It was the final semester of college at the University of Tennessee for seniors Natalie Spiro and Will Bullock, both of whom were focused on the future, looking for jobs and trying to figure out what post-college life would hold. A random assignment that put them on the same project team in a public relations class is what brought the two together, and they began dating two months later.
“We went to Calhoun’s On The River in Knoxville for our first date,” says Natalie. “We sat outside and enjoyed cheeseburgers, fries and beer. It was simple, laid-back and really fun to continue getting to know each other during that season.
“It was definitely not the most convenient time to begin a new relationship, given we were both trying to find jobs, carve a path in life and see what our next steps were,” says Natalie. “But the Lord was faithful and blessed us both to stay in Knoxville and continue dating for two-and-a-half years before we were engaged!”
Natalie had traveled home to Memphis for Thanksgiving in 2014, while Will, a business analyst at Pilot Flying J, stayed in Knoxville to work. They planned to meet in Nashville that Saturday to attend the UT-Vanderbilt football game, and Natalie remembers being excited to see Will, but sad to leave her friends and family behind in Memphis. “I remember pulling up to his cousin’s house where we were staying for the weekend, and Will suggested we should go on a walk. I told him that I had a bright idea that we should go get a bite to eat because I was so hungry,” says Natalie. Will won out, and they headed out to Percy Warner Park for a walk. “We were walking around and reliving the Thanksgiving holiday, and we found our way to a little bell tower at the park,” Natalie remembers. “Will was so sweet and was telling me how much he missed me and said he never wanted to spend another holiday apart. He dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and I was shocked!”
As a further surprise, upon returning to Will’s cousin’s house, Natalie found that both Will’s parents and her parents were waiting to celebrate their engagement.
Will and Natalie married on May 30, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Memphis.
Natalie chose a Monique Lhuillier Bliss dress from Maggie Louise Bridal Boutique. “I always knew I wanted a classic and timeless all-lace dress, but I had told myself I wanted to avoid a strapless dress,” says Natalie. Once she started trying dresses on, however, she fell for the strapless, all-lace creation. “My mom and sister-in-law were with me, and we did not even cry,” she says. “We were just so excited and happy that we had found a dress the first place we went.”
“The something old was my husband’s grandmother’s bible. I borrowed my grandmother Nanny’s beautiful diamond stud earrings and jackets,” says Natalie. Grandma Nanny had created a tradition with her other granddaughters, Natalie’s cousins, by sewing the dates of their weddings at the bottom of their dresses using blue thread. “Although my grandmother passed away a year before our wedding, my mom sewed the wedding date in baby blue in the body of my dress,” says Natalie.
Neutrals, including ivory, champagne and gold, were the base of the color palette for the flowers and reception, with a bit of pink and coral woven in for contrast. “I never thought I would do this, but I ended up looking at Pinterest for inspiration and found photos of a bridal bouquet and bridesmaid bouquet,” admits Natalie. “Everything was based off of that.”
Three hundred guests looked on as the couple exchanged traditional vows during the ceremony at St. John’s Episcopal Church. “I think that it’s so wonderful that people around the world declare the same vows to one another on their wedding days,” says Natalie.
The reception was held at Chickasaw Country Club, where the Spiros have been longtime members. The wedding’s neutral color palette continued there, with elaborate floral arrangements hanging from the main chandelier in the ballroom and throughout the venue.
The focus of the evening was all about comfort, says Natalie. She and Will wanted their guests to dine, dance and drink as they saw fit, so the couple chose a buffet-style dinner. Guests feasted on sushi, sliders, duck pomme frites with Parmesan cheese, pan-seared New York strip steak with Yukon gold potatoes and cauliflower mash, a variety of tacos, and shrimp and grits.
The wedding cake was a lush, four-tiered concoction of vanilla and strawberry with vanilla icing. The groom’s chocolate cake featured chocolate icing and was shaped as a whimsical tribute to Will’s favorite whiskey.
A table filled with cards — blank on one side, with the word “love” on the other — offered guests the chance to write a note to the couple. An iron birdcage served as the collection point for the warm wishes from friends and family.
Natalie and Will danced their first dance as Mr. and Mrs. Bullock to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love,” while Natalie and her dad danced to the classic, “My Girl.” The Soul Shockers played well into the evening, much to the delight of the reception guests.
Natalie and Will Bullock departed from their reception in a white Mercedes convertible after a sendoff by friends and family using sparklers to spell out their name and wedding date. The couple honeymooned at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, Excellence at Playa Mujeres. “We really did not do a thing while we were down there except just relax, and it was much needed after the wedding,” says Natalie.
We wish the Bullocks a happy lifetime filled with love!
Wedding Planners: Kathryn Sparks and Patti Ruleman of WED Memphis
Venues: St. John’s Episcopal Church and Chickasaw Country Club
Photography: Carrie Jo Pinckard with Texture Photo
Bride’s gown: Monique Lhuillier Bliss dress from Maggie Louise Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaids dresses: J. Crew
Hair & makeup: Kasey Acuff Make Up and Candy at Schonheit Salon
Groom’s & groomsmen formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Invitations: Mrs. Post Stationery, with calligraphy by Ann Rabinowitz
Menu cards: Shelley Spiro, mother of the bride
Flowers: Deedra Stone Designs
Music: The Soul Shockers
Cake: Lee Sanders
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