A Plantation Wedding

Genni Lib and Trevor wed on historic grounds

Kate Gilleran, Mayflie Photography

Awkward moments are a given in everyone’s life, but for Genni Lib Choate and Trevor Threet, one particular pause gave fate a chance to slip in. Out with a friend one evening, Genni Lib found herself in the vaguely uncomfortable position of feeling like a third wheel when Trevor stepped in. “We spent the evening dancing and talking, and it was wonderful,” says Genni Lib.

The story could have ended there but, instead, Trevor asked Genni Lib to go to dinner the following evening on Bowens Island, and the spark was immediate.

“I was so impressed with his consideration and thoughtfulness,” she says. “Gentlemen are such a rare breed these days!” They both recall the first inclination of thinking “this could be the one” while they enjoyed an oyster roast and admired each other’s skill with an oyster knife.

The couple’s conversations moved from chitchat to more serious topics during the next few weeks, and in that time both Genni Lib and Trevor knew they found the person they had been searching for their whole lives. “Right around our sixth date we got to talking about values, and it was almost eerie how much we had in common,” recalls Genni Lib. “We discovered so many deep connections —  things I’d never seen in another person. And he’s funny!” 

Trevor, who also felt that he met his perfect match, loved that Genni Lib appreciated his sense of humor. “It’s really important when someone laughs at your jokes,” he says. 

At the end of 2015, Genni Lib and Trevor took a bit of time to figure out just where the relationship was headed. Before the weather warmed, Trevor had secretly set up a visit with Genni Lib’s parents, Betsy and David Choate, to tell them that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Genni Lib. “We’d known Trevor for a year or so, and the more we got to know him, the more impressed we were with who he is,” says David. 

Betsy also knew that Trevor was the right man for her daughter. “Trevor has a generous heart, and he makes her laugh,” she says. “Both of those attributes are critical for us.”

A few months later, Trevor asked Betsy and David for their permission to marry Genni Lib. He did it not once but twice. “It wasn’t because we turned him down the first time,” Betsy says with a laugh. “The initial discussion was to give us a head’s up. The second time he was ready and wanted us to be a part of it. We were thrilled.”

Actually, Trevor wanted the entire family and the couple’s close friends to witness the engagement. The challenge was figuring out a way to do it without letting Genni Lib know what was going on. He almost succeeded. “We love to go on walks and runs in our Mount Pleasant neighborhood, so I decided that I’d propose on the Pitt Street Bridge,” he explains. “I got the ring, picked the date, and invited both of our families and about 10 friends. I thought I’d covered every detail.” Until he realized that his running clothes did not hide the box holding the engagement ring. 

“We didn’t get more than 10 steps onto the bridge before Genni Lib spotted the box protruding from my pocket,” says Trevor. “We locked eyes, and I thought, ‘I guess this is it,’ and asked her if she would be with me for the rest of our lives.”

After texting their friends and family, who had been circling the block in cars, the group gathered on the bridge to celebrate. Then it was time to plan a wedding. “Our first thought after our tears dried was, ‘Where do you start?’” says Betsy. “None of us had any real idea. Genni Lib actually googled, ‘How to start planning a wedding,’ and that’s where we started.”

Step one turned out to be finding a venue. Although Genni Lib and Trevor originally had Charleston at the top of the list, when Betsy showed them an ad for Wavering Place, an antebellum plantation in Eastover, they were immediately taken with the site. “I’d always wanted an outdoor wedding,” says Genni Lib. “I took one look at the gorgeous oak tree on the property and knew I’d found my location. The one date they had available was March 25. I liked our chances for good weather, and March is my parents’ anniversary month, so we took it.” 

Owned by the Adams family since 1768, Wavering Place features a fully renovated antebellum mansion, a stunning formal garden, shady lanes, and historic outbuildings. Shana Adams, who owns and runs the plantation with her husband; Robert, VI; his brother Weston; and Weston’s wife, Lisa Boykin Adams, says that from the first email she received from Betsy and Genni Lib, she knew the wedding would be special. “They’re such a loving family, and Genni Lib had such great ideas,” she says. “It was a stunning wedding.”

They next called Cricket Newman, who owns Cricket Newman Designs, a Columbia-based event company, to handle flowers, logistics, and the other details that go into transforming a space into an intimate gathering spot. “Our first priority always is to determine the bride and her family’s wishes for this very special day,” says Cricket. “The Choates wanted all of their guests to feel welcomed, loved, and cared for. They also wanted to honor the location and the natural beauty surrounding this historic home. Genni Lib is an incredibly creative young woman. She shared images and ideas to guide us. She requested ivory flowers with touches of peach and pale blue mixed with gathered garden greenery for that picked-from-the-grounds look.”

After much thought, Genni Lib and Trevor also decided that they wanted their reception to include a sit-down dinner instead of the more traditional stand-up reception. Genni Lib explains, “We got really excited about the idea of a real dinner surrounded by the people we love the most. It would give us a chance to converse with them.”

Betsy and David, who were given the final say on the matter, ended up agreeing with their daughter and her fiancé. “It really lent itself to sharing all the moments,” says Betsy. “Cricket arranged the tables, which were different shapes and sizes, into an open L shape, which meant that everyone could see our table, and we could make eye contact with our friends. Plus, it was a lot more comfortable than standing for almost five hours!”

Once the dinner had been decided, the event began to take shape. “It was a joy but a lot of work,” says Betsy. “From September until March 25, something needed to be done every single day. Cricket anticipated everything and took care of all the moving parts, plus coordination and creativity. She and her team are amazing.”

The magic began the moment guests stepped from their cars and entered the estate’s formal garden, where they were offered champagne as soft music played. From there, they were led to an arrangement of greenery-clad white garden chairs radiating out from the majestic live oak tree that Genni Lib had spotted on her first visit to Wavering Place. Golden light streamed through branches that were hung with sheer ribbons and hand-tied bouquets. 

Looking down on the scene from the plantation house moments before he stepped into the aisle with his daughter, David Choate was struck by the serene beauty of both the setting and his daughter. “It really was perfectly beautiful,” he says. “Genni Lib radiated poise and grace. Her happiness was a gift.”

With the setting sun as their backdrop, Genni Lib and Trevor were married by Hillary Taylor, a minister who is also Genni Lib’s oldest friend. Afterward, while the bridal party took photographs around the oak tree, guests returned to the formal garden, where a clear floating bar had been set up over a grouping of boxwoods. As darkness fell and the group made their way to the tent —- which was clear, to bring the outside in — lights set around the bases of trees and the historic home came on to illuminate the setting. “It looked like we were in a dream,” says Betsy.

Some weddings are remembered for their fun party atmosphere, others for the great band. In the case of Genni Lib and Trevor’s wedding, the sense of intimacy and lovingly crafted details made the difference. As a marketing professional, Genni Lib guided the visual aspects of the affair, working with a stationer and an artist friend to develop a monogram, and using a specific ink color (which happened to be Trevor’s favorite shade of navy) and custom font on correspondence, invitations, and other printed pieces. “It tied everything together,” she says. Food, crafted by Southern Way, was approachable — steak, shrimp, and  salad — yet infused with Southern style and innovative flavors. 

“Genni Lib didn’t want guests to have to pre-order so she decided on a dual entrée,” says Southern Way’s Aimee Wicker. “It was a smart solution.” But the real tie was the love that flowed through every moment. 

“We wanted to involve our lifetime friends in every aspect of the wedding and to express our love and gratitude to the people who nurtured Genni Lib and Trevor their whole lives,” says Betsy. “It was our overriding goal. Whenever there was a question, we took the path that would allow us to honor those we loved. It was our way of thanking them for a lifetime of friendship and support.”

Genni Lib and Trevor wanted to do more than celebrate their love for each other at their wedding. Instead, they used it as an opportunity to focus on the importance of friends and family.