Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley in Columbia, SC, US
Alexis Schwallier Photography LLC beautifully captured Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley in Columbia, SC, US. The second shooter was Jessica Hunt Photography.
Event Date: April 28, 2017 – Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley
From Alexis Schwallier Photography LLC: Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley
For Leah and Coleman, their wedding was all about love, family, and small personal touches to celebrate their story. Their venue, 701 Whaley was previously a community center for the local mill workers. Both of their families worked at the mills many years ago, which made the venue even more special. The grand hall is breathtaking. With the venue having so much beauty on its own, loads of decorations were not needed.
Coleman and Leah are music lovers and he is a major supporter of local musicians and the couple wanted to figure out a way to show that. They asked a few local musicians who are also friends to play at the wedding. It was a hit. One of the musicians played the music for their first dance that was one his original works.
From Leah, “Marriage is a beautiful, sometimes crazy thing that should be cherished. So just keep that in perspective throughout all the chaos of planning and on the day of the wedding.”
Q and A: Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
Throughout the entire planning of our wedding, keeping things simple was our goal. Our color scheme consisted of grey and blush with accents of fuschia and gold within the florals and decor. I hired a wedding planner to help with setup, breakdown, and small details that I would probably forget. It was great having her so that myself or my family would not be responsible for setup and breakdown at the end of the night. Our caterers were great and had my favorite food item of chicken and waffles. If you have never tried chicken and waffles, you are missing out.
Our DJ was amazing and kept the crowd entertained throughout the night. The guy in charge of the photobooth was a good time and he even went out on the dance floor for the occasional song or too (he owned everyone during the wobble). We kept our guest list relatively small, around 100-120 people and it was great. It allowed us to be able to converse with everyone while also having the time to be able to actually enjoy ourselves. We exited with sparklers that allowed for some fun photos. The sparklers were giant. Thankfully, my dress nor anything else caught on fire.
Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
First, our venue was previously a community center for the local mill workers. Both of our families worked at the mills many years ago, which made the venue even more special to us. If you have not seen 701 Whaley, I strongly suggest visiting. The grand hall is breathtaking. With the venue having so much beauty on its own, loads of decorations were not needed. For the ceremony, we used an old door for the backdrop that was already at the venue. It’s this great weathered grey-blue that was quite the statement piece. We then added greenery and flowers to the door with tall vases and candles, surrounded by gold votives and greenery.
For the reception, the decorations were simple since the room itself was already beautiful enough. We just added some pieces to accent the room. For the tables, we used these great textured tablecloths and added various sized vases filled with water and floating candles. Greenery and flowers were added around the base. Cafe lights were strung above the dance floor in the middle of the room. Three metal orbs with candles and greenery were strung above the bar and they were by far one of my favorite decorations.We had a photobooth area and I bought this beautiful little loveseat from Homegoods that we placed near the grand staircase. We utilized a lot of greenery for a backdrop for the photos and had a garland of greenery down the banister.
Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
Coleman and I love photo booths. On our first “date” we were at a local music venue, called New Brookland Tavern and there was a photobooth there. Whenever we go places, we always try to find a photobooth to add to our collection. The company that we used for our wedding was the same company from our first photo booth experience together. It was fun for us and our guests since they got to keep the photo and a copy was emailed to us, as well.
In lieu of wedding favors, a donation was made to the National Mill Dog Rescue in honor of my dog Francis, who passed away before the wedding. She was my first dog that I adopted from a local rescue who was a puppy mill rescue. I could go on for hours about puppy mill dogs, but for those who do not know, dogs are used for the sole purpose of breeding for profit and then are discarded when they are no longer useful. At the wedding, we set up an area with pictures of Francis and about the donation.
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
I love tea length dresses, especially wedding dresses. I tried on a few full length dresses, but realized that they were not for me. I found the dress that I wanted online and my mom and I drove to Charlotte, NC to see if they had it in store. I picked a few different options online, but had one favorite. When I asked about tea length dresses, they said that they only had one. I showed them the picture of what I wanted and they said that was the dress that they had. I was elated.
The dress was by Justin Alexander and was an oyster and ivory V-neckline tulle tea length ball gown. When I tried it on, I was not impressed. We added a belt and birdcage veil and it was transformed. My mom and I knew that it was the one. I added a pair of gold pumps with rhinestones near the opening with a gold and rhinestone necklace, and rhinestone with pearl earrings in the shapes on bumble bees. I had a pair of gold Toms to change into during the reception, because who wants to be in heels all day?
I originally planned for the guys to wear navy. While we were working on my dress, my mom (brilliant woman) said that we should put my dress next to different suit options to see what worked. We tried the navy and it was awful standing next to my oyster and ivory gown. We then opted for grey. The guys all wore the same grey suit, with light-grey shirt, and patterned grey/silver tie with black shoes. Describing it sounds a little boring, but it was really a sharp look. They then had a splash of color with their boutonnieres.
How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
We met through a little dating app called Tinder. Coleman states that it was from a different dating app, but I disagree. At the time, I was living in Durham and would use the app for funny stories to tell at work. I was home for the holidays and was swiping through people, when I came across Coleman. I swiped right of course and we matched. We sent messages back and forth and became friends on Facebook. I told him that I lived in Durham and that I was only home for the holidays. We never met until the following year when I moved back to SC. I posted on Facebook that I was moving home and we started talking again.
He invited me to the Jim Adkins show at NBT (I was already planning on going), and I said yes. We met up at a local cafe called Cafe Strudel. Beforehand, I asked my younger brother if he wanted to go, but left the part out about me meeting someone. On the car ride there, I told my brother the plan (this guy could have been a psycho killer for all I knew). He was less than pleased. Overall, we had a good time and began dating a couple of months after.
Coleman and I love animals and enjoy going to the zoo. The otters are our favorite animals to watch. A few months before the proposal, he told me to take a certain day off so that we could go to Charleston. At that time, I was driving back and forth from Columbia to Charleston for clinical and knew something had to be up for us to go again. I asked why we were going to Charleston, and he would not say. A little while later, he cancelled the trip to Charleston, but told me to still take that day off. To prepare, I had my hair cut and nails done, just in case.
The day of, I went to his house and it was raining. We were trying to figure out what to do. The original plan was to go to the zoo, but it was raining so we thought of something else. He suggested the museum and I was not having it. He loves history and I do not. We then decided to finally go to the zoo since the weather lightened up a bit. We typically go straight to the otters, but did not this time. The entire time, I kept waiting for it to happen. I thought, maybe he will do it at the aquarium. Nope.
We finally went to the otters and a sign was taped to the glass. He asked me what it said and I replied “I don’t know something about otters.” He then asked again and I gave the same response and told him to read it. He gave up and got on one knee. I exclaimed “I knew it” and of course said yes. The sign was something that he had made about otter facts and how they hold hands to not drift apart and have a special rock for opening hard shells. At the end, it explained that he wanted to hold my hand forever so that we would not drift apart and if I would accept his rock (ring). It was the perfect proposal, despite my unwillingness to follow direction.
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
Coleman and I are music lovers and he is a major supporter of local musicians and we wanted to figure out a way to show that. We asked a few local musicians who are also friends to play at the wedding. It was a hit. One of the musicians played the music for our first dance that was one of his original works. I remembered hearing that song for the first time when Coleman and I were on one of our earlier dates at a local venue called Conundrum that has since closed and Pedro was performing and played that song. I was hooked instantly.
For the longest time, we could not figure out what our first dance song should be, and then it hit us and Pedro was gracious enough to play that song along with a few others at the wedding. Another musician, Hunter Park, also known as She Returns from War, played. She too played at Conundrum that night and since then, I have been in love with her music. Vilai Harrington was the final musician that played and I met him through one of Coleman’s house shows. It was one of my favorite parts of the night and everyone seemed to enjoy it as well.
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
I am a planner and love to organize things, but I knew that I was going to need a little extra help with the more fine details, and hired a wedding planner. Hands down, best investment. I still oversaw everything, but it was great having that additional help with planning, communicating with vendors, and setting up/breaking down everything. I would strongly suggest hiring a planner to help with things, if your budget allows. Also, the wedding is all well and good, but just remember what you are really planning for, a marriage. Marriage is a beautiful, sometimes crazy thing that should be cherished. So just keep that in perspective throughout all the chaos of planning and on the day of the wedding.
Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley:
Associated Pros/Vendors: Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley
Dress Designer: Justin Alexander
Caterer: Hudson’s Classic Catering
DJ: Sound Quest DJ’s
Second Shooter: Jessica Hunt Photography – other examples of their work featured on AisleMemories – Brittany and Michele Anniversary at South Carolina State House, Columbia, SC and Meghan and Ivan Anniversary at The Beekman Hotel, New York, NY and Erica and Will Engagement at Saluda Shoals Park, Columbia, SC, US and Liz and Will Engagement at Columbia Craft Brewing Company in Columbia, SC, US
Event Planner: Amazing Moment Weddings
Reception Venue: 701 Whaley
Photographer: Alexis Schwallier Photography LLC – other examples of their work featured on AisleMemories – Lauren and Jordan Wedding at Hi-Wire Brewing, Asheville, NC, US
Submitted via Two Bright Lights
Alexis Schwallier Photography LLC: Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley
Jessica Hunt Photography: Leah-Coleman Wedding-701 Whaley
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