Lia & Rob

Lia and Rob tied the knot on April 29, 2016. These newlyweds said their “I do”s under the Willow Oaks and danced the night away in The Barn!

How did you and your partner meet?
Well, I would say it was one of those moments where I looked up from my books in the library to see this handsome guy walk in with his coffee and a eight hours of studying ahead of him, but no . . . I basically picked him up in a bar on Roatán, Honduras, and wouldn’t let him out of my sight for the week he was on the island. I am what you might call “determined,” and so when he left the island to head to Houston for a few weeks of work, my computer “broke” (actually, it did), and the closest port of entry to the US where I could get it fixed was, well, Houston coincidentally! And so the spiral began in the spring of 2008 . . .

Tell us about the engagement?
So my lovely mother, who has worked for the CHCCS system for about a quarter of a century, retired last year, and in celebration, she planned a trip for the family to Tuscany. She rented a 500-year old villa on a beautiful vineyard and we all piled into the charming – yet sweltering – old building.  Rob was coming off a rotation in Papua New Guinea where he was working as a drilling engineer, and was tired but in good spirits. Needless to say that a week with your partner’s family, a herd of buzzing nighttime mosquitoes, with no fans or air conditioner could potentially be a deal breaker.

However, we left Tuscany and headed for Rome where he surprised me with a night at the Waldorf Astoria, which is perched on a small mountain overlooking the city. He played it off as a sort of high note start to our vacation, as our real adventure was just beginning. We were headed to Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania for a three week safari excursion with gorillas, chimps and of course, The Serengeti. I thought nothing of it, and just figured that the complimentary champagne, tarts, other platters of goodies, etc. were just typical of the Waldorf experience. I also thought the eight plus course dinner and multiple bottles of expensive wine and bubbly were just a little cherry on the cake for our apparent entrée into vacation.

But when we got back to our room, Rob grabbed a bottle of champagne that had been left for us while we were out – again, I was like, “man, this Waldorf place has great service” – and we went to the balcony. He then caught me off guard by proposing while overlooking this city of what the painter Giotto referred to as “The city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”  And in all of my wisdom and wine buzzing, at that moment, I knew that those echoes that wise, old Giotto was referring to, in our case, are in the stories of our journeys, the illusions in the unknown future to come, and the yearning in the many accomplishments yet to be realized. So obviously, I said yes.

What made Fearrington the place for you to say “I do?’
Fearrington was an easy choice for us. As Rob is from Australia, and I grew up in Chapel Hill, we did think about meeting somewhere in the middle, say Mexico or Hawaii. But when it came down to it, neither one of us wanted to make planning a wedding a full time job – I did a TEDx talk less than three weeks before the wedding which I was way more stressed about. So we chose Fearrington because it’s beautiful, the staff know what they’re doing and we thought it would be a unique opportunity for many of our friends and family from around the world to find an excuse to come to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Describe the highlight moment of your wedding day.
There were so many, I can’t even pull one out to rank it higher than other moments. I loved getting ready in our gorgeous suite. Filled with anticipation, I took peeks out of the garden window to watch loved ones pile in, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years. I was ecstatic to see my bouquet. I guess I’m a sucker for beautiful, fresh flowers. Seeing our photographer, Graham Terhune show up in my suite put me at ease – we went to high school together and his bow tie made me happy. I really appreciate the details and the way in which Cheryl-Anne, our wedding planner, and Erin, our Fearrington planner, made everything flow. From bringing my Dad in for some time before we walked down the aisle to having a spare pair of shoes ready for me for after the first dance, everything just felt so perfect, I am still reeling over the entire experience. I only wish that we had more time in the evening, as it seemed to fly by so quickly.

Anything you want to add about your wedding story?
For someone who never dreamed of a wedding or a perfect day or even marriage for that matter – yup, I was a marriage/wedding cynic for a long time – Rob and I walked away from our wedding experience wondering if we’ll ever have that much fun again. Everything was way beyond our wildest imagination.

Not only were things just beautiful and perfect from the food to the stunning flowers to the ambiance in the rooms, but everyone present created a magical vibe that I’ve never experienced before.  We had people come in or come from all seven continents. People of all different backgrounds descended onto Chapel Hill/Pittsboro, and just melded into this perfect conglomeration of character and spirit. And though I will only get to wear my sparkly Jenny Packham dress once, which I loved – who knew? I walk away hoping that someday we can all reunite and recreate some semblance of the time we shared on our wedding day with some of our favorite people on this planet.

And the best part about it all was that it was easy. We didn’t stress over logistics or details, and yet we have zero regrets or feelings of shortcomings.  We simply enjoyed one heck of an awesome day and would do it again in a heartbeat!

This wedding was designed and coordinated by Fearrington’s own Erin Day and Cheryl-Anne Kast of Kast Events. Photography by Graham Terhune.

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