Inside Weddings - - Inside - Oc­to­ber 22, 2016 Bluffton, South Carolina | Pho­tographed by Eric Kel­ley

Oc­to­ber 22, 2016 Bluffton, South Carolina Pho­tographed by Eric Kel­ley

In­tro­duced in New York City by a mu­tual friend, Florentina’s strik­ing looks weren’t the only thing that caught the at­ten­tion of hote­lier Nathan Sharma. “She was beau­ti­ful, but she was also very in­tel­li­gent,” Nathan tells of his first im­pres­sion of his model bride. “Her love for travel in­trigued me.”

For their wed­ding, the cou­ple de­sired a lo­ca­tion where ev­ery­one could stay to­gether the en­tire time, as the cel­e­bra­tory fes­tiv­i­ties com­menced on Thurs­day and con­cluded on Sun­day. A lo­cale for their big day was quickly de­ter­mined: “Pal­metto Bluff is 30 min­utes from Nathan’s home­town of Hil­ton Head and it was al­ways a sig­nif­i­cant place for the two of us, since we went there the week we first met,” ex­plains Florentina. Adds Nathan, “The Low­coun­try, with its in­ter­twin­ing water­ways, spec­tac­u­lar oak trees, and amaz­ing wildlife is very unique, and Pal­metto Bluff re­ally en­cap­su­lates that. The area amazed peo­ple, es­pe­cially those com­ing from abroad.”

Florentina and Nathan also rapidly dis­cov­ered how in­volved event plan­ning can be, so they hired a pro­fes­sional – Kelli Corn – to help them make de­ci­sions and tend to all of the de­tails, in­clud­ing han­dling 65 guests ar­riv­ing from Ger­many. The cou­ple strongly en­cour­ages other brides and grooms to hire a wed­ding plan­ner – “A good one!” af­firms Nathan, who feels it is money well spent.

The church quite lit­er­ally over­flowed with love as friends and fam­ily sat to wit­ness the mar­riage of Florentina and Nathan. Guests had come from near and far to cel­e­brate their union, so much so that the hired trio of mu­si­cians were forced to as­sem­ble out­side of the chapel be­cause they could not fit. “None­the­less, it was beau­ti­ful to see them set up there, play­ing softly, as peo­ple walked up,” re­mem­bers the groom. At­ten­dees who were un­able to sit in the pews of the sanc­tu­ary were made com­fort­able in out­door seat­ing and were of­fered glasses of chilled Cham­pagne.

Nathan’s child­hood nanny of­fi­ci­ated the touch­ing nup­tials, where the cou­ple wrote their own vows and also in­cluded spe­cial read­ings in both English and Ger­man. A South­ern gospel choir sig­naled the con­clu­sion of the service; the de­light­ful beat of “Oh Happy Day” brought ev­ery­one to their feet, danc­ing as they ex­ited. Rather than the tra­di­tional rice or con­fetti send-off, Florentina and Nathan opted to use laven­der. “Every time I smell laven­der now, it re­minds me of the mo­ment,” the bride shares.

The re­cep­tion dé­cor was time­less and el­e­gant, much like the per­sonal style of the new­ly­weds. Nathan re­flects that he will never for­get when Florentina en­tered the chapel. “It was as if time had stopped and I ac­tu­ally lost my breath… she was stun­ning,” he de­scribes. Florentina was re­splen­dent in a so­phis­ti­cated long-sleeve lace gown; though it had a large frothy skirt, it didn’t keep the bride from en­joy­ing the spe­cial day to the fullest. Since Nathan is in the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try, he prides him­self on host­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary par­ties. Fo­cused on the “big pic­ture” for the day, the groom ar­ranged for a de­lec­ta­ble din­ner menu and com­ple­ment­ing cock­tails, hired The Heather Hayes Ex­pe­ri­ence (daugh­ter of famed soul singer Isaac Hayes) for the re­cep­tion, and later a DJ, who played un­til the wee hours of the morn­ing.

The re­cep­tion it­self was held in­side a spa­cious tent draped in ivory chif­fon and lined with 50,000 twin­kling fairy lights. Daz­zling crys­tal chan­de­liers dec­o­rated with mag­no­lia gar­lands were sus­pended over­head, while wine bar­rels served as planters in the cor­ners of the room. A cus­tom plank wood floor was laid out across the space; a hand-painted mono­gram des­ig­nated the spot for danc­ing.

Guest ta­bles, sur­rounded by X-back farm­style chairs, were cloaked in vanilla tex­tured linens, whilst the wed­ding party was seated at a ma­hogany ta­ble per­fectly set with per­son­al­ized linen nap­kins. Ro­man­tic flo­ral cen­ter­pieces show­cased mixed greens and mag­no­lia leaves, pe­onies in burgundy and white, and touches of blush helle­bores and par­rot tulips.

Ad­di­tional ex­cep­tional mo­ments oc­curred through­out the evening with sen­ti­men­tal toasts and mu­si­cal per­for­mances by the fa­ther of the bride and Florentina’s cousins, re­spec­tively. Nathan re­flects: “It was great see­ing all the peo­ple that didn’t know each other be­fore that day col­lec­tively danc­ing, singing, smil­ing, and drink­ing to­gether.” The bride agrees, ad­mit­ting she took a minute to pause and take it all in: “It was truly the hap­pi­est feel­ing of my life.”

While a stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton, Lisa Lan­caster lived in a soror­ity house just a few doors down from the fra­ter­nity house of Ja­son Ness. How­ever, they didn’t start to get to know each other un­til sev­eral years after grad­u­a­tion. Once they met, it still took time for their even­tual love to blos­som. “Ja­son and I were friends for over 10 years be­fore our first date!” ex­claims Lisa. Dur­ing those years, they were never sin­gle at the same time, but when they fi­nally got to­gether, the pieces all fell into place. “I sub­con­sciously knew I was go­ing to pro­pose be­fore I even had a real chance to think about it,” ad­mits Ja­son. When he was ready, he called up his friend, a di­a­mond bro­ker, and started the process of de­sign­ing an en­gage­ment ring for his beloved.

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