Interview with Charleston Wedding Planner Sara Cavallon


Charleston wedding planner Sara Cavallon talks about how she planned the wedding of “Survivor: China” castmates Jaime Dugan and Erik Huffman at Wild Dunes Resort. Cavallon incorporated a Charleston theme into the wedding flowers, wedding cake and groomsmen’s attire.

© Jarrad Lister Photography

Charleston, South Carolina wedding planner Sara Cavallon of Something to Celebrate, was chosen by the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to plan the wedding of “Survivor: China” castmates Jaime Dugan and Erik Huffman. Cavallon wrote an essay detailing what she would provide for the couple above and beyond what someone else would do. Her biggest priority was planning a wedding that was Charleston related and included the history of the city. Jaime and Erik were married on April 4, 2009 on the croquet lawn at Wild Dunes Resort. In our interview with Sara, she talks about how she planned their wedding:

What was the theme of Jaime and Erik’s wedding?

The main theme of the wedding was Charleston. Jaime wanted something that reflected Charleston, and we didn’t want to do the same thing that you always get with Charleston, which is the ocean. I came up with an idea that included ironwork and gates, which the city is famous for. There’s a famous blacksmith in Charleston named Philip Simmons, and we used two of his gates for inspiration. At the wedding, we had four gates in the ballroom. Charleston Flower Market created white backdrops behind each gate, and in front was a pedestal with a floral piece in a spotlight.

Floral centerpiece

© Jarrad Lister Photography

How else did you incorporate ironwork into the wedding?

We used a lot of swirls that we incorporated into other things. The tablecloths were from Wildflower Linens, and I picked out a linen that had a swirl pattern in it.  For the flowers, we used bear grass, and the florist had them swirl through the arrangements. The wedding cake also had the gate pattern. It was white with black icing, but the icing was piped to follow the design of the gate. It went really well with the theme.

What other elements of Charleston did you include?

The groomsmen wore khaki suits, which are big in Charleston. Erik wore a tie and the other groomsmen wore bow ties from Vineyard Vines with the Palmetto state flag symbol. For dinner in Charleston, we like to have food stations where we break up our buffet and have it in different sections of the room. We did a station of low-country cooking, where we had fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese, and shrimp and grits. Another station we did prime rib and fried turkeys, which we do a lot of in Charleston. The third station was Asian food (a nod to Erik and Jaime’s time in China.) We had lo mein, fortune cookies and soba noodles. The chairs we used at the tables were made from bamboo, and that added to the low-country relaxed feel.

Bamboo Chair

© Jarrad Lister Photography

What color palette did you use?

The color palette was turquoise blue, pink, coral and white. In the ballroom, the color scheme was blue. Everything from a Tiffany & Co. blue up to a turquoise blue that pulled in the bridesmaid dresses and the ocean idea. Floral-wise, we used peonies, roses, calla lilies, sweet peas, bear grasses and ranunculas. We brought in gardenia plants, which are big in the south, and and then we filled the room with huge palms. The flowers were all in shades of corals, pinks and white. We also wanted to incorporate a flower that was bendy and twisty to go with the ironwork theme. The florist suggested fiddleheads, which are the tops of ferns. Jaime loved the idea, because she used to pick them with her grandmother and then cook them.

Were there any other unique details?

We did a photo booth, which not a lot of people in Charleston do. We used that for the guestbook. People took pictures, and then we had a scrapbook where guests would write a message next to their strip of photos. We also had a signature drink, which was a strawberry Mojito that incorporated the pink color. I made umbrellas out of turquoise wrapping paper and barbeque skewers.

Jaime Dugan and Erik Huffman Wedding Cake

© Jarrad Lister Photography

What about favors?

We did a candy bar, and we bought candy from M&M’s and We did blue and pink candies, and we used Chinese takeout containers in turquoise blue.

What was the best part of the wedding?

We started planning in October, and we just had a great time. The family was fun. The guests were great. It was nice to meet the people from “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.” People were just really down to earth and easy to get along with.

See Jaime and Erik’s wedding photos.

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