Kim and John at the Mill’s House

Who says accountants aren’t romantic?

Just ask Kim, a staff auditor at Deloitte and Touche. She met her soul-mate, John, at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. That college boyfriend became the man who masterminded her mind-blowing wedding proposal. He exquisitely orchestrated his “Will-you-marry-me?” moment down to the last, perfect detail. John is not only earning his master’s degree in business administration; he can definitely bring the romance!

Here’s how it happened: After spending a long summer together, Kim was heading back to Wilmington to start graduate school. John was earning his master’s at Campbell University. The couple were about to be living in separate cities again. John decided to plan a surprise romantic get-away for Kim’s last weekend in town. He kept everything top-secret. They left on a Thursday afternoon. To heighten the suspense, John kept his itinerary, with all of the weekend plans, printed out and in a folder right next to Kim in the car. She was not even allowed to touch it during the entire drive down.

“Talk about tormenting!” Kim said. Soon they arrived at her parents’ house just outside of Charleston, SC. Now, do not take this the wrong way. Kim loves seeing her parents, but this was not exactly the romantic get-away that she had imagined. The family ate dinner, watched some football, and turned in early. The next morning, they all played a round of golf with friends. At this point, Kim is thinking that John did not do such a great job with planning this little get-away.

After lunch at a Mexican restaurant, the crowd headed home. John asked Kim to get dressed up. Friday night was going to be a night on the town, just the two of them. “About time!” Kim thought. After Kim got all dolled up, her mom took a couple of pictures, and off they went. When John and Kim arrived in downtown Charleston, they pulled up to the beautiful Planter’s Inn. As a valet whisked away their car, they strolled to the five-star Peninsula Grill. After drinks at the bar, they moved to a nice, private table in the corner of the restaurant, where they enjoyed an amazing dinner.

Kim wanted to take some pictures in the enchanting courtyard just outside the restaurant, but John cryptically suggested “How about a picture in front of a horse instead?”

As soon as the words left his mouth, the valet opened the restaurant door. A beautiful horse-drawn carriage awaited. Kim literally had tears in her eyes; it was so romantic and special! At this point in the evening, one may wonder if Kim had any idea what was about to happen, but she seriously had NO idea. John always did special things like this; she just thought it was another one of his heart-melting, romantic gestures. After a few pictures beside the horse, they stepped into the carriage. After enjoying the beauty of Charleston by starlight, heat lightning began to spark across the sky.

“It made the scenery even more angelic,” Kim said. As they approached the waterfront, John asked the driver to stop in front of the main fountain.

“I thought it was a little weird,” Kim said, but she was dazzled by the moonlight reflection of the sparkling Charleston lights. John told Kim and how much he loved her and how much he loved her parents. Then, John reached into his pocket, and immediately Kim freaked out! As he tried to propose, she kept saying, “Oh my goodness, this is not happening, Oh my goodness, this is not happening!” By the time he actually got to propose, Kim screamed “YES!” so loudly she frightened the horse!

“My entire body was so shocked that I could barely breathe — this was a HUGE surprise and caught me completely off-guard!” Kim said. John slipped an amazing ring on her finger and they hugged and kissed. As their carriage returned to the Inn, Kim could not stop looking at her ring finger, thinking, “I cannot believe I am engaged!” The driver told the couple that he was relieved the night had turned out as well as it had. Only two men had proposed to women in his buggy before. To his horror, both men were told “No!”

“The driver was so thankful that I said ‘Yes!’ ” Kim said. Upon their return to the Inn, all of the valets offered congratulations and took more pictures of the couple.

The surprises were not over yet, however.

Expecting to pick up their car, Kim was surprised when John picked up a key at the front desk. A bellman escorted them to the top-floor suite. “When John opened the door, the sight was amazing,” Kim said. The lights were dimmed and music was softly playing in the background. Just as John planned, here is what awaited Kim: Champagne, cognac, chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate truffles and thick white robes with slippers.

” It was the kind of thing you see in a movie that never actually happens in real life,” Kim said. “The entire night was absolutely enchanting. John did an amazing job surprising me to the maximum!” She says she is so happy and lucky to marry a man who takes the time and energy to plan things like that for her.

“He truly made my dreams come true!” Kim said.

One last fun fact: This all occurred on Friday the 13th! Forget superstition; for Kim and John, this will always be a day filled with joy and happy memories.

The couple incorporated all of the local Charleston details into their wedding day. Everything from sweet-grass roses in the welcome bags at the Mill’s House Hotel, to naming the reception tables after downtown Charleston streets, their wedding was Charleston all the way! “Loluma (recently Distinctive Events) decorated and coordinated the entire event, and it was absolutely flawless and perfect,” Kim said.

The ceremony was officiated by The Reverend Canon J. Michael A. Wright with Grace Episcopal Church of Charleston, SC and The Reverend Robert “Sandy” Saunders of Fayetteville, NC.

“The best thing about our wedding was the love that John and I displayed for our friends and family to share and celebrate,” Kim said, “On the material level, the absolutely beautiful flower centerpieces that Leesa from Loluma created for our reception truly transformed our wedding into a fairytale.” The flowers included several collections of red/white orchids, lilies and roses.

“The wonderful service team at the Mill’s House Hotel truly made every food and beverage delicious and served perfectly.”

The cake was a beautiful, four-tiered cake created by Elaine’s Events. The tiers alternated between two flavors, bananas foster with a true Southern filling, and red velvet with a Kahlua chocolate truffle filling. The entire cake, covered with buttercream, was decorated with minimal piping and a lush cascade of flowers. “Easy Breezy Entertainment provided the great tunes that had our guests dancing the night away, Kim said.

After a beautiful service and reception, the couple left for their honeymoon in Kauai & Oahu, Hawaii

Flowers: Provided by Leesa from Loluma
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Gown: The gown was a beautiful satin-and-ivory couture dress with a five-foot long train. The bodice incorporated beautiful bead work with crystal and pearls that swept around the back of the dress throughout the train. The gown was crafted at Making Memories in Santee, SC, whose charitable donations help the fight against breast cancer.

Shoes: The shoes were satin and ivory to match the dress with a rhinestone embellishment at the open-toe.

Bridesmaids dress: The bridesmaids dresses were a beautiful European red by Bill Levkoff. They were tea-length, strapless, and satin.

Tuxedos: The tuxedos were chocolate brown with ivory shirts, red vests/ties, and ivory shoes. The groom had an ivory vest/tie.

Rings: The rings were designed and engraved by the couple (primarily the groom) with his jeweler at Rhudy’s in his hometown of Fayetteville, NC. His band is two-toned with a hammered finish in the middle, while her band incorporates six beautiful diamonds that curve around the diamonds in her engagement ring.

Hair and makeup: Hair and makeup for the bride and her bridesmaids were done at Salon Utopia in West Ashley, SC. Holly McGuire did the bride’s hair and the entire wedding parties’ makeup.

Absolutely Charleston provided the transportation for the guests;

Black Cab Co. provided the transportation for the wedding party;

Chariot of Dreams provided the beautiful Rolls Royce for the bride and groom.;

Snyder Party Rentals provided many rental items for the reception.


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About Chuck Eaton

Chuck Eaton is an experienced luxury wedding photojournalist based out of Charlotte, NC and shooting throughout the world. We love what we do and the clients who let us do it. We provide exclusive fine art portraiture and documentary wedding photography while having fun doing it!
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