Interior designer and Lacquered Life blogger, Olivia Mitchell Brock, met Walker Brock in East Hampton over July 4th weekend. “I was 19 and a little full of myself,” remembers Olivia. “I think I said something rather bold that got Walker asking our mutual friends for my phone number. Our relationship started that weekend, and we have been together ever since!”
The couple dated for eight and a half years before the proposal happened on the piazza of their shared home in Charleston, SC. “It was New Year’s Day after the polar bear swim on Sullivan’s Island,” says Olivia. “I was not expeciting it. I thought he would wait until the summer.”
After some deliberation, they decided to get married in Charleston, the town where they’d made their home together. “Once we settled on Charleston, there was no question that we were going to get married at Drayton Hall,” says Olivia. “When I graduated from BC, Walker was living in Charleston. He and I agreed that I shouldn’t move there just to be with him. I needed an important reason independent of him. I had fallen in love with the concept of historic preservation in college living in Boston, studying abroad in Rome, and visiting Walker in Charleston, and I knew that was something I wanted to pursue as a career. When a job opportunity at Drayton Hall came up, it was too good to be true. So when it came time to pick a venue, there was no other choice. Drayton Hall is not only the finest example of Georgian Palladian architecture in the United States, but it also helped bring Walker and I together.”
The wedding was simple and elegant. “We didn’t have any wedding colors or a décor theme,” says Olivia. “I really wanted Drayton Hall to be the star of the show—we didn’t want our guest to be distracted by anything else. And, I knew I wanted a Sperry tent with its great lines and wooden tent poles. We opted not to do a floor inside the tent, and we used farm tables with burlap runners and a mixture of smaller floral arrangements to complete the look.”
Olivia chose a Christos dress from Amsale. “I had my eye on that dress for quite some time,” says Olivia. “One of my best friend’s older sisters had worn a Christos dress, so I had been introduced to the designer years before, and like any girl in a long-term relationship, I definitely spent some time online looking at dresses and had spotted that one and fallen in love. I have plenty of friends who had fallen in love with dresses online and then tried them on only to discover they hadn’t found the dress. So, I made an appointment at Amsale and picked out five dresses to try on including that one. They were all beautiful, and my mom and my friend Blair were enthusiastic about each one, but then I put on my dress and just knew. I didn’t want to take it off. My mom got teary, and I knew it was definitely the dress for me, and my friend Blair said that she never would have pictured me in that dress for my wedding, but from the moment I put it on she couldn’t imagine me in anything else. That kinda sealed the deal.”
Olivia opted for simple hair and makeup. “I asked Walker what I looked like when he pictured me in his mind, and he said it was on the beach,” explains Olivia. “That made sense, since we met on a beach, and as a couple had spent so much of our relationship on the beach in East Hampton and in Charleston—so I did my hair with a light waviness to it, like it would look if it had dried after a swim in the ocean. The style was loose and half up, so it would hold its shape during an outdoor ceremony in May, and I put a live gardenia in it. Gardenias are one of my absolute favorite flowers, and they remind me of my grandmother. She had passed away a couple of months before the wedding, so I wanted to have something with me that day that reminded me of her.”
During the ceremony and cocktail hour the Bluestone Ramblers, a bluegrass quintet based in Charleston, played. “They were amazing,” remembers Olivia. “When we first met with them they were psyched to hear that we didn’t want traditional wedding music during our ceremony. I walked down the aisle to the bluegrass version of ‘Little Martha,’ an Allman Brothers song.”
Since Walker is from New York and Olivia is from Connecticut, the majority of the guests came from up north. As a result, the couple really wanted the meal to be fun, casual, and southern, so they served fried chicken family-style on large platters that were brought to the table, and then each guest was given a plate with butter bean succotash and macaroni and cheese.
At the reception, the popular local Charleston The Blue Dogs played. “They aren’t so much a wedding band, just a great band,” explains Olivia. “Being at our reception was like being at a great concert. Everybody singing and dancing like crazy. My father-daughter dance was done to ‘Take it Easy’ by The Eagles—I think that says it all.”
After the reception, the couple got in Walker’s 1970 Land Rover Series IIA, which had been decorated by his buddies from St. Andrews and drove back downtown. Guests departed on buses that dropped everyone off at The Blind Tiger, a historic bar on Broad Street in downtown Charleston.
“Walker and I stayed at the Blind Tiger with our friends until it closed,” says Olivia. “Then we walked home down Church Street, and he carried me over the threshold. It was perfect. We had finished the renovation on our house that winter, and I had spent the spring decorating the master bedroom in preparation for our wedding night. So we didn’t sleep in that room until we were Mr. & Mrs. B! The next day we hosted ‘Biscuits and Bloodys’ at our house on Church Street. Everyone said we were crazy, but we just loved having all our friends and family hang at the house.”