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I love it when a tradition starts with only the bride or groom’s family, but then a wedding turns it into something that all their loved ones can enjoy. For Colleen and Nicholas, that’s Kiawah Island. Though Nicholas’ family had been vacationing there for years, after bringing Colleen along while dating, it became the perfect place for these two to celebrate their marriage. It didn’t hurt that as soon as they drove up to the Ocean Course on a post-engagement vacation, they knew it was the exact place where they wanted to share their love of Kiawah Island and each other with their friends and family! A clear-top tent, an abundance of beautiful blooms by Fox Events, and plenty of sweet Southern sunshine later, and I’m sure all the guests in attendance will be itching to create their own traditions on the island, too!

Thanks to Tim Willoughby for capturing this beautiful day!

My dress was actually one of the first ones I tried on. I was so excited to try on wedding dresses, so my mom and I went to Saks right away, just for fun! We weren’t expecting that I would find my dress so quickly, but as soon as I put it on, I absolutely loved it. I went to a few other appointments just to make sure, but ended up coming back to the first one I loved!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We had a really hard time deciding if we wanted to do a first look, but we ended up doing one. We were so happy we did! It was really special to have our first moment together on our wedding day be for just the two of us (and our little yorkie, who made an appearance for some pictures). It gave us the opportunity to take a lot of our pictures before the reception so we could enjoy as much of the celebration as possible, and also made us much less nervous for 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 we had one of our close mutual friends officiate our wedding, which added a special and personal touch to the ceremony.

Nick has been going to Kiawah with his family since he was a kid, and we all went there together a couple of times when we started dating. We were there on vacation a few weeks after we got engaged and decided to look at some venues. As soon as we drove up to the Ocean Course, we knew that’s where we wanted to get married! It was so much fun to be able to share one of our favorite places with all of our friends and family for the weekend.

The one thing I knew I wanted at our wedding was tons of flowers! We went with a neutral palette of white and light pink with some pops of blue and lots of greens. Our wedding planner also did all of our flowers–she and her team did an amazing job! When Nick and I walked into our tent for the first time, we were so happy with how beautiful it looked.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? All the dancing. Our wedding band, ATL Groove Factory, was absolutely amazing and had everyone on the dance floor the entire night! For our after-party, a good friend of ours from NYC who is a DJ kept the dancing going. We had so much fun with everyone!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I both went to Cornell, but somehow never met, even though we have a ton of mutual friends. After college, we were both living in New York, and I went to a 4th of July party in the Hamptons that ended up being at a house Nick and his friends were renting that summer. After we spent the day together, Nick asked me to go out again the next day in the city. After that, we were pretty much inseparable!
Tell us all about the proposal! A couple of summers ago, we were spending a week out on the North Fork of Long Island. We made a nice dinner to have outside at sunset, but I noticed Nick wasn’t eating anything. He said he needed to go inside and grab some balsamic vinegar to add to the food, but instead, he came back outside, got down on one knee, and proposed!!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 190
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There are so many little details, but one of the best were the two big swings we had on the edge of the dance floor. They looked beautiful and everyone had so much fun on them! I also loved the chandeliers that we hung from the top of the tent.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did. My twin sister let me borrow the sapphire and diamond earrings she wore for her wedding day, and I wore blue satin shoes to take care of my something borrowed and something blue. My mother and my mother-in-law both provided pieces of lace from their wedding dresses that were wrapped around my bouquet as something old, and I wore a bracelet Nick gave me the morning of our wedding as something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The most difficult part of getting married on Kiawah Island was figuring out transportation for all the guests, since there wasn’t one main hotel where the majority of guests were staying. Somehow, our wedding planner and our families managed to figure out where everyone was staying and get everyone to the wedding on time.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planner, Lauren Fox. We knew planning our wedding in Kiawah from NYC would be a little more difficult, but Lauren made everything so much easier. I always say I would re-plan our wedding all over again because that’s how enjoyable Lauren made the whole process!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn, so we’re just enjoying married life in our new neighborhood. And we’re hoping to grow our family soon!

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner and Florist: Fox Events | Venue and Caterer: The Ocean Course | Wedding Cake Baker: Jim Smeal | Rentals: Snyder Events and Ooh! Events | Lighting: Technical Event Company | Band: ATL Groove Factory | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: “Cora” by Austin Scarlett | Bride’s Jewelry: Zoe Chicco | Hair Stylist: Charlotte Belk, Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale in Navy Blue | Menswear: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar elaine reply

    Where is her reception dress from?!? Amazing!

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We’re convinced at Southern Weddings that we get to share the stories of the absolute sweetest couples in the South, and Caroline and Chase are certainly no exception to that! After their dorm cafeteria meet-cute and a perfectly literature-themed proposal (Caroline is a high school English teacher!), they spent their senior year of college thoughtfully planning for their Heritage Haus wedding and preparing for marriage. Caroline’s advice for brides hit the nail on the head: “We absolutely loved our wedding, but the day was such a crazy blur. Being husband and wife is a forever commitment and blessing, so enjoy the season of engagement, but prepare yourself to be committed ’til death do you part!”

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Kristen Kilpatrick for sending this lovely day our way!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom, grandma, future mother-in-law, and four of my closest friends spent a Saturday morning in Austin looking for a dress with me! We went to two different stores. At first, I fell in love with a traditional dress that had a full skirt. That evening, I went back through pictures we took of our favorite dresses of the day. I realized the dress I thought I loved didn’t feel very “me,” so I went with a more form-fitting dress that had also caught my eye that day! In order to add some flavor to the dress, I had the designer create off-the-shoulder sleeves that could be removed. I’m so glad they were able to add in this lovely detail!

I absolutely loved our flowers! They definitely exceeded my expectations. I wanted the color palette to be simple–we had greens with white and pink. Everything looked very earthy and ethereal.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We didn’t do a first look. I think our wedding was more traditional overall, so I wanted to keep with that idea. Plus, I’d always envisioned what my husband’s face would look like when he saw me walking down the aisle!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Although we didn’t have a Catholic ceremony, my aunt, who is a nun, spoke after a reading from Ephesians 5 from our pastor. She spoke about the covenant of marriage and the history of my family from Switzerland. She is the kindest, most Jesus-loving woman I have ever met, so it was an absolute honor to have her speak on the best day of our lives! It meant so much to me and my entire family that she made the trip down to Texas and that she was able to speak such truth during our ceremony.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We knew from the start that we didn’t want something with an urban feel. That just didn’t feel like us. We perused venues around Austin and found Heritage Haus. We knew right away that this was the place for us because of the beautiful Hill Country setting, the quaint white chapel, and the stately barn! Not to mention, the lovely owners of Heritage Haus made us feel like family.

We chose a simple white, three-tiered cake adorned with real flowers. The surprise was the strawberry frosting between the layers–when we cut into the cake, you saw a hint of pink! The cake was delicious and just what I wanted! Although we didn’t get to join the cocktail hour, we also had cookies and cupcakes from Polkadots available to our guests. I knew from the start that I wanted to have sweets available to our guests during the cocktail hour! We had sugar cookies in the shapes of Texas with a heart over Austin, longhorns, and cookies with the letter “A” in the center. All of the sugar cookies were white with gold details.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chase and I met in a dorm cafeteria at the University of Texas during our freshman year. We had mutual friends and started having lunch together. He even made his famous gourmet PB&J for me! Although we were fast friends, we didn’t start dating until the beginning of our sophomore year, much to Chase’s chagrin. When I finally confessed that I did indeed want to date him, we both knew we were in it for the long haul. We got engaged our senior year and were married just three weeks after graduation!
Tell us all about the proposal! Chase proposed on November 22, 2014. He asked me to dinner under the ruse of celebrating my recent birthday. We went to dinner at my favorite restaurant in Austin. As we were eating, the storm of the year ended the drought of 2013-2014 emphatically. We braved the torrential downpour and drove around Austin, slowly making our way to the overlook where Chase had first asked me to be his girlfriend, and where he had first told me he loved me. At our favorite spot in the city, overlooking the Greenbelt, our friends had gone out on the cliff in the rain to set up a tent, candles, and my favorite books. Chase had written a literary scavenger hunt in my journal. Each clue directed me to another page in one of my favorite books, declaring his love for me and telling our story. The last clue directed me to 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” In the margins, Chase had written his proposal.
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we had traditional vows!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance song was “Green Eyes” by Coldplay. We both love Coldplay, and the song really resonated with me because of Chase’s green eyes, and the line, “Honey, you are a rock upon which I stand.” This line made me think about the ways Chase holds me up and points me to Jesus. My dance with my dad was also extremely special! We danced to Johnny Cash’s “You Are My Sunshine.” My dad used to sing this song to me when I was little, and it is still one of his favorite songs. He didn’t know that we would be dancing to that song, so of course, the tears really started to flow when he realized what song we were dancing to!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There were so many details we loved! Since our wedding was in the Texas Hill Country, the gorgeous summer sunset was the best free detail we could have asked for! The flowers really tied my vision together. We also used floral china plates for dinner, which was a perfectly sweet, feminine detail!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We always knew that we wanted to do some kind of pre-marriage counseling to help prepare us for spending the rest of our lives together. The Austin Stone, our church, has a great pre-marriage counseling service that we signed up for the day after we were engaged. We were matched with a couple from the church who took us through the curriculum, challenging us every step of the way to confront each other and grow together.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We wanted to make sure we did our senior year right by spending as much time with friends as possible, which was sometimes difficult because of wedding planning! Other than that, we were very blessed to have very minimal stress during the whole wedding planning process.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The ceremony was just so sweet. Walking toward my husband, hearing Sister Alice speak, praying with my husband, and walking hand-in-hand with him out of those chapel doors was something I’ll always remember!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prepare yourself for marriage, not the wedding! We absolutely loved our wedding, but the day was such a crazy blur. Being husband and wife is a forever commitment and blessing, so enjoy the season of engagement, but prepare yourself to be committed ’til death do you part!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Currently, we call Houston, Texas home! I am a ninth grade English teacher and JV soccer coach, and Chase is an engineer with a general contractor. We look forward to continuing to call Houston home, and also are exploring the possibility of doing mission work abroad in the next couple of years.

Photographer: Kristen Kilpatrick | Planner: Natalie Conlon | Venue: Heritage Haus | Florist: Flora Fetish | Cake and Dessert Baker: Polkadots Cupcake Factory | Caterer: Whole Foods | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals and Bee Lavish Vintage Rentals | DJ: Byrne Rock | Paper Products: Minted | Bride’s Gown: Augusta Jones | Bride’s Veil and Hairpiece: BHLDN | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Makenzi Laine | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August and Nouvelle by Amsale | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    With so many beautiful weddings in our print issues, it’s always hard to pick a favorite. However, when the bride emulates Jackie O’s elegant style, describes her wedding day look as “Kennedy-inspired,” and then calls their wedding day theme “Southern elegance” with personal touches, it’s hard not to choose it as my favorite! Lauren and John knew that fall in the South was just too pretty to pass up, so after consulting both the SEC football schedule and the Farmer’s Almanac weather projections, they decided it was the perfect time to celebrate with their family and friends. Their wedding at the Rye Patch pairs a beautiful and romantic color palette with the crisp air of fall in such a way that is as classic as Jackie O. herself! With the help of her sweet mama, a talented artist, Lauren incorporated hand-painted floral watercolors into their details that added even more beauty and meaning to their day.

    Big SW hugs to Ashley Seawell for sharing her beautiful work with us in V8!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I emulate Jackie O’s crisp, elegant style and wanted something structured and architectural. I knew lace or ruching (though beautiful!) was not me, and the “no ruche, no lace” rule left some boutiques with literally nothing to show me. The Amsale Jane dress caught my eye immediately at The House of the Bride in Augusta. It was the second dress I tried on, but being a “researcher,” I did not make the decision until after I hit the Boston boutiques. As I’ve learned, first loves are hard to beat! My Kennedy-inspired “simple with a twist” look was answered by the Amsale gown, complete with the classic bateau neckline and streamlined silhouette, and the unexpected organza train in the back made my heart flutter. I’ve always been a big shoe lover, so when I found my white Chanel shoes with white soles (and thick enough heels so as to not aerate the outdoor lawn location), the look was complete. I wish I could wear it again!
    Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I let my bridesmaids select their own dresses, and I gave them guidance of a neutral color palette. They are each such beautiful, special women; I wanted to see those unique personalities come through in their dress selections and have them feel comfortable in a dress of their choosing. I loved the differing textures and colors, and each woman looked stunning! I couldn’t have picked out better dresses if I tried.

    Our two biggest themes were “Southern elegance” and “personal,” so we wanted our fingerprints all over the wedding. The ceremony was one of the most intimate and important details to us. We wrote our whole ceremony together, and the judge John clerked for was the officiant. Since we wrote the ceremony ourselves and are both music lovers, we viewed the ceremony and the music as our readings. We borrowed a line from a Native American blessing that we still love, as it speaks both the individuality and plurality of marriage: “Now you are two persons, but there are three lives before you: his life, her life and your life together.” Judge Cothran also imparted words of wisdom to “always have fun,” and we bring up his advice to provide perspective when we need it.

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you?The venue was very important to ensure our classic Southern theme would come to life. Since we both grew up in Augusta, we wanted to get married in that area. We established two criteria: an outdoor venue with live oaks for the ceremony, and the ceremony and reception sites being within walking distance, so people only had to park once. When my mom sent pictures of Hopelands Gardens and The Rye Patch, we immediately fell in love with the location. It was the perfect venue for us.

    We wanted the menu to scream Southern, but also include some family recipes. We had a carving station with beef tenderloin, Augusta green jacket salad, charcuterie and cheeses, shrimp and grits, and grilled pimento cheese with tomato soup, to name a few dishes. Boiled peanuts were strategically placed outside on various tables for people to snack on.

    Tell us about your wedding flowers. Karin Jeffcoat of Cote Designs has exquisite taste, and incredible vision and execution. I wanted organically shaped bouquets, maidenhair ferns, and the feel that the flowers had been plucked from a Southern grandmothers’ beautiful garden for an afternoon party. Even though it was a fall wedding, we wanted a soft color palette for the wedding: moss greens, pale peach and whites. In the reflecting pool at the ceremony location, Karin built floating magnolia leaf wreaths around lanterns that shifted when the wind blew — it was stunning. She nailed that natural, simply elegant look, accented with vintage gold, brass and cut glass vessels. My mom’s hand-painted watercolors of botanicals and flowers echoed this theme and added extra personal touches to our décor. All the boutonnieres had flies tied on by the groom, in honor of his favorite pastime of fly fishing.

    Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: My mother is an artist, and she hand-painted watercolors of flowers/ferns/succulents to hang on the ceremony chairs and be placed at the reception tables. They also served as the artwork for the printed materials (gift bags and ceremony program), and the guests could take them as a parting gift. She also made pillows for the benches that screen grafted botanical prints. She’s incredibly talented, and I cannot thank her enough. My dad passed away from cancer in 2007. We celebrated him with meaningful details, which reminded me throughout the day that he is always with us: a surprise small framed picture in my bouquet so he could still “walk me” down the aisle, his famous mashed potato recipe served at dinner, and my brother and I’s dance to “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” by The Four Tops, which was my dad’s favorite song. My mom, Todd, and I all danced together and had everyone laughing. Finally, we made a donation to the American Cancer Society on behalf of guests “in loving memory of those who have fought and lost, in loving appreciation of those who have fought and won, and in loving support of those who are still fighting.”

    Our thought was that if one cake is good, 10 is better. We wanted the look of handmade treats brought in by many people, so we had several cakes, both naked and frosted, in different flavors. Cote Designs made sweetgrass pedestals and also placed some in bell jars. Coconut cake was the main cake, and displayed a topper from John’s parents’ wedding. We also served red velvet, seven-layer caramel as the charm pull cake, a German chocolate torte, pound cake with fresh berries and cream (John’s favorite), and my grandmother’s famous chocolate cake recipe.

    How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. In 2000, before heading to high school soccer practice in our hometown of Augusta, John approached me on the tennis court to introduce himself. At that moment, a 15-year road started. We reconnected as a couple in 2010 during a trip home to Augusta. We survived long distance between small town South Carolina and small town New Hampshire, until John made the ultimate romantic gesture: taking the Massachusetts Bar. That is probably the first and only time the Massachusetts Bar exam has been described as being romantic! John very graciously took his second state law exam so I could pursue my career in health care in Boston. After three wonderful years (and an engagement!) in New England, we moved back to Charleston the week before our wedding for John’s new job at a law firm downtown. Through our decade and a half of adventures, we have come to believe in the old saying: “Good things come to those who wait.”
    Describe the proposal: In September 2013, John took me on a “mystery trip” (an activity we try to surprise each other with a few times a year) to Woodstock, Vermont. Woodstock is a classically charming New England town that has a special place in our history, as we visited for dinner and skiing several times during his visits to see me in business school. September in Vermont meant beautiful foliage–the perfect backdrop for a very memorable day. We went for a walk after breakfast, and John asked me to marry him in front of a classic Vermont covered bridge. After sharing the news with friends and family, we went for a hike and had dinner at our favorite spot, where (knowing how sentimental I am) he had pre-selected handmade wine glasses ready for us to enjoy during the meal and take home as a keepsake. We are still enjoying those glasses at dinners at home in Charleston.
    Tell us all the basics of your wedding! On October 11, 2014, we had outdoor ceremony in Hopelands Gardens and a reception at the Rye Patch in Aiken, South Carolina. The 4:30 P.M. ceremony and beautifully sunny day took us into a gorgeous, dance-filled night under the stars (no tents! Which was a nervous gamble, but it paid off when the weather cooperated!). Both being huge SEC fans, I always joked that no self-respecting Southern woman would get married on a Saturday in the fall…which I promptly did anyway because the time of year for an outdoor wedding was too good to pass up. When picking a date, we consulted both the football schedules and the Farmer’s Almanac weather projections. In retrospect the “not too bad” game weekend ended up being closer/bigger than we had originally thought, but people were too busy dancing the night away to be missing the Dawgs or Crimson Tide too much!
    Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, Southern, elegant
    How many guests attended your wedding? Approximately 170 of our favorite people from all over the country gathered in Aiken for the weekend. We were able to rent out The Willcox, a historic, charming inn less than a mile away from Hopelands for most of our family and wedding party to stay in.
    Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Having the judge John clerked for and remains close to officiating was very personal and special to both of us.
    What was the design inspiration for your reception? The Rye Patch is a historic estate maintained by the city of Aiken. I wanted our reception to feel like it was a backyard reception at an elegant Southern grandmother’s home. The natural landscape and the pristine interior were a stunning backdrop, to which Karin at Cote Designs and my crafty mom added special details throughout. We risked it and went no-tent (not going to lie, that did cause a lot of anxiety in the days leading up to the event!), but the layout helped transition from sunset into the nighttime dancing. It was a magical garden dinner and dancing party under bistro lighting hanging from the huge oak tree. We loved it!
    Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? We included family recipes and favorite dishes into the menu, including my dad’s famous mashed potatoes, John’s favorite cake, and my grandmother’s frosting recipe. We also had the wedding pictures of our parents and grandparents near the parting birdseed and vintage postcards that served as our guest book.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Moving 1,000 miles from Boston to Charleston the week before the wedding and John starting a new job meant a lot of exciting change in October. We are looking forward to exploring our new hometown of Charleston, finally being within driving distance of family in Augusta, and enjoying our time as husband and wife.
    What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If you are having an outdoor wedding, the rental costs for the space can be lower, but don’t forget about all the rentals you have to bring in (chairs, tables, linens, lighting, etc.). Don’t forget to check how much power you’ll need for lighting and a band…you may need an extra generator at the last minute!
    Who was your favorite vendor and why? My mom is the MVP–she was incredibly patient, creative, and dedicated. We could not have had the wedding of our dreams without her support and love. Thank you to her, all our vendors, and to all our friends and family who made this day so special for us.

    Photographer: Ashley Seawell | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Florals and Event Design: Cote Designs Floral and Event Designs | Ceremony Venue: Hopelands Gardens | Reception Venue: Rye Patch | Caterer: Tastefully Yours, LLC | Cake Baker: Donna Jannik | Bride’s Gown: “Jane” by Amsale | Bridal Salon and Veil: House of the Bride | Bride’s Shoes: Chanel | Hair Stylist: Hair by Robbin | Makeup Artist: Alexandria Taylor | Groom’s Fashion: Brooks Brothers | Rentals: Goodwin Events and All Star Events | Vintage China, Flatware, and Glassware: Southern Vintage | Linens: Nuage Designs and Cote Designs | Transportation: Lewis Bus Line | Videographer:Cinema Couture | Strings Ceremony Music: The Henrys | Gospel Trio: The Pinckney Sisters | Reception Music: The ATL Groove Factory | Bride’s Bouquet Ribbon: Silk and Willow | Rings: Boston Platinum | Calligraphy: Ann Erickson

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
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