Belmond Wedding Stories: Sarah and Jeffrey

Charleston, S.C. is a city filled with sweet love stories and romantic charm. So what better location to celebrate a timeless love story than Belmond Charleston Place, located in the heart of the historic city? A classic venue for couples to create wedding memories that will be cherished for years, Sarah and Jeffrey Wamble decided it was the perfect locale for their wedding celebration.

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Sarah and Jeffrey first spotted each other on Sarah’s 28th birthday in New York City while having drinks after work with friends. They worked at the same large advertising agency in the city but had never met, and fate just happened to bring them to the same bar on the same night. Sarah spotted Jeffrey across the bar and was brave enough to approach him after fighting off some initial nerves. Her move was a success, as Jeffrey offered to buy her a drink, and the two immediately hit it off. The pair says they spent the rest of the night chatting and, “the rest is history!”

Sarah has a long and beloved history with Sullivan’s Island, located just north of Charleston, having visited with her family during the summers since her childhood days. She first brought Jeffrey to the special island in 2010, and it’s where the couple exchanged their first “I love you’s.” Three years later, at the same sandy summer spot, Jeffrey got down on one knee and asked Sarah to be his wife.

Having a special tie to the Holy City, the two chose Belmond Charleston Place to plan their wedding because they believe it is “by far the nicest hotel in downtown Charleston.” They love that it offers the “upscale, premium experience that discerning New Yorkers expect but maintains the historic, Southern charm that makes it distinctly Charleston.”

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The newlyweds celebrated their nuptials at the iconic Riviera Theater at Belmond Charleston Place. Inspired by the floor-to-ceiling murals in the ballroom, they chose a 1920s theme and simple color palette to highlight the true beauty of the theater. The Riviera also has special significance for Sarah’s family, as her father would frequent the theater as a young man on dates.

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Bloom at Belmond Charleston Place created the bride’s gorgeous bouquet featuring an arrangement of hydrangea, freesia and mini calla lilies. Bloom finished the design by wrapping the bouquet in ivory ribbon and material from Sarah’s dress, and pinning it into Sarah’s family Bible for a special, personal touch.

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Catering was also provided by Belmond Charleston Place, and the couple says everyone at their wedding raved about the food. Cocktail hour featured bacon-wrapped blue cheese stuffed angus beef, shrimp and crawfish cakes and tuna tartare on wonton crisps. After guests had mingled and munched on hors d’oeuvres, dinner was served buffet-style and included a gourmet mac and cheese bar, gumbo with dirty rice, baron of beef with asparagus and custom sliders. The perfect finishing touch to the evening, the gorgeous multi-layered wedding cake was red velvet and carrot with cream cheese filling and buttercream frosting.

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Sarah’s tip for anyone planning a wedding soon? “Don’t stress, and have fun!” Belmond Charleston Place was truly thrilled to host Sarah and Jeffrey’s wedding night and we wish them nothing but abundant love and happiness!

(All photographs courtesy of Todd Surber from King Street Studio)

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Charleston’s Most Charming Theater

The Riviera Theater has remained a landmark building on lower King Street for years, welcoming visitors to utilize its renovated interior daily and lighting up the corner of King Street and Meeting Street nightly. Just like every building in the historic Holy City, the iconic Art Deco-style structure tells a unique story of its own. Before it housed business conventions, weddings and events, the venue served multiple purposes since its opening in January of 1939; from its beginning as one of Charleston’s first movie theaters to housing a Baptist Fellowship and a variety of business ventures in between.

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At the time of its opening, the Riviera Theater was one of the most highly regarded auditoriums, complete with modern architecture and the latest projection equipment. Although it saw its fair share of success as one of only two theaters in downtown Charleston, the theater closed its doors in 1977 due to the rising popularity of television and the increasing construction of movie theatres in nearby suburbs.

Following its close as a theater, the building was then transformed into a church, housing a Community Baptist Fellowship for a short two years until the lease expired. The Riviera stood vacant again until 1983, when it opened briefly as a motion picture house featuring foreign and classic films. It closed again the following November and various plans were drafted for the space for several years.

When a group of developers were given preliminary approval by Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review to renovate the historic theater into a retail space, local neighbors were not particularly in agreement with the plans. Interest groups were formed and petitions were drafted to preserve the building’s architecture and history, which ultimately led to the purchasing of the theater by Charleston Place in 1993.

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After a hefty four million dollar renovation by Charleston Place, the historic theater opened its doors on May 15th, 1997 as a conference center and event space. During the renovation, more than 90 percent of the original interior was preserved and other aspects were renovated to closely resemble the Art Deco design constructed by skilled architect Charles C. Benton in 1939. The interior decor also stays true to the Art Deco-style, from the intricate hand-painted crown molding to the original flexwood walls and the beautiful murals that adorn them. The marquee on the building’s exterior was also fully restored in the renovation process, containing 16,000 lights.

Today, the theater significantly resembles the charming, single-screen auditorium that King Street once knew, honoring the history of the building and the memories that were created there while continuing to serve the Charleston community. For more information regarding the the remarkable venue and its amenities, visit our website.

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