“I had no idea who ‘Taco Joe’ was,” Margaret Godowns recalls, when her friend invited her to dinner with his funnily-nicknamed pal. “But it sounded fun!” Joseph Ellison (a.k.a. “Taco Joe”) fell for Margaret that night. Meanwhile, Margaret claims she “didn’t have anything romantic on [her] mind.” Even though he lived in Greenville, he would go out of his way to see Margaret whenever he was near her in Charleston. By the following January, Margaret decided it was time for them to start dating.
Three years later, the world was immersed in the COVID-19 pandemic. Margaret and Joe were sitting on his couch, dreaming about the future. They were both at pivotal junctures in their lives. Each decided to “move on” from their jobs. Margaret confided in Joe, telling him she wanted to create Sunday Plans, a luxury professional organizing and relocation service. They agreed that no matter what lay ahead, they would be there for each other. Then, Margaret thought Joe fell off the couch! In reality, he was on one knee and about to propose with a Jane Pope Jewelry ring. After she answered, “Yes!” they popped the champagne Joe had waiting in the fridge and spent the next several hours FaceTiming family and friends.
Originally, the engaged couple booked the Lake Toxaway Country Club for the reception, but by April 2021, realized North Carolina’s restrictions would not permit the guest list or general milieu they wanted. They quickly switched plans to a ceremony at Pretty Place Chapel, followed by a reception at Joe’s parents home in Greenville, South Carolina. Considering that this is where Joe and his mother grew up, the new destination was all the more special to the couple. “I honestly think the change in venue was perfect,” Margaret shares. “We couldn’t have been happier. The Greenville community and Ellison friends came out of the woodwork to help us make the transition as smooth as possible.”
Joe adores a well-roasted barbeque, so the rehearsal dinner was a casual “pig pickin’!” Margaret wanted to match the buoyant atmosphere with a summery outfit but still needed something elevated to stand out as the bride. The white Fanm Mon Demre maxi dress from OTM was exactly what she had in mind. Plus, she adds, “I love any sort of statement sleeve.” Joe complemented the low-key elegance of his bride-to-be with a cream blazer and navy pants combination. One of Margaret’s highlights from the evening was her maid of honor and former college roommate’s toast, which included her pulling out Margaret’s old stuffed bunny from a pillowcase.
The following morning at artist Dorothy Shain’s parents’ beautiful home, Margaret and her bridal party prepared for the wedding day with chic pajamas from the Julia Berolzheimer x Lake collection. “Joe actually gets a big shout-out for securing these,” Margaret states. “I was out of town the date the collaboration launched, and the website sold out immediately. I called him and begged him to go to the Lake Store on King Street, armed with a list of different patterns and sizes. He was a champ.”
Out of every wedding planning decision, however, the very first one the bride decided upon was her dress. “I had seen a Costarellos dress a year earlier worn at an elopement that I couldn’t get out of my head. The day after we got engaged, I tracked it down on Net-a-Porter and ordered it in two sizes,” she admits. This was the height of the lockdown, after all. She knew that she needed options. The first dress she tried on, though, fit perfectly. She had no need to wear the other or even slip on alternate options. She slyly notes, “I think my mom is still sour about it!”
The bride’s nude patent Sam Edelman wedges were both fashionable and practical. They could easily traverse the different terrains of the day, including the dance floor at the reception that evening. Margaret kept her jewelry embellishments minimal, which is how she normally styles her everyday look. Her “something blue” was a sapphire ring her grandmother and mother both had, paired with pearl earrings from her parents. To top off the ensemble, she wore her mother-in-law’s restored veil.
Latia Curtis styled Margaret’s hair in a loose updo and applied the bride’s dewy, fresh makeup look. It was a hot summer’s day, so Latia was spritzing and powdering Margaret all the way to the aisle. Margaret confides, “I think of her as my fairy godmother now!”
The bridesmaids chose their own dresses that each possessed a wildflower-esque quality. The flower girls continued the wildflower aesthetic with DÔEN dresses in blue Liberty prints and carried petals in traditional Charleston sweetgrass baskets.
On June 26, 2021 at 2:00 p.m., the couple’s wedding party and close family joined them at the chapel. A string trio strummed an assortment of contemporary tunes and oldies before playing “Yellow” by Coldplay as Margaret and her father walked down the aisle. Joe recalls the ceremony tenderly, confiding, “As weird as it sounds, I felt completely normal—like I had always known that was where I belonged at that moment in time. Combined with the utter joy that I was about to marry the love of my life, I was the happiest man on the planet.” Margaret’s family’s home minister emerged from her recent retirement to officiate the ceremony. The couple’s sisters-in-law gave readings, one from Maya Angelou and another titled “Why Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog.” Bees buzzed around the blooming florals by the Katelyn Pinner Studio.
The newlyweds welcomed guests underneath a party tent that was erected in Joe’s parents’ backyard. “It was absolutely beautiful and felt exactly how I wanted it to,” Margaret describes. “Very natural with the outside, lots of comfortable spots to sit and stand, food everywhere, beautiful wildflowers and lighting, and a big stage and band.”
Joe was the resident gourmand for the wedding and selected the dishes Table 301 made. He lists out the menu effortlessly, beginning with the hors d’oeuvres: “BLT crostini, ham and swiss honey mustard biscuits, grit cakes, crudite, tapas.” Then there were carving stations boasting Cajun turkey and beef tenderloin. For the main course, he continues, “Southern fried chicken with macaroni and cheese, collards, hatch green chile corn pudding, green beans, and low country boil!” The couple cut into a simple vanilla buttercream white cake and treated guests to end-of-the-night snacks like Miller Highlife ponies and tacos al pastor.
After the couple’s first dance to Ella Fitzgerald’s “Cheek to Cheek,” the Michel Jons Band played late into the evening. “Having been raised through a lens of questionable Eastern Tennessean fanaticism for college football, which I absorbed with youthful exuberance, I have to say my favorite part was when the reception band encored with ‘Rocky Top,'” Joe recalls.
To leave the reception, Margaret switched into the Sleeper ’90s Style Maxi Slip Dress from OTM and covered up with a cream Vince blazer. She held the sleek Asha by ADM Mallorca clutch, while her square-toe Glow kitten heels brought playful flair to the look. The couple jetted off in an old Jeep to enjoy champagne and Chik-fil-A in their hotel room at The Poinsett before reconvening with the after-party at Connolly’s dive bar.