The Wedding Belle
For Charleston event planner Calder Clark, Southern style is all in the details
It’s true that thirty-Four-year-old Calder Clark folded George W. Bush’s napkin at the 2001 inaugural luncheon in Statuary Hall and designed dinner parties for the likes of Alan Greenspan in her former life as a high-profile Washington, D.C., event planner. But these days, the Tennessee native, who relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2003, and launched Calder Clark Designs earlier this year, is happier dreaming up “barbecue sundaes”—mason jars filled with layers of pulled pork and blue cheese slaw—for a wedding at Blackberry Farm.
The antithesis of canned country-club nuptials, her focus is on handmade personal touches, unfussy flowers, family recipes, and nostalgic details. In fact, rather than making the first meeting with a new bride-to-be a clichéd consultation, Clark is more likely to show up at her house, rifle through her stuff, and pry for childhood memories. “I like to get a sense of their style, look at what’s on their walls, their bookshelf, and page through photo albums,” she says. The result might be ring bearer pillows made from vintage Texas hankies (representing a couple’s home turf), flowers that incorporate rustic cotton branches, or the arrival of a 1950s ice cream truck for a late-night lowbrow indulgence.
Each wedding requires about three hundred to four hundred man-hours to nail the details. “My goal is to get to know them so well that by their wedding night, we’re family,” Clark says. “I used to think that was too much mixing of business and personal life, but now I know it’s absolutely essential.”
For more information, go to calderclark.com