Emily, a Londoner, met Kaleb when his career took him to Surrey for a year’s work placement. As he returned to the US, their time apart was miserable. Before even their first scheduled visit, Kaleb knew Emily was the one and traveled back to London for a surprise proposal. Naturally she said yes, and their fairytale romance inspired their London-meets-Charleston wedding: their theme? Southern charm meets English rose. A ceremony at the stunning French Huguenot Church gave way to a reception at the Legare Waring House where Tiger Lily created a whimsical and unique atmosphere with painted gold pineapples and mini champagne bottle place cards for the ladies and kALEb home-brewed beer for the gents set amongst greenery garland centerpieces. Kaleb and his groomsmen wore mixed socks of American and UK flags, the perfect symbol of a perfect pairing. We’re head over heels for the beautiful images captured by Catherine Ann Photography!
How did you meet?
We met at work in a little village in Surrey, England where Kaleb was over on a year’s placement from South Carolina. We first met at our department kick off meeting in the lunch line. “How are you?“ Kaleb asked. “Fine,“ I giggled as I quickly grabbed my food and scurried over to sit with my colleagues. Needless to say, that didn’t stop Kaleb’s pursuit and after a few email exchanges and drinks out together with colleagues, he plucked up the courage to officially ask me out on a date! We had our first date in a quaint borough of London — Clapham Common — at a beautiful little candlelit restaurant. It took that one moment to know we were destined to be together — though Kaleb would argue he knew from the moment he caught the smile of a beautiful girl at lunch in Surrey!
What is your proposal story?
After a wonderful year together in the UK, Kaleb’s work visa was up and he flew back to the US at the start of the year to begin his new role. However, we planned for me to join him in the US for a few weeks in the Spring. The months we were apart were horrendous and seemed to drag on forever. But, as Spring approached, I started to get excited about jumping on a flight to the US and finally being reunited with him again. Two days before I was due to fly out to the States, my best friend Katy had planned a girly day out. She told me it was a day full of my favorite things, but wouldn’t tell me any more. Blissfully unaware of what we were doing, I followed her to London — to a lovely wine bar that Kaleb and I would often go to while he was living there — The Humble Grape. “I heard you love this place” she said as we approached the bar. As I walked in, we were seated at ‘our table’ — a perfect little spot by the window that Kaleb and I would often sit at and always joke that was ours. Suddenly, Katy got a phone call and had to leave (I should have caught on then, but this was not at all unusual for Katy). It was then that I heard a familiar song over the speakers, one that was a reminder of the American South and that no one in the UK would ever know. It was then that I realized, this was far too much of a coincidence! I glanced across the bar and saw the love of my life walk towards me. “What are you doing here?” I asked, half in tears. “I think you know why I’m here,” he replied with a cheeky smile on his face. Still in shock, the moment didn’t hit me until he got down on one knee. I was in so much shock that tears of joy started running down my face. “Yes!” I said and nodded, as Kaleb pulled a box from his pocket. “Hold on,” he said, “I haven’t even asked yet!” to which we both started laughing. We sat down at our table and the manager brought over a bottle of my favorite champagne. Kaleb planned every detail including working with the chef to do a tasting menu of some of my favorite foods including strawberries with cream and patatas bravas — the first thing he ever cooked for me. We spent the next few minutes Face-timing our family in England and America, but there was one more surprise. Just down the road, my friends and family had started to gather in one of our other favorite restaurants — No. 32 The Old Town — for a ‘surprise going away party’ for me. Little did they know that it was me going to be giving them the surprise. As I walked in, they all yelled “surprise!” — then looked at Kaleb and did a double-take. “What are you doing here?” they asked in shock. Kaleb smiled and looked at me as I lifted up my left hand. No words were needed as the room erupted in screams followed soon after by the sound of champagne corks popping.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important thing to us was that our family and friends from all over the world could combine and join in one big party. We chose to have long tables with a family style dinner so that everyone could sit together and get to know each other by sharing and enjoying the food. For us it was also important that everyone had a yummy drink in hand and good music to dance to – so we splurged on the bar, offering signature cocktails, a champagne tower (because, if you can’t have that at your wedding, then when can you have it?) and a fabulous live band, playing swing and pop all night. We also invested in an incredible photographer and videographer – who both captured moments that we will treasure forever.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
There were so many amazing moments, but the one memory that will last with me forever is Kaleb’s speech, during which he shared a story about a trip he took to Argentina when he was 18. On that trip, he came across a local Argentinian jeweler who made his crafts by hand – most of which involved a stone called Rhoda Chrosite, known as the stone of the compassionate heart. Kaleb bought the stone in the hope that one day he would give it to the love of his life. Over 10 years later, that dream came true.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Be sure to take time and remember that it’s about you two. Stay with each other throughout as much of the day as you can. Laugh together, cry together and dance the night away together – and it will be a day that you will remember forever.