Out of everything that is magical about the South, we believe that the feelings of hospitality, graciousness, and belonging are what captivate people the most. We adore biscuits, sweet tea, and groom’s cakes, there’s no denying that, but even without a single one of those things, a wedding can be characteristically Southern simply by the way people feel as soon as they walk through the venue doors. Andrea summed it up perfectly when she described her and Erick’s Nashville wedding: “We had people from all over the world, most of whom did not know one another. We ate, drank, danced, celebrated, and felt like family for one night. I’m so thankful that the South I know is filled with a spirit of sharing life stories and experiences, mutual acceptance of differences, blended families of relatives and friends, dancing, delicious food, and fun.”
We’re so glad that Kristin Sweeting shared Andrea and Erick’s meaningful day with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My younger sister went with me to the White Room on a Saturday, without an appointment. We looked through every rack and on the last one, I found the dress. I instantly knew it was the one I wanted, and begged the lady there to let me have a dressing room for a very brief try-on, but everything was booked. Serendipitously, someone called and canceled their appointment at that exact time. I got to try on the dress and fell in love, but the neckline went down to my belly button and I’m a little more modest. I bought it anyway, along with some extra fabric to fill in the neckline. When the dress came in, it came without the fabric. The White Room assured me we could get it in time, so I waited. Luckily, they have the best seamstress in the world, Tu Holman–she only had three weeks to take the dress in several inches, hem the bottom, replace beads, and create a new neckline. Five days before the wedding, my mom and I went to pick up the dress, and she had done beautiful work, but it just wasn’t what I had envisioned. My sister and best friend went back with me three days later and we stayed past midnight at the seamstress’ house until we had the top right. I’m so thankful for Tu and her insistence that we get the dress right, no matter how long it took, because on my wedding day, it was perfect and I loved wearing it.
There was an amazing Southern spirit at our wedding. We had people from all over the world, most of whom did not know one another. We ate, drank, danced, celebrated, and felt like family for one night. I’m so thankful that the South I know is filled with a spirit of sharing life stories and experiences, mutual acceptance of differences, blended families of relatives and friends, dancing, delicious food, and fun.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It was the only place we could agree on! I liked all the small, rustic, restaurant venues, and Erick liked all the big, industrial venues. We walked away from touring Sambuca and both said, “We could get married there.” It was perfect and we love that we can go back there for dinner every year on our anniversary.
When I was in Rwanda, I worked for Monique Lasdosz (Nanny, as we all call her) at the organization Widow’s Might. She started a craft workshop, along with several other business startups, for the widows and orphans of the 1994 genocide. We employed the craftspeople to make place card holders, drink stirrers, and our cake topper. Along with Nanny’s presence at our wedding, these details were extremely special because of the significance of our meeting and our heart for Africa.
We had a two-layer Italian cream cake with raspberry filling, ivory fondant, and gold art deco accents. The topper was intertwining giraffes made my artists at a craft workshop in Rwanda.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Erick is Rwandan, and ten years ago, I spent a summer working in Rwanda. The woman I worked for, Monique (Nanny) was good friends with Erick. She introduced us (with Erick’s girlfriend sitting next to him) and we had an instant connection. Lucky for me, the girlfriend was on her way out, so Erick and I hung out for the rest of my stay, but knew it wasn’t likely we could make a relationship work. We kept in touch and literally chased each other around the world. I started traveling around the world with the intent to go back to Africa, and Erick moved to the States. I returned from my trip six months later, and Erick’s job moved him to Guiana. A few years later, he moved back to the US and came to Nashville (where my boyfriend was sitting next to me). A few years and a breakup after that, we decided we had to make a relationship work. We did two years long distance between Nashville and Boston before Erick made the move South. We were soon engaged in October 2013 and married on October 18, 2014.
Tell us all about the proposal! Erick and I had been talking about getting engaged all summer. However, in September, my older sister got engaged, which was a welcome surprise to the whole family. Their engagement made our plans a little less immediate in every one else’s eyes. One day in October, Erick suggested “we spend the whole day together.” I had my suspicions, so I got dressed and planned a fun day. We went to Arrington Vineyards, shared wine, had wonderful conversation, and left without getting engaged. As we were leaving, Erick asked if I wanted to go out to eat. I was a little let down and neither of us was very hungry, so we decided to just go home and watch a movie. Once we were home, I hurried into my pajamas, made popcorn, and settled onto the couch. That’s when Erick walked over, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. It was private, without makeup or fancy clothes, in our home, and it was perfect. Then we proceeded to call my parents with the surprise of wedding number two scheduled for 2014!
When did y’all get married? October 18, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 40 for the ceremony and dinner, 80 for the reception
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We had beautiful elements all around, but we kept it reigned in and as simple as possible. Also, we knew we wanted a small and intimate ceremony, but to celebrate with all our friends, so we had only 40 people at the ceremony and dinner, and then had a great dessert and dancing reception with all our friends afterwards.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Focus on your relationship and marriage, and let the professionals handle the details. It was so much fun being a guest at my own wedding. I had zero stress because I had zero control, but I knew the people in charge wanted the best for us and I was paying them to do a great job without my help.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We plan to keep our day-to-day very much the same–working, playing with our dog, cooking dinner, hiking, reading, and being best friends. We look forward to working on our house and yard, visiting Rwanda, growing our friendships, and welcoming children whenever that happens.
Photographer: Kristin Sweeting / Planner: Kristin Kaplan of Stunning Events / Venue and Catering: Sambuca / Florist: Brocade Designs / Wedding Cake: Nashville Sweets / Rentals: Visual Elements / Lighting: Nashville Audio Visual / Ceremony Musician: Eric Knutsen / Reception Music: Cosmo Creations / Special Details: Rwandan craft workshop / Bride’s Gown: “Gianna” by Maggie Sottero / Alterations: Tu Holman / Bride’s Hair Accessories: “Art Deco Bridal Headband” by Veiled Beauty / Hair and Makeup: Debbie Dover / Bride’s Shoes: “Angela” by Coloriffics / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “041893600,” “04241040,” and “041885760” in Navy by Adrianna Papell