Every Part of This Bride's Look—Her Dress, Veil, and Shoes—Shimmered at Her Luxurious, Elegant Wedding in Atlanta

And then she totally switched it up for the reception.

Black and White Portrait of Bride and Groom

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Less than two years after mutual friends introduced Ari Washington and Nick Perry, the couple was on vacation together in Cancun—and Ari was getting impatient for their waiter to deliver the dessert they had ordered. “[It was] taking so long!” says Ari. “Then Bruno Mars’ song ‘Marry You’ starts playing in the restaurant and the whole restaurant staff is coming towards us with sparklers and a cake that says, ‘Marry me?’ After Nick proposed, there was a huge fireworks show for us to watch.”

With that sweet moment behind them, Ari—who owns a clothing boutique—and Nick, an NFL assistant coach for the Atlanta Falcons, began envisioning their dream wedding (with help from planner Cate Sotak of Toast Events). As their guest list expanded to include 280 friends and family, the couple knew they would need a scaled-up venue to accommodate all their loved ones; they chose the St. Regis Atlanta hotel. “There weren’t many venues that could fit our large wedding. I loved that the ballroom at the St. Regis could be turned into anything we wanted,” says Ari. “Also, Atlanta traffic is awful, so we wanted our wedding to be somewhere that guests didn’t have to go far for.  Everything was right there for them.”

Ari relied on the organizing and planning skills she had developed during her previous career in public relations to clarify her vision—and keep her vendors on the same page. “I was able to articulate exactly what I wanted, and I was very vocal on making sure all the décor was timeless,” she says. “I didn’t want to look back on our day 10 years from now and ask myself why we did something.” The end result was an aesthetic that layered neutral hues—white, off-white, ivory, cream, taupe—and a variety of textures to create an elegant, classic ambience. 

Though the days before the wedding included a stressful last-minute hustle to accommodate guests who changed their RSVP from no to yes, the ceremony and reception on March 25, 2023, left the couple with only happy memories: sharing the dance floor with their guests, seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony, and a surprise video toast from guests who couldn’t attend stand out as highlights. “Enjoy every bit of the planning, it goes by so quick!” says Ari. “And remember this is your day and no one else’s; do what makes you happy.” Read on to discover all of the details, which were captured by Elizabeth Austin Photography.

Layout of Wedding Invitation and Accessories

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Hints of aqua and gold on invitations from Hi-Note Studio previewed the sophisticated color palette. The bride’s embellished shoes and glittering starburst earrings aligned with her old Hollywood fashion aesthetic.

Portrait of Bride Holding Her White Gown

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Bridesmaids Fitting Bride in Gown

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Layout of Silver Wedding Heels and Champagne

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

After trying on wedding dresses at three other boutiques, Ari found her glittering strapless gown at Galia Lahav—with help from head designer Sharon Sever, who was unexpectedly on-site during her visit. “He ended up doing all of my measurements and tailoring himself. It was a fairy-tale experience wearing one of his creations in front of him, and having him make slight changes to best fit me,” says Ari. “As soon as I tried the dress on, I felt like I was in an old Hollywood movie—it was perfect.” She chose “so comfy” heels from Amina Muaddi, which were covered in sparkling gems to match her gown.

Bride Walking Up Stairs with Veil Train Behind Her

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

A long, shimmering Galia Lahav veil trailed behind the bride as she prepared for the ceremony. “I loved the luxurious statement it made,” she says.

Portrait of Bride and Bridesmaids in White Gowns Holding Bouquets

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Ari’s bridal party included two maids of honor and four bridesmaids, all wearing slip dresses from L’AGENCE—a style Ari found when she received the gowns in a different shade for her shop. “I immediately emailed them asking if they made the dress in a champagne color,” she says. “It was a timeless, elegant look. Since bridesmaids usually buy their dresses, I wanted them to have a dress that they could wear again.” The women carried smaller versions of the bride’s bouquet: full white roses mixed with baby’s breath. 

Portrait of Groom in Tuxedo

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Nick’s personal tailor created a bespoke double-breasted black tuxedo with standout, oversized lapels, which the groom wore with velvet Tom Ford loafers and a Cartier bracelet (a gift from the bride). He kept his day-of grooming routine simple: “Honestly I just got a haircut from my normal barber, and that’s it,” he says.

Portrait of Wedding Couple Looking at Eachother

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Ari asked her hair and makeup artists to create a “natural glam” look, which included subtle makeup and a high, wavy ponytail. “I wanted to make sure I still looked myself,” she says. “Honestly, my husband loves my hair up, with a few pieces hanging down in front, so I went that route. I also wanted to make sure I showed off all of my dress, so the hairstyle helped!”

Bride, Groom, and Father of Bride at the Altar

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Bride and Groom Kissing at All-White Altar

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Bride and Groom Walking Down the Aisle

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Ari and Nick chose a simple, modern altar design that included overflowing arrangements of baby’s breath, peonies, and roses on pedestals behind them—a sleek contrast to the 12-foot-tall faux trees that lined the aisle, adding color to the space. A string quartet performed an instrumental version of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” as Ari’s father escorted her into the ceremony. Jeremiah Castille officiated the ceremony, during which the couple exchanged personal vows. “Our vows were very intimate,” says Ari. “I spoke in Spanish for part of my vows, as Nick says I never speak Spanish to him.” 

Guests Looking at Seating Chart for Wedding Reception

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Bride and Groom Having Champagne

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

A wall of filled Champagne glasses—each with an escort card tied to its stem—greeted the guests at the entrance to the cocktail space. The couple also served two signature cocktails, a spicy margarita and Prosecco with St. Germain elderflower liqueur. 

Small White Flower Decor on Table Top

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

White Flower Center Piece with Candles

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Table Sign and White Flower Center Piece

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Ari and Nick designed their reception around a variety of neutral tones, adding texture and subtle floral accents for a look that was spare and elegant—not boring. Ivory, champagne, and off-white hues in the florals were complemented by pebbled linens and a bare-wood estate table. “We kept the centerpieces minimal—there were a lot of floating roses and candles,” says Ari. “We didn’t want anything that brought too much height on the tables that would mess with sightlines.”

Table Setting with Wedding Dinner Menu

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Portrait of Wedding Guests in Pink Gowns

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Asymmetrical chargers, colored glassware, and personalized menus completed the tablescapes. Since Ari is a pescatarian, the menu included a variety of seafood—crab cakes, lobster bisque, sea bass—alongside short ribs, green salad, and vegan mushroom ravioli.

Bride and Groom Entering Reception

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Bride and Groom Wearing Matching Sneakers

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Ari changed into a spaghetti-strap gown from Kyha Studios for the reception, and the bride and groom both donned matching Nike Travis Scott sneakers before hitting the dance floor. “I think this totally reflected us, and especially myself as the bride,” says Ari. “There’s the glam side, but most days I just want to throw sneakers on, so it was nice to be comfy for all the dancing.”

Bride and Groom at Wedding Reception

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Wedding Guest Giving Speech at Reception

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Memorable speeches from the couple’s family included video congratulations compiled by the bride’s father. Ari’s first boss, Tom Izzo—head basketball coach at Michigan State University—shared his best wishes, as did Nick Saban, head football coach at University of Alabama, where Nick both played and started his coaching career.

Five-Tiered Teal Marble Wedding Cake with Orchid Decor

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

The hotel’s chef decorated the couple’s five-tier wedding cake with green and white marbling and delicate orchids. Nick and Ari chose two flavors: vanilla chiffon with Grand Marnier syrup and Bavarian cream, and tiramisu.

Guests Dancing at Wedding Reception

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Bride and Groom Dancing at Wedding Reception

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

Bride and Groom Kissing at Wedding Reception

Photo by Elizabeth Austin Photography

After sharing their first dance to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce, the couple relied on DJ Steph Floss, R&B singer Lloyd, and rapper Rich Homie Quan to keep the dance floor full. “We truly wanted our reception to be a party,” says Ari. “[One of our favorite memories is] dancing with our families’ all night long.  At one point we were on the stage while our entertainers performed, and just seeing our loved ones so happy and having a great time was priceless—it was like, 'All these people are having the best time of their lives celebrating our love.’”

Wedding Team

Venue, Catering, and Cake St. Regis Atlanta

Wedding Coordination and Planning Cate Sotak, Toast Events

Officiant Jeremiah Castille

Bridal Gown and Veil Designer Galia Lahav

Shoes Amina Muaddi

Hair Chaise Debow

Makeup Enhanced by Teisha 

Rehearsal Dinner Attire Cult Gaia; Rene Caovilla 

Second Bridal Gown Kyha Studios 

Bridesmaids’ Dresses L’AGENCE

Mother-of-the-Bride Dress Tom Ford 

Engagement Ring Brown & Co. Jewelers 

Wedding Bands Custom Lindsay Taylore Jewels (bride); Cartier (groom) 

Flowers Edge Design Group

Invitations Hi-Note Studio

Music DJ Steph Floss

Videographer Paros Films

Photographer Elizabeth Austin Photography

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