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Natalia + Levi’s wedding was a beauty despite the couple’s not-so-extravagant budget. It’s really an inspiration to many of us (myself and Emily included!) who love shopping flea markets for great surprises. Many of our favorite details were items that Natalia and her mother found while scouring flea markets and antique stores. French doors that displayed table assignments were a steal for $20! Natalia’s mother saw an old house being torn down and paid someone to have the doors delivered to her house instead of being discarded. We love how Natalia + Levi paid homage to the South with their dessert fare. A cake buffet and a “white spot,” a Krispy Kreme donut with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle, paired with Coca-Cola filled tummies all night until the gorgeous sky lantern send off. It’s food that we won’t see anywhere in Paris, but honestly, who’s complaining? That’s why we love the South. Thanks again to Melissa Schollaert Photography for sharing!

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: (From the groom) I thought the old cotton warehouse where the reception was held was really cool. I loved seeing how all of the wedding décor complimented the original architecture. Oh, and Hairy Dawg was awesome. Like, REALLY awesome. Go Dawgs!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? My mom likes to tell me that I have champagne taste and a beer budget. With our big ideas and strict budget, she and I were forced to get creative. We scoured antique markets and found beautiful things in unique places. For example, she saw a construction team tearing down an old home and offered a guy $20 to deliver the beautiful old French doors to my parents’ house. We used the doors at the wedding to display table assignments. It wasn’t always easy, but we had so much fun together on our adventures!
Did you try anything new or untraditional? My godfather, who is like my second father, walked me part way down the aisle and then handed me off to my dad. It was a surprise to me and really touched my heart. My florist and I devised a plan to surprise the mothers. She left two peonies detached from the rest of my bouquet. When I got to the end of the aisle, I was able to pause and present each mother with a peony and a hug before stepping forward into the altar area. We mixed up our bridal party and had both bridesmaids and groomsmen stand on both sides of the altar. I didn’t want it to feel like they were here for only the bride or the groom, but rather for us as a couple.
Describe your wedding cake: Classic City Confections baked the most delicious assortment of cakes! Levi and I cut into a two-tiered red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting in a rosette design. Other flavors included French vanilla with raspberry and pistachio, coconut with lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut with sea salt caramel icing, strawberries and cream, and a chocolate turtle groom’s cake baked by Levi’s sister. Guests also had the option to have Coca-Cola floats and Krispy Kreme donuts – our homage to Atlanta!
Tell us about your grand exit. Our exit was one of my absolute favorite details. Our guests gathered outside the barn and formed a circle around Levi and I and we all released sky lanterns. The view of the sky lanterns floating across the night sky was nothing short of magical!
What advice would you give to someone planning his or her wedding? Hire vendors that you trust implicitly. Working with people who you know will follow through will save you so much stress. Also, never forget that the process is supposed to be fun! If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right. Don’t let anyone tell you a wedding has to have or be anything. Want to wear a purple dress and serve cotton candy instead of wedding cake? Do it! A wedding, as traditional or untraditional as it may be, should always celebrate the couple.

Photographer: Melissa Schollaert Photography // Planner: bride, Epting Events // Designer: bride, Epting Events // Venue: Tucker Plantation // Florist: MG Floral // Wedding Cake Baker: Classic City Confections // Caterer: Epting Events // Bridesmaid Dresses: Paul & Joe Sister // Bride’s Dress: Casablanca // Hair Stylist: Scoobie West // Makeup Artist: Scoobie West // Bride’s Shoes: Max Studio // Bride’s Jewelry: earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane // Bride’s Veil or Hair Accessory: veil by Brenda’s Bridal Veils, hair flower by DK Designs // Bride’s Other Accessories: belt from Daniel Design // Groom’s Fashion: Indochino // Groomsmen Fashion: groomsmen’s own // Paper Goods: Red Table Stationary // Rentals: Epting Events // Linens: Epting Events and Cloth Connection // Table runners: screen printed by Satisfactory Print Shop // Reception Décor: cake mugs from Anthropologie, heart pine table tops from Epting Events // Lighting: monogrammed gobo from Epting Events and Live Event Solutions

Love this wedding? You might also like these Real Weddings:
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Melissa Schollaert is a member of our fabulous Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
13 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    I love absolutely everything about this wedding. From the cotton bouts to the sky lanterns to Krispy Kreme! Gorgeous, and so much inspiration for planning my own wedding.

  2. avatar Amy reply

    Absolutely beautiful wedding! I’m planning a southern destination wedding in Charleston, SC and I love every single detail! I hail from Colorado but I think I’m really a southern girl at heart. I am wondering what the source is for “The South” sign? That is a detail that I would love to incorporate into my own wedding if possible!

    • avatar Natalia reply

      Hey Amy! There are several online sellers, but this was the first website that came up. Hope this helps! :)
      http://store.finishingtouchesetc.com/southsign.html

  3. avatar {chicago wedding photographer] Caroline Ghetes reply

    Wow! I love that table runner. And the bride’s hair is so beautiful! She has a stunning face!

  4. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    Beautiful wedding! The last few photos are gorgeous!

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  6. avatar Floral Cotton reply

    SOOOO CUTE! Love the cotton place markers. We have cotton!

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  8. avatar Dorijean reply

    I absolutely love the personal touches. I am doing similar things and was wondering about the lanterns. I have always wanted to do it and thought my wedding would be perfect since we aren’t really doing a send off. So I was wondering if there was any laws you had to follow. Or if there were restrictions as per say a fire hazard or something? Thanks for the info and pictures.

  9. avatar Savannah Perkins reply

    Were the table numbers purchased or DIY?

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My sister and I just booked our hotels for our March trip to Paris! It made me extra excited, then, when Emily told me we’d be featuring Natalia + Levi’s wedding on the blog this week. When Natalia + Levi planned their Georgia plantation wedding, they had one thing in mind: the shabby chic combo of the style of Parisian flea markets and the warmth of Southern cotton fields. If Parisian flea markets look anything like this wedding, then I’m already a fan! I love how the couple’s pink and gold invitation suite was the perfect hint at what’s to come and how glitz and glamor still made an appearance in the small details — whether it was the gold foil envelope liners or the bejeweled bridesmaids’ dresses. I say this about a lot of things, but I really mean it when I say I’m completely smitten with N + L’s altar setup. The fireplace mantel and rug were finds that created the feeling of home at the altar and were repurposed after “I do.” We can’t thank Melissa Schollaert Photography enough for sharing!

Want to see more of this Real Wedding? Pick up a V4 to take a look at their feature on pages 190-198.


How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Levi and I met our senior year of high school during a college tour at the University of Georgia. We immediately fell in love, but not with each other (that comes later!). We both fell in love with Athens, Georgia. Four years later, we both graduated from UGA and started planning a Southern affair in the same town where we met and built our relationship.
Describe the proposal: In December 2009, Levi took me on a ski trip in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for my Christmas present. Being the Christmas freak that I am, Levi humored me by walking around the streets with hot chocolate in hand, enjoying the lights, decorations, and carolers. We walked along in the snow and next thing I knew, Levi was down on one knee! I, of course, acted like a doofus and kept asking him if he was joking. I hadn’t seen it coming! He reassured me that he was, in fact, not joking and for me to please stop asking if he was. I think his exact words were “Darn it, Natalia, it’s a real diamond! So, yes?” My answer was somewhere along the lines of “uh, YEAH!” (Alas, I’ve never been one with words).
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, romantic, and surprise-filled.
How many guests attended your wedding? 125
Favorite design element of your big day: I’m still completely in love with the antique mantel that we used at the ceremony. Anything with white chippy paint pulls at my heart strings and the mantel is no exception. I can’t wait to find the perfect spot for it in our house. Combined with the heirloom rug, pitcher, pillar candles, and various floral elements, the end result couldn’t have been more romantic.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: Finding my wedding dress was by no means an easy process! I was completely jaded by wedding dress television shows. I probably tried on about 100 dresses and became extremely frustrated that I wasn’t crying or having any of the other emotions you see on TV. When I got to La Raine’s, my consultant gave me advice that completely changed my outlook on the process. She told me that sometimes you don’t have an “ah-ha!” moment. Sometimes, the dress becomes truly special because it’s yours. She was right. I bought a dress that day and made it my own by ordering a custom belt from Etsy.
Briefly describe your wedding flowers: The flowers were simply amazing! The personal flowers were exactly what I had envisioned. Pat was able to maximize my budget by using flowers with full blooms to create the biggest impact. She used peonies, hydrangeas, ranunculus, anemones, tulips, and baby’s breath throughout the reception. She knocked it out of the park! My co-workers in the floral department of Epting Events, Bart Scott and Leigh Frazier, provided the beautiful wreath and log arrangement for the mantle at the ceremony. They took my vision and propelled it to new heights
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: Our entire ceremony was perfect. From the aisle mowed out of the tall grass and antique fireplace mantle as the altar, to the mixture of bridesmaids and groomsmen on both sides of the aisle, the entire ceremony was very “us.” I was also able to surprise my mom, a huge fan of gospel music, with a choir performing “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” for the recessional. They sat among the other guest and surprised everyone at the end, Love Actually style!

Photographer: Melissa Schollaert Photography // Planner: bride, Epting Events // Designer: bride, Epting Events // Venue: Tucker Plantation // Florist: MG Floral // Wedding Cake Baker: Classic City Confections // Caterer: Epting Events // Bridesmaid Dresses: Paul & Joe Sister // Bride’s Dress: Casablanca // Hair Stylist: Scoobie West // Makeup Artist: Scoobie West // Bride’s Shoes: Max Studio // Bride’s Jewelry: earrings by Kenneth Jay Lane // Bride’s Veil or Hair Accessory: veil by Brenda’s Bridal Veils, hair flower by DK Designs // Bride’s Other Accessories: belt from Daniel Design // Groom’s Fashion: Indochino // Groomsmen Fashion: groomsmen’s own // Paper Goods: Red Table Stationary // Rentals: Epting Events // Linens: Epting Events and Cloth Connection // Table runners: screen printed by Satisfactory Print Shop // Reception Décor: cake mugs from Anthropologie, heart pine table tops from Epting Events // Lighting: monogrammed gobo from Epting Events and Live Event Solutions

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Melissa Schollaert is a member of our fabulous Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
13 Comments
  1. avatar Ashley reply

    What kind of flowers are those in the first picture?

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  3. avatar caroline reply

    Absolutely love the invitations!! Can I ask where they are from??
    xxoo! Caroline

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Caroline! Natalia’s invitations are from Red Table Stationery (http://redtablestationery.com/). Hope that helps!

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  9. avatar Michele reply

    Can you tell me more about the altar rug? I think it’s a beautiful detail and would love to find something similar. Thanks!

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Oh, New Orleans. If I had to pick one place in the South to attend a wedding in, it would be this romantic, historic city in Louisiana, and Nolan and Steve’s secret garden-esque wedding is only making that desire stronger! The New Orleans Botanical Garden was the perfect place for our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Elyse of Tying the Knot, to bring Nolan and Steve’s vintage, organically glamorous vision to life. Emily and I are headed to Bridal Market this week, and I must say, Nolan’s striking Claire Pettibone dress has me more excited than ever!

Thank you kindly to Ashleigh Jayne for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted something off-white or gold, and I wanted it to scream vintage and delicate. I had done a lot of research, so I knew Claire Pettibone was my best bet. As soon as I put my dress on, I knew it was the one. Luckily, Claire was visiting from California and she worked with me to ensure that the dress would fit my petite frame perfectly. Her meticulous attention to detail and that lace truly set the tone for the wedding. I see my dress as a piece of art. It is currently on a vintage form in our house so I can see it every day!

Describe your wedding flowers. Kim Starr Wise and her team added our pop of color. My florals included camellia foliage (my ode to the South), olive branches (to symbolize peace), peonies, ranunculus, dahlias, and green amaranthus. Kim also created this amazing garland that draped the large tree at our ceremony to create an ethereal effect. It was gorgeous!! She also created several organic wreaths that lined the aisle and were repurposed on the reception walls.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes! Steve and I have so many mutual friends and we are so close to each other’s families, so we wanted to get pictures out of the way so we could spend time with them. I was most looking forward to the cocktail hour because it was around a koi pond with string lights at dusk, and I didn’t want to miss that! It was so lovely to see each other prior to the ceremony.

Instead of writing our own vows, we are going to say vows at a personal ceremony on our first anniversary. I think a lot of growth occurs in the first year of marriage, and it is important to look back over the year and see how you can improve, communicate more effectively, and grow as an individual to better your marriage. One thing we changed in our ceremony was the wording at the end of our ceremony from, “You can now kiss the bride” to “You can now kiss the love of your life,” to make it less traditional and more about the union between the two of us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? New Orleans is the perfect place to represent the South’s diverse culture and our delicious cuisine. The soundtrack of our souls fill the cobblestone streets and the old oaks covered in Spanish moss paint every background. The French aura, old architecture, and richness are the definition of romantic. My husband and I don’t plan on moving down South anytime soon, so I knew this was my one chance to show our friends and family where I come from. We wanted an ethereal, natural setting that complimented our vintage glam theme, and we could not have found a better venue than the New Orleans Botanical Gardens situated in the heart of City Park. We wanted it to feel like a secret garden wedding, where people could roam the gardens into the dark hours and enjoy the scenery beyond the wild dance floor. The Botanical Gardens were the perfect backdrop to our day of love.

I worked with an outstanding team of vendors, and of course, my wedding planner, Elyse, was our glue. My vision changed several times, but I always stuck to my core: it had to be vintage, feel organically glamorous, be in a garden, integrate the oaks, and have epic music. Like most things in my life, I wanted to create an imperfect medley of the old and the new. I randomly found Steve’s lion cufflinks at a flea market, ordered vintage stamps that illustrated the states we have lived in, wore my great grandmother’s ring as my “something blue,” and found wedding photos from the 1800’s to add rich history to our tables.

Our first dance was “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison, as it depicts the journey that marriage truly is. Music is life’s soundtrack, so we also made an album that our guests can listen to forever.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Over ten years ago, I dug up my firmly planted Southern roots and ventured out west to Colorado. In exchange for the hundred-year-old oaks, I was surrounded by rugged Rocky Mountains and narrow aspens that rained gold in autumn. Looking back on it now, I’d say giving up that sweet tea was worth it because I found the one soul that makes mine complete. Steve and I met during the first week of college, and it was not love at first sight. I was straight out of LA, “Lower Alabama,” and he was a too-cool-for-school Southern Californian. As a petite lil’ lady, I saw him and immediately jumped into his lap for a bear hug. Not. So. Fast. He had boundaries and I crossed them. It took many months for our friendship to blossom and we did not start dating until two years into college. I told him I’d marry him after the seven-year itch and we got married a month shy of our eight-year anniversary.
Tell us all about the proposal! We went to college together in Boulder, Colorado. We didn’t hike often, but when we did go, we always went on one particular trail. After college, we moved to San Diego and then relocated to Denver. One Saturday morning, Steve planned a hike to go on “our” mountain, and we packed a bottle of wine and cheese, remembering that it as a long, hard hike. It only took us 30 minutes! We were at the top of the mountain in no time, and I wasn’t about to start drinking at 10 A.M., so we each had our coconut water instead. He had me pour it into a dixie cup (which was odd) and then we said a toast. We toast with something we’re grateful for for every drink or meal, so this wasn’t unusual, but then he went pale. I asked him if he was okay and stepped away to look at the view of Boulder. Seconds later, he came up behind me and presented the ring. Of course, when he asked, I said yes!
When did y’all get married? April 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I had the bridal party walk down the aisle to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” I think this song is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and it is also so meaningful–our entire wedding party consisted of mutual friends who have been with me and Steve since day one. I approached my soon-to-be husband to “Fools Rush In” with the irony that it took us eight years to tie the knot.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Cheryl at Bittersweet Confectioners made the most delicious and gorgeous cake a bride could ask for. I wanted a simple, textured, tiered cake so that when we added florals, they would pop! It was the best cake I’ve ever had!! I ate it for days following the wedding.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My biggest advice is to plan ahead and find help. So many decisions can get overwhelming and it’s great to have various perspectives. Take it day by day, and don’t get bogged down in the details. People appreciate details, but they don’t pay nearly as much attention to them as you do.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a home! We are looking forward to some down time this winter, to cooking, to spending time together without the wedding planning stress, and to our honeymoon in Japan next fall.

Photographer: Ashleigh Jayne / Videographer: Bride Film and Street Car Films / Planner: Elyse Skansi of Tying the Knot / Venue and Catering: New Orleans Botanical Gardens / Florist: Kim Starr Wise / Cake Baker: Bittersweet Confections / Rentals and Lighting: Event Rentals / DJ: Larry DeWitt Music Source / Ceremony Music: Harry @ New Orleans Classical and Jazz / Paper Products: Paper Source / Bride’s Gown: “Eloquence” by Claire Pettibone / Bridal Salon: Little White Dress / Bride’s Jewelry: Nordstrom / Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Transportation: Alert Transportation

Tying the Knots is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    What a stunning gown!! I love it paired with the bridesmaid dresses!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    the back of her dress is so gorgeous! so are the flowers!

  3. avatar Robyn Van Dyke reply

    Oh that DRESS!!! *swoon*

  4. avatar Valerie reply

    Wow, simply gorgeous! Her gown is incredible.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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