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There’s nothing better than celebrating an engagement with a sweet bride-to-be via Instagram or our Engaged Reader Round-Ups, and then seeing her wedding a few months later! Such was the case for Nicole and Todd, who shared their adorable proposal story with us last year for this post. As you can read below, it’s quite the memorable one, and I must say, their Charleston wedding, complete with a buried bottle of bourbon, Nicole’s lace gown, and the loveliest monogrammed napkins, is pretty darn memorable as well!

Thank you so much to Jenn Hopkins for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! Todd and I had been dating for a little over three years and Christmas was coming up. I really wanted to send out photo Christmas cards that year because receiving them is one of our favorite things about the holiday season. I contacted our favorite photographer (Jenn Hopkins) and asked if she could do a quick session with us–but nothing too mushy because we were just dating. Todd had given me a little grief because he had to come home from work early to get ready for our pictures (little did I know, he was just trying to cover up what was about to happen!). We are both awkward in pictures, so as soon as we met up with Jenn and she started taking “test shots,” the jokes started coming. I remember saying “I don’t know what to do with my hands” and then looking at Todd, wondering why he was kneeling in the dirt. I immediately thought, “Really funny Todd, acting like you’re proposing just to make Jenn laugh.” And…I tried to push him over. Only after I noticed he was digging in his pocket and he pulled out a ring did I realize he was being serious! The bonus is that Jenn got pictures of the whole thing–I love that!

I knew exactly what style of dress I wanted–all lace, a high neckline, and some sort of cap sleeve. I made appointments at a few bridal stores in town and took my sister with me for a second opinion. At the first store, I found a dress that fit all my requirements, but it was almost twice my budget! I ended up finding my gown on the sample sale rack at the second store. It was made of a beautiful guipure lace, and after a few small alterations to bring the neckline up and create a little sleeve, it became exactly what I wanted! And, it was less than half my dress budget!

Curious about the Southern tradition of burying the bourbon? Check out our post about it here!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did. Our venue is part of a state park that does not allow events to start until the park is closed at 5:00 P.M….just when the sun is fading fast in November. We had to do a first look if we wanted to use any natural light for pictures. I must say, our first look was one of my favorite parts of the whole day. For those few moments, we felt like we were the only two people for miles. This whirlwind of a day just seemed to stop and it was just the two of us. I am so glad that we had that time together, and I can promise you, it won’t make walking down the aisle to your groom any less special!

Todd and I love Charleston, so it was an easy decision to get married there and share it with our families, but finding a venue was a little more challenging. There is no shortage of gorgeous venues in the Holy City, but I wanted to simplify our wedding day by having the ceremony and reception at the same location. I also wanted our wedding to feel like an alfresco dinner party at a beautiful home, rather than an event space. Not only is the Legare Waring House a beautiful home, it is also surrounded by the most amazing old oak trees that gave us plenty of places to take pictures. When you have such a beautiful backdrop, you don’t need a bunch of decorations, which helped keep our budget in check.

Our pastor and good friend (who came from Florida with his wife and newborn!), Matt, performed the ceremony, and it was truly tailored to fit us. He did an amazing job explaining our roles to each other as they relate to our lives in Christ; starting with our call to leave our parents, cleave to one another, and weave our lives together as we form our family. Following the vows, we were told over and over that this was one of our guests’ favorite parts of the entire wedding!

Describe your wedding flowers. Flowers are one of my absolute favorite things. I chose shades of white garden roses and ranunculus with lots of dusty greenery. Our florist surpassed all of my expectations–they were truly the most beautiful (and best smelling) flowers I have ever seen. After our wedding, my green-thumbed husband rooted a few of the clippings from my bouquet so I can always have flowers from our wedding.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I purchased a vintage monogram from my favorite monogram shop, Number Four Eleven, in Savannah. I used it for the wax seal and stamps on our invitations, cocktail napkins, and our linen dinner napkins. The vintage monograms from Number Four Eleven are so elegant, and I plan on using it forever. Our food was classically Southern: crab cakes, shrimp and grits, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. We knew both of our families would love it! We also buried a bottle of bourbon. I think we probably broke some park rules by burying a bottle of Maker’s Mark on the property, but it worked–there wasn’t a single drop of rain on our wedding day.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our day-of coordinator (and florist), Beth, was like a fairy godmother. I truly do not know how anyone has a wedding without her. If anything went wrong, I didn’t hear even the slightest hint of it. Without her, I don’t think Todd and I would have been able to relax and enjoy our wedding. Also, our photographer and her second shooter were truly amazing. They traveled from Florida for us and we couldn’t be more thankful. It was such a relief to have a photographer that we trusted with such an important day!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My groom was my favorite wedding detail! Months after our wedding, I still can’t believe I got to marry him. He is my husband! Isn’t that just the craziest thing!?

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Todd and I met through a mutual friend when he was living in Georgia and I was in Florida. We talked on the phone for about three months (that Alabama accent of his did me in on the first night!) before he made the six-hour trip to take me out on a date. I don’t think we’ve spent more than two weeks apart since then!
When did y’all get married? November 21, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 90
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went through several weeks of premarital counseling, which was recommend by our pastor. We were both a little apprehensive in the beginning, but we were amazed by how much we learned about our relationship. We actually really enjoyed it.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? A few months after we started wedding planning, we found out that the house I had been renting was going to be put on the market. We had both grown to love that house (and neighbors!) so much and had planned on making it our home once we were married. Paying for a wedding and buying a house in the same year wasn’t part of the plan, but neither was moving! My dad told me, “There is never a perfect time for anything” and it’s true. Life is filled with things that happen at the worst possible times (or so it seems), and if you wait around for everything to become perfectly aligned, you’ll probably miss out on some great moments. We compromised, adjusted our wedding budget, made a lot of tough decisions, and had many stressful days (did I mention it was a six-month short sale?), but in the end, we got both our house and a beautiful wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Todd and I figured out which things were most important to us, splurged on those, and saved on the rest. Something as simple as using the plastic cups the bartender provides versus renting wine glasses can save you a few hundred dollars. There isn’t a single plastic cup in any of our pictures either! We also got married on a Friday, which saved quite a bit on our venue, and more vendors were available and willing to work with us since it wasn’t a Saturday.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are going on a delayed honeymoon in a few months–we haven’t picked a location yet, but we’re thinking about Switzerland or France. We also have a mile-long list of things we want to do to our house!

Photographer: Jenn Hopkins Photography / Day-of Coordinator, Florist, and Lighting: WildFlowers Inc. / Venue: Legare Waring House / Cake Baker: D’Lish Dessert / Caterer: Lowcountry Eats / Rentals: Snyder Events and EventWorks / DJ: EPIC / Paper Products: Scotti Cline / Bride’s Gown: “C249” by Allure / Bride’s Accessories: Nordstrom and Ann Taylor / Hair and Makeup: Ash & Co / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “D568” by Alfred Sung / Groom’s Attire: J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Cole Haan / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank and Brooks Brothers

Scotti Cline is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Allyson-Happy Planning reply

    This wedding is adorable! I love the navy bridesmaids dresses, cake table and menu sounds deliciously Southern.

  2. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    That wax seal! I love how they implemented the monogram into so many small details. What a sweet momentum to have and to hold after the wedding!

  3. avatar FDH Limousines reply

    WoW Amazing! Bride looks so gorgeous, beautiful and clear capturing really love the ideas, Have seen a good art of capturing.

  4. avatar 6 Party Ideas for Bourbon Lovers – Kate Aspen Blog reply

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If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen that we spent a good part of last week at our first-ever Southern Weddings Team Retreat. One of the many things we talked about was what each of us loves about the South. Well, I’m so happy Whitney and Nick’s wedding is the first one I get to write after returning back to the office, because it’s filled with so many of the things I personally love about the South: amazing location filled with heritage and Southern charm, a surprise groom’s cake representing collegiate roots, and complete dedication to honoring family. I could not love the way Whitney and Nick honored their family in their decor more–each one of the lanterns surrounding their ceremony represented a family member who had passed. Heavens, y’all pass me some extra tissues! We often talk about filling not only our wedding days, but our lives, with meaningful details, and that is such a sweet example.

Big hugs to our sweet friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Mrs. Nancy Ray!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? We wanted to make our guests feel welcome! Our welcome bags included lists of information and important addresses, plus a bag of Holy City Popcorn in the Lowcountry Boil flavor, pralines, benne wafers, waters, and Cheerwine!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went dress shopping three times. The first two times were with my mom, sister, and mother-in-law, and both times were a complete letdown. I did not like any of the dresses that I thought I wanted. I had always thought that I wanted an all-lace dress that was sleeveless, and I absolutely did not want a ball gown or a strapless dress. My sister talked me into trying on dresses that I had never thought of considering, including several ball gowns that I ended up really liking. Several weeks later, my mom and mother-in-law came to Charleston with me for a planning trip, and we decided to pop into Modern Trousseau of Charleston. The girls there were amazing! I ended up getting the Lisbon dress that day!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did decide to do a first look! It was somewhat of a no-brainer for us. Since we were having the ceremony and reception at the same place, we wanted to have the majority of our pictures taken before everyone arrived to the venue. We knew that we would want to start mingling with all of our family and friends soon after the ceremony was over, and we didn’t want to feel rushed to get the pictures that we really wanted. It was also a good excuse to see each other before the ceremony!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We have several favorites, the first being the lanterns that we hung in the tree at our ceremony site. We had eight lanterns, and each represented a family member who had passed and was unable to be present. I loved the picture charm that held a picture of my daddy that I attached to my bouquet. We also hung boxwood wreaths on the front doors of Lowndes Grove, in honor of Nick’s late grandfather, who owned a boxwood farm.

The flowers were perfect! I told Elise that I loved large fluffy flowers and I wanted them be blush pink and white. She ran with my description and created some of the most gorgeous arrangements that I have ever seen! Leading up to the wedding, our budget was getting tight, so I had to cut the focal arrangement for the bar. The day of the wedding, Elise surprised me with the most beautiful and huge arrangement for the bar! I started crying instantly and gave her the biggest hug! I cannot sing her praises enough; she is a true gem!

We offered a “Southern hydration station” prior to the ceremony. We knew that having an outdoor wedding in June was risky and that it could be toasty the day of the wedding. We wanted our guest to be comfortable, so we served water and pink lemonade. The location was about as Southern as you can get–Lowndes Grove is a beautiful white plantation house that sits on the Ashley River. We served shrimp and grits with fried green tomatoes, along with some other great food, and we had amazing bar snacks. There were bowls of fried okra, cheese straws, and boiled peanuts sitting around the lounge areas for people to snack on throughout the night.

The wedding cake was a three-tiered round cake covered in vanilla buttercream. One layer was a lemon cake with key lime filling, and the other two layers were almond cake with vanilla buttercream and raspberries. So yummy! I surprised Nick with a groom’s cake designed to look like Carter-Finley Stadium, with all of the State students holding up signs that spell Wolfpack. Around the sides of the cake, there were various pictures of us throughout the years at different games. The cake was red velvet and devil’s food cake. Laney from Delicious Desserts was amazing to work with and had such great ideas. I had never seen someone so excited when we had our brainstorming meeting!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Whitney: It is crazy how vividly I remember the wedding day, and there are so many good memories! I think the most memorable to me was when I jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time! I was so nervous and so excited, I just had to get it out! From Nick: I also loved when Whitney jumped the gun and said “I do” before it was time. I also enjoyed when everyone danced to “Shout,” and at one point, everyone was on the dance floor!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in September 2007 while at a NC State football game. We had several mutual friends who had met up while tailgating. Nick was standing off to the side being quiet, and our friends didn’t think to introduce the two of us. I took matters into my own hands, introduced myself, and offered him a Cheerwine! We are both from the small town of Cleveland, North Carolina and we went to the same high school, but since Nick is a little older, we had never met before.
Tell us all about the proposal! March 2013 had been a rough month for me, as I had lost my daddy suddenly to a heart attack the same day I started my career as a physician assistant. Nick and I had been looking forward to getting out of town the weekend of March 30, 2013 for one of our friend’s weddings in Charleston. For several weeks prior, we had been attending a Bible study that also doubled as a training course for a 5K. We had planned to squeeze in a run on Saturday morning and then meet up with several friends for breakfast. Nick planned out a route that would take us to Battery Park and to the pineapple fountain. He had been fighting a cold for most of the week, so I kept asking if he was sure he wanted to go, but he was very adamant. I even tried to get him to change the route so he wouldn’t have to run as far, but he just said, “Whitney, we are running to Battery Park.” Once we got to the park, we sat down on a bench. Then, he started saying sweet things and got down on one knee! I, of course, said yes and giggled a lot! Nick could not have timed the engagement any better; I needed the excitement to help take my mind off of losing my daddy.
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My Aunt Kathy read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. It has always been one of my favorites! I actually had “love never fails” engraved in Nick’s ring as a surprise.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my sister’s veil. My something blue and new were one and the same–I had a blue monogram patch with my new initials sewn into my dress. My something old were the pearls that I wore around my neck during the ceremony. My daddy had given them to my momma for one of their anniversaries, and my sister also wore them on her wedding day.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have two vendors who I could not have gone without! I don’t even see these ladies as vendors; I see them more as friends! The first is Sara Hosch, our wedding planner. She had this way of knowing exactly what I wanted or what I would like before we even talked about it! The other vendor is the talented Nancy Ray! I have followed Nancy’s blog for a long time, and when I met her for the first time, I was starstruck! She is one of the nicest people I have ever met, but she gets the job done like nobody’s business! I also loved that she instantly called me “Whit” during our engagement session!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I know everyone says this, but enjoy every moment! Wedding planning can have its moments of stress, but just know that it will all be worth it in the end! When else in your life will all the people you love be in one place? So seriously, enjoy EVERY moment!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are settling into our everyday routines and enjoying each other’s company. We are most looking forward to all the fun adventures and trips that we will take as a couple. Also, I am sure we will have a few kids along the way.

Photographer: Nancy Ray / Planner: Sara Hosch / Venue: Lowndes Grove Plantation / Florist: Elise Nuckols of Charleston Stems / Caterer and Wedding Cake: Fish / Groom’s Cake: Laney Cowan of Delicious Desserts / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: AV Connections / Band: Java Band / Paper Products: Scotti Cline / Bride’s Gown: “Lisbon” by Modern Trousseau / Bride’s Earrings: Swell Caroline / Hair and Makeup Artist: Sabra Mizzell of Willow Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Sam Edelman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 154” by Bill Levkoff / Men’s Suits: Jos. A. Bank / Men’s Bow Ties: Brooks Brothers

Nancy Ray is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Scotti Cline is a delightful SW sponsor!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Whitney & Nick Wedding | Nancy Ray Photography reply

    […] for their wedding came from one of our favorite wedding blogs here in the NRP studio, and today the Southern Weddings Blog made one Southern bride (and her photographer!) very happy for featuring her wedding. Thank you for […]

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    Always love the classic look of blue and white!

  3. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    Oh, wow! I love the whispiness of that cake’s icing! Beautiful photography and feel to the whole wedding, love the use of light in all of these photos!

  4. avatar Matthew Rycraft reply

    Looks like a great day. Really like the grooms evening outfit!

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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