Blind-date-aphobes, take note, because you really can’t ask for a better example of successful matchmaking than Rebecca Russell and John Howard’s first date. “We laughed so hard the entire night and had such a wonderful time that we went to the [Tennessee] Titans game together the next day—and dinner again that night.” One year after becoming engaged at Rebecca’s home in Nashville, the couple was all smiles once again as they celebrated with 47 guests at an elegant affair in South Carolina’s relaxing Low country.

Rebecca and John had a clear idea about how they wanted their celebration to look and feel, and gathering the right group at the right location was how they planned to achieve both goals. “We wanted to take advantage of the fact that we got to have all of our favorite people in one place for a whole weekend to celebrate our wedding.” That meant finding a spot that allowed the couple the warmth, charm and elegance they wanted for their event, as well as a luxurious, central location where the couple’s guests could enjoy a weekend away. Rebecca and John chose to host their wedding at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, situated along the May River in South Carolina, because it offered everything they wanted and then some (a quaint chapel is located right on the resort’s property). Due to the forethought of the couple and the top-notch service at the inn, such amenities as golf carts for getting around and monogrammed tote bags filled with vacation essentials were awaiting guests at each cottage when they arrived.

The morning of the big day, John enjoyed some time on the golf course with his groomsmen, while Rebecca and her bridesmaids (including the friend who introduced the couple) spent their time bonding at the spa. A vision in ivory and pale yellow, the bride and her friends laughed the whole ride over to the chapel, thanks to a slight mishap that would have sent some brides running for the Kleenex. “I accidentally ran over my dress with the golf cart right before we left for the chapel. It was so funny,” remembers Rebecca.

Flower girls wearing crowns of indigenous rice paper flowers introduced the bride as she met her husband-to-be for their traditional, southern service. It was time for the couple to be the center of attention, and the calm and collected bride suddenly found herself at a loss for words. “I definitely became nervous when I arrived at the altar and realized that I couldn’t remember anything I had to say,” she admits. Adding this advice for other brides, she continues, “Practice saying your vows out loud before you do them for real. I wished that I had!” Applying her sense of humor once again, a crisis was averted, and Rebecca and John were happily married surrounded by their intimate audience.

The ballroom of the resort was bedecked in timeless style and in line with the wedding’s subtle, fresh-from-the-garden theme, with each terra cotta centerpiece holding an arrangement of Virginia and skyline roses, French tulips, coral and white peonies and viburnum. Presented on an antique lace tablecloth (a family heirloom) was the couple’s springtime-inspired wedding cake: three pale yellow layers of almond genoise cake adorned with white sugar dogwood blossoms.

From beginning to end, Rebecca and John’s wedding was everything they hoped it would be. And it was not just for themselves, but also for their loved ones, too. “We celebrated with our friends from the moment we arrived to the moment we departed for our honeymoon. It was definitely the best weekend of our lives!” And as they rode off into the sunset (on none other than a golf cart), new memories from their incredible weekend filled their heads; memories they will no doubt relive through laughter for years to come.