They went back… back to the beginning. Mutual friends and birthdays were to thank the night NFL player Larry English met model Nicole Williams back in 2011. Though production cameras weren’t around back then, the couple’s relationship subsequently unfolded in the public eye on E!’s WAGS, including their May 2016 engagement in Thailand. A year later, they married before 220 loved ones in Laguna Beach, California.
“I was so happy and relieved,” Williams, a model, tells The Knot. “I was so nervous walking down that aisle I couldn’t feel my legs… After months of planning and work, I could finally just enjoy the rest of the night.”
The bride and groom, a retired NFL linebacker, thankfully tasked wedding planner Alissa Hussey with the finer details. “I actually couldn’t have done it without her. Planning a wedding is so much harder then I would have ever thought,” Williams notes. “So much work goes into it. So many vendors and so many decisions have to be made. Having someone who knows how everything is supposed to flow really helped ease my stress.”
The pre-wedding anxiety actually bubbled over to when she slept. “I kept dreaming that I would arrive to the wedding and the whole venue was all pink and purple flowers. I’d wake up sweating,” she jokes. “Flowers are the most important part of your wedding, so I literally would go to bed thinking about flowers and have nightmares that nothing would be beautiful… I had nothing to worry about and I was in great hands.”
That doesn’t mean that the day went by without any snafus. “One of my bridesmaids broke the zipper on her dress,” Williams laughs. “She had to be stitched in.”
In retrospect, the bride would tell herself to actually embrace each and every minute of the day. “I would tell her to enjoy every moment because it goes by so fast,” she says. “I was told the same thing, even so, I still got a bit overwhelmed with saying hi to everyone, changing dresses, and being pulled in every direction for different things. Oh and take a moment for yourself to take everything in.”
The couple exchanged vows at the Montage in Laguna Beach. “Our ceremony was set at the most perfect of locations, overlooking the Pacific Ocean,” Williams says. “Larry and I were framed together by a beautiful white and green floral arch that had roses and cascading orchids. Our aisle was aligned with black planter boxes filled with white flowers and even more tall floral arrangements at the entrance of the aisle.”
The bride wore a custom design by Michael Costello. The piece, comprised of lace and hand-beaded detail, included a high neck design and open back. “It was my dream dress,” says the bride.
The couple’s two nieces—one on each side—and goddaughter all served as flower girls in the wedding. The bride was escorted down the aisle by both her mom and dad to the tune of Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love.” (“It’s always been a special song to me,” she says.)
“We actually just kept our ceremony very short and simple. I didn’t want to stand up there too long because I get so nervous in front of crowds!” Williams says. “You wouldn’t believe how weak my knees get.”
Los Angeles-based event planner Alissa Hussey of Alissa Hussey Productions was a huge help to the couple. “Having a big wedding like we did was definitely hard to pull off alone, so Alissa really made it happen for us,” Williams says.
The pair opted for a white-and-black color reception. “We draped the ballroom in all white to create a crisp palette,” she says. “We chose black, sparkly table linens and a huge white dance floor with our initials in black.” To offset the neutral colors, Hussey added elements of sparkle with giant chandeliers over the dance floor. Adding to the luxe factor, the couple served meals on marble-canted chargers accented with rose-gold silverware.
“The flowers were to die for,” Williams continues. “Avant Garden did huge tall round centerpieces of white orchards and roses held in massive black glass vases. White flowers were everywhere.”
Belladonna Sweets customized a seven-tier cake in white and rose-gold marble for the pair. “I didn’t eat at all because I was so busy having fun,” says Williams. However, guests gave her the approval that it was truly delicious.
The First Dance
“Larry and I are huge fans of New Edition,” she says. “We chose to dance to ‘Can You Stand the Rain.’ It’s one of our favorite songs.”
“He’s truly my best friend,” Williams says of her husband. “He loves everything about me—things that I even question. He’s the best dad to our two dogs and he’s just the most caring, loyal, selfless and considerate person I know.”