Alli & Matthew
How did you and your partner meet?
Matthew and I first met when we were both assigned a top-secret CIA mission in Thailand. Mr. and Mrs. Smith actually happens to be a documentary about us. Matthew and I first met on the summer league swim team of our neighborhood pool, just before we started university. We went to the same high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, but fortunately didn’t meet until the summer after we graduated (fortunate because we both had some growing up to do at the time!). We ended up both heading off to college at UNC-Chapel Hill. That’s where we really hit it off.
Tell us about the engagement?
Matthew took a knee at the water’s edge of Falls Lake in Raleigh. It’s my favorite spot to trail run, meditate, swim, throw sticks for my dogs, pray, all the good stuff in life. He had left several sweet notes along the trail with details of love everlasting and reasons why we’re good candidates for it. I agreed with all of them and said, yes, of course, I would marry that gem of a man.
What made Fearrington the place for you to say “I do?”
Mom and I trekked to several venues, with Fearrington being the last we visited. Good thing we held out because, my word, what a venue it was. We wanted to get married close to Chapel Hill, as that was where Matthew’s and my friendship hit the ground running. We wanted to be outside because nature is the best and the place we feel closest to our Jesus. And lastly, we wanted a destination that would feel homey to our in-town guests and charming to our out-of-town guests. For all of those desires, Fearrington delivered beautifully. In fact, I didn’t realize how important several of those items were to us until we set foot in Fearrington.
Describe the highlight moment of your wedding day.
The highlight for me was rounding the corner and seeing my sweet boy at the end of the aisle. On a broader note, I think the highlight for everyone was the cow that mooed when we said, “I do.” My aunt said it was a bovine blessing.
What was the biggest surprise of the day?
I assumed that we would have a sunny wedding, especially because it was supposed to be an outdoor ceremony and reception. But Hurricane Harvey had other plans for us. So we moved our ceremony to the Garden Terrace and our reception to the Barn. I am so glad it rained. This setup was completely perfect for our group and the rain added such an aura of magic to the afternoon. One of my favorite flashbulb memories is my parents and I watching the bridesmaids at the beginning of their walk, standing in a line, holding white umbrellas just as the sun leaked through the clouds. And of course the cows were at the fence to witness the spectacle and moo.
Anything you want to add about your wedding story?
Gilda, Katelin, Mary, and the staff effortlessly brought us all onto one team. I’ve never felt so cared for. Truly, there was nothing stressful about any of the wedding planning process thanks to them. I love tradition, and even more, I love contentment and joy. I love joy that comes from everyone in the room celebrating love that unites people of every age and stage. We were blessed with a beautiful wedding, but much more importantly, we were reminded that God and His children are everything.
This wedding was designed and coordinated by Fearrington’s own Gilda McDaniel. Photography by Melissa B.