When we first came up with the idea of a date nights series on Southern Newlywed, today’s couple was one of the first I thought of. The lovely Mrs. Laura McCarty and I go way back–she worked at a magazine I interned for in college, and I actually got a sneak peek of her engagement ring from her maid-of-honor-to-be/my internship supervisor before Mark popped the question! Ever since, I have loved watching their love story unfold, and it is safe to say that their wedding is one of my all-time favorites. Laura and Mark are as sweet as can be, and we were so happy that they welcomed us into their Birmingham home to share one of their favorite date night ideas, captured by W&E Photographie!
Names: Laura and Mark McCarty
Years married: 1.5 years
By day: I am a graphic designer and florist for my company, Marked. Mark works at Saginaw Pipe, a steel distributor. They supplied the steel for the new Freedom Tower. Pretty cool, huh?
How they met: From Mark: Laura and I first met when I was a senior in high school and Laura was a freshman at Alabama. We met through mututal friends, but never really got to know each other. I graduated and went to Alabama for college while Laura was at Auburn. We didn’t chat or see each other for six years. Then, in January 2012, I saw Laura on good ol’ Facebook and sent her a short message asking how life had been treating her over the years since I had seen her last. From that day forward, the two of us talked every day until she came to Birmingham for a wedding that we were both attending. In no time at all, we were falling in love. I believe somewhere around date number three, I told Laura that I could see myself being with her for the rest of my life. We couldn’t believe how quickly we knew that we were meant to be together. The rest of the story is history and I am married to the woman of my dreams. I am honored to call her mine, choosing her daily and forsaking all others. I am blessed beyond belief. And for any grooms who are reading, I believe with all my heart that your wife is the greatest gift that God will ever give you. Cherish her and love her, putting her before yourself in every aspect of your life.
Their wedding: Mark is an avid outdoorsman who loves to fish and to hunt, and we both love all things romantically rustic. Foxwoods was the first and only venue that I visited–500 acres of pure goodness! We got married in an open field behind a 100-year-old barn with billowing drapes, little patio lights, and tons of richly colored flowers. My grandparents and great-grandparents were all married on March 16th, and we were so excited to join that tradition. Walking down that aisle to meet my groom was easily the most exciting and heart-leaping moment of my life.
Laura and Mark’s top five favorite date ideas:
1. Soul food dinner date: We love to eat, so the majority of our dates are centered around that. Every Friday night, we go to a little place called Saw’s Juke Joint in Birmingham. It’s a soul food Southern kitchen, and they have a sweet tea chicken sandwich that will melt in your mouth!
2. Beach getaways: Any chance we get, we pack up our swimsuits and head to the beach. Weekend getaways are one of our favorite things to do together, especially if they involve seafood. This past summer, we went down to Santa Rosa Beach in Florida and ate at a place called Cafe 30A. Everyone needs to put that place on their restaurant bucket list!
3. Movie nights: We are big movie buffs. We love getting all cozy on the couch or going to the theater to watch a good movie!
4. Go-to spot: From Mark: Laura is from Atlanta and I’m from Birmingham, so 90% of our dating experience was over the weekends, traveling back and forth. During our travels, Laura introduced me to her favorite restaurant in Atlanta, Agave. Every time I went to visit her, we made sure to have a meal there. It kind of turned into our “spot” and we love going back to a place that is so sentimental in our dating history.
5. Grilling nights: Clearly, almost all our dates involve some sort of delicious meal! We’ve turned into big cooks ourselves, and Mark is a grill master! One of my favorite things he makes are venison burgers. OH MAN! They are fabulous. Gosh, I wish you guys could have one. We love grilling out in the backyard with our sweet pup, Lilly, by our side. It’s the little things–hanging out at home with the one you love–that makes for the best kind of date.