When it comes to weddings, there is no lack of rituals, traditions and myths designed to bring happiness, wealth, good luck and fertility to newly married couples.
The Couples featured in QCity Bride often share the rituals and traditions that made their ceremonies special. One groom told of purchasing a sixpence to place in his bride’s shoe, completing the tradition that brides on their wedding day should carry something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
This South Carolina couple infused their ceremony with their own set of rituals and traditions. One is an old Southern tradition you may be unaware of.
Bride: Mackenzie Weaver, 29, retail manager, native of Wilmington, Ohio
Groom: Nick Freeman, 29, construction coordinator, native of Greenville, South Carolina
Current Residence: Greenville, South Carolina
Wedding Date: May 14, 2022
Venue/Location: Zen, Greenville, South Carolina
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How They Met
(Mackenzie) Nick and I met about eight years ago while we were both working at PetSmart. After working together for several months, he went to work in Colorado for nine months. When he returned, we reconnected and started hanging out together.
We started off as friends who shared a lot of the same goals, hobbies and aspirations in life. I enjoyed hanging out with him. He was driven and intelligent. We both loved animals, which was a huge thing for us. After hanging out a few times, we went to a get-together at a mutual friend’s house. Our first date was three weeks later.
(Nick) We did not start hanging out until we were no longer working together. That was about a year after we met. We began dating a couple of months later.
We had a lot of the same interests and enjoyed doing the same things, so spending time together was natural. It just made sense for both of us. Our love of animals also shaped our relationship.
Their First Date
(Mackenzie) On our first date, we went to Sushi Murasaki in downtown Greenville. Nick tried getting them to play the Cleveland Browns game for me, but they could not locate the channel, so we ended up sitting there and talking for two or three hours.
We discussed our childhood and upbringing. We realized we had a lot of similar experiences. His stepdad was from Ohio and liked the same football team I did. He had started snowboarding, and I snowboarded in Ohio.
I had been talking about wanting to adopt a dog. On the way home, Nick suggested that we stop by the Humane Society to just look around and see the adoptable dogs. We spent about an hour there with some of the pets. I did not take one home that evening, but we adopted a Siberian Husky about a year into our relationship.
It took us a while to figure out if we were just friends or not. After dating for a month or two, we went to a yappy hour at the Humane Society. You could take your dog off-leash, and local breeders were there. We were talking to friends who asked if we were dating. Later that night, we finally discussed it and agreed, Yeah, we are interested in more than just a friendship.
After a year and a half, we got our first apartment together and started laying the groundwork to establish our careers while focusing on building our relationship. At 23 or 24 years old, we were not ready for marriage, but we wanted to take the next step by becoming more committed to one another.
This Is “The One”
(Mackenzie) Three years into our relationship, I knew that Nick was the one for me. We shared a lot of the same goals, and Nick was a major source of support for me. One of the biggest things that bonded us together was my sister’s wedding. I was her maid of honor and was responsible for helping her with planning and hosting the wedding events. Nick really stepped up to help me. I never had to ask him for help; he was just naturally that type of person. He was close to my family, and that was hugely important. Everything seemed naturally to flow together.
(Nick) Once we took our relationship to the next level and started living together, setting and achieving goals together was easy. Every decision we made was with the other party in mind. We were not just a couple but a team. It just came naturally to us. Seeing how she was with our animals, my family and friends was important to me. It showed me she was someone who was kind and outgoing. My family essentially became her family, so it was a good fit.
(Nick) We got engaged in Highlands, North Carolina, in November 2020. There is a big overlook that allows you to see almost the entire downtown area after a short walk. We have always been into hiking and outdoor activities, so we decided to take a weekend trip there. I told her that after we took a stroll up to the top of the mountain we were going for a nice lunch.
The view was great. I had taken a bottle of champagne and a tripod for my camera in my backpack. Once we got to the top of the mountain, I proposed. We had already made the decision to get married and picked out the ring. What she didn’t know was when or how I would propose.
(Mackenzie) We had gotten up to the top of the mountain and he seemed a little nervous. I had a feeling it was going to happen. He was setting up his tripod so we could get a picture, I guess. We were standing near the edge of the mountain when he came up to me, took my hand, got down on one knee and told me that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and continue to pursue our goals of building a future together. Then he asked me to be his wife.
I had been a little suspicious because I am the one who always plans our trips. This time he planned everything, including the hotel and restaurant reservations. I was not wearing the really cute outfit and heels I had taken on the trip, but being taken off guard was a nice change of pace. A few months later his parents hosted a huge engagement party for us. All our family and friends got to come and celebrate, which was a lot of fun.
(Mackenzie) Our engagement was a year and a half, which was longer than I had anticipated. I had always wanted it to be a year. I am so happy that we had the additional time. Due to covid restrictions and the number of people who had rescheduled their weddings because of it, finding a venue was the hardest part. By the time we found our venue, they were booked solid until February 2022. We did not want a winter wedding, so we booked it for May 14, 2022. Then came the search for vendors that we liked who had availability.
We approached wedding planning as a team. It required a lot of time and effort. Nick recommended our wedding planner and the caterer, but we shared the responsibility fifty-fifty.
(Mackenzie) Our wedding day was the fastest day of my life. It was also the best and most fun. It was the first time a lot of our family had seen each other since COVID, so we really wanted it to be a celebration.
The wedding ceremony took place beneath a willow tree at Zen, and the reception was inside. An outdoor space connected the two, so guests were able to move freely from the terrace to the reception hall. Our two Siberian Huskies were our flower girls. They wore flowers around their necks and pink and blue harnesses. They walked down the aisle accompanied by their sitters, before taking their place near the wedding party.
(Nick) They were perfect. They did stop to greet some people as they were walking down the aisle, but once they got there, they sat patiently through everything.
(Mackenzie) My most memorable moment of the day was walking down the aisle. We decided not to have a first look, so this was the first time we saw one another that day. Seeing him waiting at the other end of the aisle and being surrounded by our friends and family was a moment I will always remember.
Our former manager from PetSmart was our officiant. Over the years she had become a mother figure for me. She had to get a notary license in order to make it official. Having her conduct our wedding was really special.
(Nick) When Mackenzie first started walking down the aisle, I was facing the other way. When I got the signal to turn around, I was overwhelmed. She looked gorgeous.
We incorporated a whiskey ceremony in our wedding celebration. A few months before the wedding, Kenzie read an article about a Southern tradition that said burying a bottle of bourbon upside down at your wedding venue will bring you good fortune, wealth and clear weather for your wedding day.
It had to be a full bottle of bourbon and was to be buried by the couple exactly one month before the wedding. The bottle of bourbon should be dug up on the day of the wedding and used by the couple to share a toast during the ceremony.
I have always liked bourbon, so we chose to do that tradition. We found a special bottle of bourbon that I had been hoping to find for years. After sharing our vows, we each had a unity shot of bourbon. Our officiant explained the whiskey ceremony to our guests. She said it was designed to not only bring good fortune but also represents the intertwining of the couple’s souls.
We are saving the rest of the bottle for special occasions, like our anniversary.
(Mackenzie) It rained on our wedding day, but that ended up making it even more special. We were standing under a willow tree that was in full bloom and provided a little protection. Darrell, our wedding planner, was ready with an umbrella. Without being prompted, our guest encircled us, blocking the rain. It was a wonderful act of love that made the ceremony even more intimate.
When we were introduced as husband and wife and walked down the aisle wearing aviator sunglasses. That was a tradition started by my father, who wore them when he got married.
We spent a week in the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Excellence Resort in El Carmen. It is all-inclusive. We spent the day on a catamaran and went snorkeling. The best part was being able to spend some time at the beach, eat delicious food and enjoy one another’s company.
Advice to Others
(Mackenzie) If you are contemplating whether to have a wedding, I think you should do it. It is worth every penny. It is an experience I don’t think you can ever fully explain, and celebrating with family made it the best day ever. Also, if you are really considering marrying, you need to make sure that the person you are marrying is your best friend. You go through different seasons in life, but knowing that you are with your best friend makes all the difference.
(Nick) Write your own vows. It meant a lot to us. I would also say choose an officiant that you have a real connection with. We call our officiant our Greenville mom and see her more often than either of our parents. She has a personal stake in the success of our marriage.
Wedding Coordinator: DKG Weddings, Darrell Gambrell
Photographer: Sincerely Sadie Photography
Florist: Simple Stems
Catering: Southern Way Catering
Weddings Hair and Make-up: The Vow
Dog Walker: Dogs of Greenville