THEIR STORY: When Alexis Cardwell met AJ Nolin, a dead flower took center stage, but their relationship blossomed into a beautiful love story. The pair met as undergraduates at Syracuse University in 2016, when she was president of the theater club and he was trying out for a play. His monologue involved a dead flower and he carried a wilted rose. “I said very jokingly, ‘Is that rose for me?’” the bride recalls. He gave it to her, though it would be a few months before they began dating. “We always joke that our relationship started with a dead rose,” Alexis says. They bonded over their love of theater, and Alexis, 27, of Madison, appreciated that AJ, 26, of Concord, New Hampshire, always made her laugh and feel safe. “I struggle with anxiety and he takes such good care of me and keeps me calm and keeps me grounded,” Alexis says. “He truly is my rock.” While their personalities differ (she’s outgoing and he’s on the quiet side), they balance each other well and have similar passions and interests. She also loves his eyes. “He has the most beautiful eyes,” Alexis says. “He would always wink at me, that was our thing. He even winked at me walking down the aisle.”
WILL YOU MARRY ME?: AJ proposed while they were having lunch at their favorite restaurant on New Year’s Eve in 2019. They were at the table and he got down on one knee. “It was very him,” Alexis says. “It was very simple, it was not over the top with balloons and signs. It was just him and me. It was a really nice, calm, but also super-exciting moment. I loved it.”
DETAILS OF THE DAY: Their big day came on November 7, 2021. They got married at The Park Savoy Estate with a 6:30 p.m. ceremony before 120 guests in the chapel and celebrated at a stunning reception in the ballroom. Alexis knew she wanted to avoid all things white. That led her to a champagne satin and beaded ballgown and beige roses in her bouquet. Once her blue bridesmaids’ dresses were chosen, she added touches of blue in various shades. There were blue tablecloths and napkins, flowers, candles, a monogrammed runner on their sweetheart table, and even the cake was iced in light blue. She felt like a princess and loved how the elements all came together.
CUSTOM TOUCHES: The bride’s mother, who owns Cambridge Street in Madison, created custom invitations and printed items on light-blue paper with dark-blue ink. It all combined to create the elegant, vintage look Alexis envisioned. “I was told throughout the process that I’m a very old soul and I think that shined through,” she says.
FIRST DANCE: “I’ll Cover You,” from Rent.
FAVORITE MOMENT: The bride was beaming when her mom caught her bouquet. “That was really fun and really special,” Alexis says. “I didn’t even know she was there and I turned around and she caught it and I was in tears because I was so happy for her.”
FAVORITE DETAIL: Alexis’s favorite detail was the band, which played a mix of modern pop and Big Band hits. “They were unreal,” she says. “They were incredible. They really kept people on the dance floor all night. That’s all anybody wanted to know—where did you find that band? They made the night.”
HONEYMOON: The couple enjoyed a Caribbean cruise, and now live in Weehawken.—Lisa A. Flam