Southern Weddings

July’s Southern Bride of the Month is squeaking in under the wire in more ways than one — today happens to be the last day of July, after all, AND her wedding is in just three days!! I think you’ll agree after reading her interview, though, that we couldn’t let Charlotte and her sweet middle school romance trot off to married land without a few words of wisdom and advice! Please enjoy this month’s interview :) And P.S. Don’t forget about our amazing Golden Gift Card giveaway going on right now!! Place an order from the Shop before midnight tonight to be eligible!

Howdy! What’s your name?
Charlotte Jean Shartzer (blog here)

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Nicholas Ryan Conklin

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Nik and I first met as middle schoolers in our hometown of Stafford, Virginia. For weeks we exchanged glances and smiles in the hallway, but nothing more. I remember thinking how cute he was and telling all my girlfriends. The summer after my eighth grade year and Nik’s seventh grade year, we were finally formally introduced at a mutual friend’s going-away party. We traded screen names for AOL Instant Messenger – that’s right, y’all! AIM! We began talking regularly, and Nik and his dad would pick me up for our weekly dinner and a movie dates. We officially began dating on August 3, 2003. We dated throughout high school and then Nik made the difficult decision to go away to Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York to play soccer. Our long distance relationship was not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but we made it work. Finally, we are just a few days away from our wedding and could not be more excited to be Mr. and Mrs. after all this time!

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Just the thought of our proposal makes me smile! It happened two Christmases ago. We spent the whole day with our families opening gifts and sharing meals. Just when I thought the fun was over, Nik suggested that we go see a movie. The whole way over to the theater we danced around and acted ridiculous in the car, per usual. Nik masked his nerves perfectly!

We arrived and walked up to the ticket booth where he stopped me. Still not thinking anything of the situation, he asked me, “What is the significance of this movie theater?” I paused and probably looked at him funny. Afterward, I replied, “It’s where we had our first date…” Then, he asked, “Do you remember what movie we saw?” Again, I just looked at him. Nik pulled an item from his pocket and said, “Maybe this will help.” It was the ticket stub from our very first date! At this moment, I knew what was about to happen and I squealed, “You still have that?!” Of course he did. He also pulled out a small hair clip that I had given him that first night.

Nik got down on one knee the same time a movie let out. He asked me to marry him in front of a crowd of people who applauded when I, of course, said yes! Even the girl in the ticket booth was excited and congratulated us on her microphone. We did not see a movie – sitting still was out of the question for me – and instead we left to share the exciting news with our family!

Let’s see the ring!
Nik designed my ring himself using diamonds from his grandmother and great-grandmother’s engagement rings. He put so much thought into my ring and I could not feel more special to be wearing such a beautiful heirloom.

When’s the big day?
August 3, 2013 – our tenth anniversary!!!

Where might you two be tying the knot?
We are having our ceremony and reception at the beautiful Mill at Fine Creek in Powhatan, Virginia.

Tell us a little bit about the wedding you’re planning: style, theme, feel, colors?
I have always dreamed of a simple, romantic, and laidback feel for our wedding. Nik and I both agree that our venue already does a lot of the talking so we really just want to incorporate more meaningful details. For colors, we will have lots of white and ivory, with touches of blush, grey, and my favorite color – teal!

How have you involved your “community” (friends, family, etc.) in the wedding planning process?
For our centerpieces, we will be using antique books and assorted styles of vases. We asked our friends and family to be on the lookout for these and I’m so glad we did!!! At this moment, we have more vases than we know what to do with!

Desi Baytan and Josh McCullock via Every Last Detail

Which part of your wedding have you been most intentional about planning?
Our photographer was the first vendor we booked! Nik and I both love photography. I especially love wedding photography! So finding a photographer was at the top of our to-do list. Laurie from Bee Photographie is so fantastic and has been such a pleasure to work with! She has helped me with so much and truly feels like a friend. I think that’s how it should be!

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
Nik’s Aunt Tina owns a lovely bridal boutique in New Jersey called Wedding Belles. She invited me and my girls up to try on dresses and I honestly could not have asked for a better experience! It was so funny because I went there with a specific dress in mind, but Tina knew better! When we arrived, I pulled at least 10 dresses and as we walked into the dressing room, there was already one dress waiting for me. It was love at first sight. I tried it on first, cried, and proceeded to try on all the others for fun! My dress was designed by Sottero and Midgley – and that’s all I will say for now!

A few other images that have inspired Charlotte!

Tell us about planning with your fiancé. Has it gone smoothly? Is he more involved, or hands-off?
Nik has been pretty involved in planning our wedding day! We went to check out venues together, spent hours researching different photographers and videographers, and shopped at several antique and thrift stores. I gathered most of the ideas for the décor, which he knew was my “thing.” He decided what he and his groomsmen would wear and helped big time with the seating chart. We work best as a team and it’s been fun having his input!

What do you wish you would have known at the beginning of your engagement?
No matter how much time you have to plan, it goes by fast!!! Faster than you think! We had a year and 8 months to plan – so I was always saying that we had plenty of time. Well, before I knew it, we only had 6 months, then 4, and now it’s almost here. Don’t waste any time booking the big things, like your venue, photographer, DJ, etc. They tend to book up quick!

Any plans for a honeymoon? Where do you want to go and what will you do?
Nik has planned our entire honeymoon and I have no idea where we are going. I love to be surprised! He did tell me to pack a bikini and floppy hat, though!

What are you most looking forward to about marriage?
The promise of a lifelong companion and never ending adventures with my best friend!

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
You only get to do this once. We all know that, but those words are really sinking in during these last few days for me. Take time to think about what’s important to you both as a couple and include those meaningful details in your day!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
Married gals, what is your very best advice for the wedding day?

Thank you so much for joining us today, Charlotte! Best wishes this weekend!! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Sara M. reply

    At one point during the reception, I snuck away to the back of the space while everyone was dancing, just to take it all in. It is so neat to see all of your friends and family together having such a good time! Good luck and congrats!

  2. avatar Chelsea Watts reply

    I was very excited to see Charlotte was the bride of the month because I actually know Nick from an organization we were involved with in college. From the first day I met him, he ranted and raved about Charlotte and was so excited about proposing. We talked about his plan quite a bit as I was engaged at the time and tried to give him tips on wedding planning!

    My advice to you for your wedding day would definitely be to take time to breathe. It sounds crazy, but find a couple times in the day to take a minute or two by yourself to sit and take it all in. I thought the wedding planning flew by — but the wedding day goes even faster! Also, another good tip is to not let little details or drama get to you. Something WILL go wrong, but that is ok! You will never remember all those little things when you are married to the love of your life.

    Nick is a very lucky guy!

  3. avatar Kristin reply

    Charlotte!! I couldn’t be more excited about your big day this weekend. I know it is going be to lovely – your sweet love story stole my heart. As for advice for your wedding day – I would simply remind you to live out your own advice to other brides. 1) Do your best to soak in each moment. And try to take a few mental ‘snapshots’ throughout the day of different moments. LITERALLY STOP and take a few deep breaths and take it all in – make yourself make memories. It will be one of the sweetest days and you will want to look back on it with vivid memory. 2) After you return from your surprise honeymoon (*which I LOVE by the way – I did the exact same – and only found out at the very end of our reception where we were going the next day – SO FUN!) take time to jot down a few thoughts about your wedding weekend – how you felt, what you did. I think it makes a great time capsule. Something you will treasure for years to come. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  4. avatar Creative Wedding Signs To Add A Personal Touch To Your Big Day | crazyforus reply

    […] include print, paint/calligraphy, lights, individual letters from a variety of materials, flowering, balloons, and glitter, of course (pictured […]

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