While today’s lovely couple has been inseparable ever since they met, Lauren still didn’t catch a few of the more minor meaningful details Marshall included in his proposal (read below for the whole sweet story!). When it came to their big day, however, these two didn’t miss any opportunity to work in personal, thoughtful touches — both for each other (a fun cigar bar!), and for their guests. With the help of their planner, Katrina at Come Together Events, they created a day that was truly a reflection of not only their relationship, but their family and friends, as well: “throughout, we tried to think of small, personal ways to show everyone who came how much we appreciated them.” Love that Southern hospitality!
Big hugs to Cunningham Photo Artists for sharing this gorgeous, classic day with us!
Eek, I get so excited every time I see a monogram dress patch!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress.
It was the first one I tried on! I had pretty concrete ideas about how I wanted my wedding dress to look before I tried anything on, which could have easily created a lot of problems. Lace dresses seemed to be very popular at the time we got engaged, and I’ve always thought lace was very romantic and classic; but I wanted something just a little more unexpected. I had fallen in love with the beaded bodice of a gown I’d seen while dress shopping with one of my best friends for her wedding a year or so before, but I didn’t care for the fabric of the skirt. When I opened the bridal magazine that my roommate gave me the day after Marshall and I got engaged and saw a beaded bodice, Chantilly lace, and silk organza all in one dress, I knew it was the one! I immediately called my mom and she ran out to find the magazine. I searched online for stores in my area that carried that designer, and of course, none did in their regular collections. One boutique, Hayden Olivia Bridal in Charlotte happened to be hosting a trunk show the following month. I called to see if the dress would be available to try on, and they were kind enough to add it to the show inventory. We set up the appointment; I tried it on, and didn’t look any further.
My “something old” was a necklace that my grandmother had given me a year or so before our wedding. It is so elegant that I hadn’t found an occasion to wear it, so the first time was in our wedding. My “something new” was a pair of diamond earrings that my dad surprised me with the month before our wedding. My “something borrowed” was a diamond bracelet from my grandmother. My “something blue” was a pair of porcelain blue birds of paradise that my mom carried in her bouquet when she and my dad got married.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day?
The moment the sanctuary doors opened. My dad and I had been standing behind them closed for what seemed like a long time, so the anticipation was mounting. I could hear that the music was leading up to our processional, and I tried to prepare myself. But when those doors finally opened, and I saw all of our family and friends there, spilling all the way to the back of the church I didn’t think we could fill, and Marshall at the end of the aisle. It took my breath away. I think I audibly gasped. I remember the church coordinator whispering quite loudly, “Walk!”
We did not do a “first look.” When it came to planning our wedding ceremony, we found that we both wanted it to be very traditional. For us, all of the anticipation of the walk down the aisle came with that. I wanted to be in my dress and walking down the aisle at the moment that I first saw Marshall on our wedding day. It’s a special memory for me. As far as the photography considerations behind a “first look,” we had a great compromise. We did an “after session.” Marshall put back on his tux. I had my hair and makeup done again, another bouquet made, and got to be a bride for another day. It was so nice to have an excuse to put that beautiful dress back on before it had to be preserved and put away! I would highly recommend it!
Describe your wedding flowers.
Lots of white! I wanted an all-white wedding, and Marshall was all for it. We used a lot of different flowers to create texture and subtle contrast. Lynette Atienza of Charlotte’s The Bloom Room completely understood my vision and ran with it! She’s amazing! The bouquets were packed full of “fluffy” flowers like hydrangeas, dahlias, garden roses, and ranunculus. Some of that was carried through to the reception tables in lower arrangements, but our main idea for the flowers at the reception was that they be almost forest-like, an autumn interpretation of flowering branches. Lynette put together gorgeous tall arrangements with larkspur and delphinium to create a lengthy, branch-like look, as well as actual birch branches. It was breathtaking when we walked in! I think my very favorite part (besides my bouquet) was the entry piece, an overflowing mound of Phalaenopsis orchids. We had played around so many ideas for the entry table, but our wedding planner, Katrina Hutchins of Come+Together Events and Lynette kept saying that it could be better. They finally came up with this showstopper of an arrangement, and it was incredible!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert.
The design was white icing with white pressed sugar flowers cascading down the cake. It coordinated perfectly with the flower arrangements and the pressed flower details on the menus, place cards, and escort cards. The cake itself was one layer of strawberry (Marshall’s favorite) and one layer of “chocolate decadence” (my favorite), so each guest could have a taste of both in one slice. It was iced in Italian meringue buttercream. Delicious!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was:
Marshall would say the cigar bar. He likes to indulge in a cigar every now and then, so our wedding reception seemed like the perfect time to let him have his fill! Since he let me go crazy with flowers and all things white, something special for him was a must. My favorite detail of the ceremony, apart from getting married of course, was Communion. Ours was a religious ceremony, and we chose to have Communion be a part of it. As we sat at the front of the church, all of our family and friends who chose to participate filed down the aisle. It created a communal environment and gave Marshall and I the opportunity to really let it sink in just how many people had come to support us. My favorite detail of the reception was the pressed flowers on all of the paper products. There were literally flowers everywhere! I just couldn’t get enough! And the koozies!
Judging by Lauren’s hair, her and Marshall’s reception was a blast!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story.
We met the weekend before we both began our first year of law school. A group of fellow 1Ls were meeting up at a local watering hole. I tagged along with some new friends, and Marshall was the first person I met. He challenged me to a game of pool that did not go very well for either of us, but we hit it off! We went on our first date the following weekend and have been together ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal!
Throughout the whole day, Marshall did the sweetest things, only they were completely lost on me at the time. I didn’t realize until that evening that he had been attempting to hit all of the milestones of our relationship all day long. For example, he insisted that we go to lunch at the place we had our first date. Only that restaurant was not my favorite, so I kept suggesting others. He finally ordered it to go and brought it to me, saying that he was just really in the mood for it that afternoon. Before dinner, he was, again, unusually adamant about getting drinks at the bar where we first met. I, again, unknowingly kept messing up his plans. After a quick drink outside at the bar he was so set on going to, we left the patio area through a back entrance that rerouted us through a small courtyard. He proposed there, in this hidden green space beside the place we first met. It was very sentimental and romantic. He did a great job!
When did y’all get married?
How many friends, family, and loved ones attended your wedding?
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony?
I Corinthians 13 Colossians 3:14-17
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose Canon in D for the seating of the mothers and Grandmothers, Rigaudon for the bridesmaids, and Trumpet Voluntary in D Major for my walk down the aisle. For our recessional, we chose Allegro Maestoso from Handel’s Water Music Suite. We had many hymns play during our ceremony, like “Love Divine” and “All Loves Excelling for the Beauty of the Earth,” which was sung by our local children’s choir. It was magical. Our first dance song was “La Vie en Rose” by Louis Armstrong. The father-daughter dance was “I Loved Her First” by Heartland, and the mother-son dance was “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding?
When I think of the South, especially in the context of a huge party like a wedding, I think of hospitality. Throughout our planning process, we tried to think of small, personal ways to show everyone who came how much we appreciated them. We hand wrote thank you notes on all 230 parting gift boxes and made a point during dinner to go to every table as a couple and say hello to each person who took the time to celebrate with us.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding?
Meeting each other’s expectations and making compromises. There is a lot of pressure on brides and grooms to do something new, unique, or “better” than the next couple. I found that I had expectations going into wedding planning that I didn’t even realize I had. We quickly found that we were so much happier and content planning our wedding when we stayed true to ourselves and prioritized.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding?
Lighting. It’s relatively inexpensive and accentuates all of those things, big and small, that you’ve planned and paid so much for.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding?
Consider your family and your guests. When we first started planning, I naively thought this day was all about Marshall and me. Weddings are such a family affair; it’s a big day for a lot of people. So, I would encourage brides and grooms to take the time to consider how to make those most important to them feel loved and included in their big day. And for your guests, I highly, HIGHLY recommend taking the extra time to assign seating. It may be extra work, but it will make each guest feel welcome and included in your day. It achieves so many things: acknowledges that you’re aware the guest has made the effort to attend your wedding, expresses a level of appreciation for their effort in that you’ve planned specifically for them, gives them a “home base” for the night (everyone needs a place to set their purse), ensures that couples and friend groups won’t be split up, guarantees your mother and grandmother a prime spot at the reception (your grandmother will want a seat, and she’ll want it to be a good one), and no one wants to eat standing up (not even a young person).
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future?
We’re enjoying settling into our new life in Charlotte. We’re fortunate to be close to family and friends and in a city that we both love. Married life is off to a very happy and content start for us.