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Rachelle & Chris have their dream wedding!

In May 2010, Rachelle Friedman suffered a horrible tragedy just a month before her wedding. She survived an accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down after breaking her C6 vertebrae. Remarkably, her spirit is unbroken and her fiance (now husband!) has been right by her side throughout everything. In fact, the love she and Chris share is stronger than ever.

When those of us here at 1-800-Registry heard about Rachelle's amazing story and positive attitude, we knew we could help. After all, weddings are our specialty! We are thrilled to have given Rachelle and Chris their dream wedding in their home state of North Carolina on July 22, 2011. Read on to find out more about the wedding planning and the wedding itself!


The Planning Blog

The Honeymoon

I'm not sure Chris and I could truly explain what this trip meant to us, but we will do our best to try! We left early the morning after our amazing wedding for a one-night stop in Las Vegas! We had a great dinner inside our hotel which was Mandalay Bay and then headed to see The Lion King! What a breathtaking show! We crashed that night but we were excited to do a little bit of gambling for the first time. I am pretty good at roulette but should have stopped while I was ahead. I still doubled my money though!

That day we hopped a plane to the islands of Fiji! We were greeted warmly before taking a helicopter ride to Tokoriki Island Resort. They sang a welcome song and got us super excited to be staying on this particular island. Our bure was so tropical and romantic. We spent our time relaxing by the pool when we were not signed up for an adventurous activity. Chris enjoyed scuba diving for the first time while I sunbathed on the boat. I also accompanied Chris on his fishing trip and got some great photos of the 3 fish we caught. We sent them back to the village for their dinner. Our favorite times on this trip by far were the times spent in the Fijian village of Yanuya across the water from the resort. We bonded so much with many villagers and so we plan to stay in touch. We visited the village school and participated in the Fijian welcoming ceremony of the exchange of cava. It is made from a root which actually numbs the mouth. It's not the best tasting stuff but Chris and I went for it. The last night and day were so sad. But the night was sure fun regardless. Some guests who were women from Australia wanted me to teach them line dancing since I had told one lady I used to teach it to senior citizens. It was difficult to explain without being able to show them but it worked! They were so excited to learn. We also did some karaoke with the Fijian musicians at the resort. It was so fun and we seriously made some amazing memories and friends. We can't thank 1-800-Registry enough and we will cherish our time there forever.

Blog post by Rachelle Chapman


The Big Day!

Rachelle and Chris finally exchanged "I do's" in an intimate, romantic ceremony with their closest friends and family members surrounding them. On July 22, 2011, they began a new chapter in their lives. As hoped for, the "rustic, elegant, fun" feel to their big day was achieved through amazing decor and personal touches at every turn. Sunflowers were everywhere! Alongside the ceremony chairs tucked inside blue jars, decorating the huppah from top to bottom, and on each and every reception table at the Fearrington Barn, even on the three-tiered wedding cake. During the ceremony, while Rachelle's five bridesmaids stood behind her (resplendent in their gorgeous blue dresses) and Chris's four groomsmen stood behind him (dapper in three-piece dark suits and ties that matched the bridesmaids dresses), Rachelle and Chris faced each other while they said their vows. Chris was seated so he could look into Rachelle's eyes while they exchanged vows.

Rachelle and Chris took a few pictures in the field just outside the barn during the cocktail hour, while guests enjoyed an "adult lemonade stand"--sweet tea with sweet tea vodka and lemonade--a perfect beverage to cool off with in the southern heat and humidity. Entering the barn to "Purple Haze" in honor of their alma mater, East Carolina University, Rachelle and Chris danced their first dance to Rascal Flatts' "Won't Let Go." (Trust me when I say there was not a dry eye in the house watching them!) Then, guests were invited to eat the buffet lunch of a mixture of southern favorites like mac and cheese, fried okra, seafood, steak and an assortment of fruit and cheeses.

The best man, both maids of honor, and both fathers all offered heartfelt toasts to the happy couple. Afterward, Rachelle and Chris cut their cake (fun-fetti, Rachelle's favorite flavor!) and made their way throughout the crowd dancing, talking with friends and family, and enjoying themselves. At the end of the reception, guests lined up and blew bubbles into the sunshine as Rachelle and Chris made their way out only to be greeted by one more surprise: Toyota and The Braun Corporation gave Rachelle and Chris a 2011 Toyota Sienna with a BraunAbility conversion. They drove off, ready to begin their happily ever after.

The day after their wedding, Rachelle and Chris flew to Las Vegas, where they stayed for one night (courtesy of Mandalay Bay), enjoyed dinner and a show (The Lion King, tickets also courtesy of Mandalay Bay). The next day they flew to Los Angeles for their flight to their ultimate honeymoon destination: Fiji. We'll provide a few fun honeymoon details and photos for you when they return!

Post by Jennifer Glatt, 1-800-Registry Wedding Planning Manager  

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About Rachelle and Chris

We both grew up in VA Beach, VA, just miles apart. My grandmother's home was (and still is) only a few blocks away from his childhood home. We both went to the same community pool in the summer, we had the same dentist (my uncle), he bought his CDs from a music store my cousins owned, and even shopped in my father's army navy surplus home but we never met until college!

It was more like a sisterly/brotherly relationship we created. Could have never imagined dating him! We went to the rec center a lot to work out together. We just had a lot in common. I just couldn't see what was right in front of me. Things changed that summer after he ended a long-term relationship that really hurt him. I was there when he needed to talk. Feelings started to develop and it seemed obvious where we were headed. I had never even had a boyfriend before so I was so scared to start dating with one of my dearest friends. We went on a walk at night around the area of his lake house holding hands (which was weird for me). I was actually rambling on about some of my best girlfriends were in possessive relationships that I think at the time tampered with their personalities. He asked me as we walked towards the house if I ever see myself in a relationship. I said of course. He said do you see one with me and I said yes...BUT. Chris still jokes that I said no and stomped on his heart. I told him I was scared and not ready. A week went by after where we were apart and I couldn't get him off my mind. At the end of the week we crossed paths visiting family in VA Beach. He picked me up around midnight and we headed to the oceanfront. As we hung out on the beach I told him I was ready. We watched the sunrise. We were a couple!

The next night we ate at a restaurant called Duck Inn and had our first date. I'd never had a guy buy me dinner! The Duck Inn was a long time local establishment that ended up being demolished and replaced with condos. After dinner we headed to the same spot where we had been the night before on the beach. There, we shared our first kiss. We consider 65th St. to be our spot. We go there sometimes to hang out. We love hanging out with our friends and hitting the town, chillin' at the lake, movies, and just being close. Our main activities before I was hurt were athletic. He's gotten into road biking so I'm super excited to get a handcycle. We also used to play tennis. I'm hoping to get a tennis chair so I can kick his butt again!

Q & A...

What do each of you do for a living?

Chris is a 7th grade science teacher in rural NC. I was a program coordinator at a center for active seniors. I planned a calendar of events, taught aerobics and line dancing.  I also coached some vibrant senior lady cheerleaders who compete in the NC senior games!

How long did you date before getting engaged?

4 years

Describe your courtship leading up to the proposal (things you liked to do, places you went, etc.).

We loved going to the lake and wakeboarding, tried some snowboarding, camping, and playing tennis. Loved going out with our friends in downtown Raleigh. And of course going to ECU sporting events and cheering on the East Carolina University pirates!

Can either of you recall a time from when you were dating that made you think, "This is the one"?

I can't think of one moment. Neither of us can.  But it starts to feel obvious when after years you still get excited to see each other.

How did he propose?

He told me his parents were going to give us a gift of a fancy dinner for our anniversary. I brought a dress on that particular VA Beach trip to show his mom but I had no shoes!  We went to buy them but we had a reservation and he started to hurry me along. I'm like why do we have a reservation anyways!  We left just in time and we headed to the restaurant. He wouldn't park at the restaurant and I was wondering why he'd rather walk. We then sit down and I started ranting about a friend whose boyfriend was being a jerk. I brought up old fights between us. I was making it as hard as possible for him! He redirected the conversation and kissed me across the booth. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes over and over. He stood up and yelled to the restaurant, "This is Rachelle and she just agreed to be my wife!" Everyone cheered!  He started to lead me upstairs and I was confused. As I started walking, I saw our entire family!  He had organized everyone perfectly so that they could look over the balcony as he proposed. We could then celebrate our engagement!  That's why he wouldn't move the reservation when I was shopping a why he wouldn't park there. Super sneaky!

How long was your engagement?

Supposed to be 1 yr but it will now be 2 yrs

What effect has your accident had on your relationship?

It's been very difficult adapting to my new life and it has affected our relationship. I feel we've proved our love for one another and have become stronger.  We try to laugh at ourselves and stay positive. We also make sure to do as many "normal" things as possible with each other. Whatever we need to do to have fun, we do it!   One way we connected to each other before my injury was through physical activities/ sports. I want to get back to that but I need some equipment and sunny weather. We are so in love and we just feel like our wedding is even more meaningful.



Their Honeymoon

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Tokoriki is in the Fijian Islands in the heart of the South Pacific. The country is comprised of 330 magnificent islands spread out over more than a million square kilometers of tropical ocean.

Tokoriki Island Resort is the northernmost island in the Mamanuca group. Away from the hustle and the bustle of the other larger island resorts in the group, you have the feeling of being on your own private island retreat when you are here. No outside noise, or other resorts boat activity, just peace and quite and tranquility at its best. Visitors can experience Fijian culture with a visit to our local Village, visit the Sacred Islands or Monu Island for a secluded picnic, go hiking or try an Island hop, kayak around the island, play tennis or ping pong, enjoy volleyball or simply soak up the sun by our horizon edge pool.

The Resort's Senikai Spa uses Essence of Viti products. Designed and created locally, Essence of Viti utilises the natural products of Fiji such as Papaya, Coconut, Frangipani and Algarine as inspiration.

Deluxe Beach Bures
Stretching alongside Tokoriki's beach front, the 26 Deluxe Beach Bures command a captivating vista easily enjoyed from the sun lounge on the private deck. With the established tropical gardens comes a feeling of seclusion, the ideal environment to luxuriate in the outdoor shower. The freestanding Deluxe Beach Bures are furnished in a fusion of contemporary island style and Fijian design.

Sunset Pool Villas
Perched in an elevated position adjacent to the beach, the 8 Sunset Pool Villas combine privacy with panoramic views across Tokoriki Island's sheltered lagoon and fringing reefs. An expansive deck area incorporates a private horizon edge plunge pool, his-and-her sun lounges and a cabana complete with a daybed from which to relax and take in the magic sea views. The outdoor shower is a must to try with the lush gardens and swirling rock wall assuring privacy. Both the living area and bedroom feature double fold out doors that seamlessly extend the living space and frame the spectacular views.

Experience Fijian culture with a visit to our Village, indulge in a decadent spa treatment or simply soak up the sun by our horizon edge pool. Tokoriki Island Resort in the Mamanucas will provide you with an authentic experience of Fiji. Our friendly and accommodating staff are your hosts and their genuine hospitality is memorable.

Their Vendor List
Here's a list of the vendors who have so very kindly offered their expertise and assistance with Rachelle and Chris's wedding:

Wedding Coordinator Erin Mclean
Erin Mclean Events
Groom & Groomsman's Suits Men's Wearhouse
Men's Wearhouse
Photography Martha Manning
Martha Manning Photography
Life Stage Films

Life Stage Films

Ceremony The Fearington House
The Fearrington House
Jewelry Swifts Fine Jewelry

Swift's Fine Jewelry

Honeymoon Destination Tokoriki

Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay The Lion King
Transportation Braun Ability
BraunAbility and Van Products
Island Hoppers
Island Hoppers
Honeymoon Registry 1-800-Registry
Music The Bluegrass Experiment
The Bluegrass Experience
Morse Entertainment
Morse Entertainment
Hair and Makeup Sheer Bliss
Sheer Bliss Salon
Made-Up by Lindsay Morse
Made Up
Guest Favors
The Miami Project
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
Press | Media

For press or media inquiries regarding Rachelle and Chris's wedding, please contact:

5W Public Relations
888 Seventh Avenue, Fl.12
New York, NY 10106
Main: (212) 999-5585
Fax: (646) 328-1711