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North and South

By Christina Darnell | Photography by Lindsey Lee Photography

Posted: Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012

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When Aaron Myers, a Monroe native, saw a picture of Rachelle Stevenson at a friend’s house, he was mesmerized. The picture served as an unofficial introduction, and they started texting before officially meeting at a birthday party. The two instantly hit it off. “We have been together ever since,” Rachelle says.

Nine months later, in May 2010, they traveled to Hilton Head for a long weekend. Rachelle grew excitedly suspicious when Aaron insisted they go to bed early so they could capture pictures of the sunrise – but she didn’t want to get her hopes up, she says. Alone on the beach the next morning, the two walked in the sand, reminiscing about fond memories. Aaron said he wanted to start the rest of their life together and got down on his knee to propose. As soon as she said yes, the couple heard a gunshot, and hundreds of triathletes flooded the beach in their suits and caps. “I am sure glad we didn’t sleep in,” Rachelle laughs. “We would not have had our private moment.”

Originally from the North, Rachelle decided The Duke Mansion was the perfect location to celebrate the merging of Northern tradition with Southern charm. She was thrilled with its natural allure. “Can you even imagine decorating this place?” Rachelle remembers thinking. “All you need are the people to fill it.”

When the wedding day arrived, the Carolina Chambers Players set the mood with a blend of traditional and country music. “It added such a nice ambiance to the mansion,” Rachelle says. She donned her fitted, strapless gown from J Major’s and calmly waited with her bridesmaids. “I loved my dress. I went with one that I could wear all day and all night,” she says.

An hour before the outside wedding, dark clouds covered the area with thunderstorms, and the ceremony was moved inside. Surprisingly calm, the bride said, “It’s happening today regardless. It’s going to be amazing whether it is inside or outside.” Unaware that everyone downstairs was in a mass panic, Rachelle focused her thoughts on Aaron, who looked handsome in his tuxedo from Paul Simon. Even with the quick change, the ceremony turned out beautifully. “I was amazed by how great they made those last-minute changes.”

After the couple exchanged vows and their rings from Diamonds Direct, the sun came out, and Lindsey from Lindsey Lee Photography took the bridal party outside for pictures. “She did a great job capturing the surprise moments,” Rachelle says. “She had a great eye, and I liked how she made me feel really relaxed and comfortable.”

The couple enjoyed choosing the menu options for the reception from The Duke Mansion, including macaroni and cheese, collard greens and biscuits to accompany pork tenderloin and watermelon arugula salad. “The food really blended our culture,” Rachelle explains.

“The Duke Mansion is such a magical place,” she says. “It felt like we had one great big family all living and celebrating under the same roof for the entire weekend!”

Featured vendors

Ceremony and reception location
The Duke Mansion
704-714-4400
www.dukemansion.org

Engagement and weddings rings
Diamonds Direct SouthPark
704-532-9041
www.diamondsdirectsouthpark.com

Music/Entertainment
Carolina Chamber Players
704-367-1949
www.ccplayers.com

Photography
Lindsey Lee Photography
704-791-4839
www.lindseyleephotography.com

Tuxedos
Paul Simon
704-366-4523
www.paulsimonco.com

Wedding gown and bridesmaids’ dresses
J Major’s Bridal Boutique
704-372-0082
www.jmajors.com

Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ’Love takes aim’

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