For Trenholm Hardison, there was never any doubt that she and her husband, Owens, would hold their wedding reception at her childhood home. Beautiful magnolia trees and 200-year-old oak trees draped in Spanish moss provided a perfect backdrop, and even the name, Preference Plantation, alluded to the promise that it would be the perfect place to celebrate their nuptials. “I always knew I wanted to have a romantic, simple, elegant reception in my childhood backyard,” says Trenholm. And they did just that … and more.
The personal touches at the wedding, held at Trenholm’s childhood church, were abundant, with every aspect having a story attached to it. Trenholm’s niece served as flower girl, while her other two nieces and a little family friends served as bell ringers, sounding the bells before the bride appeared to walk down the aisle. Making it even more special were the dresses the little girls wore, which were all hand-smocked by Owens’s grandmother. The ring bearer’s pillow was adorned with lace from Trenholm’s grandmothers and members of Owens’s family, symbolizing the joining of the two families. “This was a tiny detail, but it was very special to me,” notes Trenholm.
The bride and groom set off for their reception in an antique 1930 Ford Model T. “We were the last people to arrive at the reception, and as we drove up the road and into the driveway, we could see everyone waiting for us. It was so special,” says Trenholm.
Trenholm chose to skip the traditional announcing of the wedding party, as she knew that would take up the precious time she wanted to spend with her guests. “I wanted to be a guest at my own reception and walk around and greet people,” she adds.
Adding character to the reception were signs on the portable restroom doors – depictions of a bride and groom hand painted by Ernest Lee, Columbia’s Chicken Man. Trenholm and Owens had helped Ernest one day when his car had broken down and, through that experience, had bonded with the artist. Because of that connection, Trenholm’s mother, Marie Buyck, asked him to paint the bride and groom to feature at the wedding.
Trenholm was also sure to incorporate her family’s business and pasttimes into the reception. “My dad is in the horse business, so we had an old horse carriage for guests to put gifts inside. It added a nice personal touch,” she says. Her father also produces pecans and peaches, which were both beautifully incorporated into the reception. The honey-roasted and butter-roasted pecans were served at the reception and were also given as favors to the guests, accompanied with the note, “We’re nuts about each other.” And with excellent forethought, Marie froze peaches from the harvest the summer before so that they could be used at the wedding, which was in April. A warm peach sauce was created for the wedding cake and drizzled over each piece.
The young guests at the wedding were also kept entertained in a children’s area that was close enough to the dance floor for the children to find their parents but far enough away for the children and parents to enjoy themselves. The kid-friendly area was complete with arts and crafts, a swing and a shoe piñata, a must for Trenholm, who works at Kicks Exceptional Shoes. The children even had their own menu of chicken fingers, peanut butter and jelly and a popcorn machine.
Not to be outdone, the men had their own little getaway. “Owens and my father bonded over cigars, so it was important for me to have a cigar bar,” says Trenholm. With cigars and scotch on hand, it’s a wonder the men ever left.
And it’s certainly no wonder why Trenholm and Owens chose her family’s farm as the setting for this storybook wedding.