Taylor Kelso had never stepped foot in Charleston, South Carolina, before her engagement to Munear Ashton Kouzbari, but the trees dripping with Spanish moss called to her from the pages of bridal magazines. Her fiancé hadn’t either, but the pair knew they wanted a destination wedding, so they set off to get a feel for the location in person.
“We went and were just like, ‘This is it,’” Taylor says. “This is everything I could ever want my wedding to be.”
It was fitting, after all, that the couple say their vows in a new place—they met by chance seven years prior at SMU’s satellite campus in Taos, New Mexico. Munear had technically already graduated but needed one more credit to finish his second major in biology, the very class Taylor was taking that fateful summer.
“It’s funny: We had a lot of the same friends, but we had never met each other at school, so we spent those 30 days in Taos in June of 2009 and had the most amazing time of our lives,” she says. “We instantly fell in love with each other and spent all of our time together thereafter.”
Fast forward five years, and Munear was ready to pop the question. After a busy October weekend of hosting houseguests, Taylor had planned on staying in her pajamas all day. But Munear’s persistent texts to check the mailbox changed her plans.
A scavenger hunt then ensued, sending Taylor to the rooftop where they hung out early in their relationship; a street named Taos, hearkening back to their first meeting; and even their dog’s veterinary office before sending her back home, where she found Munear in the backyard surrounded by flower petals and pumpkins that spelled out “Will you marry me?” The proposal was fun-loving and sweet, just like the groom.
“He has a huge heart, he’s a huge family guy, and he’s really motivated,” Taylor says. “He loved my sister and took her out to breakfast right after we got back from Taos and wanted to know all about my family. He probably talks to my parents more than I do.”
With the location selected for their October 17, 2015, wedding, Taylor and Munear enlisted Krisi Johnson of GRO Designs to help craft the perfect day. Many venues had the majestic trees that Taylor wanted, but fewer allowed for flexibility in terms of arranging the space. In the end, the Legare Waring House fit the bill. But a hurricane two weeks before the wedding threatened to ruin all their planning.
“When talking to Taylor, her biggest thing was getting married under the trees,” Krisi says. “The avenue [of oaks] was three feet under water. We showed up three days before the wedding, and the grass had literally been washed away.”
That was no matter for the pros, though. Krisi and her team built a walkway of flower petals to echo the already-lush floral arrangements in an elegant soft pink and gold color scheme.
Custom tambourines, surprise gospel singers, a string quartet, crystal chandeliers, and even a greenery-draped swing rounded out the dreamy setting. Guests followed a walkway of lanterns from the cocktail hour to the reception and enjoyed small plates on mixed pieces of Southern china, and any prior concerns over weather rolled out with the tide for Taylor and Munear’s sunset nuptials under the trees
“Having all of our closest friends and family there is something I could never have imagined,” Taylor says. “Everyone’s happy, everyone’s eating amazing food, amazing music, everyone’s got a smile on their face—it was an amazing day.”
Custom tambourines, surprise gospel singers, a string quartet, crystal chandeliers, and even a greenery-draped swing rounded out the dreamy setting.
Ceremony & Reception Site
Legare Waring House (Charleston, SC)
Bridal Gown Designer & Retailer
Hair & Makeup
Ceci New York
The Left Handed Calligrapher
Chips & Salsa Designs
Cake & Desserts
Atlanta Pleasure Band
Technical Event Company (TEC)
Life in Rewind
La Tavola Fine Linen
Wedding Planner & Designer