Clare Hallahan didn't know where Charlotte was when she was asked to move there for work from her hometown in England. "I had to pull out an atlas to figure out where it was," she laughs. But after taking some time to get settled in her new job, she was ready for a little fun. When her best friend Eve planned a vacation to visit Clare's new city, the pair made plans to explore uptown and headed to Brick and Barrel to watch the World Cup. There, Clare met Jason Joyner as they watched the soccer match, and she later agreed to give him her number. Unfortunately, she still had her international cell phone, and in his haste, Jason wrote down the wrong number.
As fate would have it, they met again just a few weeks later at Alive After Five. Not taking any chances, Jason took special care to write down her number and wasted no time asking Clare on a date right there on the spot. "We went to see a baseball game on the Fourth of July. It was my very first game and a very American-themed date at that - complete with fireworks at the end!" she says. On a weekend away to Charleston, Jason surprised Clare with a carriage ride around the historic town. Making a point to have the carriage stop by the water, the couple decided to take a walk. Clare remembers the words that came next: "I don't want to be your boyfriend anymore."
"I was thinking, What is he talking about? He can't be serious!" she says. But it was the next sentence that eased her mind: "I want to be your husband." Staring down at her engagement ring from Diamonds Direct, she thought, Well that's more like it!
On their wedding day, 70 guests joined the couple as they exchanged vows at St. Gabriel Catholic Church. Clare wore an ivory sweetheart gown from Poffie Girls while her bridesmaids stood beside her in vibrant purple satin dresses by Maggie London. In true wedding fashion, most of the ladies - including some fun-loving Americans - wore dramatic hats, as is customary at English weddings. The gentlemen sported lapel pins with American and British flags.
"We chose the Van Landingham Estate because it has a sweet, Southern charm that is very American, but lovely gardens that are very English - a perfect blend to celebrate two cultures," she says. And with the help of Classic Party Rentals, the space was transformed.
There was plenty to keep the party going including a cocktail hour with a wedding-themed cornhole in the gardens and a photo booth by ShutterBooth during the reception. But the biggest hit of the night were the speeches by Clare's father and her best friend Eve. "My dad wrote to President Obama and the British Prime Minister inviting them to the wedding. A part of his speech was reading the letter he received from the Prime Minister sharing his apologies for not being able to attend but his sincere congratulations." With that and few more childhood stories for good measure, the pair had the room in hysterics, captured by HH Fine Arts Photography.
The couple enjoyed the evening at the Duke Mansion before meeting the family again on Saturday to take advantage of the time they were in the States. The newlyweds then spent some time in England before they honeymooned on an African safari and on the island of Pemba in the Indian Ocean.
The Duke Mansion
HH Fine Arts
Classic Party Rentals