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Navy gingham, the perfect amount of cotton bolls, and the sweetest couple! Lisa told me ahead of time that I’d love today’s wedding and interview, and boy was she right–Alyson and Nick are exactly the kind of people BDK and I want to be couple friends with! I adore everything from the way Nick asked Alyson to be his wife (“Alyson, will you do me the honor of changing your monogram?”) to Alyson’s advice on wedding planning (“Focus on the marriage and not the wedding. If you stay focused on that, everything will fall into place as it should.”) Now throw in meaningful details, like the cross Alyson’s father made for their altar out of wood from their family farm, to the corn hole boards Nick’s father made, and I’ve officially fallen in love!

SW hugs to Danielle Nichol for capturing all the goodness of this day!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Nick had conspired with my best friend and maid of honor to have her deliver notes from him to me throughout the day of the wedding. The first one came as soon as I woke up. It was a note that said the best day ever had to start with my favorite thing ever: donuts! It included a Dunkin Donuts gift card. The next note came after we got our hair done, and I remember crying in the salon because the note said he loved me just as I was, with or without makeup and fancy hair (#nofilter). But I think the most memorable moment of the day for me was when my best friend handed me the last note, a long, really sweet and sentimental one. While I was desperately trying not to cry and ruin my makeup, my best friend hugged me, pointed to the note, and said, “You get to marry that today.” All the nerves and anxiety disappeared in that moment. I was surrounded by my favorite people in the whole world and about to walk down the aisle and say “I do” to the man of my dreams. It was all excitement and happiness from that moment on.

I actually fell in love with my wedding dress about a year before Nick proposed. I was on J. Crew’s website looking for a dress to wear to a cousin’s wedding and happened to stumble across a beautiful silk chiffon gown with an illusion neckline and beautiful appliquéd flowers across the chest. It was the definition of understated Southern elegance and I immediately fell in love. However, I wasn’t engaged and had no idea when that might happen, so as tempted as I was to just buy it and wait, I couldn’t. A year or so later, when we got engaged, I hopped online to purchase the dress, and it was gone. I reached out to J. Crew’s customer service team to see if there was any way they had an extra one around somewhere. They had two in a warehouse–both of which were 4+ sizes too big for me. I ordered the smallest one and crossed my fingers that I could find a seamstress who could make my dress dreams come true. I took the gown to an incredible seamstress in Atlanta who made it fit like a glove. She was a miracle worker and I will recommend her to anyone for as long as I live!

We decided to do a first look for a couple of reasons. For one, our wedding was in early October and the days were beginning to get shorter and shorter, so we wanted to make sure we got enough photographs while it was still light out. Also, I knew we would both be a bundle of nerves, anxiety, and excitement, and that seeing each other and getting a chance to pray together before the ceremony would be something that would really calm our hearts.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I think it was all the little meaningful details that really made the day special. My father made our cross out of wood from our family farm, Nick’s father made our corn hole boards, the corn in the corn hole sacks was from corn grown on our farm, and one of my dearest friends designed all the paper elements for the wedding. I also loved our spin on a guest book. We bought cutting boards in the shapes of Florida and Georgia to represent where we met and where we got married and have started our life together, and we asked guests to sign them. We now have them hung in our new home along with the knot we tied during the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but the vows we said were a little different than the traditional vows we’ve heard throughout the years. My favorite line was in my vows to Nick: “I promise God and I promise you that I will cherish you and respect you, I will love you with a Godly love, and I will serve the Lord with you.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Oh, there were so many. The venue alone was full of Southern charm and hospitality. Our reception was inside a beautiful barn and The Wheeler House has a rich history in North Georgia. The cotton throughout the wedding, rustic florals, gingham bow ties, gilded magnolia leaf escort cards, wood from our family farm, sugared and peppered pecan favors, and personal touches from family and friends is what made our wedding so Southern. I think that’s what living and growing in the South is all about–coming together as family and celebrating something in a genuine, heartfelt way, before God and each other.

When we got engaged, I decided to incorporate raw cotton stalks and bolls into the floral arrangements and decor, so my family went out and picked cotton! LOTS of it! I’ve also always loved the fullness of garden roses and the wild feeling of ranunculus, so I wanted to make sure they were incorporated as well. We didn’t want every table arrangement to be the same, so we decided to have a wood log arrangement on every other table. My father cut wood of varying sizes and heights from pine trees on our farm in West Georgia, and our florist arranged them with hydrangeas and cotton spilling around them and candles in mason jars sitting on top. It added a touch of home and created the perfect romantic ambiance for the tables.

Our first dance was to Michael Buble’s version of “Crazy Love,” a song that I fell in love with about the time we started dating. Nick heard me listening to it all the time, so he taught himself how to play it on the guitar. I think the moment I fell in love with him was when he played it for me–either then or the first time he cooked for me. :) The father-daughter dance was also a special moment in the day. Growing up, my father would always ask me, “Have I told you lately that I love you?” And I’d roll my eyes and say, “Yes, Daddy.” Now as an adult, I realize just how important it is to hear your daddy say “I love you.” My dad also took me to school every morning until I was old enough to drive, and we would often listen to oldies in the car. For our father-daughter dance, we began dancing to “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You,” which broke into “Chantilly Lace” by Big Bopper halfway through–that’s when I learned my dad can jitterbug! Nick’s family is from Louisiana, and his grandparents are Cajun dance instructors, so we couldn’t have a wedding without getting them out on the dance floor to show us all how it’s done. The DJ put on the song “Jambalaya” and the two of them immediately started two-stepping. About 30 seconds into the song, his grandfather pulled me in and the three of us danced together!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I met in a broadcast journalism class at Florida State University. He was behind the camera and I was in front of it. We were paired together to do a story on Christian Ponder, FSU’s quarterback at the time. Before our interview with him, Nick asked if I wanted to get together to talk about the project. I agreed, so he picked me up that evening and we went to Mellow Mushroom for dinner, where we proceeded to talk about everything EXCEPT our story on Christian Ponder. Afterwards, he paid for dinner and dropped me off at home, I told my roommates, “I think I just went on a date.” After we wrapped up the story, I told Nick he should buy me dinner again, so he did. After over four years of dinners, laughs, two cross-country moves, and many wonderful memories, he proposed on a trip to Charleston with some of our very favorite people there to celebrate with us. My favorite part of our story, though, is what I learned long after we started dating. Before we met, Nick was helping a friend of his in our college program with some video editing of a sports story. When I came into the frame to do my on-camera stand-up, he asked the editor who I was. When she told him, he said, “I’m going to marry her.” Not long after, we officially met when we were paired up on our story.
Tell us all about the proposal! We have some good friends that live in Charleston, and their daughter was turning one over Labor Day weekend. Nick and I, along with some of our best friends from Florida, headed over to Charleston to celebrate. On the second day of our trip, we spent the day walking around the city and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Nick suggested we take a walk on the Battery and take a look at the park before we met up with everyone. I happily agreed, as it was on my list of things to do while in town and the weather was absolutely perfect. We walked around the perimeter of the park looking at all the gorgeous homes, and as we walked up to the large gazebo, I saw candles, flowers, and a sign lining the steps on each side. We were still too far away for me to see clearly what it was, and my first thought was, “Oh my gosh, it’s a shrine. Someone died.” So I told Nick that we should walk around it to be respectful. He insisted we walk right up to it, and as we got closer, I saw that it was a framed sign that read, “Alyson, will you marry me?” I instantly started crying tears of joy as he got down on one knee and said, “Alyson, will you do me the honor of changing your monogram?” He had recruited our friends to set up the romantic spot, and they were hiding behind trees taking pictures of the whole proposal. It was so nice being able to celebrate with loved ones on such a momentous occasion, and we laughed and celebrated the night away with all the oysters we could eat.
When did y’all get married? October 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our pastor suggested Ephesians 5:21-23 and we’re so glad he did. We love the message of love and respect, how God designed men and women to desire each of these things differently, and how He calls us to meet those needs in our partners.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Providing the cotton and wood logs for the floral and decor arrangements was one way we drastically cut costs. We also decided to do a big chalkboard program instead of purchasing paper programs. Our venue allowed us to provide our own alcohol, so we were able to cut out the middleman and save some money that way as well.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Keep your eye on the prize. Focus on the marriage and not the wedding. If you stay focused on that, everything will fall into place as it should. You won’t be nearly as worried about if it will rain, if the menu cards look just right, or if the cake plate arrives on time. And have fun!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’ve moved into our new home and are enjoying the “nesting” process. I’m almost done with my MBA program and we’re looking forward to having more time to spend together on new adventures. Our photographer and friend expressed our sentiments towards marriage so well. She said, “Being married makes even the most mundane things fun.” It’s so true. Grocery shopping has never been more fun. :)

Photographer: Danielle Nichol Photography / Planner: Winey Blonde Events Co. / Venue: The Wheeler House / Florist: Tony Whitlock Designs / Wedding Cake: Cake Envy / Caterer: Coast to Coast Catering / Ceremony Musicians: Amber and Jared Humphries / DJ: Nice Guys DJ / Paper Products and Makeup: Ashley Brooke Designs / Bride’s Gown: “Violette” by J.Crew / Hair Stylist: Danielle Bianco / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Men’s Suits: Jos A. Bank / Men’s Shirts: Banana Republic / Men’s Ties: Brooks Brothers / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Bow Ties: High Cotton Ties

marissa Written with love by Marissa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Sara reply

    Very creative idea using leaves as table placecards. Beautiful wedding, great details. Congrats!

  2. avatar Nick + Ally| Atlanta Georgia Wedding Photographer | Danielle Nichol Photography reply

    […] are two kindred hearts. All the sweet southern details (Southern Weddings featured it on their site here!), the perfect mingling of friends and family,loads of perfect October Georgia weather, ah. It was […]

  3. avatar Stacey reply

    Beautiful! Do y’all know where those bridesmaid dresses are from? They are so precious and classy!

    • avatar Alyson reply

      Hi Stacey! The bride here! The bridesmaid dresses are from a small bridal store in Roswell Georgia called Wedding Angels boutique. I’m not sure what the style name is or the designer, but I bet if you emailed them with one of these pictures, they’d be able to help you! :)

  4. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #166 – Floridian Weddings reply

    […] out this cute Florida-Georgia wedding and the awesome wooden state shaped […]

  5. avatar Uplighting Rental reply

    Love the rustic look, so classic and such great tone.

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If you weren’t already itching to pull out your riding boots, scoop up a #PSL and watch the leaves change, Danielle and Jonathan’s Tennessee wedding will easily have you ready for fall. I’m not sure if it’s the deep violet bridesmaid dresses or the dark wood accents, but it definitely got Lisa and I excited for the fall weddings that will start rolling in soon! After meeting while training for a triathlon (!), Danielle and Jonathan’s relationship grew through a shared love of the outdoors and active lifestyles. When they visited CJ’s Off the Square, they knew right away it was the perfect place for them to pledge their lives to each other!

Thanks to Brandon Chesbro for sending along this gorgeous day!

My something borrowed was a pair of pearl earrings that my friend had worn in her wedding. My something old and blue was a heart cut from my dad’s old blue work shirt that was sewn into my dress.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my dress at The Bride Room in Nashville with my maid of honor. I chose a lace trumpet-style gown from the Monique Lhuillier Bliss collection. It was only the third dress I tried on! My mom lives in Florida, so she came a month later to see it. When I tried it on for her, we both cried. I definitely knew it was the one.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet play the processional, ceremony, and recessional music. “Canon in D” played when I walked down the aisle. Our first dance was to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. We loved the song and meaning. The father-daughter dance was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole. As a baby, my parents had a toy in my baby crib that played that song. I actually forgot about the toy and the significance of the song until my mom gave it to me a few weeks before the wedding. We both cried.

We said traditional vows, but also included a personal message to each other. My favorite part of Jonathan’s message was that I brought him closer to God.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? CJ’s Off the Square was the first location we looked at in person, and we absolutely fell in love with it. It was an intimate setting that we felt was perfect for our wedding day. We didn’t even look at another venue after that!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? It was an outdoor wedding in downtown Franklin, Tennessee, so that’s pretty Southern to begin with! The food included beef and grits and fried green tomatoes, and we served local craft beer. Our décor included vintage furniture, old whiskey barrels, and burlap and lace table linens.

Describe your wedding cake. Our cake was three tiers with white fondant and raffia around each layer. Two wooden birds that we bought on Etsy, engraved with our wedding date and initials, sat on top of the cake.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Since my family has a dairy farming background, we served cookies and milk as a late-night snack.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in July 2011 at the Vanderbilt University pool. We are both triathletes and were training for the Music City Triathlon in Nashville at the time.
Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged on September 7, 2012. It was simple! We were at home one night, sitting on our couch, and I had an eyelash on my cheek (which worked out perfectly for Jonathan). He asked me what my wish was. I had been wanting him to propose to me for months, so I said, “I don’t want to say my wish out loud.” Jonathan replied, “Just close your eyes and say it.” So I said in a quiet voice, with my eyes closed, “I wish you would propose.” When I opened my eyes, he was down on one knee in front of me with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen.
When did y’all get married? October 19, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 100
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Since CJ’s off the Square is in an all-inclusive venue, we didn’t have many other vendors. Outside of CJ’s, our photographer, Brandon Chesbro, was amazing and so talented. He captured our wedding day and emotions perfectly.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? We are big fans of the all-inclusive venue experience. It simplified the planning process and allowed us to focus on our love for each other and looking forward to our wedding day. I wouldn’t say planning a wedding is “stress-free,” but our venue certainly made it as stress-free as possible. We planned our entire wedding through 2-3 visits with our planner.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Two weeks after the wedding, we raced the Ironman Florida Triathlon as a kick-off to our honeymoon. We look forward to continuing an active lifestyle that we both enjoy, supporting each other in our careers, and having kids in a couple of years.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? As a wedding gift, Jonathan gave me a journal that he wrote in daily for five months prior to the wedding about how we met, our dates, significant events, and wedding planning. My gift to Jonathan was a personalized leather-bound Bible with our wedding date and a prayer I wrote for our marriage.

Photographer: Brandon Chesbro / Videographer: Brian Johnson / Planner: Amy Parman of CJ’s Off the Square / Venue, Catering, Cake, and Lighting: CJ’s Off the Square / Florist: Enchanted Florist / Rentals: Southern Events Party Rental / DJ: Jason Middleton of Premier DJs of Nashville / Bride’s Gown: “BL1208” by Monique Lhuillier Bliss / Bride’s Hair Accessories: Augusta Jones / Hair and Makeup: Amy Lynn Larwig / Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G558C” by Amsale / Men’s Attire: Vera Wang

CJ’s Off the Square is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Laura reply

    I love the decor of the reception. You can’t go wrong with mercury glass and baby’s breath.

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    Such a gorgeous wedding! I love the flowers they chose–just fall-like enough!

  3. avatar Hallie Deyton reply

    I thought this wedding was very tasteful. Everything from the venue, to her wedding dress, to her bridesmaids shoes was perfection. Love this wedding and the venue space! The flower centerpieces at the table were not overdone and I loved that. It added to the rustic feel of the venue.

  4. avatar Kati reply

    What a sweet proposal story! Made me cry at work! We also did an all-inclusive venue and it really does make things so much simpler (especially because we were planning from another state.) Best wishes to the happy couple!

  5. avatar Taylor Smith reply

    I love the Bible gift she gave him! What a beautiful idea! The pictures are gorgeous and it looks like it was a wonderful day for a sweet couple!

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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