Athens, GA Wedding :: Riley + Olive :: with Nikki
This wedding is extra special to post because Olive is one of our very own OLAS team members! Most of our couples work with Olive when their photos are almost ready – getting their sneak peek blog posts together and finding out more about how special each and every engagement & wedding is that we get to shoot. Now, it’s her turn for a sneak peek and we’re SO excited to share these photos on the blog!
If the old adage “friends first” is a true foundation for a long and happy marriage, then Riley + Olive have a lifetime of love and partnership ahead. Their friendship, for years before they started dating, paved the way for a deep and soulful connection as lovers and partners. Olive says that the breadth of trials and victories they walked through together, as friends, really helped them to become true partners in romantic relationship, too. They both say they have their community of friends and family to thank for uplifting, supporting, and encouraging them. We love the way they included so many friends in the planning and execution of their day – creating a ceremony that was truly their own!
We asked Olive to share a little more about their wedding and what’s like to finally be married…
Tell us about your wedding! How would you describe the overall vibe/feeling of your day? Anything special that you planned and couldn’t wait to see come together?
Sweet, ethereal, connected, and natural. I felt nervous, giddy, AND relieved to see it all come together! We were most looking forward to the ceremony – we asked so many friends to be a part of our ceremony by sharing their gifts & talents and it was SUCH a joy to experience!! We held the ceremony on the land where we live and it felt so perfect to start our marriage on the land that currently holds us.
Is there a moment that stands out above the rest, now that you’ve been married for a few weeks?
Before the ceremony began, I (Olive) waited behind a cove of trees that was somewhat hidden from the ceremony site where I could also peek through and see everyone arriving, meeting, and mingling. It was such an incredible time to watch our friends and family arrive, meet each other, and laugh together. We also had one of our community elders sharing music – on both handpan and flute – before the ceremony and it was such a gift to witness that before our ceremony began. I remember a feeling of complete and total harmony with myself, with Riley, with our friends, and with nature. Sharing our vows was also such a moment for me. We shared our vows with each other before the wedding but sharing them with the witness of our friends and family was so special, honoring, and joyful (with lots of tears!).
What’s your favorite thing that you decided to include or spend money on?
We actually didn’t spend money on much… excluding photography, our entire wedding cost us under $1,500! We spent energy, more than anything, on planning our ceremony to include friends and those special to us. It felt really good to make so many things ourselves but not in a typical “DIY wedding” fashion. We focused on the things most important to us, and/or that we’d keep for years, and we also grew our own flowers. I used the same bark tanned deer hide to make Riley’s vest, our vow & blessing book, and even my sandals so I could have a barefoot feel with a little protection on my feet for the walk to the ceremony. One of our dear friends made our floral arrangements with the flowers that we grew and also included many that she grew herself. That was such a huge gift!
The best thing we included on our wedding day was our friends and chosen family. Every part of our ceremony and our reception was touched by those we love most… even our marriage license! We thought we were crazy to wait until the day before our wedding to get our marriage license but it was really the best gift – on a day that was so stressful with wedding prep, we found one of our community friends working in the Probate Court and she was the one to sign our marriage license! Two of our dear friends/community members serenaded us as we walked down the aisle. Riley’s sister and one of my dear friends both showered us with beautiful readings. And, of course, another one of our friends married us! Literally, EVERY single part of our day was touched by a dear friend or member of our community. That’s all we could’ve asked for as we walked into this new chapter – the witness of our dearest friends and chosen family from beginning to end.
What did you love most about working with OLAS?
This is a fun question to answer because I (Olive) work for OLAS and I’m so in love with the way that OLAS works for our couples! Confession: I’m a bit of an anti-bride. I found such a fun challenge in keeping our budget small but keeping the spirit of our wedding BIG! In planning my wedding, I cared about only three things: 1) Including family/friends, 2) Keeping the day about US and the promises we were making, and 3) Photography. As a laid back bride who also knew that I’d treasure the photographs we’d have forever, OLAS was a LIFE-SAVER for me! I can confidently and clearly say that if I didn’t work for OLAS, I would’ve still hired them to photograph my wedding. The organization and customer service is simply unmatched in the wedding photography industry!
For all kinds of couples, OLAS really provides peace of mind when it comes to getting the photos that you want. Most of us, as brides/grooms/partners, want special photos that capture our day and also lend themselves to capturing our legacy for years to come. What we don’t often realize is how much work goes into that part of a wedding day and I’m SO grateful that my planning call with Alicia helped me prioritize the shots that I wanted (and the ones that I didn’t!), the timeline of our day (with plenty of time to spare!), and the things I needed to have in place to make sure those shots happened. Working in the wedding photography industry, I know that the epic wedding shots most couples want don’t just happen organically… they take serious planning and intention. OLAS took the guesswork out of the shots that I wanted and made them happen with very little effort on my part.
The best thing about working with OLAS is that when our wedding day came, we simply showed up and enjoyed the day knowing that our photographer would get the shots we wanted. Nikki, our photographer, really managed us and made sure that every shot was captured and that our photography needs and wants were taken care of. Thanks to OLAS, we got to be truly present in our day, not worrying or thinking about photography at all. That was priceless!!
How, if at all, are you incorporating elements from your wedding into your home or everyday life? Anything special that you’re excited to keep for years to come?
Most of the things I made for our wedding I also made with the intention that we’d keep them or use them in the future. Our vows & blessings book was important to me – I was excited to have it as a part of the wedding but even more excited to keep it on our mantle with the vows that we wrote to each other and the blessings that we received from friends and family. It seemed like a small thing to make, at the time, but now I’m so grateful that it’s a big part of our home.
Riley’s vest and my sandals were also cross-functional. We made both with the intention to wear them to the ceremony and also to alter/edit to be more functional for every day. We’ve each worn them (his vest and my sandals) after our wedding and we keep altering and making them our own which feels like a very natural evolution from the wedding.
What does it feel like to finally be married?
It feels oh-so-very sweet!! We were friends for such a long time before dating and then lived together for a while before getting married and I can say that it DOES still feel different to be married! This new season of our lives feels sweet and tender. It’s every bit as romantic and thrilling as I imagined. It’s the greatest and most passionate adventure that I’ve ever been on! Not just because we’re newly married but because we witnessed and supported each other through so many hard things, as a team, long before we made this commitment. Our relationship isn’t perfect but it’s incredibly romantic and enchanted BECAUSE of all of the pain and growth we’ve witnessed in, and with, each other. <3
Congratulations, Olive + Riley!! xoxo, Your OLAS Family