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!