College sweethearts Heyward Brockinton and Ben Bartlett were enjoying a weekend away in the Hamptons when he surprised her and popped the question out of nowhere. “We went to Wölffer Estate Vineyard for a wine tasting,” Heyward remembers. “It was a gorgeous day. We wined and dined on their porch before Ben insisted on venturing out into the vineyard by ourselves. Before I knew it, he was down on one knee. I blacked out most of what he said.”
The couple, who met at Washington & Lee University and dated for six years, decided to have their wedding in Charleston, the historic city where the bride, a publicist, grew up. “We ultimately chose Hibernian Hall, one of the oldest venues in Charleston, for the reception. We loved the sophistication and grandeur of the building and its gorgeous architectural details.”
When it came time to pick a wedding planner, Heyward didn’t have to look too far. “My mother, Renée Brockinton, knows Charleston like the back of her hand and has planned numerous social events,” she says. “But we had a day-of wedding planner, so we didn’t have to worry about the details on the big day.”
A lover of fashion, Heyward always looked forward to finding the perfect wedding dress. She eventually settled on one by Israeli designer Lihi Hod. “I paired her intricate beaded Flora top with a gorgeous silk mocotta skirt,” she explains. “I was all about the train of the skirt and added a belt to complete the look.” As for her accessories, Heyward wore crystal and pearl vintage-inspired earrings by Sara Gabriel, a pearl bracelet, and a diamond cross necklace from Croghan’s that Ben gave her the day of the wedding. “I now wear the necklace every day.”
The couple got married at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, where the bride’s parents also tied the knot decades ago. Both Ben and Heyward are music lovers, so choosing the hymns and anthems for the ceremony was a treat. “We had a 20 person choir, which made everything even more moving,” she remembers. “I came down the aisle to the ‘Prince of Denmark’s March.’”
Once they were declared husband and wife, the couple and their guests walked from the church down the cobblestone streets of Charleston to Hibernian Hall. Inside, everyone was greeted with dramatic floral arrangements, which included magnolias, orchards, peonies, and two large magnolia tress on either side of the stage. Dinner was handled by Cru catering and divided up into stations, including a chef carving beef tenderloin, a sushi table, and another area that featured Southern bite-sized food including salmon, brussels sprout slaw, pulled pork, and shrimp and grits.
Once guests had finished eating, it was time to dance. “We arranged the tables so the dance floor would be the focus of the party,” Heyward shares. “We picked the Atlanta Showstoppers because they’re the ultimate party band and our goal was for our guests to let loose—which they did!” The bride, who wanted to be comfortable while twisting and twirling, changed into a pair of fitted white cigarette pants by Alexia Maria and completed the look with blue suede Jimmy Choos. The party got so lively, the new Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett ended up on stage singing along with the band more than once.
Once the wedding was over, Heyward and Ben were escorted out with a rose petal shower as they climbed into their getaway car, a 1948 Oldsmobile. They didn’t go too far though; a half a block down the street, the couple hosted an after-party at a local restaurant, which featured late-night food and a DJ. A few months later, they were off to Chile and Patagonia for their honeymoon. “We celebrated our first Christmas together as a married couple,” says Heyward. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!”