North Carolina Nuptials
Tell us your love story!
Meeting Meredith, one of the first things you’d notice (and what she’d probably confess to, herself!) is that she is perfectly, happily, oblivious to some things; like to flirty women trying desperately to get her attention! We first met under possibly the least romantic of circumstances— a 200-person classroom in University of Georgia’s “American History: Post-Civil War” section.
I realize now that it is unbelievably cliche, but I can honestly say I could not take my eyes off of her since she walked into that room on day one of class. She had this incredible head of long shiny red hair and I kept catching myself staring at it. You see, her seat was several rows in front of mine in a large auditorium. So, when time came to divide the giant classroom into smaller sections (which would become study groups), I made sure I snagged a seat near hers! On that September morning I stumbled through awkward freshman introductions and we found ourselves inseparable in the months that followed.
Sounds like a perfect love story, but our joke is that Meredith didn’t know we were dating for the first six months of our relationship! There was me: totally head over heels for this girl, inviting her to events constantly, finding excuses to cancel plans if she calls…. then there was Meredith: happy she found this awesome new totally platonic friend who seemed to have the most fun just studying together and sharing our hobbies! Eventually, I had to get brave and drop a few (more obvious) hints. Our time in Athens was unforgettable and the next few years took us through many jobs and grad schools, friends’ and families’ marriages, all the way to North Carolina where we decided, after ten years together, to finally tie the knot!
What about the proposal?
Being together since such an early stage in our lives required of us a few extra years to solidify just what we wanted to do with our lives, where we wanted to live, who we wanted to share our time with. Ten years seems like a long time to some, but it seemed to fly by for us.
After the many struggles of getting through grad school and medical training, with many big moments and coming-outs to various friends and family, we finally decided it was time for the big trip over the pond to explore where Jasna grew up and get to meet all of these amazing people in her life. We planned and executed what will be our favorite vacation for many years to come, prancing around southern Bosnia and coastal Croatia, completely submerged in the language and food… We ended this wonderful trip in Zagreb, where we spent our last night drinking wine, eating a warm chocolate croissant, watching street performers, and reflecting on the previous weeks. The ring was in my pocket the entire time as the moment got more and more perfect. However in romantic comedy style, we were abruptly forced to sprint away from our cozy hidden nook outside a storefront by an unaware street sweeper. We made the trip back the following day, where I promptly made plans for the evening in the most ordinary of places — the porch of our home after a picnic at our favorite park, reunited with our dog Charlie, glass of wine in hand. The proposal was quickly followed by an impromptu dance party in the streets of our neighborhood at midnight!
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
We both knew that our relationship was something special fairly early on in college. We just couldn’t get enough of each other.We now jokingly often ask one another “This whole love thing is going to get old one day, riiiight?!”
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
The initial focus was on selecting a venue that fit our style.For us, this meant exposed brick walls of a historic building with floor to ceiling windows situated in a vibrant artistic community. We were both quite laid back about the rest of the details, allowing each other to take the reins on which ever element each of us was most excited about. We were engaged 8/18/16 and married almost exactly ten months later on 6/17/17 with essentially all planning finalized and invitations printed by January! My love of checklists and Meredith’s keen designer’s eye came in very handy! (Also: I’m pretty sure Meredith secretly found her calling in event planning!)
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
Even though we went into the planning process with the mentality to keep things simple, it became easy to get overwhelmed with wedding checklists found in Google / Pinterest searches, primarily geared towards the proper wedding protocol. We ended up creating our own checklist after consulting a few and just stuck to it. Yay for excel spreadsheets!
One of the funnest and easiest things for us was the cake testing. We were lucky enough to have a vendor that allowed us to take several small sample cakes home to taste test, creating an entire week of awesomeness.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
We had been sort of told this by friends and family, but we did not believe them when they said how quickly the whole things flies by! We really maximized our time with friends and family all weekend—managing on just a few hours of sleep and loving every minute of it!—but it still felt like it was over in the blink of an eye. One piece of invaluable advice we received early on was to really invest in the photography—it really allows us to relive the weekend and leaves us so many precious memories!
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Put simply: have fun and budget well! It was so much fun planning the day together, sharing the to-do list. Among our friends, too many times we see many of our, ahem, often heterosexual, brides do the planning alone. It seemed much more fun to share the process and allowed us each to look forward to the many details. We did manage to keep a few secrets from each other and did the dress shopping, hair trials, etc, with our sisters and friends.
One thing we did early in the process that possibly held the key to maintaining our sanity and a sense of humor throughout the planning was to hash out details of the budget and get very realistic about what we could and could not afford. Since finances seemed to be the root of many others’ disagreements during planning, it was important to both of us to agree early in the process that it was a mutual responsibility to set goals and limits and stick to them. This can allow the couple to share the budgeting burden, so to speak, without it seeming like one person is denying the other that overpriced dress or the honeymoon in Fiji.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Our favorite part by far was dancing the kolo (a traditional Bosnian-Croatian dance) with family and friends -- most new to the dance, others seasoned kolo experts -- after everyone’s had a couple glasses of wine!
- Photography By Jessica Arden Photography
- Reception Venue By The Century Room
- Florals By Merrimon Florist
- Catering By The Century Room at Pack's Tavern
- Baked Goods By Publix Bakery
- DJ By Bunn DJ Company
- Hair & Makeup By Adorn Salon
- Officiant By Susan Marlan
- Meredith's Dress By BHLDN
- Wedding Party Attire By Bill Levkoff
- Jewelry By Fox and Beaux Boutique