by Beverly Knight
Publicity Committee Chair for
Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve
hoosing the perfect place for a wedding ceremony is one of the most important decisions a couple has to make. When Stephanie Monroe and her fiancé Jeff Tillerson began planning their April 28, 2012, wedding, Monroe knew just the spot she would choose. But she wanted her husband-to-be to feel the same way about the place she loved.
“I am a member of Women Giving and I was aware of the wonderful setting the Garden of Hope & Healing provides,” Monroe says of the spot in Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve that was made possible by grants from Women Giving for Spartanburg and the Spartanburg Regional Foundation. “We both visited the garden one day during lunch and then again on the weekend,” Monroe says, “and he completely fell in love with the surroundings as well. We both knew in our hearts that was the place for us.”
The Garden of Hope & Healing, in the heart of the 10-acre woodland garden just off Reidville Road in Spartanburg, is one of the most popular of several wedding destinations in the garden. The garden’s half-mile of paved paths meander through woodlands accented by perennial, shade, butterfly and water gardens, with the gentle sounds of nature providing a perfect background.
Robin Vollmer, executive director of Hatcher Garden, schedules 30 – 35 weddings in the garden each year and says that Monroe Tillerson’s choice and the stone patio overlooking the waterfall are definitely the most popular spots in the garden.
As so often happens, Monroe and Tillerson’s plan for a small wedding grew to a much larger one than they anticipated. The seven members of the wedding party were joined by approximately 100 guests who witnessed the ceremony in the natural setting she had grown to love on previous visits.
The couple met when both were working for the City of Spartanburg – she as the planning director for the City and he as a code enforcement officer. The bride is originally from California but moved to South Carolina in 1999 from Michigan where she had attended Michigan State University. The groom grew up in Little Africa and graduated from Spartanburg High School. He still works for the City of Spartanburg, but Monroe Tillerson is now the City Manager of Woodruff.
The bride cherishes wonderful memories of their wedding experience, especially “walking up and down the steps at the Garden of Hope and Healing with ‘so much’ dress, jumping the broom and placing the brick where we united as one.”