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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
2 Comments
  1. avatar elaine reply

    Where is her reception dress from?!? Amazing!

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We often talk about the mission of Southern Weddings, and how we want to inspire couples to celebrate their families, the culture of the South, and what matters most to them. Y’all, nothing makes us happier than when we see couples do just that! Jen and Schuyler’s wedding had us seriously swooning when we featured it in V7. By incorporating Jen’s heritage into artwork in front of their escort table, and celebrating their big day in Virginia wine country–a place Jen and Schuyler both love–their wedding is such a lovely example of how details can be as meaningful as they are beautiful.

Thanks to Abby Jiu for sharing this sweet day with us!

I wanted the bridesmaid gifts to be really special, so I put together a bag of personalized gifts, such as monogrammed compacts with the quote “The best mirror is an old friend” engraved on the back, and ring holders with each lady’s name and an imprint of a gray dress imprinted on them. For our welcome bags, we had Antiquaria (the same company that did our invitations and day-of stationery) create a custom stamp for us, which we used to stamp the gift bags with our personal touch. We included snacks and a Virginia wine map. My favorite snack was chocolates from Cocoa Vienna, which are the best chocolates we have ever had. Some of the flavors included red velvet cake truffles and pumpkin truffles.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I have always known that I wanted some element of color for my wedding dress, but I was never sure what that element of color would be. I was being terribly picky and running out of time. Finally, at the last minute on a Friday, I scheduled an appointment at Hitched Salon in Georgetown for the next day. That weekend, Austin Scarlett was bringing in his creations straight off the runway for a trunk show. After trying on a few dresses in the store, the Camellia gown by Austin caught my eye and I asked my consultant if I could try it on. Once I put it on, it was so amazing. It was elegant and classic and so incredibly light, it was like walking on a cloud. Austin Scarlett was there with his business partner, Allison, and they were just the sweetest (it was really neat to have the designer there and to be able to talk with him and ask him questions about the dress!). On a whim, I asked Austin if it would be possible to recreate the dress in blush, and he said of course! When I finally got my dress, the blush tulle was just so stunning and subtle. The dress was really perfect, because it was exactly what I wanted and I was truly able to make the dress my own–no one else has a dress exactly like it!

When we were choosing a place to get married, the obvious choice was Charlottesville. It is a special place to both of us and has the most stunning views and scenery. We love great wine, and Veritas had some of our favorites from the region. They did an amazing job on the day of our wedding, and we couldn’t have been happier with our choice.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. I wanted to give the bridesmaids a chance to show their own styles, and I didn’t want a “matchy-matchy” wedding party, so I gave the bridesmaids guidelines on the dress (gray and long, a pattern would be okay), and sent them some examples. Some of the ladies rented their dresses from Rent the Runway and some bought their dresses, and in the end, everyone looked amazing. I loved seeing the spectrum of unique gray dresses and how cohesive everything looked together.

We know that the bridal party typically stands with the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. Although we thought that was great (it is so comforting to have your best friends and family standing with you), we also wanted the ceremony to be very intimate between us, with no distractions. Therefore, we decided to have our wedding party sit during the ceremony so that it would just be the two of us standing.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Early in the planning process, we were drawn to subtle, beautiful colors, like blush, whites, and greens. We loved the French toile print we chose for our cocktail tables, and that quickly became an inspiration for our black tie vineyard wedding. We were drawn to the natural and timeless look of the toile, and loved how the European formality of the print elevated our more casual venue. Throughout the planning process, the subtle, soft blush color of my dress also remained a constant source of inspiration, which led to a feminine color palette accented with gold for the evening. Being inspired by the French toile print naturally led the design to subtle Parisian accents, like bistro lights, gauzy organza runners, filigree votives, and romantic floral décor.

What kind of food did you serve? Our menu included butternut squash soup with apple chutney, roasted sirloin steak with horseradish mashed potato, citrus shrimp, seared red snapper with roasted eggplant, cabbage ragout with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, and truffle risotto with ratatouille and red wine reduction with fried leeks.

One of the most unique parts of our wedding was the painter who painted our wedding, Dan Nelson. As our wedding gift, Schuyler’s aunt brought him in to paint our ceremony. He not only painted the scene of our ceremony, but he also stayed throughout the entire reception to finish the painting as part of the evening’s entertainment. All our guests loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it after the wedding–he was so fun to watch! The final oil painting turned out so beautifully and is now hanging in our home. It is such a perfect reminder of our wedding day, and we love seeing it every day.

What was the funniest moment? I fell off the chair during the Hora!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We first met when we were 15 years old at a summer camp. We knew each other, but were not really friends, and did not keep in touch after the summer ended. By chance, we both ended up going to UVA for college, and ran into each other during my fourth year (his third year) at the gym. We recognized each other and chatted for a bit. We did not start dating, however, until a few years later, after we had both graduated. Even after that, we were long distance for awhile (due to grad schools, jobs, etc.), but were finally able to settle down in the same city.
Tell us all the basics of your wedding! We chose a date in late fall (October 26, 2013) because we knew the changing colors of the leaves would make for beautiful photos. We love Virginia wine country and wanted to invite our guests to a venue that was fun and special for us.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Refined, personal, and classic
How many guests attended your wedding? 131
What did the groom and groomsmen wear? Schuyler wore a custom English-tailored tuxedo with his grandfather’s gold cuff links. The groomsmen wore tuxedos of their own choosing, paired with gifts from the groom: mix-and-match gray silk pocket squares and cuff links.
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? I wanted to incorporate something from my heritage, but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. I proposed the traditional paper cut-out double-happiness characters to Kate (our planner), and wanted to know if there was an elegant way to incorporate it somewhere. Kate suggested that we create artwork for in front of the escort card table. I thought it was a wonderful plan, so we had Nikki, our calligrapher (an amazing artist) design the paper cut-out of the Chinese characters, as well as the other elements of the display. We framed them in mirrored frames, and our florist and decor vendor, Beehive Events, provided the draping to hang the artwork on. It was a great personal touch, and now we get to hang the artwork in our home!

Photographer: Abby Jiu / Videographer: Underground Short Films / Planning and Design: Kate Harlan of Simply Chic Events / Venue and Catering: Veritas Winery and Vineyard / Florist: Beehive Events / Cake Baker: Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations / Bride’s Gown: “Camellia” by Austin Scarlett / Bridal Salon: Hitched / Bride’s Shoes: Lola Cruz / Bridesmaid Dresses: Robert Rodriguez, BCBG MAXAZRIA, Liz Fields, and David’s Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Joy Pfister of Faces by Joy / Paper Goods: Antiquaria / Rentals: Beehive Events and Festive Fare / Transportation: Ambassador Limo / Live Painting Artist: Daniel Nelson

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Wow! So pretty! I just love the bridesmaid dresses!

  2. avatar Kelly reply

    This is where I’m having my wedding in just 4 months!! Looks absolutely beautiful!!

  3. avatar Caitlin reply

    I adore the ring holders that the bride customized for her maids. Any idea on where they are from?

  4. avatar Sweetheart Tables for Fall | The Dandelion Patch reply

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