“I wanted it to feel like the venue was our home and we were having everyone over for a dinner party” gushed the bride of the hour, Lea Allen. This Charleston based interior designer has an affinity for blending eclectic, traditional prints and pieces with a fresh, functional modern touch. Together, Lea and her design-curious sweetheart Grant, teamed up with Peninsula Events and Tupelo Honey Flowershop to transform the gardens of the William Aiken House into a personality-driven, opulent party — while paying homage to the historic venue’s palette, and embracing its old world elegance.
After Lea and Grant first met in college, they immediately sensed a connection that can only be described as kismet. They began dating two weeks after meeting and have been together for eight years, all the while enduring career changes, three years of long distance and two state-hopping moves. Through it all, they showed one another an unparalleled level of support — and an unyielding, everlasting love. Once they settled down in Charleston with their precious golden retriever Truman, Grant made plans to propose. In true Notebook style, with the rain and winds of Sullivan’s Island cascading around them, Grant got down on one knee and asked Lea to marry him.
Lea and Grant knew their guests would have expectations, given Lea’s design-centric mind. The couple wanted to deliver, and also surprise the crowd with bold, creative touches. Upon entering the courtyard garden, our eyes were immediately drawn to the harmonious, eclectic details adorning the bar area. A gallery of porcelain plates hung on a textured wall of ivy, making a fabulous centerpiece between two gilded shelves of glistening glassware. At each end of the bar, mirroring chinois lamps (that looked like they could have been at Marie Antoinette’s bedside) helped to deliver the cozy, yet lavish feel that the couple envisioned. From the custom painted Prosecco bottle, to the “L & G” matchboxes, every thoughtful touch made you feel as if you were an honored guest in their home.
Upstairs, behind the cheerful yellow walls of the William Aiken mansion, Lea and Grant got ready for their big day. Grant in his Brackish bow tie and patent leather dress shoes looked like he had been living at the William Aiken House all of his life. Lea wore an elegant dress embossed with a floral print and cut with a plunging neckline. With her voluminous skirt and tight bun tucked behind her pearl earrings, she looked regal. The couple met in the courtyard under a looming oak tree, embracing and reminding one another that they were not dreaming. After their first look they strutted around “their” backyard, admiring every detail and feeling the joy of a vision come to life.
Guests began to trickle into the limestone courtyard, many of them sporting fantastic floral prints that added a lively new layer of textures, prints and colors to the event’s aesthetic. Grant made his way up the aisle, between two vibrant arrangements, bursting with white blooms and green botanicals. With her father by her side, Lea came floating down the aisle with an assured smile. At the arbor, Grant took her hand and the couple relished in the short, special moment. They vowed to a life of love with their family and friends as witnesses, and kissed passionately for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Allen.
Everyone was buzzing during cocktail hour, ecstatic to be celebrating their new favorite couple and embracing all of the joy that the day had to offer. On the breezy second floor veranda of the William Aiken House , the guests snacked on tiny tacos and sipped on pink drinks poured in Lea and Grant’s customized party cups. The beaming bride and groom made their rounds to all of their favorite people giving hugs, kisses and words of gratitude.
The wedding party strolled down to the courtyard for the couple’s first dance. Grant emerged in a dapper white tuxedo that heightened the classic black and white palette lended by Lea’s gown and the checkered dance floor. Anticipating one another’s every move, they laughed, dipped and twirled, with Lea’s skirt dramatically sweeping behind her. After the parents joined their children for a first dance, the guests made their way to the dining area for dinner. Everyone cozied up on bamboo chairs along four rows of farmhouse tables adorned with a sage block printed tablecloths and white floral arrangements. The design was soft, familiar and sophisticated, and played effortlessly with the natural environment.
Grant and Lea sat back and watched their dream dinner party unfold before their eyes. The wedding party cried, laughed and dined on delicious bites. Beloved guests gave heartwarming toasts, coupled with humorous jabs that took everyone down memory lane. As the sun set and the stars lit up the southern sky, we met the newlyweds in the cake parlor. Grant and Lea drank from heirloom silver goblets passed down from many generations on Lea’s side (dating back to 1867!) and cut into their perfect, white wedding cake. After licking icing off their fingers, they were ready to join their friends and family on the dance floor.
Lea changed into a chic off-the-shoulder dress and pointed toe stilettos with diamond ankle straps. Despite her fresh outfit change, her overzealous husband scooped her up and swung her around the dance floor. The guests sang enthusiastically and waved their glowing batons in the air. Grant broke it down alongside one of his groomsmen, and one guest took to the depths of the dance floor to do the worm. Lea hugged her hubby and her loved ones tight, reveling in the final moments of her wedding night.
With sparklers in hand, the joyful guests created a star lit runway for the newlyweds to make their way through. Everyone cheered them on as they exited the William Aiken estate and onto King Street to marvel at the “Lea & Grant #HappilyEverAfter” American Theatre marquee (and of course this fun couple had two sequined cowboy hats prepared for this photo op).
Congratulations to Lea and Grant! We wish you a lifetime of swanky dinner parties and opulent romance.
Check out a few of our favorites from this wedding day below!
xox Kai & Tim
Featured on Style Me Pretty !
Photography: Kai & Tim ; Kailee DiMeglio Photography
Charleston Wedding Photographers
Venue: William Aiken House
Wedding Planner: Peninsula Events
Makeup: Cheryl Quinn Makeup
Florist: Tupelo Honey Flowershop
Ceremony Music: Charleston Virtuosi
Music: Darby Events
Officiant: Vows by Casey
Dress: White on DI
Dress Designer: Anne Barge
Invitations, Cups, & Koozies: Shop Surcie
Menus & Envelope Liners: Ashley D Studio
Calligraphy: Calligraphy By Carole
Videographer: H2H Media
Champagne Bottle: Morgan Willis
Film Scans: PhotoVision Prints