Rachelle Lena Williams, co-founder and CEO of Byrdie Golf Social Wear, and Piers Edward James Wates, a commercial real estate broker at CBRE, were set up on a first date in Roaring Gap, North Carolina, by their grandmothers. “Both sets of our grandparents had summer homes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where Piers and his family would spend their summer holidays,” Rachelle explains.
After seven years together—three spent long-distance from Scotland to Charlotte, North Carolina—Piers naturally proposed to the golf attire founder on their home course. Their first date was spent on the golf course, and at High Meadows Country Club, the 11th hole is dedicated to Rachelle’s grandmother, Lena, who she is named after, so it’s her favorite spot. “After my tee shot on the 11th, Piers got down on one knee and asked me to marry him,” Rachelle recalls. “It was such a pinch me moment, and I know my grandmother was there with us in spirit!”
“Ever since Piers and I met, I dreamed of an English countryside wedding, and his parents’ lovely home in Surrey was the perfect backdrop for a marquee reception,” Rachelle says. The ceremony was held at St. Mary’s & All Saints village church. “Poet William Morris called [it] the most beautiful country church in all of England.” Between the bride and her future mother-in-law, the two planned the whole wedding weekend. And Petyton’s Post by Peyton Thorp and Arzberger Stationers set the tone with a beautiful invitation suite.
Rachelle knew she wanted to wear something down the aisle that she’d still love in 20 years and found her perfect Monique Lhuillier high-neck gown. The bride worked with the lovely team at Monvieve to create a veil that complemented the simplicity of the dress. “To be honest, I never wanted to take the veil off!” Rachelle exclaims.
On the day-of, the bride got ready with a beauty team from Quelle Bester. She then put the finishing touches on her ensemble with her grandmother’s Tiffany drop diamond earrings and Mach & Mach heels. The bridal party complemented Rachelle perfectly in custom The Vampire’s Wife silk dresses.
Piers looked handsome in a bespoke morning suit, created by John Kent of Kent & Haste, who holds a Royal Warrant. “We were together for his first fitting in London, and I was waterworks seeing him in his morning suit for the first time,” Rachelle recalls.
On September 10, 2022, the bride and her father passed under a beautiful floral arch by Amie Bone Flowers before walking down the aisle. “Piers and I both wanted a very traditional English service which consists of lots of hymns,” Rachelle explains. The church only sat 120 guests, so an auxiliary tent was placed outside for English guests who didn’t travel very far. “My favorite part of the ceremony was the fact that we could hear our English guests singing from outside the church…The congregation also took a special moment of silence for the late Queen Elizabeth which is a part of the weekend that we will never forget.”
Once announced as a married couple, vintage London buses took everyone to the poolside cocktail reception. At 3:00 p.m., speeches began under their Sperry marquee. A three-course meal of local veggies and lamb from Rhubarb followed. “Since the two of us have such a sweet tooth, we couldn’t just decide on one dessert, so we opted to serve mini tiramisus, crème brûlée, puddings, and donuts for the table as well as lots of dessert wine, cheese, and port,” Rachelle shares.
The newlyweds hit the dance floor for their first dance to “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison. Afterward, Rachelle changed into her second look and was ready to cut a rug with Carterello Band. Understandably, one of her favorite parts of the night was when two friends decided to pick her and Piers up on their shoulders, while “Shout” was playing.
After the reception, the new mister and missus were driven to The Goring Hotel in London, where Kate Middleton stayed the night before her wedding day. “We ended the evening with a martini nightcap at the bar, where we were still sporting our wedding attire,” Rachelle says. “We woke up the next morning and immediately ordered their world class eggs benedict, which I now crave daily!”