Sara Brennan and Andrew Trechsel met on the first day of school during their freshman year at the College of Charleston. She, a native of New Orleans, and he, from Birmingham, Alabama, fell in love with the Lowcountry—and with each other.
That’s why, when it was time to choose a location for their spring 2018 wedding, Montage Palmetto Bluff was the ideal spot. “We instantly knew that this was the first place to invite all of our closest friends and family to come together to enjoy one of the most beautiful parts of the world and have an over-the-top party,” Brennan says.
The couple had planned to get married in the Somerset Chapel with indoor and outdoor seating but, due to rain, they had to come up with a back-up plan. “It ended up being the most perfect scenario, anyway,” Brennan says. “We built a sailcloth tent that was overlooking the May River across from the Village Green. The backdrop was simple and yet so incredible.”
Greenery, vines and flowers under the sailcloth tent played off the natural backdrop. “The tent was magical as the light rain drizzled down and streamed off the sides as we said our vows,” Brennan says.
Brennan, who is a fourth-generation chef, made sure dinner was just as unforgettable as the ceremony—and several family recipes were used to inspire the menus.
The night began as guests went to the River House Lounge for cocktails, passed hors d’oeuvres and bites of turtle soup—a recipe from the bride’s family’s restaurants in New Orleans. Three different varieties of raw oysters were served: South Carolina, California and New Orleans, which represented all of the places the couple has lived. The couple’s two favorite cocktails, a rye Old-Fashioned and spicy margarita, were also served. “Guy Jackson, the lead bartender (at the River House Lounge at Montage Palmetto Bluff), even went to the trouble to create a special five-pepper shrub to create the spiciness that we wanted in our margaritas and his own bitters to give that old-world feel to our favorite Old-Fashioned,” she says.
When it was time for dinner, a version of her father’s steakhouse’s filet was served with creamed spinach, fried oysters, roasted potatoes and béarnaise sauce. “It’s one of my favorite dishes of all time and truly decadent,” she says.
The dinner tent was decorated with incredible flower arrangements as well as trees. “One of my absolute must-haves was to have trees in the dinner tent,” she says. “I have always loved flowers but, growing up in the Garden District of New Orleans, my love for trees and the power that they hold is very real.”
A professional pastry chef, Brennan didn’t want to make her own wedding cake, so she turned to Jim Smeal in Charleston. “I have three favorite flavors when it comes to cake: lemon, caramel and classic almond wedding cake,” she says. “Jim took our three-tiered cake and made each tier its own flavor and even made the lemon curd with fresh Meyer lemons that he grew in his own garden in Charleston.”
Looking back, Brennan says Montage Palmetto Bluff was the perfect fit for what the couple envisioned for their wedding. “Everything about the resort was absolutely lovely and, overall, just pure luxury,” she says. “For this special weekend we were looking to find a place to bring our family and friends that would inspire them to return hopefully with or without us for many years to come.”
Wedding Planner: Easton Events
Stationary: Brent Fraim of Dear Elouise; calligraphy by Tara Jones
Floral Designer: Sara York Grimshaw Designs
Bride’s Dress: Custom design by Suzanne Perron
Earrings: The bride’s mother’s antique sapphire and diamond drops
Groom’s Tux: Brooks Brothers
Bridemaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier
Venue: Tent on the May River and River House Lounge
Cake: Jim Smeal
By Michelle Franzen Martin
Photography by Lucy Cuneo