Just three months after giving up the crown as Miss America, Savvy Shields replaced one sparkling accessory with another. This time, she wasn’t wearing a tiara in front of millions of people, but instead presented with a gorgeous engagement ring in a private moment with her future husband, Nate Wolfe. Savvy and Nate had first met at a wedding two-and-a-half years earlier, and it was now time for them to start planning their own nuptials.
“In all the prep and planning for Miss America, I honestly thought a wedding would be a breeze because [the pageant] was so intense,” says the bride. With just seven months to organize the details of the day, Savvy worked with her mother and event planner to design the celebration of her dreams. The first step was choosing a venue in her home state of Arkansas, and they were thrilled to discover a newly renovated industrial space that fit her vision perfectly. “Being an artist, I loved the blank canvas,” notes the bride. “My dream was to create an artsy, airy, dreamy garden for the ceremony and transition to a grand party for the reception.”
On the day of the nuptials, 270 loved ones joined the couple for a fairy-tale fête. The stunning altar featured flowing ivory drapery and a canopy of greenery and vanilla blooms that designated the spot for the vow exchange. Candles in tall hurricane vases and rose petals bordered the custom white aisle runner adorned with Savvy and Nate’s monogram, which was created by The Original Runner Company. “I loved the artistry and personal touch it provided,” the bride smiles. “We got so many comments on it!”
At last, Savvy made her grand entrance in a striking form-fitting lace gown with a plunging neckline. “I will never forget watching her walk down the aisle. It was a surreal moment for me,” muses Nate. “It was years of anticipation built up into one moment.” The couple’s pastor, who is a good friend of theirs, officiated a personalized service that was extremely meaningful to the couple. “I’ve never felt such joy or giddiness as I held hands with Nate and we shared our vows. It was beyond perfect,” reminisces the bride.
In order to make sure they greeted every guest, Savvy and Nate personally dismissed each row after the ceremony. Attendees then met a hostess who helped them find their seating assignments attached to ribbons suspended from towering trees and overarching branches in the dreamy hallway between the two event spaces. “The reception area itself had an amazing garden vibe and more of a modern, industrial feel,” explains Savvy. Centerpieces showcased towering arrangements of ivory blooms and verdure as well as classic candelabra. Wanting to add a personalized element to the décor, a friend of the couple hand-lettered the welcome sign and table numbers, and Savvy painted the backs with an ebony brushstroke. “I wanted to find a way to bring some of my art in, and this was a perfect way to do it,” she says.
Friends and family enjoyed a sit-down dinner service to the sounds of music by Frank Sinatra and other crooners before the revelry began. “We really wanted the reception to be a nonstop party, and that is what we got,” remembers Nate. “The dance floor was packed for four hours straight.” In addition to their gorgeous six-layer confection featuring ombré, gilt, and baroque-inspired details, attendees were treated to their choice of three custom ice cream flavors served from a vintage-inspired cart. The “Nate Date” was an ode to the pair’s many coffee dates, “World Peace” provided a nod to Miss America, and “Bellisimo” – meaning beautiful in Italian – prefaced the first stop of their honeymoon in Florence, Italy.
Thrilled that they were able to celebrate all day long with their friends, family, and each other – thanks to an early ‘first look’ – Savvy and Nate drove away in a black 1940 Cadillac Fleetwood to start their new life together as husband and wife. “I wanted to make sure that the wedding reflected me as Savvy, not as Miss America, and I am so thankful that it did,” affirms the bride. “From the overgrown dreamy feeling of the florals, the hand-painted table numbers, custom ice cream, and the dance party – everything was perfect.”