April 2019

Rhett & Kaila: Lowcountry Love Story

Author: Olivia Stone | Photographer: Carrie Friesen

Romantic, yet trendy; modern, yet refined.

This is what Kaila Jeffcoat had in mind when she and Rhett planned their December 2018 wedding in the heart of downtown Bluffton.

Originally from Washington State, Kaila left the Pacific Northwest upon graduating from college to explore the South, which led her on a path to cross with Rhett’s. She met him on her last week of work in the summer of 2015, while making plans to move north to Charleston or explore the next happening place.

While Rhett’s Southern charm usually did the trick with the ladies, Kaila was not sold on him initially. Yet his persistence and constant presence in her workplace to ask her out finally won her over—at least to accept a date. Skeptical, yet intrigued, Kaila agreed to meet Rhett at what used to be the Piano Bar on Hilton Head Island, where they hit it off and have been inseparable since. “She was my best friend from day one, that missing piece I had been waiting for,” Rhett said.

Hilton Head Island always held a special place in Kaila’s heart. Her grandmother owned one of the original spec homes in Sea Pines Resort and welcomed her family each year for vacations. “I always joked with my parents that I was going to move here. They didn’t actually believe me until I booked a one-way flight and announced I was moving in seven days, at which time panic set in and we began packing boxes.” While Kaila thought her move was a temporary stop on her journey, plans change, and she now calls the Lowcountry home.

The Jeffcoats’ December wedding was planned to embody the rustic elements of Kaila’s Pacific Northwest roots along with Rhett’s Southern upbringing. (Kaila tied bohemian flares and feathers throughout the ceremony and reception, while pulling together the elegance of the South, including a wardrobe change to match the theme for the reception.)

To select her wedding dress, Kaila flew to Spokane where she purchased her gown from a small shop, Honest in Ivory. “I had been on the hunt for what seemed like an eternity and was down to the wire. We were now a few months away from tying the knot and I had no idea what I was going to wear. I made one last effort to fly home for a third time and tried this new shop that had opened one month prior,” Kaila said. Initially drawn by the welcoming atmosphere, she soon found unique elements in every gown she tried and ended up with tulle and lace, a sweetheart top and an eight-foot train with little dusts of glitter along the edges for an almost angelic presence.

“I am not a lace and sparkles kind of girl,” Kaila said, “but it was like my sister and other loved ones who have passed were holding onto my train. I remember looking at my mom and watching her fight back tears to not sway my decision, and I just knew it was the one.”

Kaila then took the gown to Nina Cherie Couture, who designs and makes gowns. With a two-month deadline, she hoped to have the dress altered to make it her own. Nina took the dress from a size 12 off the rack to a size 0, added sleeves that looked as if they were part of the original design, and made adjustments to the bodice with no fittings. She mailed the dress one month before the wedding. “Talk about talented,” Kaila said.

The ceremony was scheduled to take place at the historic Garvin House Lawn in downtown Bluffton with a reception to follow on the May River. However, Mother Nature had a different plan in mind, and with rain in the forecast, four days before the wedding, Kaila made an executive call to move the location to Venue 1223.

“Initially I was bummed,” she said. “The weather looked like it was going to be a downpour, and I had always dreamed of an outdoor wedding under a live oak. Then, to top it off, we had to notify 200 guests of the change. But as it happens so often in this area, the rain lifted just in time so we could still be outside. The sun was beaming, and the venue offered a more intimate setting. It worked out better than we could have imagined.”

If they had to go back and do it over, Kaila said they would pick Venue 1223 from the start. She raved about the undivided attention Leah, Ryan and Maren provided their families as they joined from two to one.

“To say we were stunned would be an understatement. We feel so lucky to have worked with the vendors we did who made our day so flawless,” Rhett said.

Kaila and Rhett said they couldn’t imagine their wedding day without each vendor who went above and beyond to make it memorable. Carrie, with Carrie Friesen Photography was there from start to finish to capture every moment and the emotion of the day. Downtown Catering Company earned rave reviews from guests as they served a warm, plated meal for 200 in a timely fashion (they also had appetizers from the cocktail hour waiting for the bride and groom upon arrival). The Legacy Band out of Savannah provided entertainment for the evening with a mix of Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and trending hits to reach all ages. Gardenias Floral provided the stunning florals that swept the signs, and covered the tent, including Kaila’s must-have: a large floral arrangement hanging over the center of the dance floor. Event Works and Ooh Events out of Savannah/Charleston transformed the setting on the May River into a beautiful evening. “My only request from the event rentals was one long continuous head table to seat all 64 family members. Family is important, and each of them has played pivotal roles in shaping Rhett and me as individuals and as a couple. We wanted them to feel included in our day and feel our gratitude,” Kaila said.

These are just a few, of the remarkable and unforgettable vendors that made a usually stressful planning process easy and enjoyable. “We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who played a part in making our day happen,” Kaila said. “I remember people telling me ‘your wedding will be a blur,’ so we tried to be intentional about soaking it all in. It was such a humbling day to watch from a distance before making our entrance—seeing so many friends and family members who put their lives on hold to come celebrate us.”

Now married almost four months, after what seemed like an eternity of planning and preparation, the couple can just breathe and cherish their memories as they build a life together. 

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