While out to lunch with colleagues, Tamara McGill found herself the recipient of a refreshingly romantic gesture: a handsome man just a few tables over had sent a restaurant gift card her way. Enclosed was a note that read, “Hello, I think that you are beautiful, and I would like to take you out sometime. If not, enjoy a drink and an appetizer on me.” That bold stranger turned out to be Tino McFarland, and while Tamara did not initially accept his offer, one day she did. “I kept the gift card and note, and eventually decided to give him a call,” says Tamara. The two ended up meeting for dinner that night and immediately hit it off.
After a sweet courtship and a quiet proposal at home, Tamara spent over a year planning the big day, ensuring every detail was perfect. One part of that planning process was submitting an application for her bridal party to be on “Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids.” “I wanted to do something fun with my bridesmaids,” says Tamara, “so I submitted an application, and within 2 hours, the producers called me and invited us to film an episode!”
Tamara and her ‘maids had a drama-filled blast finding their dresses at Bridals by Lori in Atlanta. “Two of my bridesmaids are stylists and each thinks she know fashion better than the other, so I’m sure those two will end up being portrayed as the ‘villains’ of the episode, but it was all in good fun.” The episode will air next season, but here’s a spoiler: The ladies ended up selecting three different styles in various shades of pink, which perfectly fit the wedding day theme of romantic elegance.
The wedding ceremony and reception were held at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, and both were lovely, but it is the ceremony that Tamara cherishes most. “Getting to the end of the aisle is my favorite memory from the day,” says Tamara, whose father passed away when she was 16. Wanting to include her father in the wedding day, Tamara carried a locket with her dad’s photo to represent him walking her down the aisle. She also honored the three other most important men in her life, her twin brother, her older brother, and her stepfather, who each walked her part of the way down the aisle.
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“I did a pretty good job holding back the tears as I walked down the aisle,” says Tamara, “but after my older brother handed me over to my stepfather, I realized the significance of the moment and cried because my dad wasn’t there for it. But then Tino caught my eye, and I realized that it was going to be okay. My dad might not be here anymore, but Tino is and always will be.”
Split Second Sound
Diamonds Direct SouthPark
Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and Williams Sonoma, registry
The Ritz-Carlton Bar Cocoa, cake
Royal Events & Design, flowers
Brides by Demetrios, gown
Neiman Marcus, shoes
Brides by Lori, Watters and WToo, bridesmaids’ dresses
Nordstrom, Men’s Warehouse, tuxedos
Diamonds Direct SouthPark, rings
Tracy Riggs of Tracy Riggs Salon, hair
Terri Craft, makeup
Charlotte Strings for Events and Split Second Sound, music and entertainment
The Pros, cinematography
Rev. JR Covington Jr., clergy
The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, ceremony and reception location
The Kee Group, Tamara Hundley Events, Extravaganza, Favors in a Flash, rental providers
Royal Rides, transportation
Grace Riddle, Ritz-Carlton Special Events Manager, Nalini Eldridge, Event Attendant