Carolina Bride

Amazing chemistry

When Julie Miller missed the pairing of partners on lab day in chemistry class her junior year of high school, she never thought it would define her future, but it did. After searching the room for a partner to make ice cream with, her ears perked up when she heard Dustin Clark announce that she could be his partner.

“From that day on I knew I had to be with him,” Julie says. “He made me laugh the entire time, and no one else made me feel that happy. I have to say, our ice cream tasted amazing, and I haven’t had sweeter ice cream since.”

So when thoughts turned from football games and proms to colleges and careers, Dustin knew there was only one person he wanted to accompany him on the journey, and Julie felt the same.

“We’re just best friends,” Julie says. “We’re so stupid and silly together and we just honestly have a really good time together. Even if we get into an argument we usually end up laughing.”

Dustin envisioned a cozy Central Park proposal when he planned a trip to New York City during Julie’s spring break in March 2010, after a six-and-a-half-year courtship. With a romantic dinner planned, Julie thought that it just might be the night. Little did she know, however, that this was all merely part of Dustin’s scheme to sweep her off her feet.

Setting aside his distaste for mornings, Dustin woke Julie for a quick walk around Central Park the morning of their big date night. After strolling through the park, sipping coffee and taking pictures, the future Clarks took a rest on a bench by the pond’s edge.

“I know that you think something special is going to happen tonight,” Dustin said. “But, nothing is going to happen tonight”

Julie’s heart stopped.

“That’s because it’s going to happen right now.”

With ring box in hand, Dustin knelt down right in Central Park. “I couldn’t believe it!” Julie says. “I had waited so long for this moment. He opened the box and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Thanks to Diamonds Direct, I got the ring of my dreams.” And thanks to Bedazzled Bridal & Formal in Gastonia, Julie got the dress of her dreams as well, an ivory gown with detailed embroidery and a full skirt.

Though the planning went smoothly, the wedding day didn’t come without its share of mishaps. After an emergency call home to retrieve her forgotten dress, Julie noticed the sky. The hovering dark clouds she had spotted turned into the slanted, “cats and dogs” kind of rain that she had always feared. She wouldn’t let it faze her. “God planned that rain, and I believe that He planned it specifically for me and Dustin,” says Julie.

The rain cleared enough for the photographer from Image Gallery to snap a few outdoor photos and for Julie to notice that her father wasn’t wearing the shirt or tie she had chosen. “I just saw my Dad for the first time,” Julie says. “We’re both crying and he goes. ‘By the way, that shirt that they gave me was dingy.’” Laughing it off, Julie and her father – wrong shirt and all – headed down the aisle to Dustin.

Tears, vows and giggles were exchanged before the couple was whisked away in a 1957 Bentley from Classic Cars by Poffie Girls. At the reception, the couple and their guests danced the night away to music provided by Split Second Sound. “We had a blast,” Julie says. “And people still come up to me saying, ‘You know, we had the best time ever at your wedding,’ and that just means so much.”

Even with all the hiccups, Julie says that at the end of the day, it was perfect. “Dreaming of a wedding for so long, since I was 18 to 24, I have to say it turned out nothing like I expected, but better, and that’s the way it should be.”

Featured vendors

Engagement and wedding rings

Diamonds Direct SouthPark



Carey Roberts Design Co.



Split Second Sound



Image Gallery


Wedding gown and bridesmaids’ dresses

Bedazzled Bridal & Formal


Continue reading real wedding stories! Up next: ’Big day, big plans’