For someone whose daily life revolves around sharing and transparency, blogger Emily Helm is familiar with the importance of staying true to herself. So when it came time to plan her wedding to husband Nick Wilkinson, she used that motto as her North Star.
“Once we found our venue, Nick and I both agreed we wanted to keep everything very classic, but very ‘us,’” the Life With Emily influencer tells The Knot. “Every decision was made with ‘us’ in mind. We kept true to ourselves with the venue, the food, the colors, and every little detail. It didn’t go unnoticed with our guests either: so many of them said everything was ‘very us’ and they couldn’t have seen us doing it any other way! I know we will look back on the photos and videos from our day and be so happy with the decisions we made.”
Helm and Wilkinson, 29, married in a traditional church ceremony (and celebrated with a classy reception at the Proximity Hotel afterward) in October 2017. They incorporated numerous special touches to their big day that reflected elements of their personalities, creating an all-encompassing experience for their 120 guests.
“Our colors were a slate blue, cream, and hints of silver and gold mercury glass,” Helm says. “My bridesmaids wore slate blue dresses and that color was carried over into the reception with our menus and cocktail napkins. I have always loved mercury glass because it’s the perfect combination of classic and vintage. We have mercury glass accents throughout our home, so we brought them into our wedding too.”
The pair, who first met back in high school (they took a five-year break during college), rekindled their romance three years ago after running into each other at the tailor in their hometown. “Of all places,” Helm muses. “Nick had recently moved back for work, and days later we ended up reconnecting over wine at our favorite spot. I guess you could say the rest was history.”
The couple hired Carly Abernathy, which Helm says was perhaps one of the best decisions they made, because they could “fully enjoy” their day without a worry. “One special moment from our wedding day was us seeing our reception set up for the first time with our photographers and videographers while everyone was at cocktail hour,” she says. “I was immediately brought to tears because Carly had executed everything flawlessly and it was everything we had envisioned and more.”
The couple originally thought they wanted a barn-style wedding, but after touring two, they quickly realized that the concept, though popular, didn’t really represent who they were as a couple. They ended up picking out the Proximity Hotel, with its modern aesthetic and helpful amenities for their guests, including transportation to and from the airport and close, well, proximity to shops and the ceremony venue itself.
For her wedding gown, Helm didn’t really have a certain aesthetic or design in mind going into the shopping process—but much like how she made her other wedding decisions, she went with her gut. “The dress I chose was the Watters Azalea, and ironically, it wasn’t one of my top picks at first glance,” she says. “I thought I wanted a more simple style of dress … until I tried it on. I didn’t even have the dress on all the way before I was in tears in the fitting room with my maid of honor and knew it was the one. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted!”
The Bridesmaids Dresses
Helm already had her color scheme in mind when she started thinking about bridesmaids dresses, which helped when it came to picking out the perfect bridesmaids dresses to compliment her gown and the look and feel of the wedding day itself.
“I had seven bridesmaids who are all stylish in their own ways,” she says. “I wanted them to look uniformed, but be able to have their personality shine through. We chose a convertible dress from WTOO by Watters in Pewter, which was a perfect mix of blue and grey. I let them each choose how they tied the dress and I loved seeing the final result!”
“I’ll be completely honest, flowers have never really been my ‘thing,’” Helm says. “Sure, I like fresh flowers on my coffee table from time to time, but choosing flowers for our wedding wasn’t something I was super excited about. My florist, Tonya with ABBA Design, totally picked up on my vision of neutral flowers and greenery, and I absolutely loved what she created for our day. Our bouquets were filled with ranunculus, garden roses, blue thistle, dusty miller, and two types of eucalyptus. They didn’t feel too ‘done’ and they picked up the color of the bridesmaids dresses wonderfully.”
For their wedding cake, Helm and Wilkinson picked out a vanilla cake with buttercream frosting, with red velvet and vanilla cupcakes for all their guests. And fun fact: both the cake and the cupcakes were placed on vintage cake stands from her grandmother and great-grandmother, a poignant way to include them in Helm’s special day. For food, the couple went with a menu catered by Print Works Bistro (where they often enjoy date nights), opting for classics like filet mignon and an herb-roasted seared chicken breast
True to their style, Helm and Wilkinson opted for classy and classic music to keep their guests entertained on the dance floor and off. During dinner, they opted for a playlist of their favorite artists—The Dave Matthews Band and the Avett Brothers—and their first dance song was “That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding.
“My first piece of advice would be to soak it all in,” Helm says. “Everyone says time flies and they’re right—it does. The most important piece of advice I can give to engaged couples is to really remember what matters. At the end of the day, it’s not about the little details, it’s about the two of you as a couple and making the day memorable.”