Erin Connelly can thank the New York Times for playing a role in introducing her to her future husband, Brooks Reitz. The clothing designer and co-owner of design store, The Commons, had recently relocated to Charleston and had read a review in the paper about a great new local restaurant called The Ordinary. Brooks just so happened to be the general manager there. “When I walked in the front door, Brooks immediately greeted me and within a few minutes, brought me and my girlfriend glasses of Champagne,” Erin recalls. “We started discussing our businesses and he asked me out to lunch under the guise of ‘networking.’ On our second lunch date I realized not only were we not networking, but I had met the love of my life.”
Just three short months later, the couple moved in together and then two years down the road, Brooks proposed with the help of his eight-year-old son, Finn. “Brooks asked him during a recorded phone call for his permission to marry me, and his son said, ‘Totally!’ ” Erin explains. When they were later in a hotel room during a trip to London, Brooks asked Erin to press play on his phone. “This wasn’t unusual, I often listened to cute voice mails from his son. But with this one, I was in total shock and when I turned around Brooks was down on one knee.” While Brooks was too nervous to travel with Erin’s engagement ring, a family heirloom, he didn’t show up empty handed. Instead he brought a beautiful white dress for Erin to wear that night when they went out on the town to celebrate their engagement.
The morning after the proposal, Brooks and Erin headed out to the English countryside and visited a coaching inn they were both excited to see called The Olde Bell. “We fell in love with it and thought, ‘What if our family and a few close friends came and we just did it here?” she remembers. “No other plan could match that for us, so we booked it!”
With the venue all set, Erin then turned to finding the perfect wedding dress, and again found exactly what she was looking for during that same trip to London. “I have always been a huge fan of Roland Mouret and dreamt of wearing a piece of his one day,” she says. “I happened upon a store and spent an hour in there looking at his latest creations.” She later found a dress of his that she liked online, tried it on, and bought it. “First dress—done.”
The day of the ceremony, the bride and groom were joined by 30 guests in a small room at The Old Bell, where Brooks’s dad officiated the ceremony. “Luckily we have the printed copy of what he said because all I remember was staring at Brooks,” she laughs. “Those moments of exchanging vows were absolutely the most powerful moments of my life; such sheer joy to have found this partner in life.”
The new Mr. and Mrs. Reitz and their guests then headed to the reception in the back garden of the inn, where they were greeted with Pimm’s cups and a toast given by the bride’s parents that kicked off the evening. Later, everyone moved inside, where a traditional English dinner of meat pie and potatoes was served. “It was so British, we couldn’t resist!” Erin explains. The couple then danced their first song as husband and wife: “Sugar” by Stevie Wonder. “That started it off right and soon a basket of wigs came out and a sweaty dance party ensued.” Before the party ended, the couple had one last surprise in store for their family and friends: a midnight curry feast. “We had an adjacent room set up with pillows, lanterns, and chicken curry,” says Erin. “It was absolutely perfect!”