Dana and Christopher tied the knot at the historic South Carolina State Museum.  The ceremony was held in the Charleston Courtyard on the fourth floor of the museum, while the reception was held in the observatory terrace.

“The observatory gave us a great built in theme. We had small celestial nods in our decor, and our invitations and menu cards had constellation maps on the back. Subtle touches, not overboard or cheesy,” explains Dana.

Thanks to photographer Joshua Aaron Photography for capturing the couple’s  ‘out of this world’ event so beautifully!

Dana, 27 & Christopher, 29

Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Wedding Date:  June 17, 2016

Number of Guests: 21 including pastor & wife

Wedding Cost: ~ $7,000.  We saved some money by doing all of the decor ourselves. I did all of the calligraphy on the invitations and place cards, and my mother grew all of the flowers for the event. I wanted the focus to be the food, so the bulk of the budget was food. 

Wedding Ceremony Location: South Carolina State Museum. The museum is in a beautiful, historic building in downtown Columbia. The large building is a former textile mill and has gorgeous original wood flooring and exposed brick. The Charleston Courtyard on the Fourth Floor of the Museum The space has a facade made to look like the famous Rainbow Row of Charleston, SC – one of my favorite places ever!

Wedding Reception Location: South Carolina State Museum, The Observatory Terrace at the South Carolina State Museum. The terrace has a beautiful view of downtown Columbia and the Congaree River.

south carolina wedding

Why did you have an intimate wedding?

Despite my boisterous personality I am actually a very private person. Chris is also more of a small crowd kind of guy. I am a major foodie, and from the first day of planning I knew that I wanted the focus of the night to be an elegant three course dinner. The first venue that my mother and I looked at was the state museum, and as we started looking around we both knew the terrace was the perfect spot. Our dinner was the first formal event that was held on the terrace, which made it even more fun. The observatory gave us a great built in theme. We had small celestial nods in our decor, and our invitations and menu cards had constellation maps on the back. Subtle touches, not overboard or cheesy.

What are some the challenges that you faced planning an intimate wedding?

The biggest challenge was just worrying about hurt feelings.

Was it difficult to pare down the guest list?

So, I kind of worked backwards compared to how most people plan a wedding. I knew exactly what I wanted in my head before I created the guest list. So knowing that I wanted to have an intimate dinner and knowing that only 3 8-ft tables would fit on the terrace, I knew there were 24 seats total at the table. So that meant only 22 guests would “make the cut.” I have a small extended family, so choosing who could make my half of the list was easy. I do feel that some of our choices when paring down the list hurt some feelings, but in the end only our closest family members were present.

Did you have any ‘issues’ with the small guest list from friends and family? If so, how did you address them?

Some family members questioned the list, but after the ceremony I think they were able to see our vision and it all made sense. Any hurt feelings really only came from family. All of our friends understood.

What were the highlights of the ceremony?

The ceremony was short and sweet, just how we like it!

What were the highlights of the reception?

For sure the food and fellowship! It was so special that our first meal as a married couple was shared with those closest to us.  

Here is Dana and Christopher’s mouthwatering menu:

Mixed Greens Salad with candied pecans, strawberries, crumbled feta, and citrus vinaigrette
House Cured Double Pork Chop with a bourbon butter glaze on top of creamy cheese grits and grilled asparagus with lemon and sea salt
Dessert was a Homemade Kit Kat with Creme Anglaise and Raspberry reduction

What was the best thing about having an intimate wedding?

Due to the small size and relaxed atmosphere that it created we did not feel stressed one bit, and we remember every moment of the evening. It was also fun that we were able to do something different than everyone else! We dig that.

What advice do you have for couples who are considering an intimate wedding?

Once you can envision the wedding that you want stay true to the plan and really do what will make you and your fiance happy. It will be difficult, but don’t let others pressure you into doing something that’s not what you want. You will be the ones that look back on that day forever, be sure it is a fantastic memory. 


Photography: Joshua Aaron Photography

Caterer: Southern Way Catering    

Make-Up:  Jamie Tran of Eyebrow Junkie  

Hair: Kayla Leigh of Pretty and Pinned    

Dress: Allure Bridal Dress purchased at Treasures Formals and Bridals in Alpharetta, GA  

Rentals: Chairs & China- Party Reflections    

Nose Gay and Boutonnière: Cricket Newman Designs