Before I gush over how gorgeous Lauren + Devin’s big day is or swoon hard over that sparkly top gown, I have to tell y’all that my in-laws live in the same community where L + D’s reception took place, which makes this feature even more fun for me! I even run by the Wynlakes Country Club on the three mile loop I do when we visit BDK’s family, and it’s where we ate last Thanksgiving brunch! I love what a small world the South is!
Now, onto the loveliness. L + D met in seminary school, and Devin knew from the first day they spent together that he’d found his future wife! Heaven almighty, I adore these two! When it came to the details of their day, Lauren said, “I loved growing up in the traditional, Southern culture of Montgomery, and wanted it to be reflected in the details of our wedding.” Since my darling husband grew up just seconds from where their day took place (and I’ve spent much time there), I can assure Lauren that she did Montgomery proud!
Big SW hugs to A Bryan Photo for sharing this lovely day with us!
I loved our paper, from the save the dates to the programs and the welcome basket. One of my dearest friends and bridesmaids owns her own paper and design shop called Sweet Peach Paper, and designed most of the paper items. She created a custom emblem that was used throughout the various paper pieces. I think one reason the paper was so near and dear to me is because I got to tell a story through the various items! We included our favorite restaurants, shops and sights on the welcome basket tag for our out of town guests, a page of all our special traditions in the program and my grandmother’s famous grit recipe on the favor tag! It was so much fun being able to make all the paper details my own.
I grew up wearing beautiful French-lace dresses. My mother taught herself to sew just so she could make the dresses for us! She has trunks full of them in their attic! She would slave over each dress, making sure each piece of lace was perfectly placed. I have so many memories of her staying up until wee hours of the morning finishing our Easter dresses. When we got engaged, I thought it would be so special for my flower girl to wear one of my old dresses. Of course, our flower girl had to go barefoot also, as we always did! Growing up, I never wore shoes. I wasn’t unique…no one else did either! Montgomery is unique in that it is normal for kids to go barefoot! In fact, it wasn’t required to wear shoes at school until I was in the 5th grade. I always enjoy telling people about that unique tradition in Montgomery because it seems strange if you aren’t used to it! The tradition started when my dad was a child and still to this day you will see children running around town barefoot.
My other favorite detail was spending the entire wedding day at my parents’ house. It was really important to me to have a relaxing and stress-free day. All of my bridal party came over that morning and dear friends of my mother hosted and brought in food for us. We ate brunch, laughed, relaxed and soaked up more time together. Later, the hair and make up ladies came and the photographer met us there. The majority of my bridesmaids and house party girls live states away, so it was the most special time to have with them. I will never forget those memories! It was absolutely perfect!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew my dress was THE dress the moment I saw it on the mannequin in the bridal shop window! A few weeks before I got engaged, my mom and I were window shopping in a small shopping village near my house. We walked past the bridal shop and our jaws instantly hit the floor. There it was. The most stunning wedding gown we had ever seen. Weeks later and I could not get that dress out of my head! Soon after I got engaged, my mother booked a flight out to Dallas and we scheduled an appointment to try it on. It was the first dress I tried on and I honestly didn’t need to try on any others! This was it! I just couldn’t believe that finding my dress would be this easy so I tried on a few others just to be safe. None compared the Ulla Maija I fell in love with and I quickly decided that I was done. I had found my dress! My mom and I both cried, hugged then screamed!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Initially we decided not to do a first look. We’re both pretty traditional at heart and thought there was something so sweet in waiting to see each other at the altar. We realized, though, that if we waited to see each other until the ceremony (at 6pm) we would forfeit pictures with each other in the daylight. After going back and forth for a while, we changed our minds and decided to do a first look. Honestly, the biggest reason we changed our minds was for picture purposes. In the end, I’m so glad we decided to see each other before the ceremony. Not only do we love our first look pictures, but it really did calm our nerves and set the tone for a sweet, sweet evening.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Two of my dearest friends read from Colossians 3:12-14 and 1 John 4:7-11; 19. The passage out of 1 John was, for lack of a better term, the theme verse of our wedding and marriage. We know that only through Christ and his own sacrificial love, we are able to love one another. “We love because he first loved us” is the anthem we hope to proclaim through our marriage.
I’m really moved by how Lauren described their decision to write their own vows: she said, “Your vows are a verbal expression of the covenant you are entering into, and we wanted to be sure that our words expressed the intimacy, gravity and magnitude of our decision to enter into that covenant.” YES!
Deciding who would make our cakes was the easy part. There was no other choice than Mrs. Peggy McKinney. She makes the best peanut butter chocolate cake I’ve ever had in my life, and of course we chose that for the groom’s cake. In true Southern fashion, Devin wanted to memorialize his alma mater and got that bright orange Tennessee “T” on the top of his cake. (I have to give a big “War Eagle” here to make sure my loyalties are known :) ) The bridal cake was a traditional, white five-tiered cake with our monogram on the fourth tier. Each tier was a different flavor ranging from pound cake to strawberry. It was so good!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
We have to admit, planning a wedding was the very last thing we anticipated when preparing to move cross-country! It wasn’t too long ago that we were living states away from each other, having never met and without a mutual friend in common! Devin’s from Tennessee; I’m from Alabama and neither of us had any desire to leave the great Southeast! Well, the Lord had a different plan in mind. (And we are so thankful He did!) In 2010, God placed a desire in each of our hearts to pursue a seminary education and by August of 2011, we packed up our bags and moved to Dallas, Texas to do just that! August 25, 2011 was our first day of class. We had both registered for Bible Exposition 101, spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning together but never crossed paths. Around the end of October, a mutual friend, convinced we would be perfect for each other and set out to make that change. In fact, he told Devin he’d found his future wife! Together with Devin, they planned a fun group outing for the sole purpose of us meeting. We hit it off that night and he asked me on a date for the upcoming weekend. Of course I said yes!
Describe the proposal. It was our seven-month anniversary and I was anticipating a fun night on the town celebrating. I had just returned from a trip to Alabama and was excited to spend some time with Devin. He told me we were going to go out for a nice dinner and to a movie we wanted to see. Lucky for me, I’d been in Alabama with family and it had been a while since I’d dressed up for something special. I was excited to put on a dress I’d never worn and spend a little extra time getting ready! The thought that tonight might be THE night had crossed my mind, but I stuffed it back down seconds later telling myself it was not happening for a few more months. When Devin picked me up he was completely cool and calm. We often walked through the many parks that surround my neighborhood so when he told me he found a new park and wanted to check it out before dinner, I didn’t really think anything of it. When we arrived at the park, I noticed a gorgeous gazebo and beautiful pond with a fountain. As soon as I got out of the car I saw a bouquet of flowers and some rose petals on the ground. At this point I was really confused! I was convinced he wouldn’t propose for at least a few more months so I was certain that this couldn’t be it! Devin says that as we started walking up to the gazebo I stopped and froze. I was in such shock and was trying to make sense of it all in my head! It’s such a surreal feeling! Devin managed to get me into the gazebo, said some really sweet and sincere things that I WISH I could remember, got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife! I was so in shock that I forgot to say yes! Of course, I eventually said yes. All of a sudden, I look up and out pops one of my dearest friends, Mary (who just so happens to be a photographer) who Devin secretly asked to capture the engagement. She literally hid in bushes in order capture the whole proposal. I was so surprised and so excited to have pictures from such a special occasion! After he proposed, we went to dinner, just the two of us, at our favorite little spot. It was such a sweet, sweet time to process things together and hear about how the plan had come into place! After dinner, Devin suggested we swing by my house and put the flowers in water before we headed out for more celebrating. I was completely SHOCKED when I opened the door and heard a roaring SURPRISE! Devin had gathered all of our friends together so we could celebrate with some of our favorite people. He knows me so well. We got the best of both worlds — special time with just the two of us, and a sweet party with our friends. Devin really did plan such a sweet and special evening that I will never forget!
In what month did you get married? March
How many guests attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to write our own vows! This was something that was pretty special to us. Your vows are a verbal expression of the covenant you are entering into and we wanted to be sure that our words expressed the intimacy, gravity and magnitude of our decision to enter into that covenant. The first few lines of our vows were the same and followed with our own unique words and promises. The first few lines of our vows read, “With great joy, I, Lauren, created in God’s image for His glory, and saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, pledge my deepest love to you I promise to love you not only with my words, but with my actions and trust.”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. This was one of the very hardest things in the wedding planning process! I had always dreamed of walking down to one of my favorite songs, with a single voice, guitar and strings. So intimate and romantic! When it came down to it, though, I decided to go with instrumental versions of my favorite hymns and classical pieces on the organ with strings. I married in a beautiful sanctuary and the acoustics called for sound that filled the whole space…hence the organ and strings! Our mothers and grandmothers walked down to “Jesu! Joy of Man’s Desiring,” the bridal party walked in to “Canon in D,” and I walked down to “Trumpet Voluntary” (talk about big sound!). We recessed to Scott’s version of “Hymn to Joy.” One of the most special moments of the entire wedding was in the middle of the ceremony. We had a dear friend sing a beautiful rendition (accompanied by breathtaking strings) of “Bless the Lord” by Matt Redman. During the song, the entire wedding party gathered around us and prayed over us. It was such an intimate, special moment that we will cherish forever. We are SO blessed to have such dear friends who love us, pray for us, challenge us and encourage us.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was Southern through and through. I loved growing up in the traditional, Southern, Montgomery culture and wanted it to reflect the details of the wedding. Perhaps the most Southern thing about our wedding were the traditions laced throughout. We decided to marry in the First Baptist Sanctuary for many reasons. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, but I grew up in that sanctuary! I was baptized there, watched my siblings get baptized there and buried my grandparents there. To top it all off, my parents got married in the exact same sanctuary, standing in the exact same spot, almost 30 years to the day earlier. There is so much emotion and history in that room that we really couldn’t have chosen anywhere else to say “I do!” My something old was my grandmother’s pearls. She was such a special woman to me. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the same town as her and spent so much of my childhood with my special Grandbubby. I have never known a more poised, classy Southern lady. My something new was a beautiful blue topaz ring that Devin gave me as a wedding gift. He wanted to give me something that we could keep in our family for years and hopes that one day our children will be able to wear it. My something borrowed was an embroidered handkerchief that I attached to my bouquet. The same handkerchief has been carried by the women in Devin’s family for over five generations! It is embroidered with a blue “C” after his great, great grandmother named Cora. My something blue was a gorgeous diamond and blue sapphire pendant that I attached to my grandmother’s pearls. It was my great grandmothers, for whom my sister is named. Mary Grayson (my sister) was given the pendant on her 21st birthday and let me borrow it for the wedding. My mother gave Devin and me the silver goblets that she and my dad used on their wedding day! She monogrammed them with our new initials. Perhaps one of my most favorite traditions was that I gave my dad one of my grandmother’s old handkerchiefs and embroidered it with a special note. He carried it as his pocket square. We also had a shrimp and grits bar! How much more Southern does it get?
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? I definitely have to say our photographer! Ever since my freshman year of college, sitting in my dorm room with my best friends (and future bridesmaids!) when we would drool over the photo’s on Bryan’s website, I knew I wanted him to shoot my wedding. He was one of the first phone calls I made after getting engaged!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day?
There are three moments that are unforgettable. First, the moment in the ceremony when our wedding party gathered around us and prayed over us while one of favorite worship song was sung in the background. Tears were streaming down my face as I listened to our dearest friends, encouragers and challengers pray over our marriage, while holding hands with the man for whom I had just pledged my love. It was such a surreal moment. The other memory was when I danced with my dad. I am such a daddy’s girl and love my dad to the moon and back. Up until that day, he was the number one man in my life. (He is now happily number 2!) He is so very special to me and I loved sharing such a special moment with him. Lastly, I remember this moment at the reception. I was dancing with my new husband and looked around to see our family and friends dancing up a storm. I remember thinking how special it was to have everyone that we love in one place.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning a wedding brings out so many emotions! It’s so exciting yet can be stressful and exhausting. My advice is to remember the purpose of what you are doing. In all honesty, your wedding day isn’t really about a wedding at all – it’s about a marriage. Of course we celebrate because there is reason to! But inevitably, something won’t go as planned (The country club caught on fire at our wedding! But that’s another story for another day!), but you will still be married! Remember why it is you are doing all this planning in the first place! It’s about you and your fiancé and how God brought you together. Spend time reflecting on all He has done rather than stressing over the minor details! I got caught up in the planning madness a couple of times during the process and wish I had reminded myself in those times that this is not about my perfect fairytale wedding. It’s about making a covenant before God and celebrating what HE has done.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Devin and I are happily living in Dallas, Texas! He’s finishing up Seminary and I’m working for a church. We can’t wait to see where the Lord has in store for us!