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A wedding at the Cotton Dock shows how stunning simplicity can be
Before Charleston, Charleston Home, and Charleston Weddings magazines’ editor-in-chief Darcy Shankland wed Wally Seinsheimer on November 24, 2009, she gave Tara Guérard of Soirée a couple of simple adjectives (casual and elegant); her favorite flower (a dahlia); a palette (red, ivory, and a touch of chocolate); and the location (Boone Hall Plantation) as inspiration before backing off to let a “dream team” of vendors do their thing. “I’ve always liked that idea,” says Darcy, “of working with professionals I know and trust and letting their creativity shine.” In this case, the result was an evening during which the plantation’s Cotton Dock glowed with candles flickering from nearly every surface; racks of wine bottles lined the walls as a salute to Darcy’s California roots; boughs of fiery colored maple leaves sprouted from the timbers; and velvety red blooms dressed tables where guests sampled tapas. To borrow some of the magic from their magical night, check out these stylish and money-smart DIY ideas.
1. Heavenly Haven: In lieu of loads of pricey flowers, candles and locally cut maple branches accented the timber mantel and columns, and a wooden platform frame was hung in place of a traditional chandelier. Simple ceremony trappings—like these painted benches, seagrass runner, and mirrors—can be re-used at (or borrowed from) home.
2. Mirror, Mirror: Rather than print programs, Tara penned the wedding party's names on an antique mirror and the ceremony details on another, then hung both beside the immense fireplace where the couple said their vows.
3. Power Of A Flower: Choose a single, bold color and large, showy blossoms for your bouquet—like this crimson mix of dahlias and peonies—and you'll need fewer flowers.
4. Bag It: The wedding's signature flower appeared throughout the event on mini-cards that provided pops of color, like here on the favor bags. Find graphics and icons like this dahlia online, then download, print, and incorporate throughout to tie the theme together.
5. Love That Label: Custom labels with the couple's combined nickname, "Shankenheimer," and wedding date were placed on bottles of their favorite wine. Purchase blank, printable sticker labels online or in stationery and paper shops.
6. Wrap It Up: Playing off the rustic setting, Tara wrapped glass vases in burlap by affixing them with double-sided tape, and binding them with twine festooned with dahlia tags.