After you get engaged, the planning begins. For some brides and grooms, the task of creating your wedding vision is stressful.
For Katie Williams (née Horn), it was an awakening.
As she and fiancé Nick began to sort through linens, florals, and dance lists for their Greenville wedding, Katie realized that it all seemed so natural to her. She'd long been the go-to gal for her friends and family when anyone needed help with bridal or baby showers, and her work with the Junior League of Greenville meant that she always had a fun party or event to help plan. But she'd never considered taking on a full time job as a planner...until her own wedding planning got underway.
"I was thinking about things that many of my friends who were married told me never crossed their minds, and they just 'let the wedding planner handle that,'" Katie remembers of those first moments when she gave the thought of her own business some weight.
In addition to planning her own wedding, she began offering informal planning services to friends who were also in the wedding planning stage. "Everyone kept telling me I should be getting paid for this, and then it dawned on me about a month into planning that I was finally feeling that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I just wasn't feeling in my desk job. With the support of my family & friends, I started working on the structure and bones of my official business while planning my wedding at the same time. Nothing like on the job training, right?!" she says.
When she and Nick tied the knot at their lush, floral-inspired Greenville wedding, it was the beginning of a marriage and a new life together, but it was also the beginning of a brand new journey for Katie as an entrepreneur at Katie Williams Events.
A Chance Meeting
The Cooper River Bridge Run is a big deal in Charleston each April, thanks to the more than 25,000 people who show up annually to participate. Katie and Nick were both in town for the race--but not to run it!
In the process of cheering on friends, the two had their first chance encounter. "We met at Midtown Bar & Grill on King Street, and there was instant chemistry. I remember trying to impress Nick by order a bourbon & ginger instead of a "girly" cocktail, and it totally worked! He looked at me with these adorable green, wide eyes, and said "Oh wow, that's my kind of girl!" From there, it was just an instant connection," reminisces Katie.
That conversation led to dinner at Virginia's on King in Charleston which, in turn, led to a date later that week in Nick's hometown of Greenville. They were so sure about their newly discovered spark that Katie even met Nick's parents that first weekend. It might have been unconventional, but when you know, you just know. As Katie remembers, "Crazy to think that they would end up being my in-laws just a few years later, but looking back on it now, even then everything just felt like a perfect match!"
New House, Sweet Surprise
Purchasing a house together is a big enough step for most couples, but Nick wanted to make the move irresistible for Katie. She'd made the move from Columbia to Greenville to grow her relationship with Nick, and moving into together seemed like a natural progression to their story.
The two were excited about their new purchase and invited their parents to their new property just before closing to show it off. "With such traditional family values, it did seem a little strange that our parents were OK with us buying this house together, but at the time I figured everyone was just being more open-minded," says Katie.
As a way to commemorate the moment, Nick and Katie posed in front of their new house with their dog. all of a sudden our families' faces got all excited and I turned to see Nick getting down on one knee!" remembers the bride.
The soon-to-be husband of a soon-to-be wedding planner needs to pay attention to the details, and Nick didn't disappoint. He tied the house into his proposal with a custom engraved keyring that said "Marry Me?" on it, and included a key that Katie could use for their new house.
"It was truly such a special moment, and one I will never forget for the rest of my life. More importantly, he made sure our dog and our loved ones were with us, making it all the more special!" says Katie.
Being a planner, Katie left no detail unattended and included moments throughout the day that specifically reflected her and Nick.
During her church service, she seamlessly fused two Christian traditions for a personalized service. "I was raised Catholic, and my husband was raised Methodist. We got married in a Methodist church, but I wanted to incorporate something from my Catholic background. We chose some beautiful songs that I loved to hear in my church growing up from the choir for our prelude and processional, like Ave Maria."
The ceremony location, the Mauldin Methodist Church, was Nick's childhood church, so it had special significance to him. Plus, Katie wanted a ceremony space that brought substantial drama and beauty, and the church seriously delivered. "We wanted to keep our ceremony traditional, as often times these days the ceremony can get overlooked by the grandeur of the reception," she says.
After a lovely ceremony, the crowd headed towards the Westin Poinsett Hotel for a floral-inspired reception. The Poinsett Hotel is an iconic Greenville landmark, which sees dozens of weddings each year, so it's no wonder that Nick and Katie were drawn to the property. "I fell in love with the Poinsett Ballroom and its soft colors and beautiful ceilings," Katie gushes. "I also loved the original floors from the 1920s that make such a statement on the Veranda level. That gilded, 1920s era style, so perfectly blended with my romantic and whimsical details."
During their reception, the sweet attention to detail captured both the couple and their guests. Katie was bowled over by her brother and mother in law's toasts: "They had me crying happy tears. Thank goodness for my amazing stylist and the airbrushing!" Katie remembers.
Other favorite elements of their reception included a sweet potato cake, cases of craft beer from Katie's dad, and foraged orange blossoms from their floral designer's garden.
Working with the Weather
Preparing for the rain is always a concern whenever there are outdoor wedding elements. For photographer Jennifer Stuart, she had to think fast on her feet when a rain shower made her rethink her plans to have outdoor photos of the couple post-ceremony.
"The day started with perfect weather, but right before the ceremony began the storm clouds opened up. We had hoped to take outdoor portraits at the Poinsett, but it was still coming down when we got there," she says. "Luckily, they have a small awning at the front of the hotel that we were able to use while guests enjoyed cocktail hour inside."
All's well that ends well, and the weather ended up cooperating as the evening continues. "The rain finally stopped and we were able to go out for their bride and groom portraits at the iconic rooftop of the Poinsett," Jennifer remembers.
Ceremony venue: Mauldin United Methodist Church, Mauldin, South Carolina
Reception venue: Westin Poinsett Hotel, Greenville, South Carolina
Photography: Jennifer Stuart Photography
Planning: Katie Williams Events
Florals: Kara Nash Designs
Cake: Kathy & Company
Catering: The Westin Poinsett
Entertainment: Formal Affair Professional DJ Services
Hair and makeup: Cotton Rouge and Company
Groom and groomsmen's attire: Calvin Klein from Men's Wearhouse
Transportation: Eastside Transportation
Invitations and stationery: Minted & personal designs