Artist Sally King Benedict and George Rollins Read II met at a friend’s parents’ house in downtown Charleston. “I was there on a whim, and we ended up talking all night on the porch,” says Sally. “We’ve been together every day since our first date one month later.”
The couple dated for more than five years before getting engaged. “The courtship was the best,” remembers Sally. “He is still very much the gentleman he was when we first started dating. But the beginning was very romantic, fun, and easygoing.”
George proposed after taking Sally on a brief trip to meet and visit with his grandmother. “I was not expecting it,” says Sally. “I had no idea he had gone to pick up the ring after she gave her approval of me.” The proposal happened at the couple’s carriage house rental on Hasell Street in Charleston. “It was a hot afternoon in August, and I was watching The Barefoot Contessa and fixing a not-so-Barefoot Contessa lunch. He surprised me by getting down on one knee by the sofa. It was sweet with no frills. We celebrated with all our best friends that night.”
The ring had belonged to George’s grandmother. “I was so lucky to meet her and spend time with her before she passed away,” says Sally. “It is a beautiful round brilliant with tapered baguettes set in platinum. It’s the original Tiffany & Co. mounting from the fifties.”
The couple knew they wanted an outside affair in Atlanta, where Sally grew up. “We have a lot of family history with the Piedmont Driving Club, so it just felt right,” says Sally. “My aunt who is an ordained minister officiated so that was really special.”
Sally always hoped to wear Oscar de la Renta on her wedding day. “I flew up to New York right after I got engaged to shop with my best friend and mom,” she says. “It was such a magical, childhood dream getting fitted in the Bergdorf Goodman bridal suite.” As for hair and makeup, it was important to Sally that she look like herself on her wedding day, so they were very close to what she would naturally do herself, just more polished.
The food was a bit of everything. There wasn’t an underlying theme—just a lot of their favorites. “We had an amazing sushi bar,” notes Sally. “And at the end of the night, fried chicken biscuits with honey were passed around.” The couple booked Memphis band the Soulsations, after dancing their fannies off to them at a friend’s wedding in Charleston a couple years before, and the crowd loved them . . . everyone barely left the dance floor.
After the reception, Sally and George went back to their hotel room at the St. Regis and almost didn’t make it out the next morning to catch their flight to Belize. As for their friends? “I think it’s safe to say they created their own after-party,” jokes Sally.