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Monthly Archives: July 2013

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
  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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Did you know that today is our very own Nicole Yang’s birthday? We are so grateful for her and her sparkling personality, her creativity and positivity, her ability to make anything look pretty (especially our print editions!), and her knack for devising simple + beautiful systems that keep us all on track. Orange happens to be Nicole’s favorite color, so in her honor, we rounded up eight of our favorite bold + bright weddings from the last few years. I have a feeling they might just convert some of y’all to her orange-loving ways!

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!

Lauren + Joe

Chatham + Charlie

Ashley + Steve (part one and part two)

Emily + Monty (part one and part two)

Megan + Joe

Haley + Patrick

Becky + Cameron (part one and part two)

Meghan + Michael

Please join me in wishing Nicole a happy birthday, y’all!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    Happy Birthday Nicole!

    That cake is gorgeous. I love the brightness of the orange in contrast to the sky in that shot of the bridal party.

  2. avatar Nicole reply

    Y’all are too sweet! I remember falling in love with these weddings as they’ve come up on the blog over the years!

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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Yes, I am a full grown adult, and yes I still truly believe in fairytales! (That’s why I about died when a childhood friend of mine married the Little Mermaid — or, at least the girl who plays her at Disney World! True story, y’all!) So, when I started reading Caroline + Ben’s interview, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that I was absolutely taken by their modern day Cinderella story. That might be a bit of a stretch, but our bride did lose a shoe and her groom did (kind of) find it! Either way, I love that Caroline described Ben as her “knight in shining armor.” Swoon!

I also love the gorgeous classic details and family traditions C + B weaved throughout their wedding, especially the gardenias inspired by the ones surrounding her childhood home. What a lovely sentiment (and scent!).

Y’all are going to love the second line photos captured by Meg Baisden — they make me want to join in!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This was a very difficult process. I tried on over 70 dresses and was even invited to Randy Fenoli’s new show, “Randy to the Rescue” in New Orleans. I thought I had found the right dress and even said yes to a dress on the show. However, after one last dress shopping excursion in Boston, I finally found the dress. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and on the way home from trying it on, I got the omen of a lifetime. My sister and I were driving down Beacon Street when I happened to notice that there was an Omni Hotel, which was where we were having our wedding reception. As we were driving by I caught a glimpse of one their window displays. I did a double take and quickly told my sister to pull the car over! I got out of the car and ran to the window, and sure enough, my dress was on display in the Omni window! We couldn’t believe it.

I’d have to say that Caroline made the right decision with this gorgeous dress. Those ruffles all the way down her gown are absolutely amazing!

Yes, we did a first look and I absolutely loved it. It might have been my favorite part of the whole day. I loved that it was just he and I—no one else. We were able to talk and reflect privately about how it was finally here and actually happening. The whole weekend was so surreal and it was nice to have some alone time with my best friend. It was very comforting, and I was very grateful for it.

I love the subtle, but super sweet way Caroline is holding her dad’s hand instead of linking arms.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The second line! The second line walk from the wedding ceremony to the reception was extraordinary. Everything was perfect—the weather, the streets, the crowd, and of course, the music! It was truly an amazing experience and a very special memory that I will never forget!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Oyster shells nameplates, Pimm’s Cup signature drinks for the second line walk (after the ceremony), cake pulls, and our welcome gift bags full of local goodies such as Zapps chips, saltwater taffy from Roman Candy guy, pralines, and a variety of other New Orleans items.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We picked out a beautiful all-white wedding cake decorated with our new initials, CJB, and fresh gardenias that were placed around and on top of the cake. I also had 8 “cake pulls” for by bridesmaids, which was a fun surprise for them. I personally picked out the charms for each of my bridesmaids, which offered a nice personal touch. They loved them!

Such a fun groom’s cake!

Ben and I danced to Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” We are both big fans of Van Morrison and felt that this song was a great classic that fit our relationship and the occasion perfectly. I danced with my father to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” This has always been one of my parents’ favorite songs, as well as mine. The fact that it was by Louis Armstrong was like the cherry on top; it fit into the New Orleans theme perfectly!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in college (we both went to UGA) at a party that Ben and his roommates threw. Ben really caught my attention after handling a rather annoying situation by someone who had had far too much to drink. This girl, whom I had never met, thought it would be funny to throw my shoe out the window (I had taken them off while playing pool with Ben). She threw it down onto the busy and very popular Clayton Street. This would not have been that big of a deal had my shoe been found, but it wasn’t! Ben ended up having to lend me a pair of his flip-flops for the rest of the night while we hit the bars and it ended up being quite comical.. It turned out to be one of the best nights of my life, other than losing my favorite pair of shoes. The next day, Ben called to let me know that he had gotten a check from the girl to cover the cost of my shoes! I had not asked for or expected this gesture, so you can only imagine my excitement upon finding out that Ben had acted as my knight in shinning armor and I was going to get a brand new pair of shoes! This was in the fall of 2003 (yes—a very long time ago!). Ben and I hit it off pretty quickly after that, and after eight years of dating, Ben popped the question in New Orleans, Louisiana!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ben surprised me at one of my favorite New Orleans locations, The Columns Hotel. After he popped the question in a private room filled with candles and and rose petals, the surprise continued as we walked downstairs for dinner to find some of our closest friends and family shouting congrats and popping champagne! Ben even made sure my mother, who was living in Italy at the time, was there. I couldn’t believe it!
When did y’all get married? 12/22/12
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Proverbs 3:1-6: “My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of days and years of life, and abundant welfare they will give you. Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them round your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:13-18: “Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.” These Old Testament scriptures make good wedding readings because a wedding is a transition between stages of life. It’s a time when our parents give us advice about what lies before us. Though a couple getting married aren’t children, it’s a good time to be reminded of the need to trust in the Lord
Describe your wedding flowers. Gardenias. I have loved the smell of gardenias for as long as I can remember. My mom had gardenias planted all around my childhood home and the smell has always triggered a sense of security and well-being for me. When Ben and I moved into our first home together (2009), the first things I planted were gardenia bushes. With all this being said, it is no surprise that my choice of flower was the gardenia. The groom and the groomsmen all wore gardenia boutonnieres, and everything else was accented with gardenias in some way or another. I even wore two fresh gardenias in my hair. They smelled amazing!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My wedding planner, Michelle Adams, was phenomenal all around. We could not have done it without her.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look and the second line were my two most memorable moments. Hands down.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take it one day at a time and when things get really tough, just remember what it’s really all about: marrying your best friend and getting to spend the rest of your life with them. No one is going to care which way the napkins are folded or the fonts picked for the menu, so just step back and try to look at the bigger picture. Be grateful for the wonderful new chapter in your life that you are about to begin.

Planner: Michelle Adams | Ceremony Venue: Louisiana State Museum Cabildo | Reception Venue: The Omni Royal Orleans Ballroom | Florist: Meade Wenzel | Wedding Cake: The Royal Cakery | Groom’s Cake: Gambinos | Caterer: Rib Room | Band: ELS | Bride’s Gown: Addison Gown by Coren Moore found at Flaire on Newbury Street of Boston Paper Products: Tupelo Honey Design, Oyster Shells by Maria | Bride’s Veil: Bird Cage Veil from Wedding Belles | Hair Stylist: Heather Mahony from H2O Salon & Spa | Makeup Artist: Christine Lombardo | Bride’s Shoes: Isabel by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Dessy Collection in Midnight Blue | Groom’s & Groomsmen Attire: Rentals from Perlis

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Oh goodness! That is the CUTEST meeting story ever!

  2. avatar Meg Baisden reply

    What a lovely feature for a wonderful couple! Thanks so much, y’all!

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    The story of how they met is precious, and I LOVE her advice! Not to mention, her dress is stunning and the gardenias are beautiful! I just love this wedding. :)

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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