Leah Davis grew up in Charlotte, and she knew from early on that when it was time to get married, she wanted an elegant Southern wedding held at Trinity Presbyterian Church, the church she grew up in, and she would celebrate with her family and friends at a reception at Carmel Country Club, a location near and dear to her heart. So when Leah was in college and met the man she would fall in love with, Danner Benfield, two big details were already taken care of, leaving plenty of time to focus on the others details that would create the wedding of their dreams.
Danner asked Leah to marry him on April 3, 2015. It was the weekend of Easter and Leah’s birthday, so they decided to go to Charlotte to be with Leah’s family (Danner knew that Leah’s perfect engagement included her family being there to celebrate). They got to Charlotte Friday afternoon, and Danner asked if they could take Leah’s dog on a walk to the field they always went to next to Leah’s parents’ house. Once there, Danner asked Leah to be his wife while her dog — one of the most important things in her life — stood by. Danner accidentally opened the ring box upside down, causing the ring to go flying, but it was still perfect in every way. After she said “yes,” they returned to Leah’s parents’ house to celebrate, and Danner’s parents joined them for brunch the next day to continue the celebration!
Leah was an incredibly practical bride. She knew what she wanted and what pieces she needed to put together to make it all happen. With the church and reception venue already a given, she also knew that she wanted a gold/blush/mint color scheme. Danner took the reins on the flowers, working alongside Lily Greenthumbs to turn the ideas that Leah had into a reality. You think finding a venue was easy for them? Wait until you hear about her dress …
Leah ended up choosing the very first dress she tried on at White on Daniel Island in Charleston, SC. Her mother picked it out based on what Leah had described she wanted. The Anne Barge dress she selected was, as she describes, “traditional with a twist!” It was a beautiful Chantilly lace dress with an illusion neckline with floral detail. The back had the most beautiful buttons and the same floral detail.
Prior to the ceremony Leah and Danner decided to keep it traditional and not do a “first look,” however they did exchange notes and gifts. Leah gave Danner a watch, and he gave her a beautiful double-strand pearl bracelet, which doubled as her “something new.” Leah says, “I hadn’t cried all day until I read Danner’s note. It was so sweet and it made it all real.” Leading up to the ceremony both Danner and Leah felt super excited about marrying each other in front of their 320 guests. And instead of doing a cocktail hour, they decided to get the reception started right away. When asked what their favorite memories from their big day were, Danner said his was the bus ride from the church to the reception with just the wedding party and parents. Leah’s favorite moment was created thanks to some advice she received prior to the wedding. “Someone told me to take a moment during our ceremony and look out at the congregation. I remember doing that and thinking how powerful of a moment it was to be in such a special place with all of the most important people from so many different parts of my life, and thinking how they were there to support us and our marriage.”
The food at the reception was a huge hit! Guests had a variety from which to choose via different food stations. From chicken tenders to crab cakes, a carving station, ham and biscuits, cheese and crackers and even a raw seafood bar, there was a little bit of everything. And their wedding cake was chocolate. Carmel Country Club provided all of the food, and the cake too — all of it absolutely delicious.
No wedding is without its minor mishap, and Leah and Danner’s was no different. A couple of Danner’s groomsmen, his brother and friend, thought it would be funny to pull the tow switch on their getaway golf cart so it wouldn’t start when they tried to leave. That led to a few guys pushing them in the golf cart to get them going, before the couple eventually just got out and ran away together. At least from there they were heading on their honeymoon to St. James Club in Antigua!
When asked what advice they would give couples currently planning their weddings, Danner says, “To the guys I would say, ‘You can be right or you can be happy.’ Also, pick a few things that are important to you, and do those exactly how you want because you won’t remember much else.” Leah’s advice comes from her mom. “Just enjoy it! At the end of the wedding night you will have accomplished your goal of marrying the man you want to marry, so nothing else matters.”
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Benfield! Wishing you many years of happiness.
Venue: Trinity Presbyterian Church (ceremony), Carmel Country Club (reception)
Photographer: Piper Warlick
Videographer: Crown Alley Films
Bride’s gown: Anne Barge from White on Daniel Island in Charleston, SC
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Dessy After Six– Bella Bridesmaids Charlotte
Hair + Makeup: Lindsey Regan Thorne of Be Pretty
Groom’s & groomsmen’s formalwear: Jos A. Bank
Invitations, programs & menu cards: Olive Paper
Flowers: Karen Greene of Lily Greenthumbs
Catering/cake: Carmel Country Club
Music: The Voltage Brothers of East Coast Entertainment
Swoon over some more amazing local weddings — click HERE.