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One of the sweetest parts of planning a wedding is the opportunity to show your guests what you and your beau hold most dear in your life together. For Nicole and Martin, those things are their Christian faith and their Southern roots, so their Atlanta wedding day was filled to the brim with prayer, meaningful moments, gestures of hospitality, and their favorite Southern delicacies! Their families also played a huge role in making their celebration so special–their grandfathers officiated the ceremony together, and Nicole and Martin were especially excited to display family wedding photos at their reception “to honor the long line of loving marriages that have been examples for our own marriage.”

Thank you so much to Danielle Nichol for sharing this lovely day with us!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Prayer was incorporated at different moments throughout our entire wedding day. Each of those precious moments will forever hold a special place in my heart. Before my mother helped me into my dress, she held my hands and poured out her heart to God over me and my marriage. Each of our grandfathers prayed over us during the ceremony. In the car riding to the reception, Martin prayed over our new marriage–that it would glorify God and be led by Him. And before the night of dancing began at the reception, my father prayed the most meaningful of blessings over us. These prayers were a testament to the love and support of our family, and we hope to create as powerful a Christian legacy as they have.

A few weeks after our engagement, my parents drove to Atlanta for a weekend of wedding planning. My parents and I started the dress hunt at White Magnolia in Buckhead, which I’m so thankful my mother-in-law had suggested. It was the perfect dress shopping experience! The girls were very attentive and listened to what I envisioned on my wedding day. It was a blast! While browsing around the store, I noticed a dress on display in the window and immediately told my mother “It’s the perfect dress!” I quickly peeked at the dress price and my heart fell–it was over the budget. When I walked into the dressing room later, I noticed the “perfect” dress hanging in the room, and was told by the girl that my dad had requested it to be pulled regardless of price. Needless to say, as soon as I put the dress on, it resulted in a few happy tears–including my father’s!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did, and it was the best decision that we made regarding the wedding! It was both Martin’s and my most memorable moment of the day. It not only allowed us to enjoy that special moment alone, but it also calmed our nerves before the ceremony. Being able to take pictures beforehand and having more time to spend with guests at the reception were a huge plus as well!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Martin’s grandfather, who is an Episcopal priest, as well as my grandfather, who is a Baptist minister, were able to conduct the ceremony together! It was such a sweet memory having both of our grandfathers pour out their love for Jesus over us and our marriage. We wanted the ceremony to feel like a worship service, and for all of our guests to witness our love for Christ and our desire for Him to lead us throughout our lives together.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We are both very traditional and used the traditional Christian vows! However, no matter how many times we had heard the same words at other weddings or in movies, the moment I put Martin’s ring on his hand and promised him my heart forever was the most emotional and overwhelming moment of the entire wedding. It was a moment that we will cherish forever.

Tim at Petals A Florist was able to translate my every dream for the reception and bring them to life. He named his design concept for our wedding a “beautiful mess.” I wanted to bring the soft and romantic feel of an English garden into the ballroom with asymmetrical styling and flowing greenery. The garland used on the tables, as well as the large mirror that was placed at the entrance of the room, was by far my favorite touch! We chose shades of white and ivory colored flowers with a touch of blush pink in the arrangements. The flowers were a mixture of ranunculus, O’Hara roses, English garden roses, and English stock. Tim was even able to insert a few peonies (my favorite flower) into the bouquets without breaking the budget. The greenery used in the wedding was Southern smilax, which happens to be a vine that my mother and I have used many times to decorate at Christmas!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Martin and I wanted Southern hospitality and charm to be the main theme of our wedding! Our goal was to have everyone feel welcome, comfortable, and appreciated for supporting us throughout our relationship, and now marriage. Our menu consisted of all Southern foods, including pimento cheese crackers, chicken and waffles, barbecue sandwiches, and a grits bar. Since I’m from Alabama and Martin is from Georgia, he wanted to incorporate local craft beers from each of our home states into the bar menu. The South loves heritage, so we were able to display our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings pictures to honor the long line of loving marriages that have been examples for our own marriage. To cool our guests off during the band’s break, we served King of Pops, which is a local popsicle company here in Georgia. We received many thanks from our guests over this decision. For our send-off, we ran through Auburn shakers…and a few loud Auburn cheers, as well!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was fall of my sophomore year at Auburn University (War Eagle!) and my best friend and sorority sister, Mackenzie, invited me over for a party at her apartment. While there, I met this tall, quiet, and extremely handsome guy who happened to be one of her best guy friends. Over the next few months, I saw Martin occasionally, and each time, my attraction grew, as did my quietness. Spring semester came and Martin’s fraternity held a dinner party for my sorority. So convenient! Of course, I saw Martin that night and decided that being shy wasn’t going to show him I was interested–it was time to cue the flirting. By the end of the evening, he had invited me to a date party, and by that Sunday, he had called and asked me to go on our first date that evening! I knew that night when he got out of the car to open my door that I was sold–this was a true Southern gentleman. He took me to eat at a local pizza restaurant where he learned my first quirk, eating pizza with a fork and knife! He stills teases me over that habit. It was the perfect first date, and from there, the rest was history. I was head over heels!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Martin: Since we had talked about marriage, I knew that I wanted to make the proposal as much of a surprise as possible for her. I teamed up with her mom and closest friends in order to get that done. I asked all of them to give “accidental” hints like saying “Oh, we will be in Atlanta that weekend,” even though there was no reason for them to be visiting. She fell for the bait and was sure that she had figured it all out. Nicole had mentioned a few times that she wanted to have her nails done, but I needed to make that happen without raising any flags. Nicole’s parents were in town the weekend prior (we got engaged on a Monday), so she thought there was a chance it was happening that Sunday. Her mom decided that they should go get their nails done, which immediately sent up a red flag in Nicole’s mind. She was noticeably excited and anxious all weekend, and then somewhat let down when her parents “left” that Monday morning. After nailing down all the details, it came down to the big day. I picked Nicole up from her apartment, all the while trying not to look incredibly nervous in front of her. On our way to dinner, I told her I thought I had left one of my golf clubs on the course while playing the day before and that we had to go look for it. It took a little convincing, but eventually, she played along. I carefully “looked” for my missing golf club while Nicole followed along. Once we got to the spot, and I sloppily went through the speech I had been running through my head all day, and asked the woman of my dreams to marry me. She said yes!
When did y’all get married? April 9, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? The decisions we have made as a couple throughout our relationship have been based on our faith in Christ. We seek to find His will, and strive to be an example of His unconditional love. With the excitement of the engagement and rush of planning a wedding, we consciously chose to place planning for our future together at the forefront. We attended premarital counseling sessions with our church over our ten-month engagement. We also set aside time together every Tuesday night to read a chapter of Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, a book we highly recommend to couples!
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? I’ve always enjoyed playing around with different styles of handwriting, and my great-grandmother always taught me that a handwritten note held more meaning and sentiment than any other form of communication. I took that advice to heart, and a year ago, decided to start Vine & Olive Design, a calligraphy design company. With our wedding, I had the opportunity to not only complete all the calligraphy for the wedding invitations and other details, but I was also able to design our own save the date, invitation suite, and monogram! It was great experience and marketing for Vine & Olive, and it cut a large amount of cost for our paper products! We also received multiple praises from guests on the sentimentality of the personal touches.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just purchased a home here in Atlanta and love being able to finally live together with our adorable golden retriever, Palmer. It’s a wonderful feeling waking up next to your husband every morning, and not having to leave at the end of the night! With life beginning to settle down after the wedding excitement, we now have time to decorate the house! We’re looking forward to starting the next phase in life as “newlyweds” while enjoying time with each other and friends, and supporting each other as we work towards our dreams. I’ve decided that life is definitely more fun when you’re married to your best friend!

Photographer: Danielle Nichol Photography | Videographer: Ryan Lindsey with Imagine Video Productions | Ceremony Venue: All Saints’ Episcopal Church | Reception Venue: Piedmont Driving Club | Florist: Petals A Florist | Lighting: Up Lighting America | Band: Tayo Reed Band | Paper Products and Calligraphy: Vine & Olive Design | Bride’s Gown: “Ginny” by Modern Trousseau | Bride’s Earrings and Bracelet: J. Crew | Hair and Makeup: Courtney Clifton | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Azazie in Mint Chiffon | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Uplighting Rental reply

    Absolutely love the photos, great job!

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In our interview, we ask our sweet couples what makes their wedding Southern, and today’s answer may be one of my favorites! There’s the monogram cummerbunds (!!), gorgeous all-white florals from James Farmer, Catherine’s classic lace stunner and TJ‘s white dinner jacket, but I’d have to agree with Catherine that the most Southern aspect was the Piedmont Driving Club! Of course, it’s a lovely location, but the coolest part is that the press party for the premiere of Gone With the Wind was held in the same ballroom! Um, what?! GWTW is an absolute staple in any Southern girl’s movie collection!

Big thanks to Kate Belle for sharing such a fab day!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Both the ceremony and the reception were held at the Piedmont Driving Club, where I had grown up, and where TJ and I are both members. In our opinion, it is the most beautiful venue in Atlanta for a formal occasion.

Susan and Campbell at Joan Pillow pulled a new arrival for me to try on prior to my appointment. It was the second dress I tried on, and was only made more beautiful when I had the opportunity to meet with the designer behind Ulla Maija, Charles Bunstein II, who personally designed a custom overlay top and helped with the fitting and styling.

Now that’s a true Southern crew of groomsmen! Great choice on the white dinner jacket, TJ!

TJ insisted on wearing a white dinner jacket (even in January), which I suppose is quite Southern of him. Doyle Johnson of A.D. Mathis in Gainesville, GA tailored a custom jacket for him and it was very sharp. They even used a swatch of my dress as a reference to make sure it would be a perfect match. The most Southern thing about the wedding, however, was the venue. The Piedmont Driving Club was founded in 1887 and the beautiful original architecture in the main clubhouse and ballroom are extremely special and significant. The press party for the premiere of the movie “Gone With the Wind” was held in the same ballroom which was designed by Hentz, Reid, and Adler.

Our designers at James Farmer Designs transformed the Piedmont Driving Club into a dreamy winter wonderland. The ceremony site in the courtyard was simply breathtaking! Large, white temple jars were full of greenery, flowers and winter branches, and hurricane globes were filled with white hydrangeas, lime green cymbidium orchids, roses, and amaryllis. The white aisle runner was lined with a fresh asparagus fern garland down the length of the tent. The bridesmaids all carried bouquets of mixed roses and hydrangea, and my bouquet was all white David Austin roses. At the reception were trees in large planter boxes anchored at each column. The tables were adorned with low arrangements of creamy garden roses, white hydrangeas, and seeded eucalyptus in silver mint julep cups (a staple of the South!).

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The trees! James Farmer and team knew exactly what I wanted, even though I did not know how to articulate it. I simply told them that I wanted the ballroom to look different. Trees lined the columns in the ballroom, and the up-lighting created the most beautiful look and feel to the room. The ballroom was transformed, and even my dad noticed and was pleased!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I do not like cake, but my mother insisted that TJ deserved a cake. The pastry chef at the Driving Club did a beautiful job, and James Farmer knew just where to place it and how to style it. While I never had a bite of our wedding cake, the picture of the cake cutting is one of my favorites, so thank you to my mom and James for insisting that we have one!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both attended the University of Georgia. We had lots of mutual friends in college and were in the same circles, but never dated. In 2012, we were both invited to the wedding of our good friends here in Atlanta. Our dear mutual friend insisted that we go together, so TJ called to ask if I would like to join him. We had a great time and became each others’ go-to wedding dates until two years later when we attended our own!
Tell us all about the proposal! TJ had a full day planned for us on a Saturday in February 2013, which I believe was set to begin around 9:30 a.m. His plan was ruined when I got up to leave my apartment at 8 a.m. to go to yoga. Instead of missing his opportunity, TJ rushed in and proposed in my living room around 8:15. Everyone’s next question is if I went to yoga, and no, I did not! We had a great day filled with lots of champagne toasts with friends and a surprise dinner party with both of our families that evening!
When did y’all get married? January 11, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 375
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not. Having daylight pictures was not worth breaking tradition for us.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Since the wedding ceremony did not take place in a church, we wanted a traditional string quartet to play. It was simple and elegant, which was exactly what we wanted.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? James Farmer and Debbie Felker really assembled a dream team for this wedding, and TJ, my mother, and I will be forever grateful! No stone was left unturned and it could not have gone more smoothly or been more beautiful.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Looking down over the ballroom from the balcony of the bridal suite before we were announced. It was absolutely spectacular. TJ and I could not believe that it was actually for us!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a great wedding planner! :)
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? TJ and I are adjusting well to married life. We have settled into our new home in Atlanta and are somewhat back to normal after the wonderful whirlwind of the wedding! TJ is back to working on building his business and I am enjoying my job in development at Skyland Trail. Aside from wishing we were still on the beach in Turks and Caicos, everything is great!

Photographer: Kate Belle Photography / Planner: Debbie Felker, Special Arrangements / Venue, Catering, and Cake: Piedmont Driving Club / Florist and Event Designer: James Farmer, Inc. / Rentals and Lighting: Tent’s Unlimited / Band: Adrian Duke Project / Bride’s Gown and Veil: Ulla Maija / Paper Products: Crane and Co. from Paces Papers / Hair Stylist: Tucker Fascula / Makeup Artist: Tara Young / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids

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

    Those trees are amazing–what a breathtaking venue!

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Really a beautiful wedding! Love her dress and the bridesmaid dresses. The venue add so much elegance!

  3. avatar Sneak Peek | Rose & Anton's Wedding – Vermont Wedding and Event Planner | VT Enchanted Events Wedding Planning reply

    […] James Farmer […]

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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