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A Lemon-Filled Summer Wedding in Charleston Inspired by the Couple’s Italian Engagement

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Stetten Wilson

|Planning by 

Fox Events

Four years after first meeting while students at Vanderbilt University, Clayton Harrell proposed to Julianna Martel on their first trip abroad together in Italy. As soon as she walked into their room at J.K. Place Capri, she spotted a photographer and flowers and knew what was happening. He quickly led her outside and proposed right before sunset, overlooking the coast.

The engaged pair originally planned for a June wedding in 2020, but due to the pandemic, they postponed it to the following year. Their celebration at William Aiken House in Charleston was aesthetically inspired by their engagement in Capri, and to bring their vision to life, the couple hired Fox Events with Lindsay Merhege Leonardi leading the charge. Paper Refinery elegantly set the tone for the coastal Italian-inspired affair with a beautiful invitation suite.

Wanting to save wearing white for the ceremony day, Julianna chose a marigold yellow Carolina Herrera dress to wear to her rehearsal dinner. Before the meal, the bride gifted her bridesmaids lemon-printed pajamas and slippers to wear while getting ready with her—lemon phone cases were also passed out in case they needed a new tech accessory.

While the dermatologist was interviewing in different cities, she realized it was the perfect opportunity to make bridal appointments around the country. Julianna, of course, found her Galia Lahav wedding dress at the first shop she visited. “It was beautiful and everything I dreamed of,” she gushes. “I don’t regret canceling my appointments at all the other bridal shops, because it wouldn’t matter how many dresses I saw or tried on, I’d still pick the one I did.”

On the day-of, the bride got ready with hairstylist Patrick Navarro and makeup artist Meg McMillion. Beauty was especially important to Julianna, as she’d actually broken her nose the week prior. There was still some bruising and swelling, but luckily, Meg worked her magic and it wasn’t detectable.

Bridesmaids complemented Julianna well in champagne Amsale dresses and gifted earrings. The groom wore a custom Élevée tuxedo of his own design with lemon cufflinks and gifted similar pairs to his groomsmen.

On June 26, 2021, Julianna and Clayton wed in the French Huguenot Church. The bride walked down the aisle with her father to the pastor and her groom. During the ceremony, the couple lit an infinity candle to symbolize their marriage. “Our first kiss was gentle—given my broken nose—but oh so sweet!” the bride exclaims.

Once officially married, the newlyweds led their guests under an archway of lemons, crafted by Blossom Bay, to a wall of limoncello. Dinner quickly followed cocktails with Italian-inspired dishes by Patrick Properties Events. Julianna and Clay enjoyed a private dinner upstairs before they joined the party and cut their lemon cake with hand-painted frosting resembling Italian tiles.

Later, everyone moved into the “Party Tent,” which featured swings, a dance floor, a stage, a ceiling strung with lemons and greenery, a live painter, lemon cookies, gelato, espresso martinis, and most importantly—air conditioning. The new mister and missus had their first dance to “Dancing in the Moonlight,” and after, the bride changed into a Rasario dress and Chanel pumps.

Following more dancing with the Jordan Kahn Music Company, a Second Line parade led everyone down the street to Parcel 32 for the after-party. The revelry continued with DJ Scott Sain and late-night snacks until the early hours of the morning.

Clay + Julianna Highlight.mp4 from Dallas Wilson