Attending your first derby is a right of passage here in the South, so imagine our excitement when we saw that Mary + Brian modeled their surprise nuptials (guests thought they were attending a Kentucky Derby Party!) after the famous horse race. Not only did the bride wear an ultra-chic knee-length frock from LaRoque for her walk down the red carpet at the Fair Springs Stables, but a real life jockey was also on-hand to celebrate the happy couple! In accordance with true derby fashion, ladies donned wide-brimmed hats for the event, while gents showed off their best seersucker and linen suits. Beth Huggins designed the subtle red and white bouquets. We’re kind of loving South Carolina photographer, Olivia Griffin, for sharing these photos with us, and can hardly wait for M + B’s equine-themed reception.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Brian and I have been friends for over ten years. We met when I was a senior at Clemson and he had just started working for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. I took a job with Pfizer the fall after graduation, and he was one of the few people I knew when I started. We were really friends from the get-go. Although he lived in Greenville and I was in Columbia, we hung out at work meetings and often talked on the phone. In the beginning, we had more of a big brother/little sister-type relationship, as there is a ten year age difference. We often discussed the people we were dating. He didn’t care for my boyfriends and I didn’t like his girlfriends – we were pretty vocal about that. I don’t think we ever thought of dating one another until we bumped into each other in the spring of 2009. I had recently broken up with someone and he had too. Neither of us was working for Pfizer and we hadn’t kept up with each other over the previous year. He asked if he could take me on a date the next week and I told him not to call me. (I had three dates that week and told him I didn’t have time for him.) The following Thursday he sent me a text saying, “This is me not calling you.” I was immediately intrigued. We knew within two weeks of dating that we would get married.
Describe the proposal. Brian proposed Christmas afternoon. It sounds predictable, but I was completely caught off-guard. We had spent Christmas Eve with his family in Kingstree and Christmas morning with my family in Summerville. That afternoon we opened gifts with my brothers, sister-in-law and parents. After all the gifts had been given out and we were cleaning up, Brian pretended to have a surprise gift for my mom. Everyone gathered around and he handed the box to me. I thought it was a joke gift, but when I opened the box I was completely surprised. My first comment was, “Is this real?” I hyperventilated. It was a good thing I was sitting down or I probably would have fainted. It was extra special because it was also my grandmother’s 90th birthday. The best part of getting engaged at home on Christmas is that all my friends and family were around to help us celebrate. It really couldn’t have been more fitting.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Understated sophistication, spirited, lowcountry ease.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The surprise! All of the guests thought they were coming to a Derby Party. The party started at 4pm and we received guests until the band started at 5. When they took their first break, my dad got on stage, thanked everyone for coming and announced that we would be getting married right then. There was an audible gasp and then cheers of excitement from the crowd. It was a really special moment.