rainbow.  This was a special version arranged by my Brother Joe.  This is my grandfather’s favorite song and he loves to play it on the piano, even at 93 years of age. My brother merged his playing of the original version with the modern, ukulele version by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.  Because my grandfather was not able to come to the wedding, this song allowed us all to strongly feel his presence there.

Recessional – we started to walk out to a slow song, but this  quickly changed to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams—surprising everyone. Then we, along with our bridal party and all of our guests, danced out to begin the celebration.

Cori & Steve's South Carolina Aquarium wedding

 Aesthetic + Color Palette We didn’t make the traditional choice of using two or three dominant colors. We wanted the whole evening to be framed by metallic colors-shimmering gold, silver, champagne and white accents. Almost “no color”, yet accents that would illuminate the night.

The Décor: When planning our wedding we found that we were quite bored with most of the traditional choices. We had been to so many weddings that looked exactly the same. Because of this, we realized that when making décor choices we wanted a look that not only reflected our decorating aesthetic but that was unexpected and hopefully dazzling to the guests. Thus we focused on lighting and creating an atmosphere that was full of modern glam and elegance.

The décor was all metallic from the vases to the tablescapes and linens (from BBJ and Connie Duglin). We used white sheer fabric to divide the different spaces and to soften the room. The look was very elegant and went perfectly with the modern aesthetic of the aquarium.

The Food + Beverage: Cocktail hour: Grazing Station w/Cheeses, breads and fruit; Passed hors d’oeuvres – Ahi Tuna and Chicken Tostada; Strolling supper: made this choice so guests could continue to mingle and celebrate all while noshing on some delicious eats

For the food, we wanted a fun, personalized touch that guests would notice immediately upon walking in to the Great Hall, so we made the choice of having a giant ice sculpture, engraved with our initials that was lit from behind, and held fresh and local shellfish. 

We also had: Shoulder Tenderloin with potatoes dauphinoise and seasonal vegetable, Taco station – Mahi and Chicken, Salad Station – deconstructed Ceasar in a martini glass

We had a champagne tower built and set up so our guests could grab a glass on their way in to cocktail hour. 

Because we both love craft cocktails we brought in Icebox to create some specialty drinks for us. Along with them, we created His and Hers cocktail options.  His –a “Charleston Mule” served in copper mugs.  Hers – a Pink Grapefruit, Elderflower and Vodka concoction.

Cori & Steve's South Carolina Aquarium wedding

The Cake:We had a small cake – 2 tier white with ombre gold dots.  Bottom tier was salty caramel with buttercream frosting.  Top tier was chocolate ganache.  We gave this tier to Steve’s parents because they were not able to have theirs when they got married.  They were so surprised and it brought them to tears.

Mini cupcakes in an assortment of 7 flavors (i.e. salty caramel to match the cake, vanilla w/lemon filling and raspberry buttercream frosting, red velvet, chocolate w/peanut butter filling and chocolate ganache, summer spice cake)

Personal Touches: “LTPTS” – Love You Past The Sky.  This is something that my parents have said to my siblings and me since I can remember.  We incorporated this in to the invitation, our vows and Steve had it engraved on my wedding band.

We used a gobo light to project our logo on the Ft Sumter Memorial Building—as the sun went down guests were surprised and delighted by this choice

Flowers-calla lilies were special to me b/c of my Busi (grandma).  She was known as the “calla lily” lady around town because of a pastry she created and made on a regular basis.

Something Old – wedding photos from both sets of my grandparents in little frames attached to my bouquet

Something Blue – blue heart cut out from one of my Dad’s blue work shirts sewn in to the lining of my dress

Something Borrowed – my Matron of Honor’s handkerchief from her wedding

Somewhere over the Rainbow – see above in ceremony details   

We created a hashtag—#stevelovescori on Instagram—that guests were able to post photos to all weekend.

The Flowers: White Calla lilies, White Hydrangea, Amaryllis, Lisianthus, Amaranthus  

Cori & Steve's South Carolina Aquarium wedding

Guest Count: 145

The Favors: Glow Sticks—to our guests’ delight, we unveiled white foam glow sticks as it got dark outside. These had several light settings and guests used them all night on the dance floor to party and get down with.

 “Dancing Shoes” – flip flops for ladies to change in to

Swag Bags with some of our favorite things and goodies with some Charleston Flare.

The Send-off/Getaway Vehicle: All of the guests lined up along the ramp on the side of the aquarium and used the glow sticks to form an arch for us to run under.  We had the shuttles waiting to take us home – or to the bar that we had set up for the after party J

Best Piece of Advice for Brides-to-Be:Make sure to take a minute during the reception to step back with your new husband and watch all of your guests.  It is incredible to see all of these people who love you having so much fun celebrating you and your love.  You will never have that same group of people together again.  It is more special than you can imagine until you are in that moment…and it goes so fast.  I will never forget that moment for us. 


Are you planning a South Carolina Aquarium wedding? Check out our list of preferred vendors and venues. Oh, and if you need help securing guest rooms for your wedding, let us help you secure your hotel group blocks!