Six years ago, Aislinn Lavoie met Caleb Coker when she was just a newbie freshman on the College of Charleston campus. The two developed somewhat of a reciprocal crush after they met, but they dated other people and bumped into each other every so often. Soon after both ended other relationships, they reconnected at a mutual friend’s house for drinks, and they’ve pretty much been inseparable ever since.
In September of 2018, the couple was supposed to go to Caleb’s beach house at DeBordieu for the weekend, but a projected hurricane forced them to evacuate to Caleb’s hometown of Charlotte, NC. Aislinn recalls, “Caleb asked me to go on a walk with our dogs, and he took me to a park he loves that’s near his parents’ house.” They were finishing up their walk when Caleb asked Aislinn to hold Sally’s leash, and she turned around to find him on one knee. “It was so special! We continued the celebration with family and friends throughout the rest of the weekend,” she says. While it wasn’t the weekend they planned, it turned out to be the best one she could hope for. They returned to a drying Charleston to plan the real best weekend.
Aislinn says she wouldn’t do their 14-month engagement any differently. “At times, I wished it had been shorter, but it was the perfect amount of time not to be completely overwhelmed by wedding planning,” she says. The bride quickly turned over her vision and dream to who she calls “the best wedding planner ever”: Chauncey Boykin and her team at Bouquets and Bowties. They started bringing to life an impeccable fall wedding in the low country.
Caleb and Aislinn knew they wanted to get married outdoors on the water in Charleston. “We fell in love with Runnymede Plantation as soon as we saw it.” Aislinn dove right into crafting a gorgeous aesthetic to match this outdoor setting. “I had a lot of help from Pinterest and my planner, but I had a vision of greenery and fall colors.” She wanted the look to be classic with a touch of her trendy side — and oh, is this bride trendy. “I love the deep hues of fall colors, and flowers were incredibly important to me.”
When it came to the dress, Aislinn had a few ups and downs at the beginning of her search. “I tried on dresses for fun with my girlfriends to get an idea of what I wanted because everyone told me you end up with something you never thought you’d want,” Aislinn says. But nothing was truly hitting home. She thought she found the winner during the second round of try-ons in Charlotte, but her mother urged her to wait. Aislinn and her mom had one more visit in Charleston to Modern Trousseau, she tried on one dress, and that was it.
Aislinn was glad she and Caleb decided to do a first look. “It was really special to have that time together before we said ‘I do,’” she says. “I remember being so anxious on my way to see Caleb. We both cried, and it was a moment I will never forget.” Their photographer, Philip Casey, captured all of their raw, tearful and joyous moments during the first look and throughout the whole night. The final products are nothing short of magical.
After an exchange of traditional vows under a canopy of moss and twinkling lights, Aislinn and Caleb Coker walked back up the aisle hand-in-hand with ear-to-ear grins. And then the party really started. Unexpectedly chilly temperatures cut their cocktail hour a little short because the majority of the heaters were under the tent for the reception. But 200 guests warmed up with an open bar and a huge charcuterie board, plus passed baked oysters, fried chicken biscuits and buttermilk-fried green tomatoes.
Once the bride and groom had mingled with friends, and the band had warmed up, it was time for the first dances. Cue: “Only You” by Anderson East. “We wanted something more upbeat and untraditional, and the song always reminds us of each other,” the bride says. “Our first dance was so fun, and we didn’t take it too seriously!” Then Aislinn and her dad danced to the James Taylor classic, “How Sweet It Is.”
Aislinn and the planners decided on a seated, family-style meal, and it was everything she could have ever wanted. They used Charleston-based Duvall Catering & Events for both the rehearsal dinner and wedding, and the culinary deliverables exceeded everyone’s expectations. Across the tables flew bread baskets, classic Caesar salad, bacon- and rosemary-braised short ribs, truffled fingerling potatoes, creamy macaroni and cheese, and roasted vegetables. What a special, communal — and very Charleston way — to dine on the big day.
Through a sea of sparklers waved by their best friends and family, Caleb and Aislinn were whisked away in a 1961 Rolls Royce — to their life as husband and wife. We truly couldn’t have dreamed up a more movie set-perfect night if we tried. Thanks for taking us through your day, Aislinn and Caleb. And to Philip Casey for the utterly fantastic photos.
Ceremony and reception: Runnymede Plantation
Planner and design: Chauncey Boykin, Bouquets and Bowties
Day-of coordinator: Bouquets and Bowties
Photographer: Philip Casey Photography
Flowers: Pretty Petals of Charleston
Hair and makeup: Lashes and Lace
Bride’s gown: Modern Trousseau
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Groom and groomsmen attire: Black tie chosen by each man
Catering: Duvall Catering & Events
Entertainment: Az-Izz Band via Music Garden
Rentals and linens: EventWorks Rentals
Lighting: Lowcountry Entertainment
Bar service: Watering Hole
Draping: Veil Charleston
Transportation: GoGo Charters for guest transportation, Lowcountry Trolley for wedding party transportation to the venue, and Lowcountry Valet for our getaway vehicle