Envisioning an intimate and romantic celebration outdoors, gorgeous bride Hilary felt naturally drawn to a fairytale garden-inspired wedding. Together with her groom Michael they share a deep love for the outdoors, a connection with nature, and an appreciation for old-world charm. A garden wedding felt like the perfect canvas to fully personalise every intricate detail, creating an enchanting atmosphere that reflected their journey and love story which has been beautifully captured by Charleston Wedding photographer KAILEE DIMEGLIO. "We wanted to be able to savour every moment of our special day, surrounded by our family, the beauty of nature, and the warmth of cherished and sentimental details. While our pups couldn't be present for the wedding, it was important that we found heartfelt ways to incorporate them into our celebration too."

South of the peninsula, Charleston’s historic district sits quietly unfazed by the passing of time. Wander off the bustling streets and you’ll find stately homes, meticulously tended gardens and ornate architecture that delivers you to a storybook world. Hilary and Michael’s love is nothing short of storybook magic, so the old-world courtyard and romantic pink walls of THE PARSONAGE AT ST. JOHANNES fit the bill for their fairytale garden wedding. Serenaded in the courtyard by the classic sound of a string quartet, and tickled Parsonage pink by all the personalised touches woven into their wedding day, this couple and their eleven guests shared a magical evening they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Dressed in an EMILY KOTARSKI BRIDAL gown inspired by the fairytale garden theme, Hilary's corset bodice was adorned with textured floral appliques that spilled out into an elegant tulle train. She looked angelic standing under the white light pouring in through the tall windows, illuminating the delicate baby’s breath florals blooming from her perfectly styled half up-do. 

In the enchanting garden, an aged fountain trickled drops of water by a towering brick wall overgrown with green ivy. The floral arbor bloomed tall with peach garden roses, anchored by lush green hydrangeas with watermelon brush strokes. The bright sound of Palmetto Strings’ quartet floated throughout the courtyard, and the procession made its way to the front. Stepping through the trellis wrapped in romantic florals, Michael was grinning ear to ear as he watched his beautiful bride with her father at her side, walk towards him. Relishing in the magical garden ambiance they had hoped for, the two read their vows and a poem by George Eliot entitled “To Be One With Each Other.” In the peaceful company of their eleven closest loved ones, they vowed their hearts to one another and shared their first kiss at Mr. and Mrs. Onufer.

In the brick runway enclosed by the wrought iron gate, the candlelit dining table flickered with magic and perfection. Sky-blue velvet chairs flanked the immaculate tablescape adorned with blue motif plates, gold cutlery and iridescent blue glassware. Peach roses and white ranunculus spilled out from the opulent vases blooming down the center. Surrounded by lush greenery, the couple and their guests took their seats in the vibrant sanctuary. Planned by CARTER'S EVENT CO., they dined on oysters Rockefeller, fried green tomatoes and pan-seared scallops with the glowing sound of the string quartet in the background.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS LOCATION? We chose The Parsonage for its enchanting garden adorned with lush greenery and vibrant flowers, creating an idyllic outdoor setting for our wedding. With our love for historic homes, the charming circa 1846 pink home at The Parsonage further captivated us. Interestingly, our decision to marry in what felt like a secret garden was serendipitous. Having wandered through the charming streets of Charleston in the past, we had peeked into The Parsonage's garden and mused about the romanticism of exchanging vows there. Unbeknownst to us, it was a genuine wedding venue, and we didn't even know its name at the time. While on the search for our wedding venue, we stumbled upon The Parsonage, and upon touring it, we immediately knew it was the perfect place for our celebration. The vision of our dinner on the brick patio and dancing under the trees began to materialize immediately. A delightful twist of fate revealed that Michael's parents, celebrating over 40 years of marriage, had tied the knot on the same street in downtown Charleston—Hasell Street. The connection, discovered months after booking the venue, added an extra layer of significance, as if it was meant to be.

HOW DID YOU MEET? Michael and I attended the same high school, but being a year apart and with my move to Charleston during my junior year, we had never formally met. He was the cute blonde kid with a bowl cut, and I used to cheerlead for him during his basketball games, yet our paths had never crossed. Fast forward to the summer before my junior year of college when Michael was back home from Clemson on summer break. We finally met at the City Marina in downtown Charleston through mutual friends one evening. The next morning, I called my mom to tell her about meeting a boy who was genuine, kind, and made me laugh—expressing my desire to date someone with those qualities. Little did I know then, Michael and I would officially start dating a year later!

TELL US ABOUT FINDING YOUR WEDDING DRESS/ATTIRE: After a full day of exploring various bridal shops in Charleston, none of the dresses quite captured the vision I had in mind. Determined to find the perfect dress, I decided to visit one more bridal shop the following week—EMILY KOTARSKI BRIDAL. In a stroke of serendipity, Emily, the owner, who no longer resides in Charleston, was in town and personally attended my bridal appointment. She introduced the possibility of designing my own wedding dress—an option I had never considered before. During that visit, Emily not only sketched the dress I had described but also added details beyond my imagination.The wedding dress design journey with Emily, Courtney, my mom, and my sister was nothing short of magical. It felt like a real-life Cinderella experience as they crafted and sewed parts of the dress while it was on me. Their dedication and artistry left me thoroughly impressed, and the final dress perfectly embodied my style, seamlessly aligning with the fairytale garden theme of our wedding.

DID YOU HAVE ANY DIY ELEMENTS? Wanting even the littlest of details to feel perfectly "us," I personally designed our own unique wedding crest featured on our Save the Date invitations. I weaved in elements of Charleston, such as palm trees, herons, and magnolia flowers.

DESCRIBE YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS: I aimed for an organic fusion of floral blooms and foliage that harmonised with the lush garden setting, the season, and our chosen wedding colours. Among the variety of flowers and greenery, our arrangements featured Garden Rose, Cafe Latte Rose, Quicksand Rose, Cream, Queen Anne's Lace, Hydrangea, Jasmine, and White Anemone. To add a touch of whimsy, we had a floral arch, creating a magical backdrop where Michael and I exchanged our wedding vows. The florals were an important part of our overall wedding design, and Carter's Event Co. did an amazing job. I was so happy with the ambiance created by our florals!

FAVOURITE DETAIL OF THE DAY: Our favourite highlight of the day was the enchanting performance by Palmetto Strings. They played our most cherished and meaningful songs throughout the wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner. Each song was carefully chosen by us, imbued with personal significance. The infusion of pop music on strings transformed our garden wedding into a real-life fairytale, creating a truly magical ambiance that felt Bridgerton-esque. What made it even more special was the ability to customise our ceremony songs, deviating from traditional wedding music and making the moment uniquely ours.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OUT TO A COUPLE PLANNING THEIR WEDDING? My advice would be to stay authentic to yourselves and your unique story. It's easy to be swayed by societal expectations or others' visions for your wedding, but ensuring that the day reflects your genuine connection as a couple will make it truly meaningful and special. Embrace the opportunity to be distinctive and consider doing something you've never seen before if it feels true to you – it's your day!

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? The most memorable and heartfelt moment for Michael and me was the sharing of our own custom vows. Each word carried deep sentiment, genuine meaning, and a raw authenticity that resonated in the presence of our family. This intimate exchange, where we shared our love story and pledged to love each other eternally, solidified a bond that will last a lifetime. Opting to write our own vows turned out to be a decision for which I am immensely grateful—it was a once-in-a-lifetime and exceptionally meaningful moment.

WHAT ASPECT OF THE WEDDING WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU BOTH? The most significant aspect of the wedding for both of us was having the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in the day, cherishing moments with each other and the people who matter most to us. By deliberately allocating ample time and maintaining an intimate setting, we were able to create memorable moments without feeling hurried or pressured. We intentionally extended our multi-course sit-down dinner to allow for meaningful conversations and to fully absorb the heartfelt speeches delivered by our family.

ANY OTHER DETAILS THAT HELP TELL THE STORY OF YOUR DAY? Additional details that contribute to the narrative of our day include the incorporation of significant family items, elements inspired by my parents' wedding and love story, and the inclusion of traditional elements like "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." The pin adorning my bridal bouquet held special meaning as it was the same pin from the corsage I wore as a baby at my parents' wedding—an emblem of enduring family love. Worn as my "something old," my mom preserved this pin for years, specifically for my wedding day. I adorned my bridal bouquet with a gold cross necklace that my mom wore at their wedding, and the pearl earrings I wore were the very ones she wore on her wedding day. The cake cutter we used also had sentimental value, as it was the same one my parents used on their wedding day. These elements are tangible connections to my parents' profound love, which serves as the epitome of what I sought in a marriage—and fortuitously found. They all collectively represent my "something borrowed." In addition, I wore a dainty little gold wedding ring that belonged to my great-grandmother on my right hand. Passed down to my grandmother (my mom's mom), who is no longer with us, wearing this ring was a poignant way to honour her memory. These cherished items played a significant role in making our wedding day not only personal but also a beautiful tribute to the enduring love within our family.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR HONEYMOON: We honeymooned at Montage Palmetto Bluff, a beautiful resort nestled in a picturesque town by the water, surrounded by a vast 20,000-acre nature preserve. We enjoyed our stay in an adorable cottage overlooking the lagoon, indulging in southern dining experiences and leisurely nature walks. One of our fondest memories was a day spent on bikes with a champagne picnic. The resort prepared the cutest lunch, complete with champagne in picnic baskets attached to our bikes. We are already talking about going back for our one-year anniversary!

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE OR DO DIFFERENTLY? I would honestly not change a single thing about our day. I genuinely loved every part of it. The only thing I'd do differently would be to initiate the planning process earlier. Many details were finalised in the last month, and completing all wedding preparations well in advance would have alleviated any stress.

A big thank you to Charleston Wedding photographer KAILEE DIMEGLIO for sharing this gorgeous wedding with us. This husband & wife team wedding capture cherished moments in the Lowcountry and beyond. Their passion for chronicling their client's grand celebrations, small moments, and everything in between continues to drive their pursuit of creating lasting, meaningful images. Their style is charming, light, harmonious and warm. Kailee and Tim love to keep things in the moment. In their free time, they love a good book, relaxing around the house, or enjoying a good meal at one of Charleston’s many restaurants.You can see more of their portfolio here.