Former Ralph Lauren designer Marion Hickman (who recently launched her own consulting company called Marion Meythaler Designs) met financial analyst Nick Meythaler when they were first years at the University of Virginia, but they didn’t start officially dating until their third year. “We had all the same friends but had never really gotten to know each other,” says Marion. “So it was fun when we finally got together and already had a really tight knit group!”
The couple dated for seven years before Nick popped the question. “Everybody laughs at that, but it honestly didn’t feel strange to me,” admits Marion. “We had lived in NY since right after college, and we were very committed to each other, but were also just having fun and working like crazy—I honestly thought it was perfect timing.”
Nick worked on the proposal for months. “I had no idea he was such a planner until he proposed,” says Marion. “He told me we were going to Charlottesville—where we had gone to school—for his tennis team’s reunion. It was October, and we flew down on a Thursday. Our flight was almost cancelled, and I noticed he was a little overly jumpy. He also kept harping on me for picking the black nail polish on my fingers. I think he was imagining the ring on my hand with those chipped black nails. The flight finally left, and we got there, and he had arranged for his good friend Mike to leave a car at the airport for us which was really nice but also strange. I still didn’t think much of it though because Mike is the type of guy who would do that! We drove to campus and parked under the pretense that we needed to leave the car in a strategic place for the football game on Saturday. We were walking down the Lawn, and he pulled me into a gorgeous garden behind one of the historic pavilions, and popped the question! I was so surprised words can’t describe it. He then told me our parents were waiting at our favorite college bar, Coupes, so we went to this sort of run down bar and drank champagne with our families.”
Marion had never given him any hints about the ring, but loved what Nick chose. The center stone was his grandmother’s (the only grandparent she’d never met), and he added side stones and reset it with his own touch. “After he proposed, the whole weekend was one surprise after another,” says Marion. “It was all so sweet and thoughtful. I think he had taken note of all the people making fun of him for not proposing for seven years and did his best to make it worth the wait!”
Even though she’s a clothing designer, Marion wasn’t one of those girls who had dreamt about her wedding dress since childhood, so she went into the search with a pretty open mind. “I liked about twelve dresses and would have been happy with any one of them,” remembers Marion. “But I felt that the one I ultimately chose was classic in a way that I will appreciate when I look at pictures 20 years from now. I loved the seaming on the skirt and the draping it created below the knee. I found the dress at Mark Ingram in NY, but it was designed by Anne Barge, who is an Atlanta based designer, so it was special to do all of my fittings there in her studio.” Marion’s veil had a lot of personal significance too. “My older sister had worn it in her wedding and the lace detailing was taken from my mother’s wedding dress.”
“My aunt has the most amazing jewelry of anyone I’ve ever known, and she was generous enough to let me come to her Upper East Side apartment and go nuts in her jewelry box, so I chose canary diamond earrings and bracelet for our rehearsal dinner and some gorgeous drop diamond earrings for my wedding day. I don’t remember what I had planned to wear on my wrists, but Nick gave me a diamond watch from his other grandmother (so I have a piece from each of them) at the church as a wedding gift before I walked down the aisle, so I wore that. I adore it and wish I could wear it every day, but I’m too scared.”
Marion wore her hair in loose summery curls and half up because that’s how she always wear it, and Nick explicitly requested that she look like herself. “I wanted pretty natural makeup, but with huge glam lashes,” says Marion. “Kimberly Mack did my makeup, and she did the most amazing job! It was 104 degrees on our wedding day, so I was glad we kept it simple.”
Marion always wanted to get married in Atlanta, where she grew up, so the ceremony was at the Northside United Methodist Church. The couple was married by Dr. Gil Watson, who Marion has known since she was in the fifth grade. “He has this amazing booming southern accent and his message was very sweet,” says Marion. “I took a lot of time choosing the readings and songs for the ceremony. Those details were really important to me.” For the reception, Marion wanted a venue with both indoor and outdoor spaces, so she and Nick chose the East Lake Golf Club. “I love the Tudor architecture, and it has a big open back porch overlooking a gorgeous lake, so it fit the bill,” says Marion. “Nick loved it because of the golf history.”
My mother and I love flowers so we spent a lot of time thinking about the arrangements at the reception. I like how the oversized fuchsia and purple arrangements in the ballroom were paired with the white arrangements in the main entrance and outdoors. It felt very fresh. We filled every smaller space we could find with orchids.
During cocktail hour, peach bellinis and Manhattans were passed out to guests on the back porch overlooking the lake, and word was the crowd from Nick’s home state of Kentucky quickly consumed more bourbon than the club had ever seen. The menu was a playful gourmet take on southern food. There was a southern biscuit bar with fried chicken, country ham, and pimento cheese as well as a shrimp and grits bar and then the usual beef tenderloin. Late night, pulled pork sandwiches were served.
The band was Bobby and the Aristocats, who the couple booked through East Coast Entertainment. Early on in the planning process, Marion tried to convince Nick to go for Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” as their first dance song. “I pushed for it for months, but Nick wasn’t so sure, so we made that the last song of the night and went with “Nightshift” by the Commodores, which is an all-time favorite of ours,” she says. Marion and her father danced to “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.”
At the end of the evening, one of Marion’s closest friends and bridesmaids caught the bouquet, and then the newlyweds made their exit in the bride’s grandparents’ old Rolls Royce.