Drawn by the bright lights and Jazz Age magic of the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, a bicoastal duo returns to the place they fell in love.
By Eileen Mouyard | Photography by Jade & Matthew McCully
When former Savannah resident Alyson Arnold wed New Yorker John Schreiber, there was no question as to where the couple would say their vows. The pair now divides their time between New York and Los Angeles, but Alyson lived in Savannah for 14 years, and the couple spent a lot of time here during the early stages of their relationship.
“John was enamored with the city when he first came to visit me, and we thought our friends and family would feel the same,” the bride says.
In the Spotlight
Alyson and John brought in Andrea Harper of Gray Harper Event Maker to handle the details—starting with the venue: the magnificent, meticulously restored Lucas Theatre for the Arts. Built in 1921, the theatre is a breathtaking blend of Greek Revival and Art Deco styles. Not only did it provide a stunning backdrop for the celebration, but it also came with a sound and lighting crew poised to highlight every magic moment. The crew even had tickets printed up for the big day, giving each guest a one-of-a-kind memento.
With such a grand venue, the day-of details came easily to Harper and her team. Velvet linens used during the cocktail hour were a nod to the stage curtains that had been pulled aside to make way for the festivities. A solid mahogany bar rental set the stage for classic St. Germain cocktails, served alongside local Bluffton oysters gratin, Georgia shrimp and pimento cheese toasts, and Ashley Farms chicken and waffles.
The hors d’oeuvres were passed on platters stacked with vintage F. Scott Fitzgerald novels—a theme that was furthered by a romantic Fitzgerald quote that lit up the theatre’s marquee for the evening. Plated dinners of Hunter Cattle Farms New York strip and pecan crusted sea bass were served at tables swathed in greenery and peony buds to match the bride’s bouquet.
When a last-minute storm put the Warren Square ceremony out of commission, Harper moved the action indoors, and the couple said their “I dos” on the stage they’d reserved for their reception. A little quick thinking went a long way, enabling an even more dramatic backdrop than planned for the most important dialogue of the couple’s lives.
A performer in his own right, the groom moonlights as the lead singer of LA-based band Jimmy’s Brother, so his priorities were clear. He chose a bluegrass band out of Charleston, carefully curated several reception playlists, and enlisted a band mate to play a moving solo.
“Music was everything to John,” Alyson recalls. “He chose the song I’d walk down the aisle to several months before he even proposed!”
For the bride, selecting the right photographer was paramount, so she called on husband-and-wife team Jade and Matthew McCully to capture the celebration. Otherwise, the pair were content to relax and enjoy the magic Harper and the Lucas staff created.
“They really trusted me to make it beautiful, which was so nice,” Harper tells me. “And they were a dream to work with.”
Behind the Veil
The big day: Saturday, April 25th, 2015
Planner/event designer: Gray Harper Event Maker
Officiant: Jim Smith, Groom’s close friend and mentor
Ceremony music: Ian Eisner, groom’s close friend and band mate
Gown: Amy Kuschel San Francisco
Hair and makeup: Salon Aqua
Reception music: Green Levels Florist: Gray Harper Event Maker
Cake: Rum Runners Bakery
Rentals: Beachview Event Rentals and Design; Amazing Event Rentals
Transportation: Above and Beyond Limousine
Photography: Jade and Matthew Take Pictures, jadeandmatthew.com