Columbia, SC Bridal Session

Olivia's bridal portrait session in Columbia, South Carolina.

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Photography: Philip Casey Photography

Location: 701 Whaley, Columbia, SC


Q: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?

A: Our inspirations were the international roots and global family ties of the bride and groom, anchored in our Christian faith. The bride's family came from the USA and Canada, and the groom's from the United Kingdom and Australia, with friends coming those countries as well as from Europe. Our officiant was the bride's youth pastor from her high school years. He personalized the wedding service, making it both a spiritual and entertaining experience for us and our guests.

Q: Let's talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?

A: We wanted the beauty of our venue to be a focal part of our decor - showing off the soaring 20 foot windows, the original brick and plaster walls, the exposed ductwork and distressed woodwork. We kept our florals simple, with lots of eucalyptus greenery and lush white florals, cafe lighting for atmosphere with a curtain of fairy lights behind the bar. We made fun signage for the flower girls to carry, as well as signs for menus, bar options, bathrooms, sweetheart table chairs for the bride and groom, and a welcome sign for our guests.

Q: What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

A: We wanted to incorporate the greenery of our home in Australia through eucalyptus with the floral beauty and warmth of the bride's upbringing in the Carolinas. Our bridal bouquets and boutonnieres incorporated the same eucalyptus and lush white florals, with pops of blush in the bridal bouquets to bring out the distressed plaster in the venue and pops of navy in the bridesmaids' bouquets to bring in the groom and groomsmen's navy suits. We kept the table arrangements and venue florals simple with greenery and whites in both the ceremony and reception areas.

Q: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

A: Our biggest personalization of the rehearsal and reception was that all food was strictly gluten free. This enabled the bride and many of the guests who are gluten intolerant to be able to enjoy their wedding experience without fear of cross contamination. Our food vendors were amazing! In addition, we created mad libs for the guests to complete and place in the guest book, photo booth entertainment to record their evening. The night was filled with dancing dancing dancing, including traditional Australian line dancing with instruction to enable all to join in! In Australia, wedding receptions have an MC who knows the couple well to keep the evening on track, and our good friend came from Australia to perform this role. He was funny, entertaining, and on point. Our videographer flew over from Australia to record our day - crossing from Australia to SC and back in less than 4 days! That is a wonderful friend.

Q: Let's talk fashion. How did you choose your wedding day look? How did the groom? Describe both looks in detail.

A: Our lifestyle in Brisbane, Australia, is urban, industrial, and tropical, and the style and colors of 701 Whaley fit our vision perfectly. As a couple, we are pretty informal, but we love to dress up for formal occasions. To blend these tastes, I went semi-tailored for my wedding dress with chantilly lace over a satin ivory dress after a 2-hour shopping trip to BHLDN in DC. My groom selected navy blue suits with maroon and white striped pocket squares, ties for the groomsmen and a bow tie for himself. A nod to red, white, and blue for both the USA and Australian colors.

Q: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

A: In 2013, Olivia flew from South Carolina to Canberra, Australia to visit her sister's family who were on a temporary placement with the Department of Defence. For casual part-time work, she took a job at the local gluten free bakery/cafe in town. As a coeliac, this was the perfect temporary employment!Alex had recently graduated from The Australian National University in Canberra and was living in the suburb which hosted Canberra's only gluten free bakery/cafe. By some twist of fate, Alex's housemate happened to get a job her as well, just after Olivia started. Before long, Alex was doing his housemate a favor and delivered her uniform to her at work. This was the first time Alex and Olivia met!Love at first sight is not just for fairytales... there was truly an instant attraction. Three free coffees and ample small talk later it was clear Olivia and Alex were interested in pursuing a relationship. We had been dating for three and a half years when Alex got down on one knee. Alex planned a weekend away to Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island, QLD. We borrowed a four-wheel-drive SUV from friends and took the ferry to the island for a romantic weekend away. After a big drive around the island, Alex proposed at Honeymoon Bay on Saturday, 3 December 2016. It was truly the perfect start to our forever!

Q: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

A: Definitely the first look! Having that first look with just the two of us in our beautiful wedding space helped both of us bring down the nerves and move into the ceremony with joyful anticipation.

Q: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you'd like to share with other couples planning their day?

A: When planning your wedding, we would recommend that you both write down your five priorities for the wedding day. These are the non-negotiable items that you should also share with your families so everyone is on the same page from day one.I would highly recommend a wedding coordinator for your big day! If something tragic happens, like a problem with a vendor, they will take care of it for you.During the ceremony, ask your celebrant to allow for a moment for the two of you to turn around and soak in the atmosphere, your guests and the venue. Otherwise, it just goes too fast! Seven weeks in, the best marriage advice we can give is to have joy in everyday and don't get caught up in the little things. Hug and cuddle regularly as well :)