Renée Brockinton initially met Jay Farmer in Washington, D.C., through mutual friends after they graduated from college. “We didn’t run in the same circles though,” explains Renée. “We were living separate lives.” It actually wasn’t until after she left D.C. to attend business school in Dallas, TX, that they really connected. “Two couple friends were getting married, and we ran into each other at both of those weddings,” says Renée.
The couple dated for two years with the first six months being long distance. “I was in Dallas and Jay was in D.C.,” says Renée. “But it was a really fun and playful time. I remember planning outfits for my weekend visits to D.C. and constantly looking forward to seeing him every third or fourth weekend. I knew he liked me when he invited me to go with him to Mexico for a week with another couple. We had only been dating for about two months at this point. After I finished business school, I moved back to D.C. to be close to him. I was so in love that I would have moved practically anywhere to be closer to Jay. I knew he was the person I wanted to marry after our first date.”
Even though Renée felt they were destined to end up together, she didn’t see the proposal coming. “We joined one of Jay’s family friends on vacation in the Outer Banks, NC, and it was actually pretty comical,” remembers Renée. “We were the only non-family members there, and we had to share a bedroom with his best friend’s little sister. There were two bunk beds, and Jay and I were both on the bottom bunks and his friend’s sister was on one of the top bunks. Needless to say, after a few nights, we left to stay at the Sanderling Inn. I was completely blown away when he popped the question on the beach one evening. We were walking along the ocean, and all of a sudden he got down on one knee. Jay had to come to Charleston a few weeks prior to ask my dad for permission. As cheesy as it may sound, I can honestly say the day he proposed was the best day of my life. Jay had a hired a photographer to take candid pictures of the proposal. I never saw her, and he surprised me with the pictures four months later on my birthday.”
Jay picked a classic ring—yellow gold with a single cut round diamond. “But, when he proposed, I didn’t even look at the ring,” says Renée. “It wasn’t until afterwards when he started talking to me about it that I noticed how beautiful it was. He picked it out himself, and I love it. But he could have tied a string around my finger, and I would of been fine.”
The couple decided to have the wedding in Renée’s hometown of Charleston, SC. “We were married in Grace Episcopal Church, my grandmother’s church,” says Renée. “The reception was at Hibernian Hall. We wanted a traditional Charleston wedding, and mother was really the brains behind the whole event. She planned everything. I just wanted to marry Jay and left a lot of the details of the planning to her. This was music to her ears, and she ran with it.”
Renée’s dress was designed by Monique Lhuillier. It was strapless, and she had lace sleeves added for the ceremony. Renée wore her hair half back and kept her makeup simple. “I wanted to look like myself,” she says.
For entertainment, the couple enlisted the Atlanta Showstoppers as their band. “They not only played great music, but created some real unforgettable moments,” remembers Renée. “Jay singing to me on stage was one of them.”
After the reception, everyone went next door to the Mills House Hotel for the after-party. “Meanwhile, we left on a rickshaw from the reception and road around Charleston for about 30 minutes,” says Renée. “Then we came back to the Mills House and hung out with our friends until about 2:00 A.M.”