Chase & Rachel Mills
February 24, 2018
Photograph by | Adam + Dawn Photography
Their love story almost didn’t happen.
As students at Missouri State University, Rachel had noticed Chase around campus for almost a year and a half. “I was definitely drawn to him,” she said. She never talked to him, but one fateful night the two ended up at nearby tables at MSU’s Meyer Library. “I was there studying for a test at one table, and she was next to me probably not studying,” Chase teases.
Rachel asked Chase to watch her stuff while she went to the restroom, but she really just went to text her friends about the cute guy she was sitting by. She came back and gave him her name: Rachel Choe. “She told me her last name, but it’s pronounced ‘Che’ so I could never find her on Facebook,” he said. “There’s like 150,000 Rachels within a 10-mile radius of us.”
Fast forward a couple months. Rachel and Chase separately went to Tropical Liqueurs downtown. “After a long night of drinking, she walked up to me at Trops and she asked, ‘Do you remember who I am?’” “I knew exactly who he was,” Rachel adds. “I said ‘library’ and it all came back to him.” They went on a date that weekend in 2014: A movie and Wendy’s.
And the rest, as they say, is history. The pair got engaged two years later. Chase made the moment special by taking Rachel on a scavenger hunt full of riddles around places in Springfield that held significance for the two: Trops, Meyer Library and finally, they ended at Sequiota Park, Rachel’s favorite. “I disguised the whole scavenger hunt as a news station contest,” Chase said. It was an elaborate ruse. “The news station had me sign fake consent forms,” Rachel said, laughing. “He really pulled it off. “It just showed me how much he cared about me.”
Two weeks later, Rachel picked out her dress. Shortly after, they had their venue and many of their vendors. “It seems like the big decisions all really fell into place,” Rachel said. “We fell in love with the venue and we ended up booking it that day.” Chase said it was important they have a big venue to comfortably accommodate as many friends and family as possible. They had nearly 300 at the wedding.
Rachel said she did most of the planning, and Chase helped them budget and save where they could. “I learned the less I say, the better it gets,” he joked, adding: “She put hours and hours of work into it. Without her, it wouldn’t have been anything like we dreamed of.” Rachel said she turned to Pinterest for inspiration. She transformed the venue with draping and lighting. Their colors were blue, white and silver; the perfect tones for their winter wedding. The bouquets were white with a touch of greenery.
They had six bridesmaids and six groomsmen. Rachel’s cousin was the flower girl and Chase’s cousin was the ring bearer, who helped make one of the memorable moments of the day. “He walked down the aisle with his hands on his eyes because he was nervous,” Chase said. “The flower girl thought he was laughing at her, so she started crying.” Another memorable moment from the ceremony was the pastor’s message. Chase said the pastor made references to Shel Silverstein and John Steinbeck. “I grew up reading Shel Silverstein books,” Rachel said. Chase added, “I used to use John Steinbeck as an alias back in high school as a joke.” Rachel and Chase both wrote their own vows. Chase wrote his the morning of and Rachel also wrote hers that morning, at 2 a.m. The night before the ceremony, to honor Rachel’s Korean heritage, the couple had a traditional Korean “paebaek” ceremony. Rachel said she knew it was important to her grandparents, so the couple found traditional Korean outfits, “hanbok” and had the ceremony with close friends and family.
The most treasured part of the day was the first look. It was raining the day of the wedding, so this took place in the master suite at Hotel Vandivort. “Those pictures were really special,” Rachel said. “It gave us a chance to be less nervous during the ceremony and got the ugly crying out the way… It was really – real.” Chase said, “When you see the person you fell in love with and you’re going to give your heart to in white, it’s just something so pure. She’s always beautiful, but she was especially beautiful that day.” The first look also gave the two a chance to be alone and savor the moment.
For couples planning their weddings, Rachel said to not sweat the small stuff and don’t let friends or family talk you out of something you want to do.
Chase’s advice? “Tell the groom to stay out of it,” but seriously, he said to remember to put each other first. “Try to stay positive and build each other up. Understand it’s a stressful time and you’ll work through it,” he said. “After it’s all said and done, it’s a day you can remember forever.”