Real Wedding ~ Anah and Mike

Today's real wedding feature is pretty close to our hearts. The bride, Anah, is the sister of our Creative Director, Brooke Thomas and photographer Ruth Rackley was on hand to capture every moment of the fun family affair. Anah and Mike live in Mt. Pleasant, SC, just outside of Charleston proper. They set their date for the end of January and booked Alhambra Hall in the Old Village, a short walk from their front door. The weather is generally pretty mild in Charleston and 70-degree days are common in January, so Anah and Mike planned an outdoor ceremony on Alhambra's expansive lawn overlooking the Charleston harbor. The day of the wedding dawned with darkening skies and a less-than-ideal forecast. A sprinkling rain began early and everyone held on to hopes that it might stop, but instead it became a torrential downpour. Anah went with the flow, so-to-speak and with a wink and a smile, she made the decision to move everything inside Alhambra. Tall square cocktail tables formed a chic, modern aisle and votives in mason jars gave the affair a warm, candlelit glow. Anah and Mike spoke their vows beneath a gauzy chuppah they made themselves in an intimate ceremony surrounded by family and friends.

Anah's family tartan, her maternal grandmother's ruby necklace and a bright pair of ruby red heels set the tone for an event palette based on crimson. She wore a bold multi-strand ruby necklace with her grandmother's ruby locket and carried a single-flower bouquet of brilliant red tulips wrapped in raw edged, crimson silk dupioni. Anah's two sisters, Brooke and Marsha, served as bridesmaids wearing cocktail dresses of the same crimson silk and carrying smaller versions of Anah's bouquet. The groom and his two brothers, who stood as his groomsmen, and Anah's two brother-in-laws, who served as ushers, wore black suits with ties made from Anah's McRae family tartan. Mike added a pair of bright red Vans to complete his look, while Anah's dad wore his dress kilt in the same McRae family tartan and his formal Prince Charlie jacket.

Anah and Mike were pronounced husband and wife and the crowd broke out into a round of enthusiastic applause and whistles. They mingled with their guests and took pictures in the photo booth as the festive reception began. The decor mixed red details with deep brown and natural woods to accent the massive exposed beams and rustic hardwood floors of the hall. Dark rattan lounge furniture created a cozy atmosphere by the fireplace, accented by square chocolate cocktail tables with centerpiece arrangements of red orchids and votives. Tables were dressed in deep brown with runners of crimson silk dupioni and single flower arrangements in a variety of bright red blooms, including Mokara orchids, dahlias, ranunculus, lilies, peonies and roses. In the days before the event, Anah's family helped make tissue poms in a range of sizes and red hues, which Brooke, her dad and her brother-in-law Chris fashioned into a dramatic centerpiece chandelier for the event. Anah's cousins Amy and Christina and her aunt Nancy helped make floral arrangments and mason jar lanterns wrapped in red silk, which were brought indoors and used to create areas of bright, massed candlelight. A red mason jar motif decorated the programs, along with the classic quote from the Beatles, "All you need is love."

The menu of Lowcountry fare included shrimp & grits and fried chicken, while Anah's family made a huge dessert buffet of her favorite sweets. Her mom made everyone's all-time favorite strawberry cake, while cocktails included Anah's dad's famous "lemonade" recipe and Charleston's own Firefly sweet tea vodka. After dinner, the party went into full-on celebration mode and everyone danced until a pile of discarded shoes formed in the corner. The rain finally stopped as the party came to a close, just in time for Anah and Mike to make their exit while the crowd cheered and showered them with a spectacular display of silver metallic streamers. To see more of Anah and Mike's January soiree and their day after session, visit Ruth Rackley's blog.

Ruth Rackley Photographer. Venue: Alhambra Hall. Bridesmaid Dresses: JLM Couture. Rentals: Snyder Event Rentals.


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