Simple Elegance

The Anderson wedding starts with a love letter

Liz Roberts

It may be a rare occurrence, but stress-free wedding planning does exist. No drama, no real challenges — just smooth sailing in anticipation of a happy marriage. So it was for Anna and Andrew Anderson.

Even their introduction was easy. Andrew lived with a hometown friend of Anna’s, and the two met while watching a Thursday night Clemson football game at another friend’s home in Columbia. Each made a favorable impression on the other, and a few weeks later while traveling home from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his parents, Andrew called Anna and asked her out on a date. “We knew we liked each other,” Anna says with a laugh. The rest is history.

Coming from a large family, it has always been important for Anna to have her immediate and extended family involved in her life. Because of this, Andrew made a concerted effort to propose to Anna when her family would be nearby. In June 2016, during Anna’s family vacation at Litchfield Beach, Andrew asked Anna to join him on a golf cart ride. He parked in a secluded area and proposed with a stunning ring his mother had passed on to him. While Anna immediately said yes and the evening was “perfect,” to this day she wishes she had been dressed in something other than jean shorts and a T-shirt! Anna’s two sisters, brother-in-law, and parents were waiting for the couple to return and were thrilled that a wedding and marriage were on the horizon.

With a mother who works at Cricket Newman Design, Anna knew where her first planning meeting would be for the June wedding. “It was a no-brainer who we were going to use,” says Ann Price, Anna’s mother. “I know the work we do. I know the people on staff. I knew it would be fantastic.” As is customary for the popular Columbia wedding planner, Cricket asked Anna what three words would describe her ideal wedding. Anna was quick to share: simple, elegant, and romantic. These words infused the entire wedding — from the beautiful ceremony at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral to the flawless reception at the Seibels House & Garden.

It was important for Anna to include her large family in the wedding ceremony. With Anna having two sisters and many first cousins, most all of whom attend Trinity, she and Andrew both wanted them to play a large part in their special day.

“I have a big family. Andrew is an only child, so he has gotten thrown into the craziness of our family and has handled it so well,” says Anna. “It was so special to sit down with him and figure out how we could incorporate all of my family into the ceremony.” Their goal was achieved, as Anna’s sisters were her matron and maid of honor; Ann’s godson, Anna’s first cousin, walked Ann down the aisle; and, Anna’s cousins served as reader, crucifers, and program attendant. It truly was a family affair.

As is customary, Anna and Andrew did not see each other before the ceremony, but Andrew later confessed to Anna that as he sat nervously in the church library, he caught the end of Anna’s veil as she was passing by. That slight glimpse of Anna calmed his nerves, as he knew he was about to embark on a wonderful journey with his soon-to-be wife.

Anna’s stunning dress, a white jersey sheath gown, featured classic cap sleeves with a plunging back that added a chic design element. A thin rhinestone belt added a touch of glamour. Anna’s veil was borrowed from a close family friend and had been worn by five other brides, bringing with it many memories of happy marriages. The long veil was lined in exquisite lace, serving as a beautiful complement to Anna’s elegant dress.

“It’s hard not to love any white wedding dress that you try on,” says Anna. “But when they first pulled out my dress, it was perfect and simple, and I knew that was the one. I was thinking about Andrew the entire time, and I just knew he would love it.” Andrew was dapper in a white dinner jacket, donning a Brackish Bow Tie that Anna gave him.

Anna and Andrew’s wedding party was also dressed in stylish elegance. The groomsmen wore white dinner jackets, and the bridesmaids made a statement in floor-length, bright, floral strapless Lilly Pulitzer dresses from Pink Sorbet.

Before Anna walked down the aisle, a bagpiper poignantly played Love Divine, All Loves Excelling. As bagpipers are wont to do, the music stirred the emotions of all in attendance. The touching hymn would later be sung during the service. Making the evening even more special, lace from Ann’s veil was wrapped around Anna’s bouquet, as had been done for Anna’s sister’s bouquet during her wedding.

After the service, the bride and groom made their way over to the historic Seibels House & Garden, which sits on the corner of Richland and Pickens streets. Anna knew she wanted to have her reception outdoors, and the Seibels House setting was ideal offering both beauty and elegance. Andrew’s middle name is Pickens, which was just another sign that it was the right location for the couple’s reception. With its lovely backdrop, the Seibels House was a wonderful canvas for the reception. At first, Anna and Andrew stayed inside the home to greet their guests and visit. Large arrangements with beautiful hydrangeas, lilies, and roses spilling over the sides made a statement amongst delicious finger sandwiches and classic hors d’oeuvres.

After greeting and mingling, the couple headed outside, where a large tent sat among lush greenery. The tent featured two beautiful chandeliers: one in the middle of the tent wrapped in greenery and another in an adjacent tent that housed the bars.

“Once we decided on a tent for the Seibels House grounds, Anna was so excited. We knew, rain or shine, heat or not, this was going to be a magical evening,” says Ann.

And, because everyone is prepared for exceptional warmth in Columbia in June, Anna made sure to have large fans on display to cut down on some of the heat.

Since Anna’s mother does flower arrangements for Cricket Newman, she knew she would have the special weekend off from working, yet trusted completely that colleagues would create magical arrangements. They did not disappoint. Stunning floral arrangements complemented the glorious outdoor space.

Southern Way catered the reception with lavish cuisine. A variety of delicious appetizers were passed around while Anna and Andrew greeted their guests inside the home; a full Southern buffet awaited guests outside.

“We didn’t get to eat much at the reception,” says Anna. “They packed a huge bag of food for when we left. When we got to the room we talked about the whole night and tasted all of the food. It was one of my favorite parts about the whole evening.” One of Andrew’s choice memories was the passing of the Rush’s cheeseburgers at the end of the reception. Anna and Andrew love Rush’s and are always sure to pull through on their way to the beach. When thinking of a fun snack to offer near the end of the reception, Rush’s cheeseburgers seemed like the perfect choice. “It was so fun seeing everyone on the dance floor eating cheeseburgers,” adds Anna.

The dance floor was packed throughout the evening, thanks in no small part to Bill, Anna’s father, who did exhaustive research on finding a wonderful band. He discovered and engaged MVP Band, an eight-piece band with horns. When the time came for the couple to head outside to the reception tent, the music enticed Anna and Andrew to the dance floor. The guests followed excitedly.

“I think my dad researched the band for a whole year,” says Anna. “He loves music and had certain criteria he wanted met with a band. He found one that checked all of the boxes. They were amazing. My dad and I listened to all of the songs, and they were happy to learn the song for our first dance, called People Get Ready by Maceo Parker. It doesn’t have lyrics. They learned it, and it was wonderful.”

Like all great evenings, the reception had to come to an end. Anna and Andrew made a dramatic exit in a black 1974 Jaguar convertible that Andrew’s father had restored. The two sat on the back with their arms intertwined, as they had been the entire evening. As it is beautifully stated in the last line of Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, Anna and Andrew were “lost in wonder, love and praise” during their unforgettable wedding, and they left the reception with their hearts fixed on the same.