Start Slideshow View Grid Start Slideshow 33

A French Garden-Inspired Summer Wedding Celebration on Kiawah Island

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Anne Rhett

|Planning by 

Gathering Events

After three-and-a-half years together, William Adams Morrissett Jr. proposed to Emily May Gabriel during their joint birthday celebration in Chapel Hill. “As we were walking into the restaurant, I heard Will say, ‘I know we said no presents…’ and I turned around to see him getting down on one knee,” Emily remembers. They were then joined by their parents for a private dinner, later followed by a glasses of champagne at The Crunkleton for just the two of them.

Since Emily and Will grew up visiting Kiawah Island, they both agreed on saying “I do” at the River Course on July 24, 2021. Gathering Events stepped in to help bring their vision to life, and Studio R Design set the tone for the celebration with a beautiful invitation suite.

When the bride-to-be was looking for her wedding dress, she kept gravitation toward more classic styles with modern flair. “When I found my Elsa dress by Sareh Nouri and Anne Barge veil, the look was exactly what I wanted and felt timeless,” Emily says. She completed her ensemble with her mother’s diamond earrings and blue Gucci sandals that Will gifted to her.

On the day-of, the bride got ready with Lashes and Lace, while the bridesmaids put on their navy Jenny Yoo dresses. For dancing at the reception, Emily changed into a corseted tulle Carolina Herrera dress. “I felt like a ballerina; it was the perfect dancing dress!”

The groom looked handsome in a Zegna tuxedo and custom Stubbs & Wootton shoes with their pup, Theo, embroidered on top. “This was my wedding gift to Will,” Emily shares. “Our beloved dog’s likeness was not only on Will’s loafers but also included in mini cookies as party favors!”

Speaking of Theo, one of Emily’s top priorities for the wedding day was to take a family portrait with herself, Will, and Theo. He was supposed to be a part of the first look, but the service they had used accidentally brought the wrong golden retriever all the way to the venue. “In the moment, I was freaking out, as wedding day timelines are tight, but our amazing planners were able to work with the service to complete the dog swap and bring Theo promptly to Cassique!” Emily exclaims. “Looking back on it, we regret not taking a photo with the other dog because now it is so funny to me. At the time…not so much!”

On the 18th hole under an oak tree, Emily walked down the aisle with her father to a string melody by Charleston Virtuosi. The service consisted of a short blessing over the marriage, as the couple had an intimate family wedding in 2020. “I was just as excited, if not more, to marry Will in front of all of our family and friends as I was back in October with just our immediate family,” the bride shares.

The reception had a French garden theme with topiaries and a black and white dance floor to highlight the live band, Sol Fusion. The two shared their first dance to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” “We spent the whole time dancing [and] talking,” she remembers. “We were just in awe at how beautiful the room looked and how happy we were.”

Later on, Emily surprised her groom with a performance of her singing Beyonce’s “Love On Top” with the band. “I have terrible stage fright; Will was so surprised, it brought tears to his eyes!” she exclaims.

The newlyweds’ grand exit was unlike anything Emily had experienced before—being surrounded by their closest family and friends cheering them on for a lifetime of happiness. They hopped in the getaway car and drove off to The Sanctuary. “Shortly after we checked in, Will’s best man gave him a call to invite us to a pool party with some of his high school friends down the street,” Emily recalls. “We grabbed our suits and spent some time with them having cannonball contests and continuing the party.”