Nicholle (Nicki) Turano and Arthur Harmon were both resident assistants for their now-alma mater, Southwest Baptist University (SBU) in Bolivar, Missouri. It was the beginning of Nicki’s junior year – and Arthur’s senior year – and she had been reassigned to a new dorm, which meant new co-workers. On move-in day, she was introduced to Arthur, her new colleague, and was instantaneously struck. A few weeks later, they happened upon each other at a student ministry leaders meeting, and sparks flew the entire weekend. “From there,” Nicki says, “the rest was history.”

Just over a year later, Arthur began scheming for his proposal to Nicki. He had left her waiting for a while – after talking to Nicki’s dad to ask for her hand, which Nicki knew had taken place, he let several months slip by with formal dates and landmark trips that would have been ideal. “I was determined to take my time,” Arthur says. It was the week before Valentine’s Day when his plans began to come together.

Nicki met Arthur at an old swing on SBU’s campus that held great significance to the couple – it was a meaningful meeting point for their relationship – but at one point along the way, in the swing’s disrepair, SBU decided to toss it. Arthur’s friend found the discarded swing and held on to it, just in case – and the dilapidated symbol of their early relationship had its comeback on the night Arthur proposed, playing a song on his guitar that they would later have their first dance to as husband and wife. After the proposal, their friends gathered to celebrate with the couple. “The room was filled with the people who had loved us the best as a couple,” Arthur recalls. “Walking into the room, you could feel their joy for us.”

For their big day, the couple wanted to be mindful of their guests. “Arthur and I both have a heart to practice hospitality well, from beginning to end,” Nicki says. “We wanted to feed them good food, good drinks and good music – after all, a wedding is a celebration! And we truly believe we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for each of them.”

The ceremony was held in Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis this January. “Because the chapel is already so beautiful, it was an easy first choice,” Nicki says.

Nicki also envisioned an ambiance inspired by childhood travels to Italy with her parents. “I was pretty young when I went, so I can’t recall too many historical facts, but what I do remember – dinner!” Nicki says. “I remember the experience that each night brought. It wasn’t just about the food – although amazing – it was the dimmed lighting, the flowers in the centerpieces, the candlesticks and tea lights, the place settings, the music. It was all so romantic.” The reception was held at Neo on Locust, with a color palette of Marsala red and gold creating a dreamy winter vibe, with thoughtful and elegant table settings under the warm glow of a canopy of string lights throughout the entire event space.

The couple enjoyed a relaxing honeymoon in Kauai, Hawaii – although the bride had grown up traveling, it was the groom’s first trip to an ocean. Nicki and Arthur currently reside in Bolivar, where they both work at their alma mater – Arthur as a resident director and graduate student, and Nicki as an admissions counselor.

THE DATE: Jan. 28, 2017

THE BRIDE: Nicholle Turano

THE GROOM: Arthur Harmon

THE BRIDE’S PARENTS: James and Cheryl Turano

THE BRIDE’S GRANDPARENTS: James and Margaret Turano

THE GROOM’S PARENTS: Steven and Kristan Portell and Arthur and Christie Harmon

THE GROOM’S GRANDPARENTS: Becky Harmon and Ronald and Marilee Reed

THE MATRON OF HONOR: Allie Huffman

THE BEST MAN: Chris Kimberling

THE BRIDESMAIDS: Paige Arve, Hannah Greco, Nikki Tinker, Alli Phillips, Drew Crask (bridesman)

THE GROOMSMEN: Marshall Johns, Andrew Bryant, Ben Gibson, Ian Huffman, Silas Harmon

THE OFFICIANT: Joe Langford

THE CEREMONY: Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis

THE RECEPTION: Neo on Locust

THE WEDDING DRESS: Justin Alexander

THE MAKEUP: Beauty Bar

THE HAIR: Beauty Bar

THE BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: Watters

THE RINGS: Miller’s Jewelry

THE FLORIST: An Affair to Remember

THE CAKE: Russo’s

THE BAND (MUSIC): Millennium Productions

THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Elizabeth Lloyd Photography

THE INVITATIONS: The Ink Spot and Bliss Paper Boutique

THE WEDDING PLANNER: JacLynn Kennedy, The Event Extraordinaire – day-of coordinator

Denise is a contributing writer at Ladue News. She is a Chicago native, wife to Vince, mama to two and Chicago magazine dining team alum. She hopes to one day live in a world where semicolons are used responsibly.

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