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What better time to share a warm sunset than the day after Mount Pleasant had its first record-breaking freeze of the season? On a seems-like-ages-ago October day, I headed up Highway 17 to Georgetown and spent a relaxed afternoon with Shelley, Andrew and Winy (sounds like Winnie, short for the bay she was named for, Winyah). We started their DeBordieu engagement session by the woods, then headed to the edge of the island where Andrew proposed (he cleverly hid a video camera in palm fronds to document that day!) and wrapped up with a sunset cruise with a million birds and no other humans. Pure bliss. Even as a third wheel.

I’m so excited for these two! Shelley grew up at DeBordieu and Andrew’s family vacationed there many summers. They love the place, and it’s easy to see why. It’s extra special because I had the pleasure of photographing Andrew’s siblings’ weddings. Liz and Andrew wed at DeBordieu, and Michael and Sonia married in Charleston. As an added bonus, I will soon have enough photos of Andrew’s mom at various celebrations that we can whip up her own In Style 10 Best Looks spread. It’s an honor to document another big day for their family and for Shelley’s. Meanwhile, maybe these photos will help you defrost.


Oh, typically, the first few frames are to test exposure and help the subjects warm up to my big camera pointing their way. Never mind that the first image is off-center; it’s just so charming I had to include it.


If you like Lion King sunsets or know someone getting engaged, please “like” this post and spread the word. To see a recent DeBordieu wedding, check out McNeill and Patrick’s day.

  • Liz - BEAUTIFUL photos! :)ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks for the note! Such a lovely afternoon with your brother and his bride-to-be.ReplyCancel

What a delight it is to revisit images from Lily and John’s magnificent fall wedding! Purple and green is one of my favorite color combinations, and this historic venue is a top choice, too. The Governor Thomas Bennett House, c. 1825, offers spacious sun-drenched rooms for getting ready, cozy fireplaces on chilly days, breezy porches, an amazing staircase and plentiful detailed molding that looks like a wedding cake.

Lily and John, along with their wonderful families, made use of the whole property with a garden ceremony, cocktail hour on the house’s main floor and an elegant tented reception with a fantastic band, led by local Quiana Parler, a familiar face to American Idol fans. One unique touch was that Lily gave each bridesmaid a vintage brooch, which they wore on their gray lace dresses and can use for years! Sha Sha at Loluma and her staff did a fantastic job with all the event design and gorgeous florals. (Full vendor list and links follow at the end of the post.) It was a picture-perfect October day chock full of lovely colors, but I also love their black and white images because they really show off all the fantastic textures: birdcage veil, lace, mossy oaks, garden foliage, architectural trim, the succulents and velvety flowers. Just wonderful!

The reception was great fun and started with a hilarious wigged Beatles number by Lily’s father, which morphed into a tear-inducing toast with props from her childhood. The dance floor was packed, partially thanks to a charming father-son duo that should hire themselves out for keeping dance cards full.


ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith001ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith002ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith003ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith004ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith005ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith043Cards of Humanity for bride and her girls before Thomas Bennett House wedding. © Carolina PhotosmithThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith006ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith007ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith019ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith008ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith009ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith010ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith002ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith011ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith012ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith013ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith014ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith015ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith016ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith017ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith018ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith020ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith021ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith022ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith023ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith024ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith025ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith026ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith027ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith028ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith029ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith030ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith031ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith032ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith033ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith034ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith035ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith036ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith037ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith038ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith039ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith040ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith003ThomasBennett_CarolinaPhotosmith042ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith004ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith005ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith006ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith007ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith008ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith009ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith010ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith011ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith012ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith013ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith014ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith015ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith016ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith017ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith018ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith019ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith020ThomasBennettHouse_CarolinaPhotosmith021

Making it all happen:
Venue | Governor Thomas Bennett House
Event design and coordination | Loluma
Lily’s gown | Annasul Y, purchased at Wedding Angels in Roswell, Georgia
Lily’s minty kicks | Hey Lady at BHLDN
Hair and Makeup | Stuart Lawrence Salon
John’s suit | Joseph Abboud at Nordstrom
AV | CC Lighting and Sound
Cake | Elaine’s Events
Catering | Hamby’s
Bar | Spike/Snyder
Ceremony Ensemble | Classical Charleston
Cocktail Hour Pianist | Jim Pearce
Reception Band | Quiana Parler and Friends

If you have fun friends planning a wedding in historic Charleston, I hope you’ll recommend me. Thanks a bunch!


  • Adonye Jaja - this is beautifully photographed, I love the tones. well done!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Schilling - Wow, this is such a gorgeous wedding! I love the colors, the venue, the succulent bouquets. It’s all amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Albert Palmer - Epic shot the dress from behind!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Oh my goodness I love the ladies in their fancy furs! Too cute, this is a beautiful wedding!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks, Sarah. I had to include those chic ladies! Especially since we don’t have many fur-worthy days around here :-)ReplyCancel

  • Darren Gair - Beautiful coverage CarolinaReplyCancel

  • Teresa K - So full of color and joy! What a fantastic wedding…you killed it!ReplyCancel

  • Anton Chia - Beautiful and elegant and I like it very much.ReplyCancel

  • Elissa - This is a gorgeous wedding… I love the whole styling of it, from the succulent bouquet to the mint-green shoes! The joy in their send-off shot is fantastic!ReplyCancel

What a wonderful September Sunday! It was such a pleasure to document a wedding day for a friend and former co-worker. Heather left her South Carolina home years ago in search of adventure on the left coast. She and Brian became friends in San Francisco, and after some When-Harry-Met-Sally years of figuring out whether they should venture beyond friendship, they wed in front of a happy group of people who are so glad they chose each other!

The weather, as is often the case in September, was a bit dicey, but we were thankful for a bit of sun during the couple’s first look photos. The clouds set in shortly afterward, and thanks to the catlike reflexes of MOD Events, plans for the outdoor ceremony were abandoned just before the showers started. The indoor space was cozy and accommodated all the guests with an even better view of the vow exchange. After the Rice Mill wedding, everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner followed by lots of fun on the dance floor. Congratulations, y’all!

ricemill_charlestonwedding001ricemill_charlestonwedding002ricemill_charlestonwedding003ricemill_charlestonwedding004ricemill_charlestonwedding005ricemill_charlestonwedding006ricemill_charlestonwedding007Giddy Charleston bride preps in carriage house prior to her Rice Mill wedding. © Carolina Photosmithricemill_charlestonwedding009ricemill_charlestonwedding010ricemill_charlestonwedding011ricemill_charlestonwedding012ricemill_charlestonwedding013ricemill_charlestonwedding014ricemill_charlestonwedding015ricemill_charlestonwedding016ricemill_charlestonwedding017ricemill_charlestonwedding018ricemill_charlestonwedding019ricemill_charlestonwedding020ricemill_charlestonwedding021ricemill_charlestonwedding022ricemill_charlestonwedding023ricemill_charlestonwedding024ricemill_charlestonwedding025ricemill_charlestonwedding026ricemill_charlestonwedding027ricemill_charlestonwedding028ricemill_charlestonwedding029ricemill_charlestonwedding030ricemill_charlestonwedding031ricemill_charlestonwedding032ricemill_charlestonwedding033ricemill_charlestonwedding034ricemill_charlestonwedding035ricemill_charlestonwedding036ricemill_charlestonwedding037ricemill_charlestonwedding038ricemill_charlestonwedding039ricemill_charlestonwedding040ricemill_charlestonwedding041ricemill_charlestonwedding042ricemill_charlestonwedding043ricemill_charlestonwedding044ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_001ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_002ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_004ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_005ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_006ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_008ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_007ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_003ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_009ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_010ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_011ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_012ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_013ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_014ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_015ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_016ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_017ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_019ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_018ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_020ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_021ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_022ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_023Classic wedding party at Historic Rice Mill in Charleston © Carolina PhotosmithNewlywed portraits on a misty night at Charlestonricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_024ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_034ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_025ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_026ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_027ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_028ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_029ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_030California newlyweds at their Charleston, SC reception. Waterfront wedding at Rice Mill. © Carolina Photosmithricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_031ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_032ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_033ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_035ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_036ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_037ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_038ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_039ricemill_charlestonwedding_carolinaphotosmith_040

Gown by Augusta Jones from Haute Bride in Los Gatos, CA
Shoes by Badgley Mischka
Bridesmaid dresses by J. Crew
Tuxes by Kenneth Cole
Hair and makeup by Paper Dolls
Bouquets and ceremony florals by Charleston Flower Market
Tabletop floral arrangements by MOD Events
Event coordination by MOD Events
Catering by Good Food
Cakes by Sugar Bake Shop (and Coca Cola cake by Jestine’s)
Ceremony musician: Grayson Little
DJ: Nick Zareski, Lowcountry Entertainment

  • Alyssa Schroeder - I love the shot of her dress outside. The bricks and greenery are so fantastic for their portraits too! Beautiful wedding.ReplyCancel

  • JC Page - Gorgeous work – you really captured the love and joy of the day!!!ReplyCancel

  • Adonye Jaja - super well done, you captured so many wonderful moments!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Schilling - This is gorgeous! I love their venue, the portraits are stunning, and the reception looks like so much fun!ReplyCancel

  • tobiah - lovely shots! love the first look and the photos with their little daughterReplyCancel

  • Sarah - So pretty! I especially love the first look, they look so sweet together!ReplyCancel

  • /mariahedengren - Such a nice wedding! I especially like the colors, and the portraits are lovely.ReplyCancel

  • Gavin Farrington - The laughter between the poses during the portraits is spectacular. Great work.ReplyCancel

  • Heather Kanillopoolos - Ahhh that first shot of the three of them together is so adorable!!ReplyCancel

  • Earl - Just LOVE these color tones! Beautifully captured.ReplyCancel

  • Elissa - This wedding is gorgeous. I loooove the shot of the bride walking towards the columns, and then the first look shots are perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Teresa K - What a lovely wedding!! That little girl is completely adorable! Excellent work Carolina!ReplyCancel

These two. So much great energy! It’s laughable to admit I was a little wary when all my initial contact was through the bride’s mom, Julie, who was planning her LA-based daughter’s Charleston wedding from North Carolina. Thankfully, my fears of potential control issues immediately vanished when I met Amber and her mom for the bridal portrait session before their Confederate Home wedding. Genuine, gracious and full of laughs and happiness. Good genes obviously abound, but that was just the icing on the cake. What’s not to love about beautiful brunette bridesmaids in regal purple, the perfect outdoor setting in an incredibly historic nook on Broad Street, a charming and hilarious groom, the gaggle of cute young guests, an elegant dinner at McCrady’s and awesome dance moves? (Jensen is an LA-based musician, after all — check out his site.) I loved this day.

The Confederate Home is such an interesting venue. Built as a private home in the early 1800s that hosted a president and politicians, it later became the Carolina Hotel, the U.S. District Court, the meeting place for the Confederate Court during the Civil War, a home for widows and children after the war, and houses seniors today. If walls could talk! I’d love to work there again. The getting-ready space upstairs is spacious and window-filled, making it a great place to relax and prepare. The garden is a quiet hidden gem. That said, I recommend brides check in with St. Michael’s down the street to see what their bell schedule is. On this fine spring Sunday, the bells rang for the duration of Amber & Jensen’s 20-minute ceremony. But even though guests couldn’t hear every exchange, we could all feel the love. May the Fourth be with y’all!

Confederate Home wedding by Carolina Photosmithamberjensen007Confederate home wedding in the courtyard © Carolina Photosmithamberjensen002amberjensen003xamberjensen005amberjensen006amberjensen009amberjensen010amberjensen011amberjensen012amberjensen013amberjensen014amberjensen015amberjensen016amberjensen017amberjensen018amberjensen019amberjensen020mccradys_charlestonwedding003amberjensen021Confederate Home garden wedding in historic Charleston © Carolina PhotosmithCharleston bride on balcony at Confederate Home © Carolina PhotosmithAmber, a beautiful bride, and her gorgeous mom, before Confederate Home garden weddingDestination wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. Bridal portrait over cobblestone street. © Carolina PhotosmithCharleston wedding at charming and historic Confederate Home © Carolina PhotosmithEager bride and maid of honor share giddy grasp as wedding processional begins in garden of Confederate Home on Broad StreetPretty maids all in a row. Brunette bridesmaids, that is. © Carolina PhotosmithBirdOutdoor wedding ceremony at bells chime over Broad Street in Charleston. © Carolina PhotosmithBride takes time to smell the roses that the mothers gave them during garden wedding ceremony. © Carolina PhotosmithNewlywed kiss as LA couple seals the deal in Charleston destination wedding at Confederate Home in Charleston. © Carolina PhotosmithGive it up for Amber and Jensen Reed! Happy newlyweds recess after their Charleston garden wedding. © Carolina PhotosmithBeautiful bride hugs her handsome little brother after Charleston wedding. © Carolina PhotosmithCarolina Photosmith photographs gorgeous, relaxed newlyweds who are big on humor and fun.Wedding style for days. Chuck Taylors and sparkly wedge sandals for these newlyweds at their Confederate Home wedding in Charleston, SC. © Carolina PhotosmithThese newlyweds get awesome ab workouts with huge laughs on CharlestonTimeless, elegant wedding portraiture in historic Charleston by Carolina PhotosmithGorgeous newlyweds embrace on one of CharlestonGorgeous and goofy newlyweds are the best. © Carolina Photosmithmccradys_charlestonwedding001mccradys_charlestonwedding002mccradys_charlestonwedding014mccradys_charlestonwedding005Elegant McCradymccradys_charlestonwedding012newlyweds first dance at their elegant destination wedding at Charlestonfirst dances at elegant McCradymccradys_charlestonwedding006mccradys_charlestonwedding007mccradys_charlestonwedding008mccradys_charlestonwedding013mccradys_charlestonwedding009mccradys_charlestonwedding010mccradys_charlestonwedding011

Wedding Venue | Confederate Home
Hair and Makeup | Stella Nova
Florals | Mimi Nicole Events
Ceremony Music | Palmetto Strings
Event Coordination by Laura Morgan of Finger Snappin’ Events
Reception and Dinner | McCrady’s
Cake | The Cake Stand
DJ, Trolley, Photo Booth | Finger Snappin’ Entertainment
Bride’s Gown | Tomato in Los Angeles
Bridesmaid dresses | Donna Morgan at Nordstrom
Groom’s Tux | Vera Wang at Men’s Wearhouse
Accommodations | Mills House Hotel

If you enjoyed this midweek dose of wedded bliss, I hope you’ll recommend this blog post, have a look around my site and spread the word to your fun friends who may be planning a wedding. Thanks a bunch!


Ah, where to begin with this beautiful weekend with fun families? Abundant love and so much to love, which seems to be the case each time I head up the road to the quiet refuge of DeBordieu in Georgetown. (For any folks beyond the Carolinas, you should know that we mangle French names, and that “Debby-Doo” is not Scooby-Doo’s sister pup but a haven for golfers and birders on a serene stretch of the Atlantic.)

For this DeBordieu wedding, let’s start with the elegant bride. I doubt I’m the only one who thinks she could be a Ralph Lauren model with her radiant smile and relaxed grace, but she’s so laid-back, that’s probably the last thing on her mind. Then there’s Pat, whose grin, like his bride’s, lit up the room. Each time he hugged someone, it was a greeting befitting a long lost friend. And the way he looks at McNeill demonstrates adoration that makes everyone around them swoon.

The Smart and Kelley families are both so much fun and seem to really enjoy each other, which is awesome. Seriously, really fun — as in moments after the salad course was served, more than a hundred people crammed the dance floor to start the party at 8:15. Why wait until late-night to “Shout!?” The toasts were stellar — Mr. Smart, McNeill’s sister and the best man each had a turn at bringing everyone in the room to tender tears and hearty laughs. Gobs more dancing was interrupted only for the cake cutting — oh, and an errant fire alarm, which could easily be attributed to all the heat generated on the dance floor. The couple honeymooned in Europe before returning to Washington, DC, to start their lives as Mr. and Mrs. Kelley. Take a look at this magnificent day, where the rain stopped at the perfect times, and check out all the contributing vendors at the end of the post.


DC Newlyweds before their summer reception at the DeBordieu Golf Club in Georgetown, SC. © Carolina Photosmith002003004005006007008009010011013014015A joyous grandmother shares a moment with the bride-to-be as Mom looks on. Minty J. Crew bridesmaids share a laugh as they wait patiently for the Pawleys Island chapel doors to open.Pawleys Island stained glass and bridesmaid bouquet from Greenskeeper Florist © Carolina PhotosmithBride and her father take a deep breath before the chapel doors open for the wedding processional. © Carolina PhotosmithThe Waiting. Chapel doors to open soon for this Pawleys Island wedding. © Carolina Photosmith020021022023024025026027028029030031032033034Minty southern wedding party at DeBordieu Club after a summer rain shower © Carolina Photosmith035036038039040041042043044
Wedding reception moments from DeBordieu Club reception by Charleston photographer Carolina Photosmithgetsmart004getsmart005getsmart006getsmart007getsmart008getsmart009getsmart010getsmart011getsmart013getsmart028getsmart021getsmart014getsmart015getsmart016getsmart022getsmart025getsmart017Bridegetsmart024getsmart026getsmart027getsmart018getsmart023

Bravo, y’all! And heartfelt thanks for choosing me to document the weekend festivities. Even if you didn’t roll with my chosen hashtag of #GetSmart, I know that Patrick did just that, and it was my pleasure to witness it. Thanks also to my trusty sidekick for the day, Liz Duren; Kelly and the tireless DeBordieu staff and the wonderful vendors who made the day a pleasure for the guests and a breeze to photograph.

Church: Pawleys Island Community Church
Venue and Catering: DeBordieu Club
Gown designer: Janell Berte
Gown boutique: Katherine’s Bridal, Alexandria, Virginia
Hair: Stox & Co., Litchfield
Bridesmaid dresses: J. Crew
Guys’ suits: Kenneth Cole
Florist: Greenskeeper Florist
Cake: Incredible Edibles
DJ: DJ Scott & Company
Harpist: Becky Nissen
Transportation: Carolina Limousine
Videographer: Archer Films

If you enjoyed this post, I hope you’ll recommend it and leave a comment below, and please spread the word to friends and family members searching for a wedding photographer. Cheers!