15 May French Huguenot Church + The Mills House Wedding | Charleston, SC | Rachael + Paul
Rachael and Paul’s wedding at The French Huguenot Church and The Mills House was as elegant as it was southern. From the classic neutral + greenery color palette to sweetgrass rose place cards, their big day was a timeless example of a true southern soiree. Read on for Rachael’s perspective on the planning experience and the most memorable parts of their big day!
How did you two meet?
We actually went to the same high school in Jacksonville and somehow never met. I even cheered with his sister! We went off to different colleges then came back to Jacksonville for work. I met up with some friends for trivia one night and he was there and we finally met! I still can’t believe we never knew each other before but I think it was perfect timing and I’ve never been so happy to have gone to a trivia night.
Describe the proposal.
From the groom, Paul: Rachael has been talking about Charleston for as long as we’ve been dating and I knew that was where I wanted to propose. The hardest part about that is I have never been to Charleston myself. After searching for weeks on places where to propose I felt Battery Park was perfect for us. Over the course of a couple of weeks I secretly planned to have both our parents there to celebrate this moment with us. Once we finally got to Battery Park everything was a blur. My heart was racing the whole time, our French bulldog was jumping on me as I’m getting down on one knee, and after that all I remember is Rachael saying “No you’re not” …..sitting in silence….still sitting in silence…..YES!! After all the kisses and “I love you”, I told her to turn around. All you see is my Mom and her Mom booking it across the park to celebrate with us. I don’t think Rachael and I have ever seen our parents move that fast! Best decision of my life!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress.
Oh my gosh, I thought this was going to be one of the hardest parts about planning the wedding but it was actually one of the easiest! My mom came up from Alabama and we went shopping in Charlotte. We ending up falling in love with my dress at only the second store and I think it was like the 3rd or 4th dress I’d tried on. It was BEAUTIFUL and I knew Paul would love it and that it fit into the whole Charleston vision. I could not be happier!
Tell us about selecting your bridesmaids’ dresses.
This was hard for me. Trying to pick a color scheme that would look good on everyone, look good at the venue, and one that I liked was daunting! I knew I didn’t want blush or pink, but I think the taupe-grey I chose ended up looking beautiful! Everyone got to pick their own style, but all girls had the same color dress. I think it came together perfect!
What was the design inspiration for your wedding?
Classic and natural. I’m not too girly, I don’t like a whole lot of pink or purple, but I do like things that are elegant and timeless. Samantha and Sarah captured what I wanted effortlessly.
How many guests attended your wedding?
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues?
Definitely the location and the history of both. Plus they were both beautiful.
Did you decide to do a first look?
We did. At first it was just for timing purposes but looking back I’m so happy we did. It gave us a moment to really take it in just by ourselves without being surrounded by everyone in the church.
What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony?
For me, it was my Dad giving me away. I’m his little girl and we’ve always been really close. I knew it was going to be hard for him to let me go. Him standing up there with us was really special and showed he was now trusting Paul to take care of his little girl.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding?
My grandmother (who is 91!) came all the way out from Louisiana. She doesn’t like crowds too much and being around a whole lot of people she doesn’t know, so it really meant a lot to me that she came and she had a good time.
Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like?
We had cocktail hour in the courtyard of The Mills House. The weather could not have been more perfect. It was just cool enough to need heaters which really added to the ambiance.
Tell us about your wedding flowers:
My bouquet was gorgeous. It had white and blush flowers with gold accents on the leaves. It was so fresh and classic and exactly what I wanted. My grandma was obsessed with them too and thought they were fake they were so pretty.
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used for your wedding.
The decor kept with the “natural” theme I wanted. We used the bouquets from the flower girls as centerpieces and had greenery running the long tables. We used accents of gold along with white linens to really bring the space together.
Tell us a bit about your first dance:
Nerve racking! The whole time leading up to the wedding I told Paul I wanted to be twirled on the dance floor. But, when it came to night of I was terrified I was going to trip on my dress and fall on the floor. But it was wonderful. It just was nice to have a slow dance with Paul before the night got hectic. We really got to soak in the moment together.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding?
Oh gosh, I loved everything! I think my favorite though would be the sweet grass roses as the place cards. I think it made the wedding unique and everyone loved them and loved that they could take them home as favors.
Who was your favorite vendor and why?
Aaron & Jillian for sure. They have a way of making you feel so at ease in front of the camera and they make you feel like you are the next up and coming models.
What is the moment you remember most about your wedding day?
Seeing Paul and my dad for the first time. Their reaction was priceless and I’m so happy we have those moments.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
Probably Paul picking me up in the middle of a conversation and carrying me to the dance floor so I could dance. Definitely not expected!
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding?
BUDGET. You never realize how expensive things are till you start planning a wedding. But Samantha and Sarah were amazing at keeping us on track and focused on the things we should spend money on the things we really didn’t need.
What advice would you give to a newly engaged couple planning their wedding?
HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER!! I never could have planned this wedding without Samantha and Sarah. They were absolutely amazing. They had every last detail covered and had thought about any and all situations that could happen day of and they were ready. I was never worried throughout the whole process because of them. They helped to make the process less stressful and more enjoyable.
Tell us about your grand exit.
We had everyone send us off with bubbles! We saw the idea on a previous wedding Aaron and Jillian did and we loved the idea. It was so much fun! Paul and I then got carried away in a 1960’s Rolls Royce, which was just amazing. It felt like the end of a movie and was the perfect ending to the whole day!
Big hugs to all the vendors that made this day possible!
Photographer: Aaron and Jillian Photography | Wedding Designer: Samantha Anderson Events | Wedding Coordination: Sarah Rickman for Samantha Anderson Events | Wedding Ceremony Venue: French Huguenot Church | Wedding Reception Venue: The Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel | Bridal Hair and Makeup: Wild Ivory Beauty | Bride’s Heels: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy | Bridesmaid’s Robes: Foxblossom Co. | Cake: Ashley Bakery | Florist: Propagate Studio | Getaway Car: Lowcountry Valet | Invitations: SAS-E Ink | Photo Booth: Charleston Booth Co. | Reception Music: DJ Wade | Wedding Dress Boutique: Hayden Olivia Bridal Wedding Dress Designer: Hayley Paige | Wedding Rings: Malak Jewelers