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Hi, friends! I am so happy to introduce our October Southern Bride of the Month! Megan is getting married in less than two weeks (!!), but was kind enough to pause last-minute preparations long enough to answer a few questions. I hope you enjoy her interview — I know I sure did!

Hi! What’s your name?
Megan Ferguson

What’s your fiancé’s name?
Nico Evers Swindell

What do y’all do for a living?
I like to say I am a stay-at-home actress. My dad does not think that’s funny. But for real, we both are actors and live in Los Angeles.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Three years ago we were both living in New York City and had several mutual friends. I had heard that Nico was cute, from New Zealand and an actor and thought to myself, that sounds terrrrrible. I had never dated another actor – there can only be so much crazy in one relationship. But luckily, Nico came to my Christmas Party and we ended up having a smooch! We’ve been together ever since.

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
We flew from Los Angeles to New Zealand to visit Nico’s home last December. I had chatted about and thought about a proposal probably every day for the previous few months EXCEPT for the day it happened! We had gotten off of a 12-hour flight, made it to his home, and I was a wee bit cranky and jet lagged when Nico just asked. Very simply and sincerely. I said yes, and then he ran around the corner to get the ring, which was hidden in a piece of china on the kitchen counter! Because NZ is so far away, we couldn’t call friends or family for at least six hours, so we had it all to ourselves for a whole evening.

When’s the big day?
October 29, 2011

Where might you two be tying the knot?
At my parent’s home in Thomasville, Georgia

The driveway leading to Megan’s house! Love the Spanish moss :)

How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
I have always wanted to be married outside and at my home. I think it’s so wonderful to have a wedding ceremony at home, since a wedding is about the bride and groom becoming family!

The back porch of Megan’s house, where the ceremony will take place

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
My friends’ weddings! This has been one of those wonderful years where several of my dear friends have gotten married. Each wedding has been so personal to the couple and full of amazing details! One friend served bourbon smash in mint julep cups, and another had antlers throughout her floral arrangements. Creativity is contagious.

Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
My wedding co-captain, Nan Myers! Nan is a friend, first and foremost, who runs this fabulous store in Thomasville called Firefly. I have always admired her style, and so I thought she would be the perfect woman to help plan our wedding! Neither of us has ever planned a wedding before, but Nan has the perfect combination of retail savvy and creative spark and I am half bridezilla. She has taken care of a lot of the nitty gritty with rentals and vendors, which has allowed me to stay relatively calm. Also, Google Docs, y’all! Seriously. Put all of your lists, budgets, and RSVPs onto Google Docs. That way, a select group of people can edit the same document and everyone can stay up to date!

Modern tented wedding reception inspiration from Fete

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
I watched plenty of “Say Yes to the Dress” marathons (original, Atlanta, and Big Bliss) before it was my time to dress shop, and always scoffed when the bride’s entourage didn’t love the dress that she loved. Then, I put on this amazing, romantic J. Mendel gown, cut on the bias with unfinished hem, and fell in love. I walked out of the dressing room fully expecting to say YES to the dress, and I got a room full of “nah-uh’s” instead. Not even Randy from Kleinfeld could have sold that dress! Cut to several months later, and not being in love with any other dress, I tried on a BLUE, FLORAL ready-to-wear Monique Lhuillier gown and my Mom, Dad, and maidens of honor all cried at once! I can’t show y’all a picture, because what if Nico suddenly takes an interest in wedding blogs and sees the dress before the big day?! Okay, sneak peak of the fabric below!

Who is your favorite vendor you’ve booked so far?
I love all of our vendors! Mae Mae Paperie made heavenly save the dates & Rifle Paper Co made the most magical wedding invites on the planet! I can’t wait for the Flashdance team (Smilebooth, Sharkpig and the Human Jukebox) Betsy Dunlap’s calligraphy makes me so happy. Hugh Acheson from Empire State South is cooking up a feast for us – this bride WILL have two pieces of fried chicken thank you very much! Christian Oth Photography will make me look pretty by hook or by crook.

Above: Megan + Nico’s gold foil and kraft paper save the dates by MaeMae Paperie (see more here!). I am in love!

What do you love most about Southern weddings?
Tradition! I am saying goodnight to the groom after the rehearsal dinner and won’t see him again until I walk down the aisle. We also buried a bottle of bourbon at the site of the ceremony one month before the wedding so that it won’t rain! Nico wants to dig up the bottle on the way back down the aisle, but I’m not sure that would go over very well with our officiant. I am having a “Bleedin’ Kiwi Groom’s Cake” – my take on the Steel Magnolias classic red velvet groom’s cake.

A gorgeous invitation suite from Rifle Paper Co (via Oh So Beautiful Paper). This isn’t Megan + Nico’s design, but it sure is lovely!

If you had to pick three top priorities for your budget, what would they be and why?
Photography, food, and music. A lot of people won’t remember what your flowers, plates or linens looked like, but they will remember if they liked the food and if they danced! Photos are for remembering everything else!

What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
The worst part happened today, when I called the hotels to check on our reservations and both hotels told me that they have sold our room block rooms to non-wedding guests by accident… we are still sorting this one out. Most guests have rooms, but we are having to house others with local friends. It will probably end up being more fun for those guests anyway!

Above: Champagne tower from Kate Moss’s wedding via Once Wed (photo by Mario Testino for Vogue) and Megan’s rose bouquet inspiration

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Ask former brides for advice and help! Many of my closest friends passed on all of their old rental lists, budgets, seating charts and catering invoices and they were a great reference. I also occasionally asked friends their favorite and least favorite moments of other weddings to get a sense of what a guest’s experience is like and how to make it seamless! But most of all, create a day that is special for you and your groom. Y’all are the guests of honor! Take a breath (or sob for ten minutes) when it feels overwhelming and come back to planning the next day. It’s a magical time – enjoy!

Thank you so much for joining us today, Megan! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

P.S. Looking for even more Southern Bride goodness?
Texan childhood sweethearts planning a church wedding and country club reception
Floridians planning a garden wedding full of amazing Southern eats
A sometimes-long-distance couple planning a destination wedding in Georgia

The Southern Bride of the Month header was designed by our Assistant Art Director Sierra, with illustration by Curious & Company!

emily Written with love by Emily
8 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Thank you so much for being here, Megan! As you know, I LOVE your save the dates! :)

  2. avatar Jennifer Rea reply

    Love this feature. It’s so fun to read about the beginning to the end!

  3. avatar monday moodboard / 4 | a new journey reply

    […] One, two, three, four, five, six. […]

  4. avatar My Kind's Your Kind | Best Wedding Blog – Wedding Fashion & Inspiration | Grey Likes Weddings reply

    […] of freaking out. Seriously. You can read more about her behind-the-scenes planning process here on Southern Weddings. Very very very special thanks to Christian Oth Studio for letting us feature these gorgeous […]

  5. avatar » My Kind’s Your Kind May I Have The Ring reply

    […] of freaking out. Seriously. You can read more about her behind-the-scenes planning process here on Southern Weddings and more about the actual wedding at the original feature in Garden and Gun. Very very very special […]

  6. avatar Rochelle reply

    Please tell me where you got your bridesmaid dresses from

  7. avatar monday moodboard / 4 | kory woodard reply

    […] One, two, three, four, five, six. […]

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Ceara and Nate’s wedding continued in beautiful style under a gorgeous tent set on her family’s land. More than the lovely details, though, there’s something that sticks with me about this wedding. From Ceara: “The whole weekend is etched in our minds as a profound celebration of life and love and family. Two weeks before the wedding, my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. He decided not to tell anyone outside the family before the wedding, but we all had a heightened awareness throughout the weekend that this was time out of time. And it was. My father was his exuberant self and seized the opportunity to celebrate his family and friends on land that had always been sacred to him. We are all so grateful to have the incredible photos and film of him in his element.” That, my friends, is what weddings are all about — celebrating family, life, and love. Big thanks to Christian Oth Studio for sharing this beauty with us.

The weather on our wedding day was: Beautiful, but major storms were predicted for Friday night. Our rehearsal dinner was to be outside by our pond and we had tent coverage for dinner but not cocktails. At the last minute my planner, Jung, found some tents for the cocktail area, but I made her take them down as soon as they were up – they were filthy and ruined the beautiful view! Practicalities weren’t first and foremost in my mind. Heavy winds and a purple sky portended massive storms and Jung thought I was crazy, but obliged. Much to her relief and my delight the clouds cleared just as guests arrived and it turned into a perfect evening.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: On Friday night as we gathered by our pond for drinks a baby alligator joined us, sunning himself on the bank below. During the ceremony on Saturday an eagle flew overhead as we exchanged vows. Obviously these weren’t details we had any hand in arranging, but they added to our sense that we were marrying at the right time in the right place.
Funniest moment? In retrospect it is pretty funny, and somewhat surprisingly at the time we thought so too—the ceremony began at the exact late afternoon moment the gnats descended. I had just assumed spraying would be enough, but all of our local guests could time the insects’ arrival to the minute. Throughout the ceremony Nate and I gripped hands so that we wouldn’t scratch, but our many flower girls, ring bearers, and most members of the wedding party couldn’t keep still. If you look closely at the photos, there is a halo of gnats around all of our heads. I don’t think everyone thought it was so funny—some of our guests looked like they had the chicken pox for weeks! Luckily they all said the experience was well worth the scars.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Without a doubt, logistics. The first hurdle was planning the wedding from New York during my first year of law school, but we were both happy to use the wedding as an excuse to head down to Charleston on the odd weekend. Then there was the problem of hosting 200+ people on our rural land, where the only space open enough to fit a tent was a remote field once used to land airplanes. I have to credit Jung and Josh, our wedding planners, with pulling it off—they figured out a way to bus everyone in, throw up a tent, cook dinner for 225 guests and power a 10-piece band in a field in the middle of nowhere!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There is not just one moment — the whole weekend is etched in our minds as a profound celebration of life and love and family. Two weeks before the wedding my father was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. He decided not to tell anyone outside the family before the wedding, but we all had a heightened awareness throughout the weekend that this was time out of time. And it was. My father was his exuberant self and seized the opportunity to celebrate his family and friends on land that had always been sacred to him. We are all so grateful to have the incredible photos and film of him in his element.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Natural, irreverent, magical.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are expecting a baby boy in July, leaving me just enough time to graduate from law school in May!

Written with love by Katharine
1 Comment
  1. avatar stefanie reply

    Can you please help me find the bolero that Ceara is wearing in her wedding? I would like to treat my daughter-in-law to be…

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