View photos from Nicolette and Edward’s enchanted beachside ceremony »

Bride: Nicolette Hardimon, 26

Groom: Edward J. Franklin, 35

Occupations: Hardimon, sales support supervisor; Franklin, network engineer

Homebase: Dallas

Wedding Date: September 13, 2008

Wedding Location: Maui, Hawaii

Puppy Love: Edward Franklin and Nicolette Hardimon met at the University of Central Oklahoma in a business statistics class in 2002. She was studying for an undergraduate degree while he was a graduate student and the two became great friends. They started dating in December 2004, when one night while at dinner Ed stole Nic’s heart with a classic line: “Will you go out with me?” written on a napkin  in crayon with the options of yes, no or maybe,” shares Nicolette with a laugh. “We kinda knew we were going in the direction of marriage after about a year of going together,” Nicolette explains. Three years later Ed asked Nic to marry him while out to dinner on his birthday in March 2007.

Island Fare: Nicolette didn’t want to do a traditional church wedding. To avoid the stress of having to plan a huge ceremony in her hometown, the bride thought, “Let’s just go away.” The midwest gal was determined to do something different for her big day. “We wanted to give our family the chance to go somewhere they had never been before,” adds Nicolette. The couple finally decided on the picturesque Maui Prince Resort in Maui, Hawaii, where 30 of their closet friends and family watched them tie the knot. A week later, the duo hosted a reception for 175 guests in their hometown of Oklahoma City for those loved ones who couldn’t make it to Hawaii.

Frugal Fashionista: “My friend kept telling me to go to David’s Bridal to find my wedding gown, but I was apprehensive because of past experiences there,” confesses the newlywed. “I ended up going there after her persistence and found my dress for $200! It looks just like the one I was about to spend $2,000 on at an upscale bridal boutique,” Nicolette says with pride. The bride’s mermaid-style satin gown is accented with a contrasting emerald green sash. “I didn’t really have a color scheme. I just knew I wanted green incorporated somehow and it ended up matching the scenery,” Nicolette reveals.

Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: Nicolette admits that she was concerned about the age difference of nearly a decade between her and Edward. “I think we both shied away from a relationship initially but he was very patient with me, ” she shares. While the new wife says the years caused her to be unsure at first, their solid friendship eventually grew into a beautiful mutual love and she hasn’t looked back since. 

Bridal Budget Bite: Nicolette has a sweet gem to share about jewels for future brides: “If you can get jewelry from an inexpensive store like Claire’s or if someone will let you borrow their jewelry, then go for it. As long as it sparkles and shines,” explains the savvy wife and stepmom. She adds, “I would keep it real simple on the jewelry because in the pictures it all looks like a million bucks anyway!”