Category Archives: Parties

photos by Corbin Gurkin 

What we like to call engagement season is approaching and many of you may be thinking of a wedding in Charleston soon. We hope that our guide to some of our favorite venues in Charleston can help give you some ideas of what we have to offer, and why we think we are so lucky to do beautiful weddings here. Our first, Fenwick Plantation,  is relatively under the radar and a little outside of town. A private historic home and grounds, born of Federalist architecture, the property still boasts a gorgeous avenue of Oaks. Here, we built an aisle over the reflecting pond and used the house for photo backdrops with a large tent on property for the rest of the reception.

 Photos by Liz Banfield and Corbin Gurkin

Lowndes Grove is one of the most popular venues in town, and rightfully so. Located in downtown Charleston, the historic plantation home has been restored to pristine condition. The grounds offer room for a tent (atop bluestone, offering a flooring option), and amazing untouched views of the Ashley River. We have done ceremonies on the front lawn, overlooking the river, under a large oak in the rear of the property, and sometimes just the reception- where the possibilities are endless. It’s pretty gorgeous for photos too.

Hibernian 2 Collage

Photos by Corbin Gurkin

The Hibernian Society in the heart of the Charleston Historic District has long been the scene of many Charleston parties… I like that it’s large enough to hold a sizeable party but it’s broken up as such that if you have a smaller group it won’t feel too huge. It’s got a great porch for creating seating areas that overlook Meeting Street, and the historic architecture lends it some unique value.

Ocean Course Collage

photos by Liz Banfield

The Ocean Course at Kiawah is a stunning site. I like the way a party can progress through different stages at this venue. From a ceremony on the golf lawn overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, to cocktails on the upper lawn and porches, to dinner in a ballroom, and then dancing under a tent overlooking the property, you are able to offer your guests so much variety!

Runnymede Collage

photos by Corbin Gurkin

A longtime favorite of many of our brides and us, is Runnymede Plantation. The home no longer stands, other than a few crumbling ruins, but the land and location along the Ashley River allow us to have fun and do whatever we want with decor, and we love that!

Boone Hall Plantation

photo by Liz Banfield

Finally, we’ve done quite a few weddings at Boone Hall Plantation in our many years, but this image from one we did  for over 1200 people really stands out! You can tent on the grounds, or use the ever popular Cotton Dock (where a certain celebrity couple was married) and where we held our Soiree Anniversary Party.. It’s extremely popular and books up fast, but you can see why.  It was also Allie’s house in The Notebook movie.

10.17.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Charleston, Event Design, Event Planning, Events, Parties, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>
Oct 17, 2018

Tara Guerard Soiree by Liz Banfield photo by Liz Banfield

It’s that time again, when fall entertaining is in full swing! So, I’m sharing some of my favorite fall recipes. All inspired by one of the most lovely fall weddings we’ve done, which we’ll be showing you on Wedding Wednesday this week.  Our first one is always a hit- Devils on Horseback. This particular recipe is shared from marthastewart.com

24 large dates, pitted

12 slices bacon, halved crosswise

1/3 cup crumbled Stilton cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 24 toothpicks in a small bowl filled with water; let soak 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and fit with a wire rack; set aside.

Halve dates lengthwise being careful not to cut all the way through. Place a small amount of cheese in the center of each date. Wrap a piece of bacon around each date. Secure bacon with a toothpick.

Place dates on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Tara Guerard Soiree by Liz Banfieldphoto by Liz Banfield

We named this a “Blushing Bride” in order to make it a fitting signature drink for the wedding, but you can come up with whatever fits your theme!  Wooden drink stirrers for an added touch available thru Lettered Olive.

The POM Sparkler (yields about 8 1/2 cup servings)

2 cups freshly squeezed juice or POM Wonderful

1 1/2 cups lemon sparkling water

1/2 cup of your favorite vodka (I like Tito’s)

Garnish- Lemon or Lime rind strips, or a rosemary sprig

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher; pour over ice and garnish!

Tara Guerard Soiree by Liz Banfieldphoto by Liz Banfield

Sweet Potato Biscuits (Makes 18-20), shared from my book, Weddings by Tara Guerard

3 cups flour

1 3/4 light brown sugar

2 1/4 tsps baking powder

1/8 tsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 tsp plus pinch of baking soda

 10 1/2tbs shortening

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 1/3 cups chilled sweet potato puree

Mix all dry ingredients; add shortening, buttermilk, and sweet potato puree. Mix the dough, but don’t overwork, using a flowered board. Cut dough into 2-inch rounds or squares with a cutter. Bake at 350 degrees for 24 minutes- rotating after 12 minutes. Coat with melted butter when done.

Tara Guerard Soiree by Liz Banfieldphoto by Liz Banfield

While these mini pecan pies are from Jim Smeal and beautifully adorned with a mini maple leaf and homemade cream, you can accomplish a delicious mini pie at home that is Pinterest worthy!

This recipe from the authorities on Pecan Pie at Karo Syrup yields 16 mini pies (or 1 large pie)

1 egg

1/3 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup OR Dark Corn Syrup

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2/3 cup chopped pecans

1 box (14.1 ounces) refrigerated pie crust dough

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk egg, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.  Stir in pecans. Set aside.

Unroll pie crusts on counter.  Cut out 16 (3 to 3-1/2 inch) circles using a round cookie cutter.  A coffee mug or small bowl can also work, carefully cut around with a sharp paring knife or just press like you would a cookie cutter.  You will have a little dough left over.  Gently fit each circle into muffin cups (2-1/2 inch).  Dough should come up about halfway in each cup.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into each shell.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until filling appears set.  Cool 5 to 10 minute on rack.  Using a sharp knife, carefully remove each pie from the muffin pan.  Store in a tightly closed container.

Recipe Note:  Extra pie dough can be cut in pieces, brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon to create little designs for decorating your pies.

photo by Corbin Gurkin 

Of course, you can’t go wrong with a classic cheese spread. I can go in so many directions here, but obviously 2 hard cheeses, 2 soft cheeses, and 1 something special is a good balance here. I like a variety of accompaniments- something sweet like a fig or quince spread, and something spicy like a sweet chili or pepper relish goes great. Dried turkish apricots, or Trader Joe’s dried wild blueberries are also favorites. Of course, you can add dried and cured meats, and garnishes to make the men happy.

10.17.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Charleston, Entertaining, Food and Drink, Parties, Recipes, The Lettered Olive, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>
Oct 17, 2018

Today we are sharing a recent wedding we did at the historic Union Station in Dallas, TX…This bride was far from traditional and didn’t want to have many of the elements you think of when you think of weddings, no cake, not a lot of fanfare, and just wanted to celebrate with her fiance, family, and friends. So we designed a modern inspired party, we hope you enjoy. All photos by Sarah Kate Photography Lettered Olive created a designs that included an illustrated skyline, watercolor ombre palette, and marbleized modern details. The custom drawn Dallas skyline doted the save the “weekend” cards, while a simply stunning invitation featured modern fonts lightened up with a watercolor marble designed. Hatch Cove design hand lettered the outer envelops in the ombre palette. The ceremony programs were 2 sided cards, with the evenings timeline, seating chart, and highlights printed on the back side.

Printed canvas shopping totes were filled with goodies and snacks, a custom designed “Emergency” kit, and watercolor illustrated weekend information card…

Lettered Olive left many details throughout the wedding. Printed tray liners added decor for the passed items… Custom cocktail napkins featured whimsical designs, and the letterpressed coasters allowed guests to dance without loosing their drinks.

Shades of grey and blue set the tone for the winter affair, white and grey flowers accented with greenery and berries completed the architectural look of the bouquets. Lots of softening was needed to turn the century old train station into a dreamy ceremony space. Carpeting was laid and fabric panels were draped to create a cozy space… We printed fabric with the marble design from the wedding invitations and created panels to set a backdrop.  Of course, lots of lighting and candles added to the ambience.

We did something a little different for this wedding… The bride wanted everyone to have a seat but not have a served dinner. So we set up enough tables for everyone to have a seat (which was assigned), but guests enjoyed a “progressive” dinner throughout many different food stations.

Because of the sprawling space with high ceilings, tables alternated in shape and size between family style rectangles and smaller squares.  The longer tables got lamp light and floral pieces, while the smaller tables got a mixture of glass cylinders and natural greenery.

Keeping in the realm of a modern watercolor look, ombre tiles of acrylic in the color palette were fashioned into signage for the stations, giving a more formal feel to the seated/station setup. We love doing bar signage – always a better idea than displaying all of the bottles and offerings on the front of the bar.
Along with a lounge around the dance floor, guests could lounge outside on the balcony complete with heaters and cozy blankets…

One of our favorite bands, Simply Irresistible, had guests dancing all night…

The Grand Staircase was filled with greenery and candlelight as guests saw the couple off to a late night after party….

10.17.18   |   TARA GUÉRARD
Event Design, Event Planning, Food and Drink, Parties, Reception, Stationery, Invitations and Pretty Papers, The Lettered Olive, Uncategorized, Weddings | Comments >>