In September of 2011, a New York Jets fan walked into a bar. He ended up leaving with his waitress’ phone number, and that’s how Rory Burkitt and Jessica Sicilliano began their love story. Rory thought Jessica was cute, funny, and loved how much she knew about craft beer. Jessica thought Rory was charming and endearing – especially when he sneakily asked for her phone number out of his friends’ sight. Both were immediately enamored with each other, and quickly realized they shared a special connection.
After three years of dating, Rory proposed to Jessica at her family’s beach house in Isle of Palms, where they had spent many vacations together. After dinner on July 3rd, Rory asked his then-girlfriend to join him for a walk along the beach with their dog, Ranger.
BOTH WERE IMMEDIATELY ENAMORED WITH EACH OTHER AND REALIZED THEY SHARED A SPECIAL CONNECTION
She had no idea that he asked her sister to sneak out earlier that evening and write “Marry Me” in the sand. After Rory got down on one knee, he popped the question with an oval Veraggio band featuring a two-tone gold and rose gold setting, and a pave halo. Once Jessica accepted his proposal, her sister and brother both jumped out of the dunes where they were hiding, and they all went back to the house to celebrate with their parents and grandparents.
The newly-engaged pair immediately knew they wanted to get married in Charleston. They loved the idea of a destination wedding outside of their home in Raleigh, NC, and Charleston is where Jessica was born. For their wedding venue, the Cedar Room at the Cigar Factory was the perfect fit. Huge windows, beamed ceilings, and exposed brick bring the 19th-century building into the 21st-century without sacrificing an ounce of historic charm.
Rory and Jessica’s rehearsal dinner was held at a building in Downtown Charleston that was once owned by Jessica’s family, where her mother and grandmother lived as children. The bride and bridesmaids also used the apartment on the top floor of the building as their bridal suite.
For the wedding décor, the couple’s vision was inspired by bold geometric shapes and a watercolor palette of nude, blush, and rich marsala. The ceremony was held in front of a hanging arrangement measuring eight feet tall and six feet wide, composed of six chandeliers in various geometric shapes with illuminated Edison bulbs. After the bride walked down the aisle to “Blackbird” by the Beatles, the wedding ceremony was performed by her childhood pastor.
When dinner was served, guests were treated to delectable food stations of charcuterie with house-made and imported meats and cheeses, a trio of sliders – South Carolina barbecue, braised short rib, and Southern fried chicken – and a tasty shrimp and grits bar.
Following the newlyweds’ first dance, the bride’s father surprised everyone by performing the lullaby he used to sing to her as a child. He learned how to play the song on the banjo over a period of two months, and recruited the bride’s brother to accompany him on the guitar. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Although the newlyweds knew their wedding would leave them feeling loved and elated, they had no idea how truly perfect their special day would be.
Location: Cigar Factory, Charleston, SC; Floral Design: Blossom Floral Artistry, Pittsboro, NC
Draping: YOJ Events, Charleston, SC; Hair & Makeup: Makeup For Your Day, Raleigh, NC