On September 19, 2015, at 5 p.m. on the banks of Lake Keowee in South Carolina, Henry Gaisford and Alisha Corbin recited personal vows in front of a gathering of 70 close friends and family. Lake Keowee was where Alisha and Henry spent many summer weekends, and the nuptials took place just around the corner from where the pair shared their very first Valentine’s Day. And these were no coincidences — the couple used their special day to pay homage to their relationship and to the families that love and support them.
Alisha and Henry met just before Valentine’s Day 2011 in Asheville, NC. They had an instant connection and fell hard for one another. “I’m usually really nervous on first dates (or when meeting anyone new), but with him, I felt relaxed. The night ended with him giving me a kiss goodnight as it started to snow,” Alisha remembers.
A little more than three years later, Henry came home from work (with a big bottle of wine in tow), poured two hefty glasses and popped the question. Alisha was thrilled and bubbling over with tears as she responded with a resounding and impassioned “yes!”
Soon after, Alisha took on the role of wedding planner and put her dream wedding Pinterest board to use. “I am a Type A, detail-oriented, high-strung person. He is very cool, calm and collected. I’m the planner, while he just goes with the flow,” says Alisha.
For colors, Alisha chose a romantic mint green and gray color scheme with pops of coral and peach. The couple nixed flowers due to Alisha’s allergies, but found pretty faux bouquets at Michael’s to be stand-up replacements. This DIY bride then put together the couple’s invitations, program fans, venue signs and centerpieces with help from her mother.
When it came to Alisha’s bridal gown, she managed a big-budget look for less by purchasing her mermaid-inspired, Carrafina dress from The Dress Consignment. Her future mother-in-law gifted the beaded belt and Alisha hand beaded an affordable veil she found on Etsy. To honor the something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue tradition, Henry gave her a new emerald necklace the morning of the wedding. She borrowed her grandmother’s necklace from her aunt and wrapped it around the stem of the bouquet. She wore a favorite sapphire ring for something blue, and got the surprise of a lifetime when her mother passed down her mother’s engagement ring to serve as something old.
“I will always remember my mom giving me my grandmother’s ring while I was getting dressed in the morning. It is such a special piece of jewelry in our family,” Alisha says of the moment.
To further honor the family’s grandparents, under her bouquet Alisha carried three charms containing photographs of her grandparents and Henry’s grandfather. At the ceremony, memorial chairs were placed for Alisha’s and Henry’s grandfathers, and red roses were set in those chairs by the couple’s respective mothers.
Walking down the aisle was exciting for Alisha, rather than nerve-wracking. She giddily rejoiced when she saw just how handsome Henry looked in a suit and tried to keep her stepfather from tearing up too much. The couple’s ceremony was short, sweet, honest and lighthearted — just the way they wanted it. Both Henry and Alisha wrote their own vows and the nuptials were officiated by Henry’s Uncle Robbie from California.
The reception was held at the ceremony’s venue, Hidden Cove at Lake Keowee, and was a laid-back affair fitting the outdoor nuptials. Guests indulged in a Southern buffet of barbecue pulled pork, creamy macaroni and cheese and old-fashioned green beans. For dessert, the spread was equally enticing, starring a multitiered stand of chocolate and carrot cake cupcakes. The bride and groom’s vanilla wedding cake with raspberry filling was decked out in pretty, mint green ombre rosettes from Alisha’s favorite bakery, McFarlan Bakery. And as if that wasn’t enough sweetness, guests took home wedding gift bags filled to the brim with ingredients for s’mores.
Once guests got their fill of hearty barbecue, it was time to hit the dance floor. Sound Extreme Entertainment served as DJ with a playlist curated by Alisha. “Our first dance song was ‘You Make It Real,’ by James Morrison. I always think of Henry when I hear it. The song is about having someone who you run to when the world is making you crazy and you need support, which is exactly what Henry is for me,” Alisha says.
The couple then went into a father-daughter dance to “Butterfly Kisses,” by Bob Carlisle, and a mother-son dance to “Simple Man,” by Lynyrd Skynrd. To honor Alisha’s mom during dinner, the newlyweds presented her with a surprise serenade of “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood, which was sung by Alisha’s talented bridesmaid, Victoria Byrd. Then it was all feet on the floor as the crowd gathered and danced until the couple was ready for their departure.
“We had a sparkler exit. Our getaway car was decorated with ‘Just Married’ written in chalk marker on the windows. Our wedding party did a pretty good job of making sure everyone knew we were newlyweds — we kept getting honked at the entire drive to Florida!” Alisha tells us. After their dreamy exit, the new Mr. and Mrs. Gaisford drove through the night to catch a seven-day Royal Caribbean cruise to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and CocoCay. With no Internet or cell phones, Alisha and Henry were able to sit back, relax and bask in the love they share and that had been poured over them on their wedding day.
- Photography: Amelia Fletcher
- Venue and Catering: Hidden Cove at Lake Keowee
- Invitations: DIY Brides Silver Gitter and Foil Dot Invitation Kit
- Wedding dress: Carrafina gown purchased from The Dress Consignment
- Groom’s and Groomsmens’ Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
- Cake: McFarlan Bakery
- Cupcakes: Ruth & Ranshaw
- Music: Sound Extreme Entertainment