The reality star wed Reece Thomas back on December 9, 2018, in a ceremony and reception at the Board of Trade New Orleans — a historic venue dating back to 1880.
The celebration of their union was put together in a month after Charleston and Thomas learned they were pregnant with their first child, daughter Reece Ellis (born June 12).
“We wanted to get married and we wanted to start a family together, but we didn’t realize how quickly we would be pregnant,” Charleston, 31, tells PEOPLE of Thomas, a 32-year-old operations manager at the Elite Thoroughbreds Farm — whom she previously dated in college and reconnected after her divorce.
“As soon as we found out we were expecting, we said, ‘We have to put things in overdrive and plan our wedding,’ ” she continued. “Both of our moms were adamant we get married before, that’s a very southern thing, and even though I wanted to enjoy the party and some champagne on my wedding day, I also wanted to get married before I started showing. So we jumped in.”
It was “exciting but also challenging,” Charleston says — especially because they were filming a reality show.
To help, Charleston and Thomas turned to “the most fabulous event planners in New Orleans” at Wink Design and Events, who helped get everything together. “They really are like fairy godmothers. They come in and just take care of everything. They got our florist [Herbivore Floral Design], our wedding coordinator [Amanda Price], our photographer [Mateo & Company] and videographer [Chad Dyle] — they just started lining everything up. It was just all hands on deck!”
Charleston had some ideas of what she wanted too, asking for a “traditional, southern, and romantic wedding with as many candles as they could fit in the venue.”
The lawyer and jewelry company owner also wanted to make sure they kept everything local. “It was really important to us to incorporate as many New Orleans business owners as we could, seeing as I have a New Orleans-based business,” Charleston said.
Her team delivered, dressing the Board of Trade with pillars of candles, white linens, and gold dinnerware.
Herbivore Floral Design draped the space in white roses and lush greenery. AdEvent Group wrapped the dance floor with a custom monogram. A champagne wall was set up, and a cigar bar from Cigar Factory New Orleans. Meanwhile, Luminous Events lit the space and provided decor.
“It was the most beautiful room I had ever seen,” Charleston said. What they pulled off in a short amount of time was outstanding. They said they looked like the royal wedding. It was so beautiful, I wanted to live there. I really can’t thank the vendors enough for all they did.”
“Everything was just perfect,” she added. “They were all so talented, knew exactly what we wanted, and really delivered an evening we’ll never forget.”
In the dress department, Charleston took control.
She turned to Pedram Couture for a custom gown, settling on a flowing nude illusion gown with floral appliqués up her low-cut bodice and sleeves, and a blush skirt. She paired it with bedazzled tan heels.
Thomas, meanwhile, wore a black bespoke tuxedo by Fellow Suits, paired with a crisp white shirt and classic bowtie.
Both had on gold accessories from Charleston’s own jewelry line. Charleston wore lion doorknob earrings and Thomas, lion cufflinks and a horse-and-jockey broach.
At the reception, guests dined on meals by Pigéon Catering, who provided traditional New Orleans creole, cajun, and Louisiana food like gumbo, jambalaya, crab cakes, bananas fosters, beignets, and more. “The food was delicious, from what I got to eat,” Charleston joked. “You’re running around so crazy that you never get enough time to enjoy the meal.”
Painter Kelly Boyett even painted the couple a live portrait while all watched.
Looking back, Charleston and Thomas have a lot of sweet memories — from their personal vows to the chocolate grooms cake that included a sculpture of their horse to the tears they both shed at their first-look photography shoot before the ceremony.
But the most special moment? The sex reveal they staged when they cut their cake.
“Zoe’s Bakery made us the most exquisite 5 tier cake covered in sugar magnolias all over it, and dyed one of the tiers pink,” Charleston explained. “And then my maid of honor and Reece’s best man shot off pink confetti cannons.”
“It was so incredible,” she continued. “It was the most magical moment. Everyone started cheering and screaming, it was just really, really special. Very unconventional, but it was my favorite part of the wedding for sure.”
All in all it was a “perfect” day for Charleston, and one she’s excited to relive on Sunday’s Southern Charm New Orleans. “Being on a reality show, some of the moments you relive are not the best,” she laughs, “so being able to do this makes all the rest of it a big sweeter. “
Southern Charm New Orleans airs Sundays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.