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When I took my first peak at Nicole + Rob’s wedding images, I was completly taken with Nicole’s gor-geous Olia Zavozina deep scoop-back gown. For a self-proclaimed tom boy, this girl sure cleans up nicely! Beyond the stunning gown, Nicole + Rob’s big day was full of lovely Southern details. My favorite has to be the old refurbished church pews at the ceremony – y’all know I’m a sucker for outdoor Cathedrals, and adding in the Tennessee rolling hills. I think I might need to rework my renewal plans!

The dress was my first purchase. Two of my sorority sisters were visiting and wanted to go dress shopping. It was only a few weeks after we got engaged, so the thought of trying on wedding dresses felt slightly overwhelming. After two appointments, I didn’t really like anything and disliked the process even more. It just felt kind of fake and forced (I should note I’m a self-proclaimed tom boy so this didn’t surprise me). While heading to dinner, we passed a new bridal store, and the light was still on. My friends flocked to the window to peak inside and the door opened. It was the designer, Olia Zavozina. She told us her store was set to open the following month, but if I wanted, she would allow me to come in the next day. I did and fell in love with the first dress I tried on. Talk about fate!

Tom boy? Um, I’d have to go with complete knockout! Nicole sure knows how to rock the glam look!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I went back and forth on this. I think every girl (or most girls) wants to see her husband-to-be’s expression as she walks down the aisle. Ultimately, we both decided to do a first look. It was great because this moment was not only a special moment we shared together, privately, but we were able to take all of our pictures before the wedding to maximize time with our out of town guests post-ceremony. It was perfect.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My longtime friend Melissa read from The Equality of Woman and Man. “The Lord made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favor in the Kingdom of heaven. Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.”

It was important to us to have vows that sounded like us. I’m a bit of a research geek, so I had a ton of fun pulling verses and copy from varying sources. My favorite part of our vows was actually a line towards the end that was something I told the pastor when he asked me what my vision was for our marriage. I told him, “As I look to the life that we will build together, I hope that we will continue to push each other towards the best versions of ourselves.” It was a nice touch to our vows that he took from our one-on-one conversations.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That’s tough, as you would imagine. The more sentimental memory would be Rob and I walking down the hill after the ceremony. We were both so relieved for it to be over (it was kind of stressful!) and just take in the scenery of the Tennessee rolling hills. The more fun memory was a dance off between Rob and me to Salt n Pepa’s “Push It.” That happened unplanned, and it was fantastic. Rob did his classic butter churn dance move, sans his shirt.

My bouquet was a mix of white peonies, white cushions, orchids and green hypericum berries throughout. The bridesmaids bouquets had white hydrangeas with green hypericum berries, Robert had a green mini cym with an orchid and white status boutonnieres and the groomsmen had green berries. Our tables had spyders, cushion berries, million star and Queen Anne’s and our outside ceremony alter had white hydrangeas at the top.

We saw the style of our wedding as being crisp, clean and classic with a little rustic feel (after all, it was on a farm). Our color palette was white, navy and Kelly green. We had old refurbished church pews at the ceremony site with the Tennessee rolling hills overlooking the farm; there were two barns with bars alongside a gorgeous backyard setting where guests were seated. Our specialty drinks were Jack Daniel whiskey and coke and vodka and tea. Guests enjoyed family-style BBQ that included pulled chicken, beef brisket, mac-n-cheese, squash casserole, green beans and corn bread and honey butter. We also had old quilts that adorned the seats in one of the barns and a classically chic chandelier.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We had a two-layer buttermilk cake with chocolate filling and white icing on the outside, and cupcakes in triple chocolate, coconut cream, red velvet, vanilla and white chocolate.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Rob and I were introduced through our mutual friend, Jennifer. Jen and I work together, and she had mentioned that she thought her neighbor and I would hit it off. She described Rob as tall, handsome, athletic and polite. He had a good job in investment management and was from Oxford, Mississippi. Who could turn that down?! Our first date was during restaurant week on a snowy night in January. Oddly enough, we didn’t initially hit it off as one might think! Looking back, I think it was first date nerves and the restaurant wasn’t really our scene. After some encouragement from Jen, we both agreed to give it another shot. Fast forward a few days to our second date. Rob took me to a local sports bar to watch the NFL playoffs. We were able to relax, banter and watch some good ole’ fashion football. Suffice to say we hit it off immediately. We realized we had a lot in common: An affinity for SEC sports (Go Gators), the Giants (he likes Eli, I love NYC), a Christian upbringing, running, dogs, music and a sarcastic sense of humor. Not to mention I found Rob incredibly good looking. After what was an infinitely more successful date, we were inseparable.
Describe the proposal. We decided to take a trip to Rosemary Beach in the Spring. It was our first night there and Rob planned a dinner at a swanky restaurant. We biked around most of the day and as we headed back to our condo, Rob suggested going for a walk on the beach before dinner. We showered and got dressed, and as we stepped out on the beach it started to torrentially downpour. We went back inside and our electricity went out! I laughed and suggested we just head to the restaurant early for a drink. Rob sat down on the couch and motioned for me to join him. He pulled out a four-page letter and started to read it to me. What he was reading aloud didn’t really sink at first, but I quickly realized it was a letter he wrote to my mother. He went into detail about how he felt about me; that even after only four months, he knew that that I was what he had waited his whole life for; that I was the love of his life and that he would call her on Saturday to talk through his intentions and address any questions or concerns she had. My father passed away from cancer in 2004, so Rob knew that my mother’s blessing meant everything to me. The thought to write her a letter and give her time to process everything before he called was something you just didn’t hear about much. It was unique…but perhaps that’s just how they do it here in the South. He called my mother that Saturday and after some assurances Rob gave her, she wholeheartedly gave her blessing. Before she hung up, she just said, “Nikki’s father would have wanted me to say this; but please just please take care of our baby girl.” Rob went on to tell me that the day my engagement ring arrived, my mother called him and asked if the ring came in. It caught Rob off guard, since the ring had arrived a couple days before it was expected. When Rob told my mom that the ring arrived that morning, she simply replied, “I knew it. Today is the day that Nikki’s dad and I got married!” At this point, tears were streaming down my face. Rob got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him — to which I more than happily obliged.
In what month did you get married? April 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? About 90 guests total
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. We had a string trio play during the ceremony. During the wedding party processional, they played U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” As I walked down the aisle, they played the more traditional Canon in D. During the recessional, the played Muse’s “Starlight.” We took dance lessons for 10 weeks to prepare for our first dance. We learned the rumba to Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” No one knew we had a choreographed first dance, so it was a fun surprise for everyone and we looked great. It was a blast.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The chic chandelier over the bar in the barn behind an old mirror that listed our specialty drinks.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Being patient. I’m a perfectionist and planner by trade (I work in advertising), so it was tough for me to let go and trust that my wedding coordinator and venue would take care of everything. It was a lesson in patience, for sure.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Hands down my photographer. Being in advertising, I know what good photography can do for the end product. It was important to me that our photographer embodied a photo-documentary style. I really disliked wedding photos that looked overly staged. Without question, I knew I wanted Leslee Mitchell.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have faith that everything will work out, and even if something happens unexpected on your wedding day – the guests likely won’t even know. So enjoy it and take it all in, because the day itself goes by in a blink.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? House hunting, travel and beginning talks of children. More planning!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Andre Blais reply

    What a beautiful wedding! Gorgeous photography also! Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Iceni reply

    Fabulous article. Love the rustic looks the bride & groom chose, and Nicole looked amazing in her gown. Fab sparklers to finish of the night.

  3. avatar kaitlyn t pham reply

    Hi! Nicole I was wondering what the name of your dress is from – I just recently got one from Olia and it looks like that as well but can’t seem to find the name. thanks

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I know, I know… last week, I said the Paper, Cotton, and Flour shoot was my favorite from V4. And now, here I am this week, introducing you to another of my favorite features! Can you blame me, though? Courtney Spencer of Merriment Events and I emailed incessantly for months to pull all of these beautiful details together, and the wonderful Katie Stoops surpassed our expectations for capturing them to share with y’all. I am so, so pleased with how everything we built in Williamsburg turned out, and I hope you all love this shoot, too!

The Lettered Olive designed these breathtaking invitations for us using calligraphy by Elizabeth Porcher Jones. Wouldn’t handwritten, personally-addressed invite letters be an amazing idea for an intimate celebration? Even if you were having a larger wedding, you could still do something similar, but write “Dear family and friends” instead of individual names.

Our bride’s gorgeous gown is the “Arabella” from Christos. It is stunning in person!

Out of all the gorgeous and historic locations in Colonial Williamsburg, we settled on the spa as the spot for our ceremony.

Courtney was not only the amazing stylist for this shoot, but the florist, as well! She did a wonderful job transforming the wholesale flowers from Fifty Flowers into centerpieces and bouquets for our bride and bridesmaids.

Our classic tablescape was set on a Colonial Williamsburg porch. I particularly love the nods to Virginia culture, like the boxwoods and peanuts!

A few more details? Oh, okay!

For dessert? Monogrammed tarts and a classic white wedding cake.

Finally, the butter on the biscuit: the Beau Bar! Trade your tie for a bow tie, y’all!

Be sure to pick up a copy of V4 to see all the details!

The talented vendors who made this shoot happen:

Photography: Katie Stoops // Film processing: Richard Photo Lab // Styling: Courtney Spencer of Merriment Events // Stylist’s assistant: Danielle Hines // Venue: Colonial Williamsburg // Hair stylist: Rachel Shrader of Ceco Studio // Makeup artist: Natalie Mitchell of Avenue 42 Designs // Wholesale flowers: Fifty Flowers // Flower styling: Courtney Spencer // Invitation suite and programs: The Lettered Olive, with calligraphy by Elizabeth Porcher Jones // Rentals and flatware: Colonial Williamsburg // Table linens and colored chair cushions: La Tavola Linen // Monogram, menus, placecards, signature drink sign and popper wrappers: Moya Minns of MM Ink // Glassware, some silver pieces and china: Festive Fare // Popper tissue paper: Nashville Wraps // Coaster and custom wine label design: Magpie Paper Works // Coaster and cocktail napkins printing: For Your Party // Beau Bar sign: Chocolate Butterbean // Bow ties for Beau Bar: Upper French, Lumina Clothing Company, and High Cotton Ties // Boxwood wreaths: Save on Crafts // Wedding cake, ham biscuits, petit fours, and calligraphy tarts: Colonial Williamsburg // Bridal gown: “Arabella” by Christos // Bride’s shoes: “Forbes” by Nina from Bella Bridesmaid // Veils: Toni Federici // Ivory bridesmaids’ dresses: Saja // Bridesmaids’ sashes: Untamed Petals // Colored bridesmaid dresses: Bella Bridesmaid

Colonial Williamsburg is a Southern Weddings sponsor. Katie Stoops, Moya Minns, and Merriment Events are Blue Ribbon Vendors.

emily Written with love by Emily
32 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Absolutely beautiful! Williamsburg is my hometown and this shoot captured its charm perfectly. That bow tie bar is going to be all over Pinterest in a few hours! Amazing work, once again! :)

  2. avatar Desiree reply

    I want those dishes for myself! How gorgeous!

  3. avatar Erin reply

    I love Chocolate Butterbean!

  4. avatar Jackie reply

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Colonial Williamsburg…Anywho, I truly adore this wedding. The calligraphy, the stationery, the all-white scheme. It’s divine!

  5. avatar Kristine {In Love, Engaged} reply

    This is an amazing shoot! I love all the details and the setting is beautiful!

  6. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Weddings holiday cheer! One of our favorite features from V4 (okay, okay, one of many) was the Williamsburg Wedding shoot! The classic details and clean green and white colors combine perfectly with the colonial setting […]

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  20. avatar danisa flowers reply

    Stunning dress.Love the hair! The place is breath taking. Thanks for sharing. Love it!

  21. avatar Danisa Flowers reply

    I love the bride’s wedding gown, so lovely and exquisite. I love the white front porch with the tables and chairs. I love the arrangements and the whole ambiance of the place looks really classy yet relaxing.

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    I love this! What a gorgeous wedding!

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    OH….and the dress is breathtaking!

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  28. avatar Jerry reply

    Are the “candy” shaped gifts wedding favors? I really love this packaging idea!!

  29. avatar Christina reply

    Hi there! I’ve loved the custom wooden wedding signs by Chocolate Butterbean featured on SW, but I see that Chocolate Butterbean is not currently accepting any orders. Do you have a suggestion of another vendor that makes a similar product?

    Thanks so much for your time!

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After their fashion-forward ceremony, Alison + Manny treated their family and friends to a low-key reception at the Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables that brought all the comforts of home to the burlap-covered guest tables. The newlyweds decorated the space with their favorite books and handmade chalkboards that doubled as table assignments, and Flowers by Rose repurposed Mason jars with white tulips and daisies. I’m in love with the bride + groom’s sweet, made-for-two wedding cake, courtesy of Carrie Hampton Ashton. For those of you who can’t get enough of Alison + Manny’s big day, hop on over to Katelyn James’ blog post for more fun!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: This was the first dress I ever tried on! I didn’t have a very specific picture of what I was looking for, except that I would have loved to find a dress with a sweetheart neckline. I love pockets, too, but wasn’t too convinced I would find a wedding gown with them! I had visions of removing the large bow that was originally on it and adding a sash of flowers to make it fit my personality more, but when my mom and I removed the bow to make the changes, it looked perfect to me the way it was!
Describe your wedding flowers: I loved our flowers! Many of our decorations were sort of mismatched and pieced together in fun ways and so I knew I wanted some variety in the types of flowers. We placed a few stems of some tulips, some gerbera daisies, some hydrangeas, etc, in a mason jar wrapped in twine and a great shade of green ribbon! My parents found the jars at thrift stores in Harrisonburg and my mother in law had a friend with a farmhouse give her crates and crates of them They made adorable (and cheap!) vases and votive holders!
Describe your wedding cake: I had NO idea what the cake was going to look like. I had given the baker a few pictures of some ideas, and she created the most beautiful cake! Manny had expressed early on that he would like to have cupcakes at our wedding. I agreed and loved the idea! We just wanted a two-tier wedding cake in addition to the cupcakes, just large enough to be a centerpiece on the cake table. Our baker used ivory butter cream frosting on a chocolate fudge cake with peanut butter filling! The design was adorable and fit perfectly with our theme – she piped the middle of the two tiers with icing that looked just like the twine, adding an adorable little brown flower to the center.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Staying within our budget while planning a wedding with 250 guests! We had a budget of $10,000 we needed to remain under, and as such, it was a daunting task to figure out how to accommodate this large number of guests while still achieving a wedding day that was distinctly “us.” Planning the wedding for the “off-season” at our reception venue and using a local favorite barbecue place as our caterer were two things that really helped to off-set some costs! All of our centerpieces and decorations were basically homemade, as well!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Manny was offered a full time job on staff with Young Life AT our wedding!! We’ll find out in April where in Virginia he will be placed, and we will move at the end of July.

Written with love by Katharine
3 Comments
  1. avatar My heart always « Katelyn James Photography reply

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    […]  I think it’s safe to safe that it skipped a few when I saw Ali and Manny’s big day featured on Southern Weddings Blog! Part 1 and Part 2 look amazing on there and I hope some southern […]

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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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