When Nicole and Tyler struggled to find a venue that felt just right for them, their planner, Rachel Youd, suggested celebrating their ceremony in Nicole’s parents’ backyard. With the help of some thoughtful planning to make it work, Nicole’s father was able to see his daughter come down the very same stairs she’d walked down in the years past for her dances and proms. Creating a moment so meaningful might not always be the easiest option, but I imagine that out of all the memories on those stairs, this day probably tops the list! After saying their vows under the oak trees, Nicole and Tyler celebrated with their guests just a few miles away at Panama Country Club with a reception that looks equally as fun as it was stylish!
Thanks for sharing, Jennifer Blair!
Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were soft and delicate. We had mainly white flowers with splashes of blush and green. We had peonies, garden roses, hydrangeas, seeded eucalyptus, freesia, and anemones to add a graphic punch.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! Seeing each other for the first time was such a surreal experience, and I’m glad that we had a chance to take in the moment. We loved getting to spend the whole day together and share some quality time on our wedding day. I can’t imagine not being able to burst into conversation upon seeing my groom for the first time! It was so wonderful to snap a few family photos after the ceremony and then be able to run off to the party! Doing a first look also allowed us the time to have a private dinner. We were able to talk about the ceremony and actually eat, and I had the chance to touch up and bustle my dress in peace!
We looked at several wedding venues and nothing felt quite right. I remember early in the planning process, my dad had mentioned he wanted me to get ready at the house so he could see me coming down the stairs, like he had done for all my dances and proms when I was younger. Our wedding coordinator suggested the backyard, which we hadn’t even considered as a prospect. After walking through the yard and envisioning the ceremony, we couldn’t think of a better place to have our ceremony than under the oaks on the bay in a place we have so many memories. It was so special to be able to walk down the stairs of my house that day! The reception was at a country club about five minutes away. The club has beautiful bay views and tied in to the waterside feel we had at the ceremony.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail was the aisle. My parents’ yard didn’t really allow for a traditional aisle, so we decided that the dock would be the aisle! I arrived to our ceremony via boat, which added a fun Floridian touch to our ceremony.
My something blue was also my old and new. Tyler had given me a beautiful pair of sapphire and diamond earring when I graduated from Auburn University. I was on my Master’s Practicum in London while I was in grad school at Florida State, and lost an earring while sightseeing. I remember calling Tyler that day, so sad, and I exclaimed “That was going to be my something blue!” under my breath. He heard and I was quickly embarrassed. He took the remaining earring and had it made into a simple and dainty necklace that he gave me for Christmas, just a few months before the wedding. Our something borrowed was the venue!
Our cake was so good that as we were about to make our grand exit, we stopped to asked the caterer for a to-go box to stick a big slice in! The cake was the most important thing to Tyler, so we were set on finding a baker who could make a beautiful cake with buttercream, as neither of us like fondant. We chose a classic white almond cake with buttercream icing. We are both eagerly looking to our first anniversary for another slice!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Tyler and I met at a fundraising gala when I was home from college for Thanksgiving break. Neither of us was really supposed to go that night, but my parents had an extra ticket. I tried to stay home with the dog, but was (thankfully) unsuccessful. Tyler’s mom was sick, so Tyler went in her place. Our fathers know each other, so they ended up chatting at the event, and I talked to Tyler’s dad a bit. Soon after, Tyler came over to say hi to my mom and dad (who he had met before). He introduced himself to me when I was mid-bite of red velvet cake. Unbeknownst to me, we had gone to the same high school and were both on the golf teams at the same time, but we had never met! We ended up chatting, and later on that night, he asked me to dance. He asked me to play golf that week, and we’ve been hanging out ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! Tyler conspired with my two best friends to surprise me! My two best friends were teaching at the time, and I was about to enter my last semester of graduate school, so we decided to plan an elaborate girls night out at Rosemary Beach to celebrate the end of school! When we arrived, it started to sprinkle, but they were insistent on walking across the street to get a quick picture before dinner. We spotted a man with an umbrella in the exact spot we wanted to take the picture, so I was hesitant, until I realized the man under the umbrella was Tyler! He said a lot of sweet things I don’t remember due to my state of shock. He had our parents waiting at a Mexican restaurant nearby so we could celebrate in the best way…with margaritas!
When did y’all get married? April 9, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I bought my wedding dress the first time I went to try on dresses. I went in with one idea and left with a completely different thing! I tried on about 20 dresses, and when I put on mine, I remember feeling so comfortable. Seeing yourself in a wedding dress is a strange experience, and despite all the dresses being gorgeous, most made me feel like I was in a bride costume. I felt like myself in my dress, but it still had that something that made me feel special! It also didn’t hurt that my mom, mother-in-law, and maids of honor immediately said “That’s the one!” without hesitation!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were all nervous about the Florida weather cooperating with our outdoor ceremony, so we relied on the tradition of burying the bourbon. Tyler and his dad are avid bourbon collectors, and him and his father are also Kentucky Colonels. The bottle selected to be buried was an Elijah Craig that was aged 23 years, to reflect my age when we got married!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Tyler and I took a premarital counseling course through our church. Additionally, we were putting together our first home together while we were engaged. Design decisions and DIY home upkeep, while still living in two separate places, will teach you teamwork and compromise quickly!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are working on our first home in Tallahassee, Florida, where we plan to stay for a few years as we build our careers. We just added to our family with Walter, our three-month West Highland Terrier puppy! We are enjoying settling into living together and celebrating our other friends who are tying the knot!
Photographer: Jennifer Blair | Videographer: Jason Tuno | Planner, Florist, and Paper Products: Rachelle Youd | Ceremony Venue: Private residence | Reception Venue: Panama Country Club | Wedding Cake: Sweet for Sirten | Caterer: Chef Paul Stellato | Rentals: H&M Tent | Band: Creativity | Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero | Bride’s Hair Accessories and Jewelry: BHLDN | Hair Stylist: Bunny Franklin | Makeup Artist: Rebecca Griffith | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Sung | Groom’s Bow Tie: Brackish | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse