Elle and Benton

by Benjamin Keys

The River Room at Saint Paul's Church | Live Wedding Painting

Augusta, Georgia

I (Jennifer) will never forget meeting Elle and her mom, Sheila.  At the time Elle was shopping for her bridal gown, I was the director at the Modern Trousseau flagship on King Street here in Charleston.  The three of us had the best appointment, and Elle found a few gowns she loved, but none of them were THE one!  So the girls continued on to shop at a few other bridal stores.  Mid-way through the day, I received a call from Elle asking if there was any way to come back and try on the favorites.  When they arrived, I could tell they were exhausted - trying on 50 gowns in one day can be SO overwhelming!  I pulled Elle's favorites back into her dressing room and she began trying them on in hopes that she might feel different about them.  She was nearly finished, and still no luck.  As I was scanning the inventory, and trying to look one last time - I realized we had missed the Nila gown!  I will never forget Elle standing on the block when she saw this gown.  She was so excited saying, "Jen - HOW did we miss this gown!"  At this point, I think we all knew the Nila gown was hers, before she even tried it on!  When you know, you just know.  Elle then called her Dad and was so excited to tell him, "I found the gown!"  

This was the beginning of my very sweet friendship with Elle and her family.  I immediately felt as though they were second family - my mom is also named Sheila!  At the time, Ben and I were also engaged, and of course Sheila and Elle were so interested in what Ben does with painting live at weddings.  A few weeks later, Ben said he received an email from Sheila, and they were IN for a Wed on Canvas painting at Elle's wedding.  The best part ... Elle didn't know!  Keeping this a secret was NOT easy!  Elle even emailed us to inquire about having a painting at her wedding!  

Fast forward to Elle and Benton's wedding day.  All of the guests had arrived to the reception held at the beautiful River Room of Saint Paul's Church in Augusta, Georgia ... awaiting the arrival of the bride and groom.  Ben be set up so that the painting is the first thing guests would see as they entered the reception hall.  As they were announced, Mr. and Mrs., and stepped into the ballroom - Elle's face was PRICELESS!  She was speechless!!!  She ran over and gave us a big hug!  Surprise accomplished!!!!! 

The reception was simply stunning.  Elle wore the Nila gown with such sophistication and grace.  And I must add, Sheila looked fabulous, too!  The music, the food, the flowers, the view of the river - it was a perfect evening!  And the guests loved watching Ben paint live throughout the event.  

Last night, Elle and Benton invited us over for dinner at there home here in Charleston.  Nothing compares to delivering a finished painting in person, and seeing where the couple will hang it in their home.  It's moments like these that make this job so meaningful.  It's our hope that the painting will be a blessing to their home for years and years to come.  We had such a great time last night - Chef B's fine pizza, wine, and just enjoyed laughing and sharing our favorite European train-ride stories.  It just doesn't get any better.

Elle and Benton - Cheers to newlywed life together!  From the gown, to the painting, we cherish being able to be part of your wedding day!  

Elle and Benton | 24 x 36 in. Oil on Canvas | Live Wedding Painting | The River Room | Augusta, GA

Elle and Benton | 24 x 36 in. Oil on Canvas | Live Wedding Painting | The River Room | Augusta, GA

Photography | H + D Photo 

Reception | The River Room at St. Paul's Church, Augusta, GA

Gown | Modern Trousseau  

Makeup | Zack Lee

Band | Grapevine Band

Flowers | Opus Florals