Austin Peyton and Rachel Rupert first met in April 2010 at a mutual friend's birthday dinner, and while their relationship didn't instantly take off, the foundation was laid for their future. Their paths crosses again a few weeks later and this time, Austin knew he had to make a move. "He made a bold move and had our friend put my number in his phone," Rachel remembers. The pair dated for years while traveling weekly for work — she took a job as Miss Coors Light for NASCAR and he was on the racing circuit as a client manager for FUEL Sports Management Group — and, on March 25, 2014, Austin proposed in a wine cellar at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego, California. "It was such a special night for us and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world," Rachel says.
The pair decided on an April 3, 2015 wedding at the Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the perfect city for their nuptials; the couple spent many getaway weekends in the sweet southern city and had been considering Charleston all along for their big day. But what finally sealed the deal was learning one of their favorite movies, The Notebook was filmed there. "When we found out the movie was filmed at Boone Hall, it just added to our love of the plantation," Rachel says. "It's truly a magical and romantic place." They worked with Megan of Ooh! Events to create a romantic blush-hued bash and Aura Marzouk Photography was there to snap photos of Rachel and Austin's spring nuptials.
Studio R Design created a classic white-and-gold invitation suite perfect for the couple's big day. A tree motif captured the style of the plantation, which is covered with oak trees dripping in Spanish moss.
Rachel admits she tried on over 40 wedding dresses before finding "the one." "I fell in love with so many but I didn't feel like a bride in them," she recalls. "I couldn't describe it, I just knew I didn't have that 'feeling' about any of them." Once she slipped into a beaded lace sheath from Casablanca, she knew the search was over.
She kept her accessories minimal, adding only diamond studs, her late grandmother's wedding ring, and a cathedral-length veil. "I put the veil on and instantly knew it was right," Rachel says. "It felt so ethereal — very Boone Hall." Her ivory-and-peach bouquet was made up of peonies, hydrangea, garden roses, heleborous, and greenery.
Rachel's bridesmaids all wore convertible Jenny Yoo gowns in a soft pink shade. Each attendant styled their straps however they felt most comfortable and carried bouquets comprised of pink peonies, white hydrangeas, ivory garden roses, and blush ranunculus.
Austin and his groomsmen all wore slim fit charcoal grey suits. "It was a soft yet groomed look," the bride says. The groom finished his look with a ranunculus boutonniere while his attendants all added grey succulents to their suit jackets.
Their ceremony aisle was lined with Shepard's hooks holding glass vases of peach-and-blush garden roses, white peonies, and dusty miller. They chose not to have an altar, opting to let Boone Hall's stunning oak trees serve as their backdrop.
Before Rachel made her entrance with her father, the couple's flower girls, dressed in white gowns with ivy flower crowns, and their ring bearers walked down the aisle. During the ceremony, the bride and groom recited their personalized vows and Rachel hardly made it through the ceremony once Austin closed with a line from The Notebook: "He said, 'And just like a man who stood here before us, 'It's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, everyday.' There wasn't a dry eye around," Rachel says.
Cocktail hour included miniature versions of crowd-pleasing comfort foods, like grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters, slider and mini solo cups of beer, and crab cakes. Guests sipped on watermelon-cucumber martinis, the couple's signature cocktail and the bride's favorite drink.
Instead of a traditional guestbook, the couple left an empty album and Polaroid camera on a table just outside the reception. Guests snapped photos and left them inside the book with notes for the couple to read.
The couple decorated their reception space with grey farm tables, white fishback chairs, and plenty of gold details. Gold-rimmed chargers, flatware, and vases filled with bright pink peonies and dusty miller added a sense of glamour and romance to the rustic space.
After a dinner that included everything from seared tenderloin of beef and mashed potatoes to fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, the couple sliced their three-tiered white wedding cake. The frosted confection was beautifully decorated with peonies and ranunculus, but the real treat was inside — three layers of flavors, including Italian cream with cream cheese filling, strawberry cheesecake, and white chocolate.
Rachel and Austin shred their first dance to John Legend's "All of Me" before inviting their guests to join them on the dance floor.
For a favor, Rachel and her father bottled up jars of flavored moonshine for each guest. "The jars actually said 'Love' on them. It was a family project and they were a huge hit!"
The newlyweds, who left the reception in a flurry of sparklers, honeymooned in Bora Bora. Aside from hiring a photographer and videographer you love, Rachel suggests future brides remember to stay true to who you are as couple. "It's your day, not anyone else's. Make decisions as a couple and stay focused on that."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Boone Hall Plantation || Wedding Planner & Rentals: Megan Chandler of Ooh! Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Casablanca Bridal || Earrings: Kate Spade || Veil: The Lily Rose || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Jos. A . Bank; J.Crew || Florist: Out of the Garden || Invitations: Studio R Design || Guestbook: Paper Source || Music: Patrick Davis; EPIC Charleston || Catering: Cru Catering || Cake: Ashley Bakery || Accommodations: Restoration on King || Videographer: Life in Rewind || Photographer: Aura Marzouk Photography
Want more Southern wedding inspiration? Check out one couple's casual bash in Tennessee in the video below!