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Ashley and Matt fell in love in the Southern Weddings hometown of Chapel Hill, but for their May wedding, they chose the special place where both of their families have vacationed for years: Charleston. To match the old Southern elegance of Lowndes Grove Plantation, Ashley and Matt loved filling their wedding with meaningful, classic details, their favorite being a custom crest that combined the coats of arms of both of their families. Just like their crest, their wedding joined their families together in the loveliest way!

Thanks so much to Ellis Photo Studio for sharing Ashley and Matt’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my veil from my mom–she had the most gorgeous veil with scalloped lace edges, that we layered over a cathedral-length raw satin-trimmed veil. The lace on my mom’s veil nearly matched the lace on my dress perfectly, and having a piece of her at the altar with me meant the world. For blue, since Matt and I are both Tar Heels, you could say that we are always bleeding blue! Everything else was new–the dress, my shoes, and my earrings, but the best new thing was my new husband that I was on the arm of walking back up the aisle!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, and it was one of our favorite parts of our day! Matt and I wanted to have a chance to see each other and have a moment to ourselves to really relish in our wedding day together. It gave us a chance to share our last single moment together; not to mention, keep us from kissing right when I got to the end of the aisle!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows, but I wrote the whole ceremony. It felt so amazing to come up with everything from beginning to end, and it was something I truly enjoyed. We got to interject how we felt about each other, while still keeping it traditional.

We wanted to keep our flowers simple and elegant with lots of white, some pops of blush, and greenery. I’m a big believer in a clean aesthetic and didn’t want any over-the-top colors jumping out. My bridesmaids carried graceful stems of white phalaenopsis orchids, and my bouquet was made up of several flowers, including peonies and gardenias. Gardenia is my mom’s signature scent, and every time I smell it, it makes me think of her! For the tables, we had a mixture of high and low arrangements, echoing a French aesthetic, with a mixtures of herbs in navy cachepots and love knots painted in white, complemented by sweeping orchids.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We worked with a graphic designer in my dad’s office who created a custom family crest for us. It united the Travis and Peterson coats of arms into a gorgeous detail that graved everything from the top of the cotton printed napkin menu, to the stamp on the invitations, to the custom pillows on the couches in the lounge area.

They say that you learn a lot about each other while planning a wedding, and one thing we learned was that we don’t like any of the same cake flavors except the traditional ones! We each kept vetoing each other’s options until we landed on chocolate and vanilla, but hey, who doesn’t love a traditional cake? We ended up going with a white cake layered with chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries, covered in buttercream. We kept the design very simple with swiss dots and rosette swirls throughout the layers.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I have known of each other since we were in elementary school, but it wasn’t until high school that we became friends. Matt left for UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall of 2005, and we talked every now and then, just to keep up with one another. When I got to Chapel Hill the following fall, he invited me to one of his fraternity’s parties the first week I was there. We started dating the following spring and haven’t looked back since!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’m the hardest person in the world to surprise, but somehow, this man pulled it off! We were out skiing for a long weekend in Park City, Utah at Deer Valley. We got in Thursday night, and my birthday was on Saturday. My mom mentioned that we should get some professional pictures done while we were there, and on Saturday morning on our first chairlift up for the day, Matt mentioned that we should get pictures taken at the top of the mountain before skiing down. Once we were at the summit, we realized the photographer was a little trek over. Matt took off quickly, and my first thought was “That is so out of character that he’s not waiting for me!” I figured he must really want to take these pictures and get to skiing. I caught up and we began our photo shoot, when the photographer told Matt to kneel on one knee and for me lean over and hug him from behind. We took that shot and I straightened back up, but then Matt paused and swiveled around. I didn’t think anything of it, but as he unzipped his jacket, I knew! He told me how much he loved me and how he couldn’t imagine his life without me, and he asked me to marry him! I immediately said YES!
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Charleston is our home away from home. Both of our families have been vacationing there for years, so it was a natural choice for our wedding. About a month after getting engaged, we started researching places in Charleston that included what we wanted: outside, in Charleston proper, and available for spring. The minute we saw Lowndes Grove, we knew this was it!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had both of Matt’s sisters do a reading, and my brother, Chase, led everyone in the Lord’s Prayer. Maggie, Matt’s younger sister, read Ruth 1:16-17 and Matt’s older sister, Jessica, read an anonymous love poem.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We were very traditional in our processionals and used a lot of the music that my parents had used in their wedding. A string quartet brought everything to life and gave a romantic feel to the opening of the ceremony. Matt and I decided on Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” for our first dance. We both love to dance and wanted something we could move around to!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My aunt is a master seamstress and helped to sew things like our custom pillows and the cake table skirt.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it! You’re only going to get to do this once, so soak up everything and be present throughout the process. Surround yourself with a great team and have fun with it!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Being married has been nothing short of amazing and we are just having fun with this crazy life. We have been watching our wedding video on repeat, so hopefully that doesn’t die down anytime soon!

Photographer: Ellis Photo Studio / Videographer: KLC Video Productions / Planner: Lizz Akerman of Southern Protocol / Venue, Catering, and Cake: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: Charleston Stems / Rentals: Snyder Events and EventWorks / Lighting: AV Connections / Band: Groovetown of East Coast Entertainment / Paper Products: Ancesserie / Bride’s Gown: “BO53″ by CB Couture” / Bridal Salon: Lily Rose Bridal / Hair Stylist: Hunter Johnson of Updo Charleston / Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaid Dresses: Ann Taylor / Menswear: Berlin’s

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Gillian reply

    Thank you so much for featuring our photography today! We absolutely loved shooting this sweet blue + white wedding!

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Have you had a chance to dig through our brand-new editorial gallery yet? It has to be one of my favorite parts of the new site (aside from the Southern Thangs filter!). As Nicole and I were formatting six years of Southern Weddings print editorials in prep for the launch, it was so fun to immerse ourselves in older shoots that we had almost forgotten about, like this one or this one. We were surprised to see that we had never done a blog post on one of our favorite shoots that debuted all the way back in V3, Something Blue with Mr. Jose Villa. There’s no time like the present, though, don’t you think? Please enjoy, and be sure to check out the editorial gallery with all of the details!

Photography: Jose Villa / Styling: Joy Thigpen / Florals: Tre Bella Florist / Cake and macarons: Fearrington House / Hair: Sherry, Wavelengths Salon / Makeup: Nekita / Bride’s fashion: Angel Sanchez from Tre Bella Bridal / Ceramic mint bowls: Gleena / Jewelry: Dogeared, Fuss, Stella & Dot / Coasters: design by Mika78, calligraphy by Paperfinger, printing by For Your Party / Pitcher tags: design by Mika78, calligraphy by Paperfinger, printing by Czar Press / Tissue paper poms and washi tape drink flags: Mika78 / Heart garland: Bananasaurusrex / Calligraphy flag place cards: Moya Minns / Menus: Minted / China: Vietri at Fearrington Village / Pitchers: Dovecote at Fearrington Village / Venue: Fearrington Village

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

    Love this shoot more than ever, for obvious reasons! :)

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    I love this! Everything is just so pretty and I love that bow on the cake! :)

  3. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Gorgeous and truly inspiring! Each and every detail looks so pretty. Loved the beautiful infusion of blue along the white backdrop.

  4. avatar Arlissa Vaughn / Special Event Painter reply

    Love these inspiration posts. As an artist, I get really interested in color coordinated posts like this one! :) Thanks for sharing.

  5. avatar Bohemian Romance | Bridal Shower Inspiration | HarperHadley reply

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    […] is just something so happy about this wedding from Southern Weddings! Maybe it’s because my favorite photographer, Jose Villa, shot it.  Or may be it’s the […]

  8. avatar Chelsea Sanford reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! Where are those bridesmaid dresses from? I love them!

  9. avatar Combined Wedding Themes: Modern and Bohemian Inspiration – Bajan Wed : Bajan Wed reply

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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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