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Fair warning, y’all–today’s couple is really cute. I loved reading Lauren and Cole’s story, getting a peek at their secretly-videotaped proposal, and finally, admiring the way their gorgeous fall wedding came together. Lauren described the venue as the “perfect merging” of their personalities, but it goes beyond that as well–there are so many details at their wedding that represent them both individually and as a couple. I think every bride and groom wants their guests to leave their wedding saying the celebration was “so them,” and I can only imagine how much Lauren and Cole were told those exact words!

Thanks so much to Sara & Rocky for sharing this beautiful wedding with us!

The first time I went to try dresses on, I brought a group of six special women with me. I tried on some amazing dresses that day and had a blast, but didn’t find the dress for me. My mom and I spent a few more weekends searching and finally ended up at the Neiman Marcus bridal salon. Ironically, this salon was where my aunt, mom, and cousin all found their wedding dresses. I tried on a few dresses, all with lots of texture, and had some great options, but when I put on Vera Wang’s Jasmine dress, I fell in love. As much as I didn’t think it would happen to me, I started glowing and couldn’t stop smiling. It was the dress I knew I could walk toward Cole in.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did. It was more about logistics in the beginning, but I am so glad we did it. It was harder than I had thought it would be to not see Cole all day on the biggest day of our relationship so far. Our first look was a reality check of what this day was about–Cole, me, and God. When we finally saw each other, I felt so joyful and at ease.

What made you choose your venue? It was absolutely gorgeous and we wanted to have a destination wedding without it being a true “destination.” Since Cole and I went to different colleges in different states, we have so many friends spread across the country. We figured they all had to travel anyway, so why not have them come to a city that has so much to offer our guests? Camp Lucy was the perfect merging of mine and Cole’s personalities–relaxed and natural, but elegant.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we decided there were vows out there that were already beautifully written. My favorite part of our vows read: “I promise to love you with all of my heart, and to be true and faithful, patient, kind, and unselfish in this love.”
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? This is a hard question–so much of it is incredibly memorable. One that sticks out specifically was during our ceremony. When we were exchanging vows, Ocho, our dog, spoke up too with a grunt-moan noise. It was hilarious! The crowd laughed and our pastor announced that Ocho said “yes” too.

Describe your wedding flowers. UNBELIEVABLE! The ladies at Gypsy Floral outdid themselves. They made my mood board of dreamy images come to life. The flowers were incredibly lush and elegant, and they made the whole venue feel complete and magical.

My mom handmade Mr. and Mrs. pillows for our sweetheart table, which each had pins and keepsakes about Cole and I, like a vintage Jayhawk badge and a vintage Alabama banner. My mom also made beautiful boards displaying all of our family wedding photos, going back to our great grandmothers. The wooden cross we used during the ceremony was the same cross my best friend used for her wedding. We even pulled a selection of vintages and labels of Cabernet Savignon from my parents’ wine cellar to serve at the reception.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The bride’s cake was a simple four-tier cake with a combination of lemon cake with lemon mousse and white cake with strawberry Grand Marnier filling. It had a wonderful buttercream icing applied with textured detail and lined with greenery by our florists. The groom’s cake was a round chocolate cake filled with a layer of chocolate mousse and raspberry purée and covered with chocolate ganache. It was topped with a large University of Alabama seal in fondant.

For our first dance, we had our band, Blind Date, learn Josh Abbot Band’s “She’s Like Texas.” During our long-distance relationship, it was one of the songs Cole sent me the lyrics to, and it has been one of “our” songs since then. We knew our first dance had to be a country song and something we could two-step to.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met sometime between sixth and seventh grade. Our families were connected through several people and activities, so we just got used to seeing each other around. We “dated” in middle school, if you can even call it that, for about a month before I broke up with him the day after Valentine’s Day! From then until our freshman year of college, we were good friends–he was the guy I could always depend on. He was even my prom date! We went our separate ways in college; he attended the University of Alabama and I went to the University of Kansas. At the beginning of sophomore year, I couldn’t deny my feelings anymore–I decided the moment I saw Cole back home over Thanksgiving break that I was going to tell him how I felt. Thankfully, our families planned to spend Thanksgiving together at our lake house, so I knew I would have the opportunity. After dinner one evening, we walked up to the top of the boat dock to look at the stars and I told him that I wanted a relationship with him. Thank goodness he felt the same way and had since 7th grade!
Tell us all about the proposal! Cole invited a few of our friends to the lake house the last weekend in September. It was cool and rainy outside, so we were all hanging out on the boat dock. Between rounds of a card game, Cole walked upstairs to the top of our dock. I eventually wandered up there to see what he was doing in the rain! He started hugging me and I heard his heart pounding in his chest. Then, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes, of course, and then our friends ran upstairs screaming. Little did I know, all of this was being filmed on a GoPro camera. It can be seen here. Cole then made up a pretty convincing story that our good friends called and said there was something wrong with their neighbor’s dock. Cole, being the great guy he is, offered to go check it out, so we all loaded up in the car, drove over to their house, and got one of the biggest surprises! Everyone–our families, some of my friends, and his friends–were waiting for us. He even flew in my sister from Portland and my dearest cousin from Montana! When I saw them, I lost all control–it was definitely one of the best days of my life. We proceeded to party from noon till midnight.
When did y’all get married? November 23, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a wonderful quartet for music during seating and through our cocktail hour. Cole is a man of tradition and used to play the cello, so he wanted me to walk down the aisle to “Canon in D.” Cole also picked our recessional–much less traditional, but very fun, “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns and Roses. One of my favorite things about our ceremony was when my aunt and cousin sang the Lennon and Maisy version of “I won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz during communion.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my cousin’s garter, which both she and my sister wore at their weddings. My something old was my emerald necklace, given to me by my grandmother when I was a child. She and my grandfather had purchased one for each granddaughter on a trip to Africa. My something new was a gift from Cole–emerald earrings that he gave me the morning of the wedding to match my necklace.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Cowboy boots all around! Cole’s were his custom-made Alabama boots that seem to be glued to his feet! The groomsmen sported eggplant bow ties. All the meats served were local game meats: quail, venison and beef. We also served local Dripping Springs vodka, Tito’s vodka, Shiner Bock, and Fireman’s 4 beers.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning was surprisingly smooth. The most difficult thing overall was probably planning the wedding from out of town, since we had limited time to meet with different vendors. Thankfully, we had a great wedding planner who filtered through various vendors and would set up 2-3 options for us to meet with when we could.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding would not have been the same without ALL the vendors, but I was exceptionally happy to have the ladies of Gypsy Floral. They understood my vision for the wedding and I had complete faith in their ability to transform the venue into my dream space.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Have a detailed rain plan!! Although, I refused to think about the possibility of it raining, our wedding planner, Ashlee Voda, made sure we had one in place, just in case. Well, we were in that “case,” not just because of the moisture, but because of the 35 degree temperatures! Be prepared so that if it comes to that, the stress won’t make the situation worse.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a house a couple of months before we got married so we could begin to do some work on it. Absolutely crazy idea–talk about a lot going on! But, it was amazing to come home from our honeymoon and spend our first night in our new home together.

Photographer: Sara & Rocky Photography / Videographer: Don Nguyen of ILC Films / Planner: Ashlee Voda of Mrs. Planner Weddings & Events / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Camp Lucy / Florist: Gyspy Floral / Wedding Cake Baker: Judy Lee of Simon Lee Bakery / Caterer: Royal Fig / Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals, Bee Lavish, and Whim Event Rentals / Lighting: Katherine McCommon of ILD Lighting / Band: Blind Date / Ceremony Strings: Terra Vista Strings / Bride’s Gown: “Jasmine” by Vera Wang / Paper Products: Lauren Maibach (bride) / Envelopes and Liner: Paper Source / Wood Invitations: Cards of Wood / Calligraphy and Letterpress: Scribbles and Swirls / Bride’s Veil and Fur: Neiman Marcus / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Chancy Cone from Adore Makeup Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Vince Camuto / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew in Eggplant Chiffon / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse and The Man’s Shop / Photo Booth: The Photo Toaster

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Rocky Garza reply

    Thank you so much for the feature ladies! It looks wonderful and we are so thankful for your support!

  2. avatar Lauren + Cole | sara & rocky reply

    […] been a joy to photograph both Maibach daughters weddings and now we get to see Lauren’s on Southern Weddings today! Thank you both for allowing us to be a part of your story and tell Ocho (the dog) we said […]

  3. avatar cindy reply

    absolutely beautiful!

  4. avatar Texas Hill Country Wedding reply

    […] Speaking of southern pride, Lauren & Cole were recently featured on Southern Weddings – click here to read all about it! […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Hello, ladies + gents! You’ve waited patiently enough: I’m back with another wedding planning update! This time I thought I’d tell you about our ceremony and reception locations.

Contrary to popular belief, I was not the girl who had her wedding planned down to the last detail years in advance (I love weddings in general, not my wedding, specifically!). In fact, there were always just two things I knew:

1. I wanted to be married in September.
2. I wanted to be married in Connecticut.

Happily, John enjoys the month of September, as well, and he just so happens to also hail from the fine state of Connecticut.

Though it took weeks of frantic searching to find a reception venue (more on that below), our ceremony spot came together quite easily. We knew we wanted to be married in a church, and we knew we wanted our pastor from North Carolina to be able to lead the service. We ruled out both of our childhood churches fairly quickly (mine doesn’t have a center aisle, his is not the most scenic, and neither of us are that connected to the current pastors), which left one obvious answer: the Memorial Chapel at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London.

A few reasons why we love the CGA Chapel:

1. The Chapel welcomes visiting clergy, meaning there were very few obstacles to the pastor from our church in North Carolina performing the service.
2. It’s in a spot central to many of the reception locations we were considering, and only about 15 minutes away from the location we finally landed on.
3. My Dad is retired Coast Guard and taught at the Academy for 25+ years, so I have very happy memories associated with the base.
4. It is gorgeous!

Love that blue and all that gorgeous light!

With our ceremony spot secured, we put our heads back down and plowed on with the reception venue search. Ready for another list? Here’s what we were looking for:

1. A spot that was scenic, by the water, and able to be tented.
2. A venue without excessive restrictions or requirements (including but not limited to noise ordinances, lists of vendors from which you’re required to choose, and overly restrictive time schedules).
3. Somewhere that was not terribly expensive. Since we planned to tent and knew our “infrastructure” costs would not end with the site fee, we didn’t want to pay excessively for just a pretty spot of land.

WELL. I think it’s safe to say that we looked at most typical venues in southeastern Connecticut, and some atypical ones as well. Harkness, the Branford House, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Saltwater Farm, the Inn at Mystic, Florence Griswold, the Mystic Seaport, Lower Farm… oh yes, we looked at them all and then some, and came up empty, whether because of cost, space, date availability, or a combination thereof. (If you’re planning a wedding in Connecticut and are interested in all the details, you can check out the posts I wrote on my personal blog here + here.)

Yes, friends, we finally got so desperate that John literally sat down and began scrolling along the Connecticut coastline in Google Maps, calling out “Here’s a piece of lawn! Here’s a piece of lawn!” And you know what? It actually worked! One of the pieces of lawn he stumbled upon happened to be the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and that, my dears, is where we will be holding our reception. In their Sunken Garden, to be specific. I had never once considered this venue before John found it, but now I can’t imagined celebrating anywhere else!

Pictures? Of course! Here’s the stone wall of the garden, with water view beyond:

Keep in mind that poor Connecticut suffered serious damage from Ms Irene a week or so before these photos were taken, so hopefully all these trees will have leaves next year!

Below: The view of the garden from one corner. There will be mowed grass and a tent here next September!

Next door to the garden is the porch of the Yellow House, where we might hold cocktail hour (minus the picnic tables, obvs).

Here’s the view from down below, looking back up toward the house and garden.

Stick a softly glowing Sperry tent in there and you’ll have our wedding. Maybe something like this?

So there you have it: our ceremony and reception venues! What do you think?

Tell me: Did you have a hard time finding your spots to celebrate, or was it the easiest part of the whole process?

Up next: I think maybe we should talk about my first two dress shopping trips — what do you think? They were pretty fun!

In case you missed a post…
I introduce the happy couple

All photos personal except final, which is from the Sperry website

emily Written with love by Emily
20 Comments
  1. avatar Whitney reply

    We had too many venues that we liked so we decided to only visit 4 because it became to overwhelming. Two came out as our favorite and then by the end it was what felt more like us as a couple and where can we see ourselves saying “I Do!” and dancing all night long with our family and friends. Your venue is beautiful Emily! Congrats :)

    • avatar Emily reply

      Sounds perfect, Whitney! We actually didn’t visit a single venue in person (though I had been to many of the ones we considered over the course of my life, living in the area). I’m so glad we loved our reception spot once we actually saw it in person! :)

  2. avatar Laurien reply

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to see the rest : )

  3. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    I spotted the venue we chose online – I was out of town and sent my parents there to check it out. They called me back and said, this is your venue. I put my faith and trust in them and God, and let them sign the contract before I even saw it in person! When I saw it, I knew they were right. An art gallery in an old factory-like building in downtown Birmingham. Check out the link to see a reception there – http://www.elizabethannedesigns.com/blog/2010/03/03/real-weddings-tessa-blake/

  4. avatar Amanda reply

    Congrats on finding your venue! It’s definitely such an exciting time and you realize that, you’re getting married there!! CRAZY! My wedding is next November in Raleigh and the reception venue I picked happen to be because I saw Megan and Steven’s wedding on HERE at the stockroom and fell in LOVE! I wanted the Cotton Room or Bay 7 in Durham but they were a little pricey and as soon as I saw the wedding in April I emailed immediately to find out the pricing even though I wasn’t engaged yet! Luckily I got engaged on July 6th! Whew!

    But as for dress shopping.. don’t get me started. It almost felt like I would never find the one… It was daunting! How do you choose one when you can barely choose what to wear in the morning?! AH! GOOD LUCK and best wishes! I’m sure you’ll be b-e-a-utiful! P.S. Nitsa’s is amazing and Alexia’s in Cary! ;)

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Amanda! SO glad you found the Stockroom through SW!! Megan is actually a good friend of mine, and I know she was very happy with it! Also, have heard great things about Nitsa’s and Alexia’s, and I think my Mom and I will be heading to Nitsa’s next month!

  5. avatar Kelly reply

    Oooh ooh! I love it! Those tents are divine. And the ext. of the church is my favorite!! Good choices! And yes, please tell us about your dress adventures next!!!!!

  6. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: Our Photographer! « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] do? :) Who will be photographing your wedding? P.S. In case you missed a post: The main characters Where we’re getting married Something for the bride to wear xo Emily October 19, 2011 | view Emily's blog 10 […]

  7. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: Bridesmaid Style « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] price to ask your ‘maids to spend! P.S. In case you missed a post… The main characters Where we’re getting married I go dress shopping We choose a photographer xo Emily November 2, 2011 | view Emily's blog […]

  8. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: Big Rentals « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] No, today I wanted to talk about the big blocks – the big rentals. As you may recall from one of my first posts, our reception is being held outdoors. The tent will be in the Sunken Garden of The O’Neill, […]

  9. avatar Lauren reply

    I love the Sperry tent, wow! I’ve been engaged for four months now and I’m beginning to panic over selecting a venue and finally having our date set. My fiancee and I live down in Atlanta, GA and both of our families are up in Michigan, Metro Detroit to be exact. I did go and venue hunt during the holidays, ten sites to be exact and I just feel lost. Not one captures my heart as I had hoped for. Some of the pricing was beyond our means and the other places looked very tired. I’m really leaning towards a tent as well but where to put it is the problem. I’m a bit frightened by the DIY process but it feels like that’s the only way to get exactly what you want in your venue. Am I the only one with this problem? Oh and our guest count is between 275 an 300 :) that can really make things difficult. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Lauren! I’m so sorry to hear about your venue troubles, but if it makes you feel any better, I think a lot of brides are in the same boat! If you’re interested in a nontraditional venue, I think it really helps to be planning in an area you’re very familiar with. In my experience, planning from scratch hasn’t been too difficult; you just have to be very realistic about the additional costs (lighting, generator, rentals, restrooms, tables, chairs, dance floor, etc., etc., etc.). I also thinks it’s almost a necessity to hire a planner to make sure everything is delivered, set up, and runs smoothly. I hope that helps a bit, and that you have a venue breakthrough soon!!

  10. avatar Laura Anne reply

    Would you consider 4 hrs at the reception sight to be too limited? I’ve found the perfect venue, but they limit the actual event to that length of time :-/

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Laura Anne! If 4 hours only includes the reception, and not the cocktail hour or ceremony, then I think that would be enough time! If you’re trying to squeeze in both a cocktail hour AND reception, then that might be a tough squeeze.

  11. avatar Kat reply

    Hi Emily!! I have loved reading all about your wedding :) I remember you wrote this post and came back to re-read because I just recently got engaged (insert a huge smile and a big YAYYY!). My fiance and I would love an outdoor reception and I adore Sperry tents. However, I’m nervous about implement weather. Are you planning your reception under the beautiful tent rain or shine? What if theres a huge thunderstorm? I know the tent will keep guest dry but I’m more worried about potential high wind or lightning. I’m a huge planner and implement weather is definitely a fear of mine. Any suggestions or wisdom you can pass on to a fellow bride-to-be?? Thanks so much :)

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Kat! Thank you so much for your kind words, and congratulations to you! We are planning to hold our reception under the tent rain or shine, which does make me a bit nervous. But one of the great things about Sperrys is that they all come with beautiful side flaps (clear on top, white on bottom), and there is a technician there throughout the reception, so if they need to come down immediately, it’s not an issue. Other than that, there’s not much we can do except pray for good weather! There will always be a certain amount of risk/uncertainty you have to accept if you’re going to use a tent, so it’s important to make sure you’re okay with that before you make the decision. Best of luck to you – I’m sure it will be beautiful either way!!

  12. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: The Ceremony, Part I – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] next post, too! But let’s start at the beginning! For those of you who weren’t with us back in September, John and I will be saying our vows at the United States Coast Guard Memorial Chapel, on the […]

  13. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: Reception Style – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] like blackberries and crab apples. For our ceremony, we’re keeping things super simple. Our chapel is absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion, and there’s really no need to dress it up. In fact, we […]

  14. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: Something for the Bride to Wear – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] The top dress is by Augusta Jones, and the bottom is the “Melina” by Amsale. I don’t think either is “the one,” but they are awfully pretty, aren’t they? Now with two shopping trips under my belt, my Mom is coming down to North Carolina for what will hopefully be a final weekend of dress shopping. We’re hoping to visit Nitsa’s in Winston-Salem (so I can try on my beloved Christos gowns!), as well as somewhere we can see Watters gowns. I also want to make sure we visit David’s Bridal (there’s one Oleg Cassini I think could be beautiful). So what do you think at this point, my friends? Do you have a favorite from the dresses I tried on? I would love to hear from you in the comments! Up next: I think it is time to talk about our PHOTOGRAPHER! P.S. In case you missed a post: The main characters Where we’re getting married […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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