Real Wedding: Benito and Marlie’s Rustic, Rainy Day Wedding |

Real Wedding: Benito and Marlie’s Rustic, Rainy Day Wedding

October 1, 2019

charleston wedding couple at alhambra hall

A charming sunflower theme, large families and a rainy day made this Charleston wedding at Alhambra Hall a very memorable one! Here’s Benito and Marlie’s story…

How They Met

Benito and Marlie met at Palmetto Island County Park in May 2017. They had both taken their pups, Lucy and Kida, to the dog park to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.

Upon arriving, Lucy- Marlie’s dog, bolted out of the car toward the open gate. As Marlie chased after her, Lucy was climbing atop the picnic table that Benito was sitting at. Long hair swishing behind her, Benito thought to himself, “Who is that girl?”. 

After a few moments of witnessing Marlie restore order to the chaos, Benito worked up the courage to approach Marlie.
Marlie said, “He asked a question that would change our lives forever. “Are you Filipono?”.  A huge smile crossed my face as I squealed with excitement, “Yes I am!”. 

After meeting in the most story-book, Rom-Com kind of way, they discovered that they had a lot in common.

Marlie said, “We are both from Cleveland, both of our families only live 45 minutes away from each other. His grandparents lived literally ten minutes away from my dad’s company… Benito is part Filipino, Italian and White. His dad has a huge family with nine siblings, which is similar to my mother’s Italian family of six siblings. We share the love of being in a big family and the importance of family. Benito’s parents adopted two girls from China, where I’m adopted from the Philippines, along with my three siblings. Our favorite food is Rice, but not just rice, JASMINE rice and sushi. We bonded over our love of nature, food, and music.”

charleston wedding couple at alhambra hall

The First Date

Benito and Marlie’s first date was breakfast at a popular brunch spot in Mount Pleasant called Page’s Okra Grill.  Marlie’s mom and Step-Dad were having brunch with a family member who was in town, so Benito met her parents on their first date! Luckily, they adored him the moment they met him.

With blue skies and the sun shining above them, they headed out to Patriot’s Point to play soccer. They relaxed in the grass and listened to Disney songs while singing and talking about themselves the whole time. 

The Proposal

Benito planned a pretty romantic proposal, so men- take note if you haven’t yet popped the question! 

The couple was on their way to a cabin with some friends in North Carolina when Benito took a surprise detour to a beautiful field of sunflowers. Marlie was so excited to be there that a little bit of rain wasn’t going to deter her from getting out of the car. After all, they had Kida with them and it was a great photo-op! 

“I remember the very words he said before I turned around for him to propose to me. He had the GoPro on and as he was videotaping. I was walking in front of him. He said, ‘You know Marlie, I’m not surprised it’s raining the day I take you to your happy place, because our lives together are always spontaneous and never goes as planned. But you know what will go as planned? Turn around Marlie… When I turned around to say ‘What?’, he got on one knee and proposed to me!!! I was in complete shock…”
Benito had packed his parents’ wedding champagne flutes in his backpack and a bottle of champagne. 

Little did they know, it would rain on their wedding day as well.

charleston wedding photographer at alhambra hall

The Wedding

Marlie and Benito originally planned to get married in Cleveland, Ohio since most of their family and friends are from there. They eventually decided to keep the wedding here in Charleston and turn it into a destination wedding for their family.

Benito chose Alhambra Hall as their venue for the beautiful water views and marshy back-drop. The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in the background was an added bonus. He also loved the oak tree in the yard, which is where they chose to do their ceremony. 

Indoors, the Hall boasts soaring vaulted ceilings with beautiful wooden beams and a fireplace. The option to go inside came in handy for the rain that was to come!

  • This is a stuffed animal that Marlie brought with her from the Philippines.
  • I loved this First Look reaction.
  • charleston wedding couple at alhambra hall, charleston sc
    This is Kida, the Dog of Honor.

The Ceremony

The ceremony was Benito’s favorite part of the wedding. He loved the setting of the marsh behind them and the oak tree above them. They had written their own vows, but Benito said he forgot most of his because he was nervous as the thunder rolled and lightning flashed. With rain clouds threatening overhead, they kept things short and sweet- which is what they wanted anyway.

For many brides, rain on their wedding day is the worst thing that could happen. I applaud Marlie for handling the situation with grace and ease. Besides, they say rain on a wedding day is good luck, so Marlie mentioned that they didn’t mind!

  • As a photographer, I love to see this sign at a ceremony!
  • wedding photography couple in charleston, south carolina
  • charleston wedding couple at alhambra hall

The Reception

Benito and Marlie wanted a southern theme for their food, so serving BBQ with all the fixin’s was a natural choice! 

For drinks, Benito created four types of wine as gifts for their guests: Muscadine, Mixed Berry, Strawberry & Blueberry. He created all the labels for them as well. 

  • wedding photography couple in charleston, south carolina
  • wedding photography couple in charleston, south carolina

As a wedding photographer, it is always interesting to see what people choose to give their guests as parting gifts because there’s usually a special meaning behind them. Marlie and Benito chose to give doggie bags from Kida, sunflower seeds from Marlie and the wine from Benito.  

  • The sunflower theme continued, even to the desserts!
  • wedding photography couple in charleston, south carolina

For Marlie, the highlight of the wedding was the speeches that were given. “They were simple and sweet. The fact that we were able to get my father in law to do one was precious. He never does public speaking and it was just amazing to see him standing there…”, Marlie said.

She also loved the first dance she and Benito had. Benito was very nervous so to reassure him and keep his focus off all the eyes on him, she danced and sang to the song. 

  • wedding photography couple in charleston, south carolina
  • wedding photography couple in charleston, south carolina, alhambra hall wedding

With the sky finally clearing and the glorious evening winding down, we went outside near the marsh for some amazing shots. 

  • charleston wedding couple at alhambra hall

Benito and Marlie, 

It was my pleasure to witness and capture your day! I wish you all the best in your new season of married life!



Wedding Venue: Alhambra Hall
Wedding Planner: Family
Caterer: Crazy Dutchman Catering
Dress Designer/Boutique: Gown Boutique of Charleston
Hair/Makeup: Ulta Beauty – Mount Pleasant
Rings/Jewelry: Etsy
Tuxedos or Suits: En Barong Filipino
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Invitations: Mint
Florist: Costco Flowers
Cake Maker: Publix

Rustic Sunflower Charleston Wedding

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