When you think of the Lace House, you envision old-world beauty: wrought iron gates, brick walkways through gardens, a canopy of oaks towering over majestic fountains. Built in 1854 and located in Columbia’s historic Arsenal Hill neighborhood within the Governor’s Mansion complex, the Lace House is steeped in history with rich memories. Yet for Arielle Riposta and Brian McConchie, new memories were created at the historic home during their wedding.
Arielle and Brian hoped not only for a classic, elegant wedding but one that also exuded a warm, relaxed atmosphere. “If I had to describe our wedding in one word it would be loving,” says Arielle. “We had family and friends attend from all over the country, and we wanted to be able to spend personal time with all of them.” And for two publicly recognized people, keeping a wedding intimate isn’t always easy. Brian is an anchor and reporter for WACH FOX News, and Arielle, a former WACH personality, is now a Deputy for the Richland County Sheriff’s Department – a transition she made while planning the wedding. “Going through the Academy three weeks before your wedding certainly can bring some added stress,” she says.
The wedding ceremony took place in front of the fountain in the mall area of the Lace House, where the lush greenery and beautiful flowing water offered a serene backdrop. The fountain was flanked by large, regal columns topped with exquisite Victorian lilacs. “We were going for a Tuscany theme – from the look and feel to the flavors of the food,” Arielle says. “The colors were nice and clean and accented with rich golds and purples.” The bridesmaids wore deep purple dresses, and the groomsmen’s vests were a rich platinum color, all complementing the Tuscan accents of the wedding and reception.
“I knew we had brought in some very talented people to help plan our wedding, but the atmosphere they created just about floored me,” Brian says. “It was a beautiful setting that was very inviting. It was important to us that people were comfortable. Most of them had to travel far to be with us so we wanted them to feel welcome.”
Perhaps the most tender moment of the event came at the start of the ceremony, when Arielle’s mother, Patti, walked her down the aisle. “I never cry, but I cried throughout the entire wedding, especially when I walked down the aisle with my mother and danced the first dance with her. She is my rock,” Arielle says.
“Arielle and Brian’s wedding was very memorable, but I must say her dance with her mother was very emotional,” says Clark Berry, who photographed the wedding. Certainly, Brian’s dance with his mother also brought tears, a testament to the focus on family and friends that was palpable at the wedding. In fact, at the reception, the bride and groom didn’t have a couple’s table; instead, they sat among their guests to ensure mingling and visiting was easy. They were careful to keep the wedding just big enough so that all of their close family and friends were there, but small enough to keep it personal and special. “Being able to share such an important day with so many people who are special to us meant a lot, knowing the commitment they made to be there for us,” Brian says.
And just like the antebellum house that was host to their wedding, the McConchies are sure to create a beautiful history all of their own.