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When I took my first peak at Nicole + Rob’s wedding images, I was completly taken with Nicole’s gor-geous Olia Zavozina deep scoop-back gown. For a self-proclaimed tom boy, this girl sure cleans up nicely! Beyond the stunning gown, Nicole + Rob’s big day was full of lovely Southern details. My favorite has to be the old refurbished church pews at the ceremony – y’all know I’m a sucker for outdoor Cathedrals, and adding in the Tennessee rolling hills. I think I might need to rework my renewal plans!

The dress was my first purchase. Two of my sorority sisters were visiting and wanted to go dress shopping. It was only a few weeks after we got engaged, so the thought of trying on wedding dresses felt slightly overwhelming. After two appointments, I didn’t really like anything and disliked the process even more. It just felt kind of fake and forced (I should note I’m a self-proclaimed tom boy so this didn’t surprise me). While heading to dinner, we passed a new bridal store, and the light was still on. My friends flocked to the window to peak inside and the door opened. It was the designer, Olia Zavozina. She told us her store was set to open the following month, but if I wanted, she would allow me to come in the next day. I did and fell in love with the first dress I tried on. Talk about fate!

Tom boy? Um, I’d have to go with complete knockout! Nicole sure knows how to rock the glam look!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I went back and forth on this. I think every girl (or most girls) wants to see her husband-to-be’s expression as she walks down the aisle. Ultimately, we both decided to do a first look. It was great because this moment was not only a special moment we shared together, privately, but we were able to take all of our pictures before the wedding to maximize time with our out of town guests post-ceremony. It was perfect.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My longtime friend Melissa read from The Equality of Woman and Man. “The Lord made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favor in the Kingdom of heaven. Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.”

It was important to us to have vows that sounded like us. I’m a bit of a research geek, so I had a ton of fun pulling verses and copy from varying sources. My favorite part of our vows was actually a line towards the end that was something I told the pastor when he asked me what my vision was for our marriage. I told him, “As I look to the life that we will build together, I hope that we will continue to push each other towards the best versions of ourselves.” It was a nice touch to our vows that he took from our one-on-one conversations.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? That’s tough, as you would imagine. The more sentimental memory would be Rob and I walking down the hill after the ceremony. We were both so relieved for it to be over (it was kind of stressful!) and just take in the scenery of the Tennessee rolling hills. The more fun memory was a dance off between Rob and me to Salt n Pepa’s “Push It.” That happened unplanned, and it was fantastic. Rob did his classic butter churn dance move, sans his shirt.

My bouquet was a mix of white peonies, white cushions, orchids and green hypericum berries throughout. The bridesmaids bouquets had white hydrangeas with green hypericum berries, Robert had a green mini cym with an orchid and white status boutonnieres and the groomsmen had green berries. Our tables had spyders, cushion berries, million star and Queen Anne’s and our outside ceremony alter had white hydrangeas at the top.

We saw the style of our wedding as being crisp, clean and classic with a little rustic feel (after all, it was on a farm). Our color palette was white, navy and Kelly green. We had old refurbished church pews at the ceremony site with the Tennessee rolling hills overlooking the farm; there were two barns with bars alongside a gorgeous backyard setting where guests were seated. Our specialty drinks were Jack Daniel whiskey and coke and vodka and tea. Guests enjoyed family-style BBQ that included pulled chicken, beef brisket, mac-n-cheese, squash casserole, green beans and corn bread and honey butter. We also had old quilts that adorned the seats in one of the barns and a classically chic chandelier.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We had a two-layer buttermilk cake with chocolate filling and white icing on the outside, and cupcakes in triple chocolate, coconut cream, red velvet, vanilla and white chocolate.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Rob and I were introduced through our mutual friend, Jennifer. Jen and I work together, and she had mentioned that she thought her neighbor and I would hit it off. She described Rob as tall, handsome, athletic and polite. He had a good job in investment management and was from Oxford, Mississippi. Who could turn that down?! Our first date was during restaurant week on a snowy night in January. Oddly enough, we didn’t initially hit it off as one might think! Looking back, I think it was first date nerves and the restaurant wasn’t really our scene. After some encouragement from Jen, we both agreed to give it another shot. Fast forward a few days to our second date. Rob took me to a local sports bar to watch the NFL playoffs. We were able to relax, banter and watch some good ole’ fashion football. Suffice to say we hit it off immediately. We realized we had a lot in common: An affinity for SEC sports (Go Gators), the Giants (he likes Eli, I love NYC), a Christian upbringing, running, dogs, music and a sarcastic sense of humor. Not to mention I found Rob incredibly good looking. After what was an infinitely more successful date, we were inseparable.
Describe the proposal. We decided to take a trip to Rosemary Beach in the Spring. It was our first night there and Rob planned a dinner at a swanky restaurant. We biked around most of the day and as we headed back to our condo, Rob suggested going for a walk on the beach before dinner. We showered and got dressed, and as we stepped out on the beach it started to torrentially downpour. We went back inside and our electricity went out! I laughed and suggested we just head to the restaurant early for a drink. Rob sat down on the couch and motioned for me to join him. He pulled out a four-page letter and started to read it to me. What he was reading aloud didn’t really sink at first, but I quickly realized it was a letter he wrote to my mother. He went into detail about how he felt about me; that even after only four months, he knew that that I was what he had waited his whole life for; that I was the love of his life and that he would call her on Saturday to talk through his intentions and address any questions or concerns she had. My father passed away from cancer in 2004, so Rob knew that my mother’s blessing meant everything to me. The thought to write her a letter and give her time to process everything before he called was something you just didn’t hear about much. It was unique…but perhaps that’s just how they do it here in the South. He called my mother that Saturday and after some assurances Rob gave her, she wholeheartedly gave her blessing. Before she hung up, she just said, “Nikki’s father would have wanted me to say this; but please just please take care of our baby girl.” Rob went on to tell me that the day my engagement ring arrived, my mother called him and asked if the ring came in. It caught Rob off guard, since the ring had arrived a couple days before it was expected. When Rob told my mom that the ring arrived that morning, she simply replied, “I knew it. Today is the day that Nikki’s dad and I got married!” At this point, tears were streaming down my face. Rob got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him — to which I more than happily obliged.
In what month did you get married? April 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? About 90 guests total
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. We had a string trio play during the ceremony. During the wedding party processional, they played U2’s “Beautiful Day” and Coldplay’s “The Scientist.” As I walked down the aisle, they played the more traditional Canon in D. During the recessional, the played Muse’s “Starlight.” We took dance lessons for 10 weeks to prepare for our first dance. We learned the rumba to Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” No one knew we had a choreographed first dance, so it was a fun surprise for everyone and we looked great. It was a blast.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The chic chandelier over the bar in the barn behind an old mirror that listed our specialty drinks.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Being patient. I’m a perfectionist and planner by trade (I work in advertising), so it was tough for me to let go and trust that my wedding coordinator and venue would take care of everything. It was a lesson in patience, for sure.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Hands down my photographer. Being in advertising, I know what good photography can do for the end product. It was important to me that our photographer embodied a photo-documentary style. I really disliked wedding photos that looked overly staged. Without question, I knew I wanted Leslee Mitchell.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have faith that everything will work out, and even if something happens unexpected on your wedding day – the guests likely won’t even know. So enjoy it and take it all in, because the day itself goes by in a blink.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? House hunting, travel and beginning talks of children. More planning!

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

    What a beautiful wedding! Gorgeous photography also! Thanks for sharing!

  2. avatar Iceni reply

    Fabulous article. Love the rustic looks the bride & groom chose, and Nicole looked amazing in her gown. Fab sparklers to finish of the night.

  3. avatar kaitlyn t pham reply

    Hi! Nicole I was wondering what the name of your dress is from – I just recently got one from Olia and it looks like that as well but can’t seem to find the name. thanks

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There’s nothing like coming home, don’t you agree? Though Sarah + Nick live in Indianapolis, Nick strongly encouraged Sarah to have the wedding in Chattanooga, her second home. According to the bride, “Getting married beneath Lookout Mountain, a place that was close to my heart even before Nick proposed to me there, was priceless. To me, “Southern” is a relaxed setting where you can enjoy the time with your loved ones in a beautiful setting — no need to decorate God’s creation! You know when everyone’s at Mom’s house, they gravitate to the kitchen, because that’s where the people are, where life happens, where the food is. That’s what the setting of the Barn at High Point Farms gave us. Our focus on heritage brought in reminders of generations past, well-loved and much missed.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Judging from these images by Austin Warnock, we think it feels just right.

Julianna Chapman (my cousin and maid of honor) is an amazing floral designer. She works at a floral design studio in Chattanooga, TN, but did the wedding flowers herself with the help of my cousins and another bridesmaid. Since I was in Indiana and she was in Tennessee, we exchanged ideas via Pinterest and had some long Skype sessions. I had no doubt that Julianna would be able to capture my vision and take it to another level. I wanted lots of creams and texture, loosely bound, not overly structured. I wanted cream with some light blue accents in my bouquet to tie in with the color of Nick’s shirt. For the bridesmaids’ bouquets, I wanted creams with strong accents of yellow/marigold pops of color. The boutonnieres had simple, natural elements, and also brought in the yellow accent. As for the buffet area, full creative credit goes to Julianna and my sisters. They took over planning and decorating the buffet when my creative juices ran low during the last month of wedding planning. I was so blown away with the sweet details, draped lace tablecloths, family serving ware, and fresh flowers. Julianna incorporated mason jars of flowers around rusted old milk crates from my sister’s farmhouse, pictures of me and Nick, tree trunk rounds, and bird houses.

Doesn’t the photo below just pull at your heart strings? I love the moment when guests first see the bride walk down the aisle — all that anticipation!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Between me and Nick, we have 8 nieces and nephews. We wanted all of them involved, letting kids be kids. So, we had a wedding parade! They all went down the aisle with bells, flags that Nick and I made, and flowers. The littlest ones were pulled in a wagon. I wanted the kids to be relaxed, and was perfectly fine if we had some last-minute mishaps or outright revolts – but they all had a great time!

I love that Sarah + Nick’s cake topper now sits on their windowsill at home! It’s such a great way to be reminded of their wedding. The cupcakes came in seven flavors: red velvet, cappuccino, Italian cream, cinnamon swirl, german chocolate, groovy, and grasshopper.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We were set up by a mutual friend soon after I moved from Chattanooga to Indianapolis for a job. Whether by instinct or indigestion, my friend Derrick was convinced that I should meet his friend Nick. Knowing that I was not interested in being set up, Derrick pestered me and lied to me, saying he had no hidden intentions, until we got something on the calendar. Nick knew full well that it was a set-up all along, and over a take-out pizza, we met. Both of us were a little shy, a little curious, and thankful for Derrick’s boisterous steal-the-spotlight presence. We could have gone without the questioning each time the other left the room — “So?? What do you think?!?” A week later, Nick and I had our first date (without Derrick) at a local pub.
Describe the proposal. As the summer days grew longer, I was getting more and more curious about what Nick was scheming. He kept his lips tightly sealed, and thoroughly enjoyed tormenting me with the fact that I was NOT in control! In early August, my cousin Julianna called me to ask if I’d be able to come down to Chattanooga as soon as possible to meet her certain someone and that it would be fun if Nick could come too. Little did I know, Nick had arranged it all with Julianna. We drove down to Chattanooga and Saturday morning, got up early for a hike to Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain. After a brief jaunt from our parking spot, we reached the overlook. I scrambled to the edge, thrilled with the morning view, as our companions set off in the other direction to look at some plants. I turned around once to make sure Nick was paying attention to the view, and turned around again to find him on one knee, holding my great-grandmother’s engagement ring. The world went quiet, and he asked a simple question. I answered with the words that had echoed in my heart for months: “A thousand times, yes!”
In what month did you get married? April 2012
How many guests attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I didn’t daydream about dresses or stash away bridal magazines before getting engaged, mostly because I was nervous about what style would work for me – I’m often hard to fit being under 5 feet tall! A week after getting engaged, I wanted to test the dress hunting waters and made an appointment at David’s Bridal with a soon-to-be-married friend. Setting aside any “princess poufiness,” we found a few options which I tried on again later that weekend for my mom and sister. I knew I’d found the one when I didn’t want to take it off. I loved my dress – it wasn’t “just another strapless”, it didn’t overwhelm my figure, and I could move around so easily at our outdoor wedding.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? I’m so glad that we did! With it being “our day,” we wanted to share more of it together and knew that it would help calm nerves. On the practical side, we knew it would make the day go smoother if we could get bridal party and family pictures done prior to the ceremony. Our reveal took place in a tree grove near the barn. The setting was beautiful and the moment remains one of Nick’s favorites of the day. However, I was a little distracted by the family members who appeared out of nowhere to sneak a peek – especially my Dad and brother on ladders in the trees nearby, stringing white lights!
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? For our vows, we combined several elements of traditional vows. My favorite part was for the exchange of rings when I said, “Nick, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It’s a whole-life commitment. Our vows reach into every part of our lives, for the rest of our lives.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. I walked down the aisle to “Lion Song” by Jason Harrod and walked up the aisle to “But For Those Who Fear My Name” by The Welcome Wagon. Our first dance was to “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy. The father/daughter dance was to “Moonlight Serenade” by Glen Miller Orchestra and the mother/son dance was to “You’ve Got A Friend” by Carole King.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was a very DIY wedding, which helped us cut costs, but took a LOT of time and planning — from wedding planning and catering to set-up and decorating. I think the biggest challenge was knowing when to stop gathering new ideas, to shut the laptop and stop looking at Pinterest.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000, close to $10,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Photography. We were advised early in the planning process to set aside as much as we could afford for photography – pay for the quality, and figure out where to cut the budget elsewhere. I’m so glad we did. Austin Warnock Photography was amazing to work with, and we’re thrilled with the results.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Sneaking away for a quick minute during our evening reception to take a look at the starscape, seeing the barn lit up behind us, filled with our loved ones, happy blurs of music and light.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
5 Comments
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    Such a pretty wedding – so many thoughtful details!!! Can you tell me where they got the cake topper – it’s super cute and I would love to have it for my wedding! Thanks!

    • avatar Nick reply

      Lauren: We got the cake toppers off of Etsy – http://www.etsy.com/shop/vintagegreenlimited?ref=seller_info.

  2. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    OMG around 10k?? This wedding looks SO expensive and has SO much personality! I LOVE it! So deliciously southern and elegant.

  3. avatar Laura reply

    First off, I love this wedding because I love Chattanooga. I went to college near-by and it is such a cool city with such good memories for me.

    But I also absolutely love the portion of your vows that you shared, the words are so simple, but so powerful. I just might have to borrow them for my own wedding :)

  4. avatar Stephanie reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! Amazing photos! Can you tell me where you purchased the cupcake stand? We are getting married in September and have been looking everywhere for one this size! :-)

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For Jamie + Dan, an intimate Southern wedding at the Historic Cedarwood was just the ticket. The two embraced their hummingbird and wildflower settings with an outdoor ceremony flanked by lush trees and looking out onto a sunny field. We love how the lace-covered hay bales look right at home next to the straw aisle and how the bright flowers peek out from the white background. Guests were greeted with mason jars and turquoise straws for ice cold water, which they sipped on as Jamie made her way down the aisle with her daughter. Her short white dress was casual enough for their intimate wedding, but still quite the show stopper! We can’t wait to share more of the wedding in Part II, so come on back later! Big thanks to Ulmer Studios for sharing!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Dan and I work for the Forest Service and met when he took a job in the office I was working in. We immediately became friends and I think we both knew that there was something more between us. We began to talk on the phone and eventually started hanging out. It was going so well that after just a few months, we planned a trip to Cozumel together. Dan always said that if you can travel well with someone, then you can work through anything. We had an amazing trip and we plan on taking many more together.
Describe the proposal. Our proposal story is not your typical romantic story. But then again, Dan isn’t your typical romantic. He’s more about the surprise factor. Our proposal begins on Valentine’s Day. He had been teasing me all day that the only surprise I would get was whether or not we would be eating at Wendy’s or McDonald’s. We laughed about it, but I knew we would be going to our favorite sushi restaurant. After work, I rushed home to shower and change for our dinner. Dan showed up to pick me up before I was ready and came straight into the bathroom where I was putting on my make-up. I turned to get a ring out of my jewelry box and when I took it out, Dan said, “Oh no, you can’t wear that, I have something much prettier for you to wear.” I got so excited before he even took the ring out. The ring was so beautiful; I think I even cried a little bit. So, even though it took place in the bathroom, I will always remember our proposal.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Beautiful, memorable, relaxed.
In what month did you get married? August. We decided to embrace the natural beauty of summertime on a farm with a wildflower and hummingbird theme.
How many guests attended your wedding? 22
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite part of the wedding was the reception dinner. Our meal was set on a long table with our entire family sitting with us. Vintage bottles and wildflowers decorated the center, and Southern dishes were passed around the table in true family dinner style. Fried chicken, country style ham, biscuits and homemade jelly made by Dan and myself, and a broccoli salad are just a few of the delicious dishes served. To top off the southern tablescape and meal, we had sweet tea and lemonade to drink.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I walked down the aisle to the song “You Are My Sunshine,” which was played by a band including a guitar, a fiddle, and a banjo. The aisle was made of straw and all of the guests were seated on bales of straw covered in lace and decorated with colorful wildflowers. That, along with the family style dinner, was one of just a few of the Southern details of our wedding. To us, the South is about family and being together so keeping our wedding small with our closest family was very important to us.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: The Bridal Cottage was the first store I went to. As soon as my sister-in-law, my mother and I walked in, we scoured the racks for the perfect dress. I knew I wanted something different – short for the outdoor, August wedding but with enough detail to make it memorable. The first dress I put on fit me to a “T”. Though it was tea length and a little long for my taste, I fell in love with it immediately. After hemming the dress up a bit, it was even more beautiful and perfect for our wedding day.

Photography: Ulmer Studios // Venue and wedding planner: Historic Cedarwood // Flowers and styling: Cedarwood Weddings // Officiant: Ralph Griggs // Hair and Makeup: Katie Guberud of Aura Salon // Wedding Dress: The Bridal Cottage // Invitations and Paper Goods: Designs in Paper // Wedding Cake: Patty Cakes // Bluegrass Music: Mark Burnett and Kathy Kuhn with Jason Fletcher of Nashvegas Ramblers // Catering: Monell’s // Favors: DIY by the bride

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
7 Comments
  1. avatar Linda at Cedarwood Weddings reply

    I think we are the luckiest people on the planet, to be able to host and style unique southern weddings for special couples like Jamie and Dan, and also to work with great people like Ulmer Studios. The icing on the cake is seeing it on Southern Weddings blog! Thanks Nicole!

  2. avatar Donette – Designs in Paper reply

    We so love getting to see our paper goods entwined in the rest of the wedding day! We had such a fun time creating these – we love, love, love the team at Cedarwood! Thanks *ever* so much for the post!

  3. avatar Josh + Amber of Ulmer Studios Photography reply

    Thank you SO much to the ladies at Southern Weddings for publishing this gorgeous wedding from Cedarwood that we had the pleasure of documenting for this precious couple, Dan & Jamie! We just adore Cedarwood for it’s rustic southern charm, as that is something we LOVE about photographing Southern styled weddings! Thank you again!
    -Josh + Amber

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