It was a serendipitous mountaintop meeting that sparked the beginning of Olivia Coble and TJ Hicks’s love story. Olivia, a Nashville native, was finishing her last year at Colorado College and spring breaking with girlfriends; TJ was at a work training, taking the afternoon to explore with a group of buddies. The two separate groups selected Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park on a spring morning in 2014 and made their way to the top. Having crossed each other several times throughout the hike, the two groups exchanged cameras and phones once they made it, taking group photos for one another. TJ’s crew invited the girls to grab a beer and listen to music at a bar in town, and they happily obliged. “It was a terrible Janis Joplin cover band,” Olivia says, laughing. But the bad music lent itself well to great conversation. TJ and Olivia shared cell numbers and left with plans to meet again in Colorado several weeks later.
While the logistics during the summer were difficult, the pair landed just one hour apart in August — Olivia in Denver working for a nonprofit called SOS Outreach and TJ in Winter Park working for the National Sports Center for the Disabled as an adaptive ski instructor. Traveling, exploring and time spent outdoors have been integral to their relationship, one summer even spent leading a Moondance trip to Iceland together; therefore it made sense that TJ was planning an outdoor, nature-filled engagement.
In August of 2018, TJ had plans to run a trail race with friends in Idaho, so a big group of the couples’ friends rented an Airbnb outside of Yellowstone. On Friday, the day before the race, the group headed to explore the national park, first stopping at Yellowstone Falls. They snapped photos and admired, and Olivia noticed the crew was slow-moving. Next thing she knew, TJ came up behind her, embracing her in a big bear hug. His heart pounding against Olivia’s back, he asked, “How many dates do you think we’ve been on?” before continuing, “What do you say do 50,000 more?” Her eyes welled as she turned to find TJ on one knee. He asked the question, she said yes, and the rest is history!
The two married on June 8, 2019, in Music City. “I got ready at my parents’ house, which was super important to me because it was the home that I grew up in,” Olivia tells us. The day began, in fact, with a family walk — Olivia and her mom, dad, brother and sister — through the neighborhood, a detail that was especially memorable for Olivia. Mid-morning, the bridesmaids arrived to get ready together. Parlour 3 came and did hair and makeup for the girls, and they had Olivia’s favorite chicken salad from Zoe’s for lunch. Meanwhile, the groom and his groomsmen spent the day at another family member’s home. TJ and Olivia’s grandmother had always been especially fond of each other, so “Shocky,” as she’s affectionately known, hosted them in her home.
Olivia and TJ did a first look at her home so they wouldn’t be nervous all day. With a backdrop of beautifully in-bloom backyard flowers, Olivia tapped on TJ’s shoulder, and he turned and saw his bride for the first time. She says, “We read a note together, did the crying thing and got that out of the way, and it was really nice.” She also did a first look with her father inside their home, which was especially sweet. Then, all of the group photos took place. Olivia remarks, “Our friends, like us, are super outdoorsy and love outdoor activities, and so it was really fun to see everyone all dressed up and looking nice at once!”
The small chapel at First Presbyterian Church hosted 100 guests, and Rev. Mark DeVries and his son Rev. Adam DeVries officiated the ceremony. Mark had served as Olivia’s youth ministry leader, and it was important to her that someone close to them do the ceremony. “They included a lot about us exploring and adventuring and special details, which was so nice,” Olivia shares. “At the start of the ceremony, we had all four of our parents involved, instead of just the fathers as is often tradition. It was really special to include our moms as well. We both have great relationships with both our parents and having all four of them stand and pray with us before the rest of the ceremony got underway felt very important to us.”
After the ceremony, the guests made their way to the reception at Belle Meade Country Club. Olivia and TJ arrived in time to walk through with Hugh Howser of H3 Events, their event planner, taking in the beautiful details. The vision was a lush and green outdoors-come-in feel, and Hugh, Kate and the H3 team went above and beyond. Olivia and TJ walked around wide-eyed. “We knew a few of the elements, but there was almost an element of surprise when we saw it all pulled together,” she tells us. “Hugh is truly ‘Hughlarious’ and was such a treat to work with. He took our scattered ideas and made them into a stunning weekend.”
The specialty cocktail, served during cocktail hour and beyond, was a “Lavender Collins,” and Olivia made the lavender simple syrup herself! After cocktails, guests sat for dinner and were served steaks — a delicious request by the mother of the bride — twice-baked potatoes and stewed okra. “We were so glad we decided to do the seated dinner. We had awesome food! So we wanted to eat it,” Olivia laughs.
After dinner, the Number One Party Band kicked off the dancing with Olivia and TJ’s first dance to “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” followed by Olivia and her dad’s dance to “What a Wonderful World” and TJ and his mom’s dance to “Say a Little Prayer for You.” The guests, increased by about 120 for the reception, dancing the night away, celebrating the happy couple and toasting to a lifetime of happiness.
The getaway, the brainchild of TJ, was a special one. Olivia’s extended family owns a trucking company called Neely Coble Company in Nashville. When her parents married, her dad still worked there, and they left the reception in the front cab of an 18-wheeler truck. TJ suggested the newlyweds do the same from their own reception, so a big, shiny, new, white truck whisked them away. Olivia laughs, “It was fun to walk down the steps of Belle Meade and into this huge Freightliner truck.” And it wasn’t just the same concept, but the same driver as Olivia’s parents, too! Terry drove the getaway truck, and the two enjoyed the big basket of food (courtesy of Hugh and Kate!) in the backseat as they drove off into the night.
Cheers to a lifetime of adventure, Olivia and TJ!
- Wedding Planner: H Three Events
- Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church of Nashville
- Reception: Belle Meade Country Club
- Photographer: Kendall Rock Photography
- Bride’s gown: Blush by Hayley Paige, from Bitsy Bridal in Salt Lake City
- Bridesmaids’ dresses: Show Me Your Mumu
- Hair & Makeup: Parlour 3
- Groom’s and groomsmen’s formalwear:
- Invitations and other paper: You’re Invited
- Flowers: Tim Riffle Environments
- Catering: Belle Meade Country Club
- Ceremony: Chris Simonson, soloist; Nick Bergin, piano; Lisa Thrall, violin
- Reception: Number One Party Band
- Cake: Dessert Designs by Leland Riggan
See more beautiful Nashville weddings in our archives!