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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
  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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Hello, sweet readers! We’ve got a real fun feature for you today – Veils 101! We’re talking all you’ve always wanted to know about veil lengths, styles and how exactly to attach these pretties without them digging into your brain! (OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s definitely something to avoid!). There is a plethora of veil styles and lengths to choose from, and then there is always the option to nix the veil and go with a fascinator or hair bow (for my lovely non-Southern readers, a “hair bow” means any type of bow, feather, or anything fabulous that clips into your hair).

But for this post, we’re assuming you’ve chosen to wear a veil, and we’ll start by walking you through the most common lengths. First up we’ve got some adorable short styles, also known as fascinators, birdcage veils or flyaways. Traditionally, a “birdcage” veil is a short net or tulle piece that covers only the bride’s eyes. Now we see lots of twists on the traditional birdcage, with flowers and/or feathers attached to the veil, as well. These fancy add-ons, or fascinators, come in all shapes and sizes, from feathers and rhinestones on a barrette to a large pouf of tulle on a comb (seen below in our V4 Southern Exits shoot). Last of the short veils is the flyaway, which is a multi-layer veil of billowing tulle traditionally with natural cut edges and lots of body at the crown.

All images are from fabulous SW features: Kate Byars (see more of this floral stunner here), Corbin Gurkin via our Sweet Southern Exits V4 shoot, Tina Bass (see the rest of this beauty here)

Up next we have the simple, yet classically elegant elbow-length veil. Elbow-length is a great option if you want to wear a veil, but don’t want the the weight or fuss of a long veil. This style is perfect for day weddings or more casual affairs.

Image credit from left to right: Braedon Fynn (see the rest of this lovely fest here) and Paul Johnson (more here).

Next is the fingertip veil. This veil ends right at the ends of your hands when you have your arms down by your sides. It’s a perfect option for brides who are looking for an intermediate style veil. It’s fancier than its shorter counterparts, but not as dramatic as the longer options. If you’re looking to add a little oomph to this veil, opt for a lace-edged option, as seen below.

Image credit from left to right and top to bottom: Adam Barnes (see this Virginia stunner here), Ali Harper (see the rest of this lovely affair here), and Heidi from Our Labor of Love (for more of this beauty go here).

The waltz veil is up next. This sweet and stylish option falls between your knees and ankles and allows the best of both worlds – a long-ish formal veil, with the ability to have some fun dancing the night away on the dance floor.

Image credit from left to right: Veil and Bow (more of this Charleston wedding here) and Jaimie Clayton (see the rest of this farm wedding here).

Up next, the chapel length veil. (I love this look!) The chapel length veil reaches to the floor and extends up to three feet past the hem of your gown. This length is a very romantic look, and is great for formal black tie weddings.

Image credit: Studio A Photography (see the gallery for this Alabama wedding here).

Last, but certainly not least, we have the cathedral length veil. As a vintage cathedral length veil bride myself, I am quite partial to this look. Cathedral length veils are formal and oh-so-Southern. They extend way beyond the hem of your gown for a dramatic look. Cathedral length veils are most appropriate for formal church or large venue weddings. I don’t suggest wearing them for outdoor weddings, as the wind might cause you some grief! P.S. Keep in mind that a veil of this length is a bit high-maintenance, but you always have the option to remove it post-ceremony.

Image credit: A Bryan Photo (see Katharine’s Harvard soirée here).

If you’re after a traditional look, opt for an add-on blusher. A blusher is the veil that covers your face during the first part of the ceremony and is flipped back either by your father as he gives you away, or later by your beau before the oh-so-fabulous kiss-the-bride moment. Adding a blusher brings drama and romanticism to any veil. But, be sure to choose one that falls at least an inch above or below the neckline of your wedding gown.

Image credit: Heidi from Our Labor of Love (for more of this beauty go here).

So now you know exactly which veil length you love, but you’re still stumped as to how to secure it to your hair. I’ve been there. Since my veil was vintage, it actually had velcro as the attachment (originally created to attach to a pillbox hat). My crafty mama was able to remove the velcro and attach a clear comb. Clear plastic combs are my favorite way to attach a veil. They are easily hidden, and don’t press into your scalp as bobby pins have the tendency to do. Veils also come on barrettes, bobby pins or on metal combs. My suggestion? Bring your veil or headpiece to your hair trial. This is so important. Your hairstylist will be able to best advise on how to attach this beauty to your hairdo and how to hide the attachment within a bun, curls or updo. Whatever you choose, be sure that if you plan on removing your veil you have a trusty friend/maid/planner that was advised by your hairstylist how to safely remove the veil without making a your hair go a mock!

Image credit from top to bottom and left to right: 13:13 Photography (for the rest of this Florida wedding take a gander here), Belethee Photography (see the rest of this wedding here), and Abby Jiu (enjoy this wedding here).

After all these lessons in Veils 101, we thought we’d leave you with these lovely veil images! Boy, aren’t they pretty!

Image credit from left to right: Paul Johnson (see the wedding featuring my favorite bridesmaid’s dresses here) and Tanja Lippert (read why Emily chose her to photograph her own wedding).

What length veil will you or did you wear? Why did you choose that length?

Looking for more Southern Style inspiration?
Cardigan and Tights Shopping Guide
Classic White Shoe Shopping Guide
Mixed Bridesmaid Dresses Shopping Guide

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I am not 100% sure yet, but I think I’ll be wearing a cathedral or chapel length veil, with a blusher. My future sister-in-law (my fiance’s sister, who is getting married two months before us!) and I are going to share a veil!

    • avatar Mary reply

      Emily: that is so special that you are going to share your veil! I want to wear a chapel length veil too! I think they are so exquisite!

  2. avatar Annie reply

    When I was looking for dresses, people asked if I wanted a veil and I hadn’t put much thought into it. Then I tried on a veil at a particular store (with the dress I ended up buying) and knew that’s how I wanted to look. It just felt right. The veil I chose had two layers–one elbow-length and the other waltz-length. Both parts were very simple and combined well. I think it’s something that’s such a personal choice–brides can look awesome with or without the veil, and it could just hit you at the moment you try it on. Fantastic description of all the different types, Southern Weddings!

  3. avatar uberbrides reply

    What a great post – I never knew all those veil details.

  4. avatar Lilliette reply

    I just had a few questions about cathedral style veils, I have always dreamed of getting married in one, but I don’t want to go too far overboard… How large does your church need to be if you want a full length cathedral veil? is it okay to wear a cathedral veil for the ceremony and switch to a similarly decorated chapel or waltz veil for the reception so it doesn’t get stepped on? and how late does your wedding need to be for a cathedral veil to be alright?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Lilliette! To answer your questions, I don’t think there’s a hard-and-fast standard for exactly how large a church needs to be to wear a cathedral-length veil — I’d say if you want to wear one, go for it! It’s definitely okay to switch to a shorter veil – or no veil at all – for the reception. Finally, cathedral veils are appropriate for any time of day!

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