Mary Randolph + Charley

I was struck by his chivalry. He also had a killer haircut.

Charley and I were introduced at a barbecue. He offered to drive me home; I didn't think that much of him until I noticed that he didn't drive away until I had closed the front door to my house. I was struck by his chivalry. He also had a killer haircut.


For our first date I thought he was taking me to a baseball game. Turns out I was just tagging along with him and his two best friends. We ditched the other two guys later that night and went out for tacos. We split the check, which I appreciated.

We'd been dating about a month and were sitting across from one another at his dining table on a Sunday night when Bob Dylan's "Make Me Feel Your Love" started playing. We locked eyes and it was perfectly clear to me that I was going to marry him. It was eerie. He says he knew weeks before that. We'd only been dating a few weeks and he just exhaled one morning: "I am so in love with you." I was shocked.

Four months after we started dating, he asked me to marry him on New Year’s Eve. I said yes, but we kept that a secret for years. He proposed again with a pair of vintage things because the engagement ring he'd ordered got lost in the mail.

I was somewhere between being pumped to throw a big party because I have a huge family, and saying fuck it and going to City Hall. In the end I went full on.

We held our wedding at my grandparents' home on the Rappahannock River in a small town in Virginia. The home dates to 1680 and we were married in the grass behind the house, overlooking the water. My dad walked me down the aisle to the same Bob Dylan song that had played when I realized I was going to marry Charley.

The craziest part was needing to tell the makeup woman FIVE TIMES that I didn't want airbrushed foundation. She kept telling me I would look washed out in photographs. I stood my ground. I couldn't believe this woman would argue with a chill bride three hours before her wedding.

Our band was incredible, they performed mostly nineties hip hop and R&B, and lesser known Motown. People danced until around 2 am, with an iPod hookup at that point. The peak of the night was when my brother and my husband's cousin performed an impromptu synchronized striptease to N'Sync's "I Want You Back."


One thing I wish I'd changed would have been staying with my future husband the night before the wedding.  I would have gotten a much better night's rest, and I would have loved to have started the day with him. I think it would have centered me.


Pics by Jesse Chamberlin