This couple is one that is very close to my heart, and I am overjoyed at finally being able to share with you this stunning Holly Tree Country Club wedding!! Not only is this day so full of love and cool details, but it was also such an honor for me to photograph because before Dani and Sam were my clients, they were my friends! I was so happy to be able to join them for Sam’s surprise proposal to Dani, their engagement session, Dani’s Falls Park bridal session, and now their Greenville SC wedding!
Dani incorporated so many incredible details into her day to make it just that much more unique and special. Things like a custom caplet on her gown inspired by Game of Thrones to her unique little dragon ring, each and every detail was well thought out and placed with great care. Sam started out the day with his guys, and while we were photographing just them, I could tell he was just a bit nervous. But once, he saw his bride and they said their vows, I noticed all of his nerves quickly went away. True love does that sorta thing, you know?
Truly, this beautiful Greenville, South Carolina wedding was perfect in every way, and I’m happy, as a Greenville SC wedding photographer, to be sharing with you Dani and Sam’s wedding! Enjoy! ~ Jessica Hunt Photography
Couple: Sam & Dani
How did you two meet/start dating?
From the bride:
“We met while students at Clemson University; we shared the same group of friends, so we were always together. We began to realize we shared common interests and were always laughing at the same things, so we naturally became close friends. We did everything together and talked day and night. The exact moment when romance sparked is unclear, as we both hid our feelings for some time out of fear of losing the best friend we had in each other. That all changed when we were both going through hard times; the support we provided each other made our emotions clear. Sam worked up the courage to ask me on a date not long after!”
Tell me the proposal story!
From the bride:
“May 27, 2016 was one for the books! Sam planned us a magical trip to Clemson, where we first met, and recreated our first date. After eating at our favorite BBQ joint, the Smoking Pig, we walked around campus for a little while just reminiscing on fun times (in retrospect, I realize that this was Sam stalling!). Next, we headed over to the Botanical Gardens for a quick hike. There’s one particularly beautiful area in the gardens, and every time we’ve ever hiked there, Sam has talked about how that spot would make for the perfect proposal. When he got down on his knee, I almost didn’t believe him until I saw the ring! The only thing that made the proposal even more perfect was Sam set up our photographer and friend, Jess, to hide like a ninja and capture the moment. Now we have that life-changing experience on film forever!”
Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
Long before my husband and I started dating, I had a dream that I was being chased by some unknown evil. Sam (my then best friend and now my husband) took the form of a giant, beautiful, blue dragon; he fought the evil away, and I flew away on his back. Every since, I’ve called him my dragon. We incorporated this theme in many places throughout the wedding. He got me a stunning blue dragon ring, which I wore on our big day. Our toasting flutes had dragon stems. The caplet on my dress was inspired by the Dragon Queen from Game of Thrones (who also happens to be named Dany, just with a ‘Y’ instead of an ‘I’).
Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
The whole day was nothing but personalization. My husband is a software engineer and a bit of a tech junky. Instead of opting for the traditional, formal invitations, we sent out fun invitations with cute bride/groom robots on them. Sam (my husband) and I initially became best friends over our love for superheroes and comics, so the photo booth station had lots of superhero props.
Let’s talk fashion. How did you choose your wedding day look? How did the groom? Describe both looks in detail.
My dress marked a beautiful turning point in my relationship with my mom. As with many girls, throughout my childhood and teenage years, I never liked the clothes mom picked out for me. I hadn’t even gone dress shopping yet when mom sent me a picture of my dress in the window of a local boutique, and I fell in LOVE. I tried many other dresses on but always came back to that one. Now I’m realizing my mom and I really do have the same tastes! We further personalized the dress with a very special feature. I never really liked traditional veils and wanted an alternative. As mentioned previously, Sam has always been my “dragon”. So instead of a veil, I got a caplet inspired by the Dragon Queen from Game of Thrones.
What were the florals like in your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
My bridal bouquet included a very special item – a piece of lace that has been passed down to the brides in my family for generations. It’s over 100 years old! The reception flowers were all DIY, and to play on my love for science and laboratory work, we used Erlenmeyer flasks instead of traditional vases.
Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
Nearly all of the decor was DIY! My aunt is the craftiest woman I know. Her and my mom put together the candy station, photo booth station, signs, and all the reception floral arrangements. By making everything DIY, it allowed us to include lots of personalized touches. I’m a scientist, and my love is being in the lab. All of the floral arrangements were placed in Erlenmeyer flasks instead of vases, and we stored the candy at the sweets station in glass beakers.
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
Besides marrying Sam? Probably the father-daughter dance. I love my daddy. Ever since I was a kid, he taught me what proper music and real talent was. When he drove me and my sister around, we’d always be singing the classics like the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, Doobie Brothers, Eric Clapton, etc. Dad even named me after an Allman Brothers song (Sweet Melissa. My legal first name is Melissa and nickname is Dani). We naturally chose the Allman Brothers’ ‘Blue Sky’ to dance to. It was especially emotional since Gregg Allman passed away just weeks before our wedding. During our dance, Dad and I sang the lyrics to each other through tears and all, just as we always have.
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
Don’t try to tackle it all at once! It will overwhelm you. Make weekly goals and focus on ONLY those goals that week. Also, no matter how picky you are, don’t be afraid to ask your fiance for help. Just be direct and specific. They will likely appreciate your instruction so that they can feel useful
Photographer: Jessica Hunt Photography//Invitation Designer: Minted//Bridesmaid Dresses: Allure Bridesmaids//Apparel: Jasmine Bridal-Mothers//Apparel: Belk//Groomsman Attire: Belk//Shoes: Shop4Prom//Dress Store: Boutique of Dreams//Ceremony Location: Holy Cross Episcopal Church//Hair Stylist: Jordan Hair Makeup//DJ: Complete Weddings Events//Cake Designer: Sugar & Spice Bake Shop//Floral Designer: Simple Stems//Bridesmaid Dresses: Dimitra Designs Bridal Emporium//Dress Designer: Madison James//Event Venue: Holly Tree Country Club//