Kalei Hannon and James Regan were meant to be from the beginning. When Kalei decided to go back to school for her second bachelor’s degree at Queens University nestled in the heart of Charlotte, she ended up meeting the love of her life. James Regan was a Red Bull rep who serviced Kalei’s aunt’s and uncle’s store and grille where she worked and in May 2011, after having never had the chance to speak to him at work, Kalei spotted James while she was out with friends.
As they began talking, the pair learned that they would both be moving into the same apartment complex the following week and James even offered to help her move! In a sad twist, the very next day, Kalei’s father passed away after a battle with cancer. The whole summer, James remained kind and supportive of Kalei as she mourned. By the time the Panthers football season started up, he convinced her to go watch a game with him — and they have been together ever since!
When looking back at their beginning, Kalei says, “God put my future husband in my life the day before he took my father, knowing things would work out exactly how He planned for us.”
On March 13, 2015, Kalei’s two best friends came into town and they had a fabulous girls’ day filled with champagne and catching up. James came home with a present for Kalei and when she opened it up, there was a stuffed animal puppy with a collar around its neck with a heart-shaped tag that read “Please” on one side and “Will you marry me?” on the other. When Kalei looked up, James was down on one knee and he asked Kalei to be his wife. While he had originally planned to use the real puppy he got for Kalei, she says it was her perfect proposal because she got a husband, a diamond and a puppy all in the same day!
Before she was even engaged, Kalei knew she wanted to have her wedding reception at Foundation for the Carolinas and after finding out that their first available Saturday wedding date was the same day as her parents’ wedding anniversary, she knew it was meant to be! Working closely with her wedding planner, Mandi Boyles at Social 10 Events, Kalei and James planned their perfect wedding day. From the colors and the cuisine to the letters they wrote each other and their music and dance party, Kalei’s and James’ wedding day encapsulated their personalities and their relationship perfectly.
Leading up to the ceremony, Kalei and James decided to go the traditional route and not do a first look but they did choose to write letters to each other and exchange gifts. For their letters, Kalei’s was written on stationery and James’s was on yellow legal pad paper — a testament to the many notes over the years that he has written for Kalei and a sweet reminder of their courtship up to their wedding day. As a wedding gift, Kalei got James a Tag Heuer watch that he could wear while diving and he got her a new David Yurman blue topaz ring that she wore as her “something blue” for their wedding day. When asked about how they felt on their wedding day leading up to the ceremony, Kalei says, “Everything went by slow and fast at the same time,” and that she really couldn’t wait to see James and for him to see her. James, who is terrible at keeping and waiting for surprises, says, “The anticipation of seeing Kalei in her dress was almost too much to handle.” When he saw her walk down the aisle, James says, “She took my breath away and was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.”
Growing up, Kalei’s father always gave her butterfly kisses before bed. When she left for college he would end their phone conversations with, “I love you! Butterfly kisses.” She even made him a CD when he was diagnosed with cancer that had the song “Butterfly Kisses” on it with a note telling him that when she found the man she was going to marry, she wanted to dance to that song for their father/daughter dance. With those sweet memories in mind, Kalei’s mother introduced the father/daughter dance song and surprised Kalei by playing a voicemail saved from her father that ended with his signature, “I love you! Butterfly kisses.” Kalei’s little brother then danced with her to the Bob Carlisle song and afterward they went to the balcony at the Foundation and released butterflies in his honor.
For their cocktail hour, the couple had butler-passed hors d’oeuvres that included skewered watermelon bites, miniature baked brie en croute, salt and juniper spec ham, crispy pork belly and duck confit. For dinner, they decided to go with various stations that included a salad station, a seafood station with oysters on the half shell, sushi and ahi tuna and a composed plate station of grilled beef tenderloin.
After a night of eating, dancing, crowd surfing (yes — you read that correctly) and celebrating, Kalei and James made their exit through glow sticks to a rickshaw decorated with a “Just Married” banner. Their honeymoon destination? Bali for two weeks! Their first week there, they stayed in the jungle and immersed themselves in the culture and during their second week, they ventured to the coast and did the classic tourist adventures like riding elephants, touring holy temples and rice fields, hiking and swimming in waterfalls, shopping the local market, scuba diving/snorkeling and enjoying a private romantic dinner on the beach.
Their advice to couples planning their wedding right now? First, invest in good vendors. Second, designate a time during the reception to carve out just for the two of you. Lastly, soak in as much of it as you can because after all, you two are the reason for the celebration!
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Regan! May the vows you made to each other last an eternity and the love you have for each other never fade.
Venue: Foundation for the Carolinas
Photographer: Old South Studios – Julie Staley
Videographer: Cuff and Veil Wedding Films– Doug Kereszturi
Bride’s Gown: Winnie Couture
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy Collection
Hair: Lindsey Burchfield with William Henry Salon
Makeup: Jenny Le with LuLu Beauty Lounge
Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Formalwear: Joseph Abboud, Men’s Wearhouse
Flowers: Lily Greenthumbs – Karen Greenoe
Catering: Best Impressions Catering
Music: Swingin’ Richards – East Coast Entertainment
Cake: Wow Factor Cakes
Wedding Planner: Social 10 Events – Mandi Boyles
Church: Unity Presbyterian Church, Fort Mill, SC
Transportation: Rose Chauffeured Transportation and Trolleys of the Carolinas
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