“A blurry, perfectly imperfect extravaganza.”
Sounds amazing, right? That’s how Rhonda described her wedding day, and we couldn’t have wished for anything better! She and Aaron’s (Chef, as she calls him) beginning wasn’t so much of a bang as a pffft. That first blind date was somewhat lackluster, but fast forward a few days later to another date (during which Chef cooked for Rhonda) and…boom! Fireworks!
One look at their pictures and you can see these two have so much fun together, an impression that’s underscored by the stories Rhonda shares below. We have a feeling that even running to the grocery store together is a blast for them!
In addition to being lovely, Rhonda and Aaron’s rustic, elegant wedding day was packed with special details that reflected them as a couple and as individuals. After the ceremony, they were announced as man and wife to the Hallelujah Chorus, sunflowers made an appearance in a nod to how Chef proposed, and she and Chef donated money to the MS Society in lieu of wedding favors in honor of her mother who has had MS for the last 23 years.
When searching for her gown, Rhonda thought she knew exactly the right look (our Pippa top and Lily skirt, in fact), but when she met Jacaranda, all bets were off.
From Rhonda, who’s planning to escape to Greece and Italy with Aaron for a springtime honeymoon:
How did you know he was “the one”?
“After a blind date which went well but didn’t leave either of us thinking this was going anywhere, Chef messaged asking to see me again. I thought, “Ehh, at 30 years old I know what I want and I don’t think it is him but everyone deserves a second chances so why not.” He said he wanted to make to pasta and I said OKAY! Four days after our first date, Chef arrived at my house with wine, all the ingredients for making tortellini and his pasta rolling machine. After a couple of glasses of wine, a small flour fight, stuffing our faces with delicious pasta and laughing non-stop, we found ourselves sitting on my front porch enjoying the beautiful evening with another glass of wine and a wonderful conversation. What we were talking about I have no idea because all I could think about was “I’m going to marry this man!”
How did your sweetie propose?
“Our anniversary was approaching and we had a beach trip planned, and I had a good idea that the proposal was coming that weekend. He continues driving down some back roads and I began to have a sneaky suspicion I know where we are going. As we pull in (I was right about where we were going), he tells me “I arranged for you to pick a sunflower out of the field where I got your first sunflower for our anniversary.”
He parks and we get out but now there isn’t a single sunflower in sight. He assures me there are sunflowers in the back. I keep looking around to see if I can see anyone I know hiding or any sign that a proposal is about to happen. Finally, I see sunflowers, and as we kept walking, there was something on the ground ahead that I said looked someone died and they had laid a memorial down in flowers. (Poor Aaron). We got to the flowers and I finally saw what it was, a question mark. For what seemed like forever we stood there and I just kinda looked at Aaron like are you going to say something? He started talking, neither of remember what he said the he just kinda handed me the ring and I put it on my finger. Then he said wait, “Should I get on one knee?” To which I replied, yes and handed him back the ring. I still have no idea what he said and I’m pretty sure I still put the ring on my own finger.”
How did you choose your gown?
“I had been looking online for a while at different styles of dresses and knew I wanted something light and flowy. The Lea-Ann Belter Pippa top with the Lily skirt was it! I found a local store that carried Lea-Ann, and then we went in and pulled about 9 gowns because why not. The first was a crazy, over-the-top dress that was beautiful but not me and definitely not Baptist Church appropriate. The second was the one I came to see, however they didn’t have the Pippa top but they had something similar. I loved it! It was everything I thought I wanted. I came prancing out to show my matron and maid of honor and a bridesmaid with a huge smile on my face. Yay. Dress found but why not have some fun and try on the rest, right? The third dress was the Lea-Ann Belter Jacaranda. I put it on, the bridal assistant zipped me up, I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t say anything. It was stunning. I walked out to show my girls and they too were in awe. I was literally speechless which doesn’t happen—I always have something to say about something. I tried on the other dresses but nothing compared. I never even went back to the one that I had come to see. I put the Jacaranda back on at the end of it all and it had the same effect on me again. My girls cried and I cried… I found my dress!”
Tell us about your day!
“Not to sound cliche but it was perfect! The weather was a dream come true, the food was delicious, the music got everyone dancing, the cake was incredible, the decorations were beautiful, and the venues were gorgeous!
When planning, Aaron and I didn’t want anything over the top. Like a lot of people, we were thinking rustic barn with BBQ and fall decor. Something simple, but elegant. The Carolina Barn is far from a rustic barn but it is a breathtaking venue that would make our dream come true even if it was a little more fancy than we had originally envisioned. Now I can’t imagine having had it anywhere else! We love succulents and with it being in the fall we were thinking white pumpkins with succulents, some mums and lots of greenery. Sunflowers of course had to be incorporated somehow but we didn’t want them everywhere so my bouquet and our sweetheart table were the only places they were found.
Though the party is fun, the ceremony is the most crucial part. Aaron and I were going to be beginning our lives together as man and wife and we wanted a Christian ceremony to start things off with Christ as the center. It was important to me to get married at the church I grew up in by my youth minister, Susie, who had helped guide me spiritually as a kid.
I am an only child, so I have a lot of friends that mean the world to me. My dad is my best friend. We probably talk a minimum of four times a day. My mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was eight and became completely disabled when I was around eighteen. My aunts have really stepped up and been there for me in all the ways that my mother couldn’t be anymore. Because I have all of these people in my life that mean so much to me, I wanted first looks with them all. My maid and matron of honor helped me get dressed and then the rolled back the door to show my bridesmaids. Then was my dad. Cue the tears! He, like me, always has something to say, but words evaded him in that moment. Last was my mother and my aunts. This one almost didn’t happen because I was a little late to the church (Aaron would say surprise surprise). But it was important to me so we made it happen. The look on my mom’s face was everything!
Our wedding day also happened to be a popular day for our loved ones’ birthdays. One person in particular was my Aunt Cathy. She has been there in more ways than I can count throughout years and not only was she sharing her day with us but it was a big one (I won’t say the number). We knew immediately that we had to do something special for her because it was her special day, too. So after all the dances were done and the cake was cut, I was handed the mic to tell her thank you for everything and lead everyone (no mic for that!) in singing Happy Birthday to her!”
What was your first dance song?
“One night, I was binge watching Schitt’s Creek (If you haven’t seen it, change that!) and this particular episode had an open mic night. One of the main character’s love interest sang a beautiful song that sounded so familiar. Of course I googled it, and discovered that this song with these beautiful love lyrics were actually “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner! Neither of us are coordinated enough to dance to Tina’s original but Stephanie Rainey does an incredible slower version!”
What was the funniest moment of the day?
“After weeks of dance lessons and practicing, the moment came for our first dance! We were so excited and nervous but we were confident that we had this! We looked great in our fancy clothes and NEW shoes. Everything was going smoothly until my shoes and the floor no longer agreed with each other and I slipped. I didn’t hit the floor, thankfully, but after that, we couldn’t stop laughing. And honestly, it made the dance even better because that was the epitome of us and this whole process, silly, unexpected and just go with it.
Also, the look on Aaron’s face and picking his jaw up off the ground when the ‘69 convertible Camaro (his dream car) that I had as a surprise came rolling up for our getting away was pretty great too.”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?
“My something old was my mother’s veil. Something new was my jewelry and dress. Something borrowed was my friends sunflower Vans for the reception, and Something blue was my wedding shoes.”
Three words that best describe your partner:
“Rhonda about Aaron: devoted, bearded-beauty, thoughtful
Aaron about Rhonda: Gorgeous, goofy, caring”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“I’m not going to say don’t stress, because you are going to stress! It is a crazy, chaotic, stressful time. Things will go wrong and people are the worst at RSVPing. Try to focus on each other and the positives as much as you can leading up to your day. By the time you get to the rehearsal, there isn’t anything more you can do, so enjoy and have fun!”
Rhonda + Aaron’s Carolina Barn Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: Lea-Ann Belter Jacaranda | photographer: Cynthia Viola Photography | ceremony venue: Snyder Memorial Baptist Church | reverend: Susie Reeder | bride’s wedding band : Erinco DeLuca (bride’s uncle) | groom’s wedding band: Rustic & Main | makeup : Tiffany Egleston with Thomas Maxwell Salon | hair: Lauren Martin with Thomas Maxwell Salon | venue: The Carolina Barn | caterer: B & B catering | florals: Busy Bee Florist | videographer: Dean Garris