Looking for more info on what a Magnolia Plantation Elopement looks like? Read on to see how this beautiful day came together for Hope & Justin!
If you’ve seen our resource on Charleston Elopement Packages, you’ve seen that we go beyond cookie-cutter “all-inclusive” elopements to create an experience that is personalized just for you. So how does all of this come together? We take your feedback about the experience you are looking for in your day and create a plan to reflect what you’ve always wanted – even if it’s unclear to you exactly what that is! Behind the scenes, we’re considering your ceremony location, nearby places to stay, logistics and timing to include activities in your day (and account for traffic). Our end result is a timeline that we’ve crafted to be a carefree, adventurous experience for you while we handle all the details.
After our conversations together with Hope & Justin about live oaks, spanish moss, sandy beaches, spring blooms, the downtown vibe & market street restaurants, we landed on a plan for the day:
- Getting ready & first look at their airbnb in Charleston
- Ceremony and exploring together at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens.
- Dancing on the beach & popping bubbly at Folly Beach.
- Dinner together at Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill on Market Street.
Magnolia Plantation Elopement | Hope & Justin
We pick up the story with Hope & Justin well before their wedding day. When we think back to our very first phone call, we are reminded how much our blog post about What Does the Bible Say about Eloping spoke to them and led them to reach out to us. Once we started chatting, we knew we were kindred spirits. We believe that “elope” is a word that has a far different meaning than what it used to. We see the word “elope” in a redeemed way, in that eloping is how couples – who want their wedding day to reflect their deep faith – can experience that in their wedding and not be conformed to what the world says a wedding “should be.”
This is the beautiful elopement day that Justin and Hope had in mind, and we are so grateful that they chose us to create this experience for them!
They flew out to Charleston, SC from Colorado towards the end of March. Having never experienced this time of year in South Carolina, I can only imagine what they felt leaving winter in the mountain west and stepping into 70 degree weather at the beach. By comparison, it must have felt tropical!
Magnolia Plantation Elopement | Highlights Video | Hope & Justin
We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to capture the emotions of their day on a Highlights Film. If you’d like to follow along this epic day by watching instead of reading, we invite you to take a few minutes and enjoy their video!
Airbnb in Charleston | Starting the day together
One of the things we love the most about capturing a complete elopement day is the opportunity for photos before getting ready. When we think about traditional wedding timelines, the photos usually start with getting ready photos of the bride and groom. But what we miss is the story beforehand. That feeling of anticipation before she puts on her dress, before he laces up his shoes … what did that feel like?
Hope & Justin had rented a beautiful house in Charleston which had been updated in a gorgeous bright white decor. Such a bright and warm feel to capture the two of them flirting at the beginning of their day! T-shirts, shorts and her veil – these two are SUPER cute together!
Another tip – rent a place with more rooms than you need. This gives your photographer & videographer the most flexibility to capture detail shots and getting ready shots while keeping you apart until your first look. Love all the bright light in this room to photograph Hope’s dress just moments before she put it on!
One of our most favorite things about a “just us” elopement is that we have the opportunity to help in so many ways. Here Carolyn is helping Hope get the last few buttons of her dress in place.
One of our many favorite moments from the day – Hope was so full of anticipation! “I am so ready to get married!”
Prayer and First Look
We loved how the stairwell in their Airbnb setup their prayer and first look together so well. We had Justin waiting at the bottom (all that anticipation of seeing his beautiful bride!). Then slowly Hope approach him from behind with a hand on his shoulder.
After sharing an emotional prayer together, Justin was finally able to turn around – it’s really hard to say who was more overcome with emotion (including us!)
If you’ve ever seen the compressed timeline of a traditional wedding, we just want to make a note that this was nothing like that all. Instead of having a quick first look and rushing off to the next “thing to do” we were able to give these two some time together. It’s amazing how being able to talk and share an authentic moment makes all the difference in the world. Then – after they had been able to work through the emotion of seeing each other for the “first” time – we hopped in the cars to head over to there ceremony location.
Magnolia Plantation Elopement | Wedding Ceremony
One of the things about an elopement is the time & schedule flexibility you have (as opposed to a rigid timeline you see in traditional big weddings). We remembered asking Hope before we left their Airbnb “I’m feeling like you are ready to married – like, now?” and she did not hesitate at all “YES! Right NOW!”
So instead of taking some photos around Magnolia before there ceremony as we had planned, we went straight to their ceremony spot. It was a little cove amongst the Spanish moss and spring blooms. Secluded away from the handful of tourists walking by on the main path from time to time, it was the perfect place for them to have an intimate ceremony.
Here, in the quiet of the garden, with the soft breeze in the air and sunshine filtering through the trees above, Hope & Justin committed their lives to each other. Their number one goal for their day was to make the day focused on glorifying God. They both share a deep faith, and had a vision of their ceremony in an intimate garden setting – celebrating the first wedding of a man and woman under God in the Garden of Eden. From the setting to the vows they shared, they wanted it all to be Spirit led. We are so thankful to have been a part of this special time for them!
Remember what we said earlier about their first look – where they were able to have some time together in that moment? That’s exactly how we planned for time after their ceremony as well. Too many big weddings we’ve seen where the bride and groom get whisked off to some kind of “performance.” Maybe the reception, a receiving line, posing for photos together in a hurry. Not with our elopements. Spending time together to absorb the moment and take it all in – that’s what is important.
Of course, time for celebrating too!
Picnic Reception | Magnolia Plantation Elopement
After their ceremony, we put together a small picnic for these two to enjoy as a reception. From experience, you’ll probably have butterflies that keep you from wanting to eat anything towards the beginning of your day. But after your ceremony, you might find that hunger coming back!
These two pretty much danced all the way from there ceremony location to their picnic spot!
Taking the time to relax and enjoy a collection of picnic “boards” together. Not only were they a little hungry after a full morning, but it’s easy to get dehydrated when on an adventure elopement! Planning a little downtime in the middle of your day gives you the opportunity to reflect on the first part of your day and grab some refreshments too.
Magnolia Plantation Elopement | Lowcountry Garden Setting
Still on such a high from their ceremony together, we explored the property together to take it all in (tip: book a golf cart & assistant from Magnolia Gardens to help you get around!). One of the most iconic spots of this place is the white bridge, which was a must see for sure!
While there are many great spots around Charleston, SC for an elopement, one of the things we like the most about Magnolia Gardens is the versatility. Other spots around the city might be a great setting but they might not offer as much flexibility to work around other visitors. In contrast, Magnolia has so many different places to explore. You can fairly easily work around the presence of other visitors and feel like you have the place to yourselves.
Like we said, there are so many places to visit at Magnolia Gardens! You can explore the far reaches of the property on a golf cart or stay close to the main house and still have so many hideaways available to you.
Magnolia Plantation | Fairy tale Wedding Gazebo
In addition to the white bridge, this nearby gazebo has all the vibes of a fairy tale wedding. The patina of the roof has a lovely green hue matching the green of the gardens. And the detail of the gazebo itself hearkens back to something out of a storybook. Of course we had to spend some time here!
Magnolia Plantation | Tree lined entrance road
Not exactly the easiest spot to capture without anyone else around, but we caught a break where Hope & Justin were all alone on this road. If anything speaks like a Lowcountry natural setting, it’s a country road lined with live oak, literally dripping with Spanish moss. We couldn’t leave without photographing them at this spot!
Folly Beach | Charleston SC Elopement
People talk about the “tourist season” in Charleston, but now it always feels like it’s in the season. Traffic is always something to think about – and for sure we made sure we took into account the normal backup trying to get into the Folly Beach area. Pro tip: When planning your elopement definitely leave space for inevitable delays!
Thankfully, Charleston County had expanding the parking area at Folly Beach many years ago. Once we got past the throngs of tourists coming to visit the island, getting to the public beach area was quite easy.
With a nod to tradition, this is where they had their first dance. On the beach, feeling the warmth of a South Carolina sunset, it filled us with such joy to see them hand in hand dancing (and singing!) to each other.
After their first dance together, it felt like just the right time to pop champagne together! (Quick note – be sure to use non-alcoholic champagne here in a plastic bottle, not glass!)
We could have stayed here for much longer – in fact it was our original plan that Hope & Justin would be able to book a beachfront property and have a private chef prepare dinner. We ran into availability with all the other visitors coming to Charleston the same weekend; but we were still able to get everything to work out. After all, if you’re going to come to the South Carolina coast, you’ve got to stop by the beach and enjoy!
Magnolia Plantation Elopement | Reception Dinner
For their last stop of the evening, Hope & Justin chose Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill. We love how this capped off such an epic tour of Charleston highlights for them. Right on Market Street, just a block away from the City Market itself, one could say they chose there reception location at the very epicenter of the Charleston city dining scene!
We arrived at their restaurant with a few minutes to spare, and captured them together outside the restaurant just in time for their dinner reservation. How apropos for a romantic adventure starting at Magnolia Gardens – to end with a dramatic view of the city skyline!
A special note to Hope & Justin
Y’all – we are so incredibly thankful that the Lord has brought you into our lives. Experiencing the depth of your faith, your commitment to living Christ centered lives, and the joy of your love together has filled our hearts to overflowing. We are so honored by the trust you placed in us to plan out your day, and to photograph and video your most intimate moments. Probably most of all, the opportunity to lead your wedding ceremony. We will always look back on this day with gratitude! It is our sincere prayer for you that as you draw close to Him in your marriage, the strength of your love will grow stronger every day.
🙏💕 from Mark & Carolyn