The City Magazine Since 1975

Waterfront Gem

Monday, September 24, 2012

Photographs by Jörg Meyer (left & right) and Joshua Drake (middle)

SEPTEMBER 24, 2012

Waterfront Gem

RiverOaks, our newest favorite wedding venue, is tucked away on the Wando River

By Melissa Bigner

As of today, the new fall-winter issue is barely on the newsstands, and we’re over the moon to be able to share our newest big-time crush—RiverOaks, the Caldwell home on the Wando River on the edge of Mount Pleasant and Awendaw, about 25 minutes from downtown Charleston. This past July we were fortunate to shoot our fashion feature there (check out the shots here), and we fell for the place hard. A Bobby McAlpine-designed stucco manor, it sits at the end of a long drive past a charming pond and sweet little ol’ chicken coop. Pull in front of the house, and you’re smitten with the espalier roses that span the courtyard, the limestone garden gate, and the immaculate paths. Head around back, and, if you’re anything like us, you’ll want to move straight into the loggia that shares a view of the river, the patio of the house itself, and the copse of pines, oaks, and palmettos that shade the backyard.

And luckily for engaged couples, RiverOaks isn’t just for shoots. Though Marianne Caldwell lives there with her husband, Dr. Kenneth Caldwell, they welcome seven weddings a year to their private residence. Over the two-day shoot, we got to know Marianne pretty well, and she told us that they like to “host” Big Days for couples who are as concerned about the marriage commitment as they are about the party aspects of the wedding day itself. As someone who’s been married for 30-plus years, she knows what she’s talking about, and over decadent coffees she made for each of us around the clock, she tackled the crew’s relationship questions and quandaries. What a bonus! Getting to play dress up at a beautiful home with world-class gowns and jewels, and scoring a friendly barista with solid advice? Glory be.

Oh, and one more thing: Marianne is also the site’s event designer-coordinator. She, her daughter Jennigray Hewitt, and Lauren Heuber of Muster Branch Prop Co., teamed up to give the “set” the RiverOaks touch with vignettes aplenty, florals galore, and personality in spades. Dr. Caldwell even scraped the drive smooth for us.

To see the backstage silliness that ensued, click here.

To see some of the pretty details they created for the shoot, click here.

To see a gorgeous real-life wedding there, shot by Joshua Drake Photography, click here.

And to learn more about RiverOaks, click here.

What a way to start off the fall-winter season. Thanks, RiverOaks, thanks to all the vendors who lent their goods to the shoot, Mosaic Catering for lunches, and the team for their hard work. Enjoy!