On a warm August day at a historic plantation in South Carolina, Allison Harding and Brian Reichenbach wed in true Southern style.
Allison and Brian both attended Vanderbilt University Law School, but it took a semester abroad for the two to meet. “We met in Paris,” Allison says. “He helped me lug my luggage around Europe for a few weeks.”
The couple dated for three years before getting engaged during a stay at a beach house belonging to the bride’s parents in The Outer Banks of North Carolina. One morning, Brian asked to accompany Allison on her daily walk on the beach with their black Lab, Barkley. “While we were walking, he took a knee,” Allison says. “He couldn’t get the ring out of his pocket and he got hit by a giant wave. So in all the pictures his shorts are soaked!”
Their love for the history and beauty of the city led the couple to select Charleston, South Carolina for their nuptials. Allison enlisted a friend from high school, now a wedding planner in Charleston, and began planning. Finding postage for the invitations, Allison says, proved to be the most difficult part of the process. She had three vintage stamps she wanted to use on each envelope—one of a magnolia, another of a couple doing the Charleston, and a Great Gatsby-themed stamp. The bride and her mother called antique stamp stores looking for the unused stamps, eventually finding enough in a little shop in New York.
At Lowndes Grove, a 14-acre National Historic Landmark estate, beneath an old oak tree hung with lanterns, and surrounded by friends, family and Barkley as a groomsman, Brian and Allison tied the knot.
The reception, also at Lowndes Grove, gave guests a chance to celebrate in Southern fashion. Food stations offered shrimp and grits, chorizo gravy, basil pasta, orzo macaroni and cheese, succotash and beef tenderloin. The newlyweds paid tribute to their dog with The Barkley, a signature cocktail of St. Germain, Champagne and a raspberry, on cocktail napkins emblazoned with a Labrador silhouette.
Between rounds of cornhole, played on custom boards with monogrammed bags, guests had their silhouettes made as mementos. For dessert, French macarons, a boozy coffee bar, and cake: chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and kahlua, and almond butter cake with fresh raspberries. Later in the evening, guests snacked on pork sliders, sweet potato fries and chocolate amaretto cheesecake pops, a modified version of a dessert Allison makes every year for Brian’s birthday.
At the end of the evening, the bride and groom departed on the Miss Grace, a boat waiting for them on the dock. In May, they’ll travel to Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland for their honeymoon.
Allison is the daughter of Robert and Susan Harding of Town & Country. Brian is the son of Carol and the late Doug Wilkerson of Toledo, Ohio, and Keith Reichenbach of Findlay, Ohio.
The Date: Sept. 21, 2013
The Ceremony: Lowndes Grove
The Reception: Lowndes Grove
The Photographer: Elisabeth Millay
The Music: The Charleston String Trio and Big Blast and the Party Masters
The Cake: Wedding Cakes by Jim Smeal
The Rings: Novak Jewelers and King Jewelers in Nashville, Tenn.
The Dress: Francesca Pitera for Jim Hjelm Couture Bridal
The Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lela Rose
The Tux: Hickey Freeman
The Wedding Planner: Sara Hosch of Southern Protocol
The Bridal Party:
The Maid of Honor: Elizabeth Elmore
The Bridesmaids: Paige Bernick, Shayla Mulvey, Brittany Wegusen, Meredith Hiester, Carina McLain, Laura Rowe, Alexandra Gilliland
The Groomsmen: Christopher Welch, Patrick Welch, Michael Quinlan, Robert Wegusen, John Eason, Sean Harris, Benjamin Phillips, Barkley
The Flower Girl: Samantha Welch