Bride Lauren shares her classic wedding–the first to be held in OU’s Great Reading Room!
I will never turn down an opportunity to explore a college campus, and if there’s anything I love more than a leafy quad, it’s a gothic library reading room. So as you might imagine, this on-campus marriage between two college sweethearts had me weak at the knees from the first peek. But then Lauren explained that the Great Reading Room was one of her favorite places to study in college and that, “if our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help but think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married.” Be still my heart.
Lauren and Austin’s connection to their wedding venue doesn’t even stop there, as Austin is currently a law student on campus! As a law school grad married to a lawyer myself, I could certainly identify with Lauren’s strategically-timed wedding DIY projects. That kind of consideration on her part, coupled with his willingness to put the books down whenever possible, sounds like a great foundation for a lawyer marriage! (And their focus on their families doesn’t hurt, either!) But I’ll scoot aside and let our bride take it from here.
Many thanks to Emily Ann Hughes for sending this beauty our way!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Austin and I both graduated from the University of Oklahoma, so choosing to get married on campus was especially significant, as it was the place our love story began. We are so lucky—and honored—to be the first couple to ever be married in the Great Reading Room. When searching for a venue, we wanted something that was unique, historic, and the opposite of “cookie cutter”. OU offered us all of that (and more!) and we will be forever grateful for the rare opportunity. As a college student, the Great Reading Room was one of my favorite places to study, but I never imagined that I would marry the love of my life in that same room. If our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help to think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married. Additionally, the historic ballroom on campus has held celebrations since the 1920s and was the perfect spot for our reception.
Did you decide to do a first look? We went the traditional route and chose not to do a first look. In our experience, forgoing a first look really added to the excitement and anticipation of the day. Not just for Austin and me (no matter what, we would have been excited!), but for our family and wedding party. The whole day felt like Christmas!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My parents were so eager (in the best way possible!) and happy to be involved in the planning process—it made everything so easy and fun! Since we lived in different states, I talked to them on the phone for over an hour almost every single night. We would go over RSVPs, discuss vendor meetings and options, and talk through all of my crazy ideas. It was such a wonderful bonding experience and I’m so thankful for all the special moments we shared together throughout the wedding planning process. From dance lessons to dress fittings, they were there for it all. I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Austin was in his first year of law school while we were planning our wedding, so I was mindful of his school schedule (papers, mid-terms, finals, etc.) when talking about our wedding. I used finals week to start most of my DIY projects and weekends to talk about guest lists, budgets and timelines. And despite his hectic schedule, he made every effort to attend all vendor meetings and walk-throughs.
When did y’all get married? June 24, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. We are college sweethearts who have known each other since we were eleven-years-old.
Tell us all about the proposal! Austin proposed on an unsuspecting walk with our dog, Honey. I was in leggings and a t-shirt, so it’s safe to say I was taken completely by surprise, which is exactly what Austin always hoped for. We celebrated that evening with our families (our parents are actually neighbors!) in our hometown of Flower Mound, Texas. The next day we drove up to Norman, Oklahoma to tour the University of Oklahoma College of Law (where Austin is currently a 2L). After our tour, we stopped in for a drink at the dive-bar where we had our first kiss almost eight years ago!
I went wedding dress shopping for the first time with just my mom and dad. I have a close relationship with my dad, and I wanted him to be there to experience that special moment with me. All along I thought I knew exactly the type of dress I wanted, but after a few fails, the stylist at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville suggested I try something simple. She pulled a stunning Enzoani gown (which totally had Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy vibes!), and I absolutely fell in love. I had never pictured myself in something like it, but it totally fit my timeless and classic style. We paired it with a Lee-Ann Belter lace jacket and I was sold. The following weekend I returned to the boutique with my mom, sisters, and future mother-in-law and sisters-in-law (5 of us in total and 2 were there via Face-Time) and officially said yes to the dress. I truly had the best experience and was lucky to be able include all of the people I love!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One of my dear friends designed our invitations, programs, place cards, and welcome box details. It was fun to be so involved in the process! We exchanged about 100 emails, so I’m very thankful for her patience and kind heart. I also printed everything locally, which was really cost effective. We took on a lot of DIY projects, too. My dad and I built, stained, and painted all the wood signage for the wedding, and he constructed and hung the garden lights on the patio. I also re-purposed a lot of items from discount stores and antique shops.
What was your favorite detail from your wedding? From the black and gold tiled floor to the dramatic windows, the swinging leather doors, the old books on display, and all the ornate architectural elements, I’ll forever be in awe of all the beautiful details of the Great Reading Room. We added minimal decor, as the space didn’t need a lot. But the arrangements at the altar, the candles, the greenery on the tables, and the string quartet really made the room feel wedding-like. It was beyond my wildest dreams.
What was Southern about your wedding? Both our ceremony and reception were located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, in buildings that were both built in the 1920s. I think historic buildings and details add a simple and elegant Southern flair. Additionally, we sipped on Southern Comfort (Austin’s favorite!) and Shiner Light Blonde all night long and line-danced to “Copperhead Road.” We also incorporated our “crest” on our wedding cake, invitations, programs, custom-made cups, and signs—and my dad even drew it in chalk along the pathway to the ceremony. We plan to incorporate it in our home someday, too!
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Saying our vows to each other in front of our closest friends and family will always be the moment that shines the brightest in my memory. We put a lot of thought into our ceremony, and every detail was a perfect representation of everything Austin and I love, value, and cherish.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Save everything! I’m such a pack rat for sentimental items I even saved all my to-do lists (there were hundreds), because I know one day I will love to look back and remember all the hard work we put in. Our guest room closet is now dedicated to anything that was remotely wedding-related. Additionally, hire a planner and a really good photographer. (For us, that was Blair Sims Events and Emily Ann Hughes Photography!) Trust me, it makes a difference. After that, just enjoy the experience. And always remember to be grateful during the happy times and graceful during the stressful times.
Although Austin and I are not really the mushy-gushy type, we always knew we wanted to write our own vows. We heard from so many guests that they were some of the most emotional vows they’d ever heard! My hope is that it helped our friends and family understand our hearts just a little bit more. We had our hometown church pastor marry us, who also led our pre-marital counseling sessions, too. We both felt so comfortable in his presence and it made our ceremony that much more intimate and personal. We spent our honeymoon in Italy and decided to re-read our vows to each other while we were in Rome. (We were both so nervous standing up in front of everyone that it was hard to remember every single word the other said!) Hearing them again felt as special as it did the first time. That ended up being one of the most special parts of our trip. Here’s a line from Austin’s: “No matter what we plan, or what life throws at us, I will do whatever it takes—no matter how hard—to make you feel loved. A person as amazing as you deserves nothing less than that, and I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to give that to you.” And here’s a line from mine: “Today, as I stand here in front of you, I am still captivated by your selfless, humble, caring and respectful nature as I was the day I fell in love with you. Your heart is the biggest I know. It loves unconditionally and without hesitation. It is forgiving and kind. It always seeks to find the beauty in my madness, and most of all, it loves me for me.”
One of the sweetest moments of the day was when our nieces and nephews screamed, “We’re officially cousins now!” Austin and I are both crazy lucky that our families have grown so close over the years, and on our wedding day it really felt like we were all one big happy family. Both of our parents were beaming with happiness and it made our wedding day that much more special seeing their smiling (and sometimes crying!) faces.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had both a string quartet for our ceremony and a live band for our reception. We kept it pretty traditional for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and we recessed to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” There is just something about those recognizable songs that just tug at your heart strings. We entered the reception to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates (one of my all-time favorites!). Our first dance was “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison. We both felt like that was a song we could see ourselves dancing to in the kitchen when we are both old and grey. It is such a classic song that I’ll never get tired of hearing. For our last dance, we chose “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? For our five-tier wedding cake, Austin and I chose traditional white wedding cake, lemon cake, strawberry cake, and coconut cake with decadent buttercream frosting. For Austin’s groom’s cake he chose chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. We wanted there to be a little something for everyone! I often make sugar cookies for holidays and parties, so I thought it would mean a lot to our guests to make some for the wedding. I made 150 iced sugar cookies in the shape of the state of Oklahoma as a take-home gift (and included a print out of my recipe, too!). As stressful as it may sound, it helped take my mind off of things the week of the wedding—even if it was just for a moment.