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After The Reception, These High School Sweethearts Drove Off in the Same Car That Took Them on Their First Date

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Olivia Rae James

|Planning by 

Bash Please

When Campbell Millar was a senior in high school, junior Russell Schmidt approached her and wasted no time asking her to wear his jersey to his championship football game. His forwardness paid off. The two dated for nine years and moved into a studio apartment on Elizabeth Street in New York City.

One night, Campbell returned to the apartment after work and found a note on the door. “I opened the door, and there were candles and roses and pictures,” she remembers. “One clue led to another, with all of the clues being little inside jokes, and when the last clue came, I turned around, and he was on one knee. I loved that it was just us. No photographers, no family. Just us in the place where we really started to build a life together.” They celebrated the good news with their large families at dinner before joining friends over the weekend for a romp around their favorite NYC spots. Campbell laughs, “I think the highlight was having an impromptu dance party at Arthur’s Tavern!”

When deciding where to have their wedding, no place made nearly as much sense as selecting Campbell’s parents’ home in Virginia, the very house Russell picked her up for their first date so many years before. While that was an easy choice, confirming an aesthetic was a little bit harder. If Campbell had to describe her ultimate wedding style, she would settle on “modern romantic with a twist.” Ultimately, though, she knew they wanted their wedding to be an experience for their guests.

They originally planned their event for September 2020, but the spread of COVID-19 forced them to change their visions. They postponed to September 18th, 2021, operating under the mindset of “We waited already 11 years to be married, what was one more?” It was much more important to celebrate their nuptials with all of their beloved friends and family. Bash Please took care of the wedding planning, and as Campbell phrases it, “They create magic.”

Finding Campbell’s dress was, admittedly, a labor of love. She had nine different bridal appointments before walking into Honor Bridal. After putting on one of their gowns with long sleeves and tulle, Campbell knew it was the one. “Honor designed it to be more of a mermaid fit, and when I said I wanted it more A-line, they were more than happy to work with me and made the dress of my dreams,” she shares. Working with Honor was so easy that Campbell enlisted them to design her flower girls’ dresses and her mother’s gown. “Giovanna creates beautiful things, and we trusted her completely,” she adds. “We let her run with it, and I loved how it all turned out.”

Campbell wore her mother’s pearls, bracelet, and ring as her something borrowed staples. She confides that she is still shocked by the pearls, but she couldn’t resist their modern flair. The bracelet was her great-grandmother’s and featured diamond flowers, while the ring brought a pop of pink. Campbell also couldn’t believe that she ultimately donned something as traditional as a veil for her wedding day, but her Kamperett accessory was equal parts beautiful and rebellious.

Her low-heeled shoes were the easiest decision of the day. She found them while browsing online and thought they added blue pizzaz to her traditional bridal look. She switched into a particularly alluring Cecelie Bahnsen dress. As for beauty, Campbell advises brides to hydrate their skin as much as possible…and hire an incredible makeup artist like Debie Kim and 10.11 Makeup.

For Russell’s groom look, he sought something more traditional. His suit was a deep navy, which he paired with a black tie and shoes. For his “something unexpected,” he added navy camo lining with pockets.

Campbell’s bridesmaids wore Horror Vacui dresses. “I love their use of color!” Campbell says. “I mixed and matched a couple of my favorite styles. I searched far and wide and ended up getting them all on sale at different times.” As someone who has a self-admitted “thing” for headbands, Campbell’s sisters found the perfect Marta Ferri headbands, even before she sourced all of the dresses. To complement the bright color array of the dresses and headbands, the women all wore classic Loeffler Randall heels. Russell’s groomsmen looked sophisticated in the same navy suits and black tie and shoes that Russell wore. He wanted everyone to look sharp and smart, too.

On September 18, 2021, in her parents’ garden, Campbell and Russell were married by the Reverend who officiated the service of all of Campbell’s siblings. “He knows and loves us and made it feel so special,” she remembers. They picked special readings and prayers and asked a few of their closest friends and family to read. “It was important for us to have our friends and family involved as much as possible,” Campbell says. “Since our wedding party was just our siblings, this allowed us to include other important people in our lives.” They also asked their guests to put their phones away and had the photographers and videographers stand back. Doing so allowed everyone to stay fully present in the moment without any technological distractions.

The reception that followed was simply magic. “There’s just no other word for it,” Campbell asserts. Throughout the tent, there were voluminous bouquets of flowers by Studio Mondine that made the space feel like a magic treehouse. Stephanie Fishwick not only designed the invitations but also created the backdrop for the band. Susan Gage Caterers concocted the dinner with a menu of steak, fish, and lava cake—the couple’s favorite dessert. Later that night, meatball subs and cheeseburgers were brought in, along with Domino’s Pizza.

The band Ground Control collaborated with Campbell and Russel to curate a set list with their favorite 60s and 70s tunes. The newlyweds shared their first dance to Anne Peebles’s soulful “When You Came into My Life.” “We only had our family as part of our wedding party so we were able to keep the toasts short and sweet, but they ended up being the most special part of the evening,” she says. Campbell’s father gave a toast, followed by Russell’s father. Then the couple’s siblings delivered toasts together.

The night ended with Campbell’s bouquet toss. “I  truly believe in quality over quantity, so we didn’t want some big, long after party. We were ready to be together and talk about all our favorite moments!” Honeymoon-bound to France, Campbell and Russell absconded in his old green ’99 suburban. It was the same car they rode on their first date and the same place Russell first told Campbell he loved her.