Rachael and Chelsea’s Wedding
“We loved being able to show up as ourselves to host a ceremony that was meaningful to us and our people.”
Tell us your love story, how did you two meet?
We met in the summer of 2016 in Atlanta, while Chelsea (she/her) was finishing her last summer of Montessori teacher training. Our first date was to see Melissa Etheridge and Pat Benetar in concert at Chastain Park, an outdoor amphitheater. Rachael (they/them) said they knew that night that “we belonged together.” We began a year of a long-distance relationship before Chelsea moved to Atlanta permanently. Our love story over the last four years has had chapters of both tragedy and triumph but our relationship is inspired by a “commitment to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth” (thanks to bell hooks).
Why did you choose the SAHC Community Farm as your wedding venue?
We love NC and have a history with the state and mountains. We wanted our ceremony to give back to the land while also being able to be in the nature we love and appreciate. We love SAHC’s mission and how they implement it!
Which photo do you love the most?
In the months leading up to the ceremony, we both talked often about the beautiful, historic tree. When we first visited it still had all of its leaves! We love all of our photos, but those of us at the tree (even without the leaves) reflect the completion of the cycle from planning and imagining to the manifestation on that day.
When Rachael saw Chelsea: “I was completely overcome with emotion. You looked like a Stevie Nicks goddess coming through the sunbeams. And you just had a really bright smile and I was really excited.”
Did you have a theme for your wedding? Tell us about it!
The theme was to include whatever made us feel most like ourselves. We wanted the physical and emotional space to feel true to how we spend all the other days of our life together. So: mugs, coziness, the moon, books, art, illustration, & music, natural beauty, blankets, and snacks!
What did you love most about having your wedding at the Community Farm?
We loved the views, the intimacy and light of the indoor spaces, and their Lauren’s openness to our ideas and requests. It was important that our wedding wasn’t over-produced or assumed to include capitalist or patriarchal traditions. We loved being able to show up as ourselves to host a ceremony that was meaningful to us and our people.
Tell us about a special part of your wedding ceremony.
The moments just prior to the beginning. We set an intention to be present, not to rush, not to go through the motions. So after welcoming everyone and settling in, when we realized it was time to begin Rachael and I shared a hug and did some breathing together. These moments reminded me of our connection and helped ground me at the moment.
Tell us about some special elements of your wedding that you loved and the vendors who made that happen for you.
We’re so grateful to SAHC for adding sweet details to the education center like the string lights and the bonfire. Lauren’s presence and excitement kept us going during the planning of the details. Our friend and photographer, Merritt Chesson, is a dream of a person and professional – we knew the photographs she took of us and our guests would capture everyone just as they are. The staff at Curate were accommodating in letting us put together a totally custom tasting menu for the evening with no detail overlooked. And our friend and “Co Queer Guardian Angel” master of the ceremony Jenna recorded all of the audio from the day so we can relive the moments as they sounded then!
What is your advice would you give to couples planning their wedding now?
Give yourself permission to check in with you and your relationship dynamic. Allow yourself to make your ceremony a reflection of the qualities of the people and the qualities of your relationship. Throw out arbitrary expectations that may force you to go through the motions.
Remember that the wedding is not the marriage and that the latter is probably worth more effort 🙂