When Emily met Christopher in 2005 in college, they were just friends. They both played in the Appalachian State marching band. Three years later, they both worked for the same pizzeria in Boone, N.C.
Over the years, a light-hearted college friendship became something more.
How much more? Well, by the summer of 2011, Emily and Chris were holding hands and looking at engagement rings.
“We both felt we were ready for marriage, but wanted to save money before getting engaged,” Emily said.
She thought Chris might formally pop the question the next year, but Chris had already decided to bring a little extra “sparkle” to Emily’s Christmas holiday.
On Dec 18, 2011 – the day before Chris turned 30 – the couple went to church together, as usual. Chris told Emily the church was holding a special service that Sunday, so to please wear something “extra nice.” Afterwards, he said, he’d take her to lunch with some friends on the lake to celebrate his upcoming birthday.
“So, thinking nothing of it,” Emily said, she donned a special dress and scarf, while Chris wore a shirt and tie, and they went to the service.
“After church, we began driving… and driving… and I began to get a little suspicious,” Emily said. “Chris assured me we were getting lunch with his friends, they just wanted to eat at a place in Lake Wylie, South Carolina, a few miles from Charlotte.
“As the trip got closer to the end, I realized we were not at a restaurant and there were no friends,” Emily said. “In fact, we had arrived at the Stowe Botanical Gardens, where we were promptly welcomed and accommodated.”
Chris had set up everything in advance: photography, champagne and an unforgettable marriage proposal.
“We went on a romantic walk through the gardens, where Chris professed his love for me and told me how much joy our past 3-year relationship had brought him. As he spoke, we were led to a special bench tucked away in the Orchid Conservatory… orchids just happen to be my favorite flower!”
Two glasses of chilled champagne awaited the couple on the bench, sheltered by cascades of blossoms.
“Chris asked me to have a seat on the bench, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! There was staff there to document it all with a camera! It was truly a magical moment, and a very heartfelt proposal that I wasn’t expecting at all!”
The couple married in a lovely ceremony at Weddington United Methodist Church, followed by a reception at Firethorne Country Club.
Emily said her favorite part of her wedding day was seeing so many members of both families and their friends having a wonderful time, and was overcome by their love and generosity.
“Chris’s whole family lives in Rochester, New York, and it was wonderful to have them visiting our hometown of Charlotte, to be surrounded by so many close friends and family. My family traveled from all parts of the country for our special day. I had fantastic bridesmaids who had been nothing but supportive through the entire process, and Chris’s groomsmen were equally as compassionate and encouraging.”
After being whisked away in a limousine to the Ballantyne Aloft Hotel, Chris and Emily honeymooned in the Cayman Islands. They stayed at a Marriott resort, on the world-famous Seven-Mile Beach.
“We laid on the beach, drank amazing cocktails and toured all the island ‘hotspots’” Emily said. The couple felt doubly blessed; not only did they enjoy a storybook wedding; they also relaxed and recharged during their exotic, island get-away.
Cake: Laura’s Bakery
Flowers: :Lily Greenthumbs
Gown: Mecklenburg Bridal
Tuxedos: The Men’s Warehouse
Engagement and Wedding ring: Hand Crafted by Abraham at ”Abraham Joseph Fine Jewelers”
Chris’s Band: Fink’s Jewelers in South Park Mall.
Hairstylist and Make-up: Cathy McNeish, Natural Bride
Invitations/Stationery: International Minute Press
Music/Entertainment/Booking Agency: Split Second Sound
Clergy: Dr. Terry Moore
Ceremony location: Weddington United Methodist Church
Caterers: Hickory Tavern (Rehersal)
Reception location: Firethorne Country Club
Wedding night hotel/inn: Aloft Ballantyne
Bridesmaid luncheon location: City Tavern in Stonecrest
Transportation provider: Silver Fox Limousine
Wedding consultants/planners: Renee Gilinski
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