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Rae and Rob

Rae and Rob exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony under the crabapple trees followed by a great big party in the barn in June. Chapel Hill plays a big part in their lives and you can feel those roots coming through in their story!

How did you and your partner meet?
While we didn’t meet until we were well into adulthood, we very nearly grew up together and spent much of our lives unknowingly crossing paths. Our work in communications at UNC-Chapel Hill finally brought us into the same orbit. It was our shared connections, though, that brought us together as a couple. Delivered two years apart and by the same doctor, we later learned, we spent our earliest days in Chapel Hill. We were both baptized at University United Methodist Church and would have grown up together through church, school and recreational activities. Rob’s family’s move to Raleigh ultimately delayed his meeting Rae by more than 30 years, but it was no less magical when we finally got to know each other and became a couple.

Tell us about the engagement.
Since Chapel Hill is a foundational part of our relationship, Rob chose Franklin Street to ask Rae to be his wife. After a dinner overlooking Franklin Street from the Top of the Hill restaurant and brewery on a beautiful early spring evening, Rob got down on one knee a few steps east of the intersection of Franklin and Columbia and asked Rae to marry him. The most exciting part was no doubt Rae saying ‘yes,’ but it was also a relief to see the ring on Rae’s finger. To keep the proposal a surprise, Rob planned to ask the question following a dinner date right after work – and wanted to show the ring to Rae’s parents during a lunch get-together earlier in the day – so he secretly and nervously carried Rae’s engagement ring around in his pocket during the workday.

What made Fearrington the place for you to say “I do?’
In advance of our engagement, we’d discussed what we might like to do for a wedding, but couldn’t land on a scenario that felt right. In December 2017, Rae read the Fearrington blog post about Miranda & David and instantly thought, “This is it. This is what we should do for our wedding – whenever that may be.” For Rae, Fearrington was a place she visited as a child for various special occasions. And now, Fearrington is just a short distance from where Rob & Rae make their home in Briar Chapel and visit often for brunch, shopping and the spa. So it was already a place that held special memories and a shared familiarity. But we were inspired by the story of Miranda & David’s small intimate ceremony, immediately followed by a large party and the expedited timeline. We’d already spent so much of our lives apart, we were eager to start our married life together. So the very next day after our engagement, on March 30th, we called Gilda McDaniel to inquire about availability. And much to our delight, she had Saturday, June 23rd open.

Describe the highlight moment of your wedding day.
There was definitely a highlight of our wedding day, but thankfully it lasted much longer than a moment. Having so many of our friends and family, many of whom had traveled a good distance to join us, gathered in one place is something we both cherished. We’re not likely to have this combination of our closest people gathered in one place again, so getting to enjoy being around them all evening was wonderful. The joy was especially overflowing during the sparkler exit from the barn after our reception. It was all so much fun!

What was the biggest surprise of the day?
A bride/groom’s wedding day is undoubtedly a very happy time. But you can also feel some regret for loved ones who are no longer with you on your special day. For Rae, she wished her grandmothers could have been there for this moment in her life. Her paternal grandmother had a deep love of cardinals. In the days following her death the summer of 2015, Rae learned about a belief that cardinals are representative of a loved one who has passed and they appear when you need or miss them most – in times of celebration or despair. Just as Rae was about to have her first look with Rob – perhaps the only moment of the day when she had a quiet moment to herself – a cardinal appeared on the nearest bush. It made for a very emotional first look.

What was your biggest surprise about wedding planning?
We got to experience serendipity on multiple occasions throughout our planning. Many would say that planning a wedding in less than 90 days was too ambitious. But we managed to luck out with everything from securing our first choices for our venue to hiring our photographer, film crew and DJ to finding Rae’s wedding dress – and were able to realize the wedding we’d imagined for ourselves within our desired timeline.

Anything you want to add about your wedding story?
From the first phone call through to the exit of the reception, the guidance, expertise and assistance we received from Gilda and the Fearrington team were second-to-none. June 23rd, 2018 was one of the best days of our lives, and the experience we had with our ceremony and celebration at Fearrington were a big reason why.