Nicole and Michael

Woodbridge, Virginia

 

 

Photography | Haleigh Nicole Photography | @haleighnicolephotography

Venue | St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church

Venue | Old Hickory Golf Course

Gown Designer | Claire Morson

Hair and Makeup | Alison Harper & Company, LLC | @alisonharperco

Floral Designer | The Flower Gallery of Manassas

Bakery | M&T Events Custom Cakes | @mandtevents

DJ | Derek Entrekin | @derekentrekin

 

 

From the Photographer… This wedding day was a perfect reflection of two people becoming one. From getting ready in the family home to getting married in the family church, every part of the day was personal. Nicole’s mom, Claire, made Nicole’s wedding dress and hand-embroidered every napkin that was given out as favors. She planned every detail for Nicole so that she wasn’t stressed, making every detail absolutely stunning. Claire even used Nicole’s Grandmother’s wedding dress to create the centerpieces! Michael, our awesome Groom, even hand-painted scenes to place on the back of every table number. They were given away to the guest with the birthday closest to the wedding date!

 

Toasts from Nicole’s Maid of Honor and Michael’s Best Man made the room laugh and reminisce. Katie shared the shenanigans her and Nicole got into at Cornell University in their Kappa Delta sorority and Aidan shared the story of the 1000-day rule for Michael and Nicole, and how he knew Nicole was the missing puzzle piece. But it was Nicole’s toast to her mom during her wedding reception that left no dry eye in the room, including my own. I was secretly sobbing behind the camera. Mother and daughter relationships are so special and often rare. Seeing Nicole and Claire interact throughout her wedding day was so touching. Michael and Nicole have an incredible love story that I am so honored to have been a part of. Every part of their day was magical.

 

Tell us about your wedding!

We are both Catholic, so we knew that we would be having the ceremony in the Catholic Church where I grew up. My favorite flowers are peonies, gerbera daisies and marigolds, so that helped determine the color palette of bright oranges and pinks. Most of all, Michael and I wanted to throw a party with good food, good wine and lots of dancing, so we tried to focus on the little touches that would make the day FUN.

 

Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

My childhood church is open and airy, so it didn’t need a lot of added touches. Luckily, Flower Gallery of Manassas is the vendor for the church’s weekly flowers, so my parents were able to coordinate the flowers to match my colors. For the reception, the venue is beautiful, with high ceilings, hardwood floors and TONS of windows, so we knew that we didn’t need a lot of decorations. My mom made the centerpieces, including hand crocheting the mason jar covers using some of my Grandmother’s dress. She also embroidered the favors by adding the guests’ initials to them and folded them into roses to add to the decor. Michael hand-painted scenes from our travels together as part of the table numbers, and we gave them away to the person whose birthday was closest to our wedding day! We loved all these little things that were so meaningful to us.

 

What were the florals like in your wedding?

Flowers were not a huge part of our wedding, but we really wanted to use them to add color and fun to the day. Unfortunately, with our wedding being in September, some of my favorite flowers were not available, but we were able to get LOTS of beautiful gerbera daisies and roses in our colors and we think they matched with the overall aesthetic of the day. The bridesmaids wore pink and coral dresses, so the flowers would really pop and we were so pleased with the results!

 

Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

We like to think that everything was personalized about our day! We definitely put the most interesting spin on some of our “special” songs during the night. For example, we walked out to “Mean” by Taylor Swift at the reception, which was a fun little inside joke between us. The Father/Daughter dance was also half serious (“My Girl” by the Temptations) and half fun and since “Love Shack” is a HUGE family favorite, we used it to officially start the dance party – there was not a single person in their seats when the song was over! We also had some signature cocktails that represented us. Michael’s was on Old Fashioned, which he named after an accounting joke – which is perfect because we’re both accountants! It’s hard to pick a favorite part of the day. It was so wonderful seeing so many of our favorite people in one place dancing up a storm. We also loved the music, the food, just everything – we could go on and on!

 

Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?

My mom is a very talented seamstress and has made some of my outfits for past significant events (prom, etc). So, it was always my dream to have my mom make my wedding dress. We (my mom, a few of my aunts and myself) went to NYC to pick out the fabric and the lace, and used the colors of my Grandmother’s dress, which my mom inherited, to help determine the right colors for her own. We also went dress shopping to try on different styles, which my mom then took inspiration from and based my gown on some of my favorite attributes. The general style was simple and light, with hand appliqued lace on the bodice and POCKETS! My favorite part was the veil, which had the lace from my wedding dress, along with the wedding dresses of both my mom and Grandmother (on my mom’s side).  To round out the look, I wore pearl earrings that belonged to my late Grandmother (on my dad’s side) and borrowed a pearl necklace from my Aunt. I also wore bright pink shoes just for fun!

 

Michael’s look was simple and classic – he wanted grey to make it inviting and pink ties to match the color theme. The bridesmaids all chose their own dresses (some did Rent the Runway) keeping in the theme of the pinks and corals. The groomsmen matched Michael, but had pink bowties instead of ties!

 

How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.

Michael and I met on Hinge, but from the first date onward, we realized we had so much in common! We’re both accountants, have big families that we’re very close with and love to laugh and travel together. After almost three years of dating, Michael proposed doing one of our favorite things together – walking on the trails around our home! It was the first snow of winter and we had spent a day together pampering ourselves with a couples massage, decorating the Christmas tree and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. The proposal was just the icing on the cake for such a great day together!

 

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

Our wedding planning advice can be boiled down into two things: 1) Find vendors that you know you can trust (wedding planning websites are so helpful in that regard – ratings are a Godsend!) and then let them help you make the day perfect. We were so blessed to have such amazing vendors help guide us through all the little decisions. There’s a reason why they’re professionals! And 2) Figure out what your wedding goal is (ours was to have FUN) and then only focus on the things that threaten to make you miss your goal. It’s easy not to sweat the small stuff when you know that you won’t answer “no” to “will this make the wedding less fun”!