Andrea & Stuart
How did you and your partner meet?
Stu and I met in college, sophomore year at a UNC-Chapel Hill Halloween dorm party through a mutual friend, Dana. We were dating other people at the time, so we didn’t think twice about getting to know each other. Fast forward four years later, and we met again in Washington, D.C.! We had seen each other at parties in college but didn’t really talk to one another. After college, I was thinking about moving to D.C. and made many trips to visit close friends to make sure it was a good idea. While visiting D.C., my girlfriend Alexa was close with Stu, so every time I would visit, he’d be around. After a couple of months, I got a job offer, packed everything up and moved to D.C.! Right when I moved, Stu and I made many attempts to meet up in the beginning, but it never worked out. Three months later, Stu randomly called to take me out to dinner for my birthday, and we had the best time ever. Not to mention we had so many mutual friends in common! After I found out his love for dancing like me, we both just couldn’t get enough and the rest is history!
Tell us about the engagement?
When Stu and I started dating, we’d love to post up after a long weekend and drink some wine or champagne at our favorite memorial in D.C., the Lincoln Memorial. On the day of our engagement, one of my coworkers who is one of my closest friends said she needed my help with a photo shoot for work. We work in social media and do shoots like this all the time around D.C. so I didn’t think anything of it. We, of course, started with brunch and then headed to the memorial to take pictures for one of our clients (or so I thought). Since I was playing model, Hannah told me to look at the Lincoln Memorial and pretend like I’m capturing the scene on my phone. All of a sudden, I felt a tap on my shoulder and when I turned around, there was Stu! I was so shocked and my first response was “What are you doing here?” and after a couple words out of his mouth, I quickly picked up on what was happening.
What made Fearrington the place for you to say “I do?”
I used to be in the wedding industry awhile ago so I already knew about most venues in the Raleigh/Durham area. We really wanted to get married in North Carolina as my husband (still so crazy to say) and I grew up here. My mom would always say we should look at Fearrington because one of her close friends’ daughter got married there. After looking at their website and booking a site tour, we fell in love. I knew there was nothing like this in North Carolina and we had to say “I do” at this venue. We loved it so much we didn’t even look at any other venues and I’m so glad we didn’t because Fearrington turned our wedding day dreams into a reality.
Describe the highlight moment of your wedding day.
The whole day was everything I could have dreamed of and more, but the biggest highlight of the day was walking down the aisle and seeing Stu. I couldn’t even look anywhere else but him as I was walking down that aisle. I’ll never forget when I saw him how excited I was to express my vows to him in front of all our closest family and friends. It was definitely one of the best parts of our wedding day.
What was the biggest surprise of the day?
We have an English Bulldog named Millie and when we first started to plan our ceremony, we were going to have her in the wedding. After we found out a family friend couldn’t bring her anymore, we were so upset she wouldn’t be there. After all, she’s our little fur baby. Leading up to the wedding, my mom had asked my maid of honor’s sister to take care of all the dogs for the wedding weekend (my parents have two other dogs as well). When I found this out, I knew I had to ask her if she felt comfortable bringing Millie or not. Since the ceremony might have been too much (she’s still a puppy), I thought it would be perfect to surprise Stu while we were taking pictures just the two of us.
A month before our wedding, Stu kept begging me about a plan to bring Millie to the wedding. It was such a hard secret to keep from him because he asked me every day about it. Fast forward to our wedding day when we started to take pictures. It was a little stressful because group pictures were taking longer than I expected. Since it was my MOH’s sister bringing Millie, she was her point of contact to show her where to bring Millie. At one point, my MOH had to run out during pictures to help assist her sister. It was so stressful because Stu was so confused why she would need to run out while we’re taking pictures. I responded with “I think she needed to go to the bathroom” and Stu said, “But right now?” I definitely think that might have given it away a little bit. We also had groomsmen help out and he at one point ran out as well. After a stressful 10 minutes or what seemed like forever, Stu saw Millie walking towards us. To see how happy he was to have her a part of our special day was one of my favorite surprises of the day.
Anything you want to add about your wedding story?
I cannot say enough good things about Fearrington. We had the best wedding weekend of our lives because of the amazing staff and it truly is a weekend we’ll never forget. We still have family and friends raving about the food, service and the scenic views. Gilda is a wedding fairy godmother and she walked me through every little detail and made sure everything went off without a hitch. From the food, beautiful gardens, and everything in-between, what’s not to love about Fearrington? Any questions or concerns I had, Gilda made sure I felt comfortable and kept everything very organized. My biggest advice to all future brides is the day goes by before you even know it. Soak up every minute and remember to take it all in! It’s a day you’ll never forget!
This wedding was designed and coordinated by Fearrington’s own Gilda McDaniel. Photography by Krystal Kast Photography.