Though Bryson Schaeffer and Matthew Kennedy both attended Clemson University, shared a number of friends and attended many of the same parties, their paths never seemed to cross during college. Bryson’s first night back after graduation, she and a group of friends were set to go bowling and Matthew was among those there. Bryson says that Matthew challenged her to a bowling game … and she won! The two hit it off and became very close but they didn’t started officially dating until several months later.
They got engaged a few years later in the most personal way — at home among their favorite things. Matthew’s love of pizza had become a bit of an obsession according to Bryson — and somewhat of a common occurrence. One evening after work, Matthew welcomed Bryson home to candles lit throughout the entire house and fresh pizza in the kitchen. They began to play the game they’d always played with pizza, where they would count to three, point and shout which piece they would eat first. But instead, Matthew pointed to Bryson and shouted, “I just want you!”
He took her hands and professed his love, quoting an episode of “Friends” (their favorite show) where Chandler proposed to Monica saying, “You make me the happiest man on Earth, and I want to spend the rest of my life making you feel the same way.” He then got down on one knee and proposed. She returned his enthusiasm with an absolute, “Yes, yes, yes!”
After announcing their engagement to family and friends, they began planning their perfect wedding day. They hired sisters Ruthie Bowlin & Russell Whitehead of Russell & Ruthie Events to help put everything in its place but Bryson had to finalize a few details on her own.
Choosing the wedding venue was an easy decision for Bryson, who wanted to be married in her grandparents’ backyard. “I have so many memories at their home. I grew up out there; it has such a special place in my heart.”
Once she checked that item off her list, the next step was finding the perfect dress. During an exhausting but exciting shopping day in Dallas, she fell in love with a Liancarlo dress but wasn’t ready to purchase it quite yet. She found the same dress at Maggie Louise Bridal later but she also found another Liancarlo she loved even more! She knew it was the one when she saw her mom crying. She said, “She hasn’t cried over a dress yet … this is it!” as they both began to cry.
Looking for a clean, classic and timeless landscape throughout the estate, they went with soft, natural tones for their outdoor wedding, which shined through in everything from their floral selections to their table linens. The entrance to the front of the house was covered in a floral garland and pool floats with orchids and an orchid sculpture and rustic urns with orchids were placed in the pool area.
As the guests entered the garden through a floral arch, they were welcomed by a string ensemble performing under a floral covered limb with orchids hanging as a backdrop. The music was dedicated to Bryson’s grandmother Mimi, who lived at the estate and had taught her to play piano at a young age.
After a brief champagne cocktail hour, Bryson and Matthew exchanged traditional vows in the presence of 230 guests at Bryson’s grandfather’s estate. The readings, vows and prayers came directly from the Episcopalian prayer book. Sealed with a kiss, the wedding then transitioned into the reception.
The reception menu consisted of passed egg rolls, cheese fritters and ham biscuits, as well as food stations containing lamb chops with artichokes and bamboo boats; asparagus shooters and spring vegetable risotto; a beef tenderloin carving station; an oyster station with New England oysters, boiled shrimp and smoked salmon; and a cheese station with cured meats, honey, jams and more.
The man cave included a whole smoked pig, slaw, baked beans, deviled eggs, cornbread muffins, lacquered bacon, a cigar bar, Bourbon tasting bar, photo booth and the groom’s cake — a surprise wedding gift for Matthew — made of chocolate and portraying the Clemson football stadium, Death Valley.
Guests enjoyed an unforgettable performance by The Soulsations while dancing the night away under a tent where a floral chandelier covered in phalaenopsis orchids hung.
A menu of grilled-to-order sliders and french fries, as well as chocolate-covered strawberries, were served to guests as a late-night offering before the couple slipped off to begin their life together. The couple exited through a shower of rose petals — a romantic twist to a traditional send off. The final touch: a ride to the Peabody in a silver Rolls Royce.
Matthew and Bryson left the next morning for a tropical honeymoon in Costa Rica. A first-time visit for both of them, they brushed up on their Spanish before the trip and enjoyed speaking the language and learning more while there. The couple spent their week relaxing beach- and pool-side — except for one full day of adventure zip lining and other outdoor activities in the rain forest. We wish them a world of happiness in their lifetime adventure together!
Photography: Dennis Zanone
Wedding planner: Russell & Ruthie Events
Caterer: Should Have Called Us Catering, 901-324-5242
Floral & Lighting: Le Fleur
Photographer: Dennis Zanone
Videographer: Caitlin Colcolough
Reception music: The Soulsations
Hair: Ronald from Salon Liani
Makeup: Kendrick from Joseph
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Wedding dress: Liancarlo from Maggie Louise Bridal
Cake: Flour Garden Bakery
Photo booth: Amurica