A Southern Wedding with Vintage Flare from Offbeat Bride & Geoff L Johnson Photography

Hanna and John had a classic, modern, outdoor Southern wedding with their ceremony amongst the old Sheldon Church Ruins and their reception at the Richfield Plantation. The groom wore his US Navy dress blues while the bride rocked 1800s vintage glass buttons down the back of her dress. Their mood-setting decor consisted of candles in mason jars, hanging from live oaks. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? Well the photos from Geoff L Johnson definitely make this dream a reality. Come drool with me…

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Did your wedding location hold a special significance for you?

The location had great significance. The Old Sheldon Church Ruins have truly stood the test of time. I have my bachelor’s in historic preservation from the College of Charleston, so I came to know the property very well. The church itself was constructed in the 1700s, burned during the Revolutionary War, reconstructed, and burned again during the Civil War. The fact that it remains standing majestically in this Lowcountry South Carolina marsh truly makes a statement about perseverance during the toughest of times–and isn’t that what marriage is all about? The reception was held at Richfield Plantation, which is a majestic hunting plantation located about 15-20 minutes away from the ruins. I actually stumbled upon this location while looking at possible reception venues around the ruins. The Lane family started letting folks use their venue in 2008. Information about that site can be found on their website.

Tell us about the details of the day.

It’s all in the details. The biggest theme in our wedding was vintage & Lowcountry DIY. I wanted to incorporate my husband’s US Navy background with a few little touches, but mostly I wanted the elegant Southern soiree I had so often dreamed about as a child. Mason jars and buttons played a huge part in the decor of the wedding. I planned the wedding myself without a planner’s input, and for what we were able to accomplish, I think we were successful. The ceremony was all about the site. The reception was where I wanted everything to be perfect and come together. Mason jar lanterns hanging in the live oak trees, natural Southern bouquets and floral arrangements that were a little on the “wild” and less constructed side, vintage music, and Southern cuisine. The dress I didn’t worry too much about other than adding 1800s vintage glass buttons down the back. The wedding hair was my personal humorous homage to the Southern tradition of the mullet — I wanted business vintage pin-curls in the front and a party in the back, so to speak. By far, the best two vendors at our wedding were the florist, who truly outdid herself and I couldn’t have been more pleased with…and our photographer Geoff Johnson, who was able to capture the evening in a way that was just perfect.

How was the wedding day?

Stressful, but completely worth every moment. Our ceremony was fantastic. We set our wedding for 5pm so that the lighting would work in our favor. The light coming through the spanish moss on the live oak trees was incredible. We were lucky to have the pink century moss in bloom as well. The mosquitos were awful though. But its a Lowcountry swamp, so what can you expect?

Do you have any advice for couples planning their wedding?

Give yourself PLENTY of time if you plan on doing anything yourself. We had 10 months to get our wedding together and I don’t think we could have pulled it off in less time. Also, make sure that you cross-check your vendor references, especially if they don’t have a website. Set a budget and keep to it. We saved thousands of dollars by doing a lot of the projects by ourselves. If your wedding is to take place at a public place, make sure you have people there to let others know that the venue is closed for a private event. Most importantly, don’t stress out too much–this is y’alls’ day and the most important thing is that you are getting to marry the love of your life.

Photography: Geoff Johnson, Savannah, GA
Flowers: Branches Floral Design, Beaufort, SC
Catering: Downtown Catering, Bluffton, SC
Tents/Chairs:The Tent Factory, Bluffton, SC
Ceremony: Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Beaufort, SC
Reception: Richfield Plantation, Yemassee, SC
Handkerchief for Bouquet: 1940s Navy Seabee Sweetheart handkerchief — found on Ebay
Buttons on Wedding Dress: 1800s glass buttons from button factory in Atlanta — found on Etsy.com
Buttons for Bouquet: 19th and 20th century glass/naval themed buttons — found on Ebay

about the author
Offbeat Bride Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel Meadow Stallings is the publisher of Offbeat Bride, Offbeat Home & Life, and Offbeat Families. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA.

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