Interview: Walton Event Design, Ltd.


Walton Event Design planned the wedding of PGA golfer Jay Haas Jr. to Carolyn Small in Greenville, South Carolina. Find out how they turned the Poinsett Club ballroom into an ethereal garden evoking Old Hollywood glamour, romance and femininity.

Jarrad Lister Photography

Walton Event Design, Ltd. recently planned the wedding of PGA golfer Jay Haas Jr. and Carolyn Small in Greenville, South Carolina. The wedding took place at Christ Church Episcopal, followed by a reception at the Poinsett Club two blocks away. Planners Kelly Walton Miller and Kristen Walton Wester spent over 175 hours transforming the ballroom into an elegant ethereal garden, with satin fabric covered walls and flowers hanging from every chandelier in the room. The end result was a stunning event evoking Old Hollywood glamour, romance and femininity. Find out more from Kelly and Kristen…

Tell us about working with Jay and Carolyn.

Carolyn was a bride full of energy and excitement for her event, and had no time to do anything. She had attended one of our events a year and a half earlier, and said she knew right then she wanted us to plan her wedding.  Carolyn has a wonderful sense of style but deferred to our experience in planning and executing events for making the decisions that in the end created her dream wedding.

Vintage Engagement Ring

Jarrad Lister Photography

How was this wedding different some of the others you have planned?

Carolyn and Jay selected the Poinsett Club, a fabulous historical event space located just two blocks from their church, for their reception site. It is known for its “Red Ballroom” space. The walls are almost 23-feet high, covered in bright red damask paper contrasting with high gloss white architectural columns and moldings. There was only one catch –- Carolyn hates red and wanted to change the colors of the walls. She and Jay have attended so many wedding receptions there, as have their friends, that they wanted the space to feel entirely different for their event.  We worked closely with an engineer to design a fabric installation system that would work in their space. By the time we were done, the Club glittered with billowing satin fabric-covered walls in a pale cashmere taupe color, but still exposing the inherently beautiful architectural marks of the columns and molding. We love a challenge.  In fact, we rarely take events where we don’t feel the sense of re-invention of a space or concept. We believe our specialty is in the transformation of the ordinary into the extraordinary. Carolyn and Jay not only provided us this challenge, but allowed us to really go the extra mile and showcase what we are capable of creating.

Jay Haas Jr and Carolyn Small Wedding

Jarrad Lister Photography

Was there a theme or color palette you followed?
Carolyn had an idea that she wanted a neutral color palette and a very feminine, romantic feeling. Kelly and I interpreted that into an ethereal garden mixed with a glamorous vintage estate. The result was the reception you see in the photos. We wanted the Governor’s Bar to feel light and magical to help diffuse the suffocatingly-low ceiling and outdated décor. The florist achieved this by connecting the existing chandeliers with curly willow branches and white twinkle lights. We were also able to repeat the fabric from the ballroom, gathered along the top half of the room. We intentionally left the dark wood at the bottom to contrast the light fabric and give the room dimension. The outdoor space we hoped would feel like a comfortably elegant patio off the back of Southern estate, complete with chandelier and ivory suede seating areas. The enormous ballroom was meant to evoke Old Hollywood glamour, with the sparkling billowy satin walls and tufted panels on the custom bar fronts. All together, it felt very current but with a nod to vintage.

Were there any personal details that were incorporated into the day?

Kelly and I believe it is important to create a consistent look for an event, beginning with the first paper product to be designed all the way to the take home at the end of the evening. We work diligently to find the right motif to carry through. In this case, we combined a traditional scroll pattern in a pale taupe and ivory, with additional scroll motif elements and two lovebirds, a special remembrance of the bride and groom for a relative. From there, we find different ways to use the motif and pattern throughout the event. The welcome gifts at the hotel were tall cylindrical boxes covered in a custom-printed paper of the pattern and secured with a ribbon. Each box had a personalized label welcoming each individual guest to the wedding weekend. Inside the box, guests would find two custom-labeled water bottles, hand-packaged almonds and cashews. The coordinating labels featured the scroll work and lovebirds, and chocolate covered sea salt caramels from a company whose name is the same as a close relative who holds a lot of meaning for them. The information regarding the details of the weekend was put together in the form of a custom accordion booklet. The pattern was letter-pressed onto sheets and then those sheets covered chipboard. A four-panel accordion insert was designed using the same fonts as had been used throughout the entire event, and featured a map of the bride and groom’s favorite downtown locations.  The booklet was put together and tied with a ribbon that matched that of the outside cylinder closure.

Jay Haas Jr and Carolyn Small Wedding

Jarrad Lister Photography

How will you remember this wedding?

The bride asked for a fun party and an elegantly transformed ballroom, and that’s exactly what she got.  It was a lot of work. Putting up the fabric alone was close to 175 hours, not to mention the rest of the set up requirements.  But we could not be happier or more proud of the result. Kelly and I feel blessed to work with exceptionally talented vendors who understand our vision and can make it a reality. It takes an amazing team of people to create, execute and document an event like this, and we are thrilled with everyone we selected to be a part of it.

What was the highlight of the day for you?

To see the look of excitement on Carolyn’s face as she saw the reception site for the first time was so satisfying. I will never forget what pure joy looks like! The setting was stunning, the guests were well-taken care of and happy, and the entertainment spectacular –- adding up to a perfect evening for Carolyn, Jay and their families.

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