Lauren Smith looks forward to Game Day between Ole Miss and Alabama like some people look forward to Christmas. Knowing this, the 2013 showdown between the Rebels and the Tide in Tuscaloosa may have been the greatest gift SEC Santa could have given the Ole Miss graduate from Birmingham—at a tailgate before the game, Lauren connected with Drew Sullivan, an Alabama grad with whom she had many mutual friends. A short conversation piqued both their interests, and the two went on their first date a few weeks later. Football allegiances aside, the pair discovered they had quite a bit in common and were soon inseparable. Today, we share with you their classic Southern wedding in Birmingham.
Describing herself as a girl who is hard to surprise, Drew certainly managed to pull the wool over Lauren’s eyes when he proposed. He laid groundwork with plans for a special weekend at his lake house in the fall of 2014, leaving Lauren expecting the big question to happen over the mini vacation. But weeks before their special retreat, Drew mentioned going on a double date with friends from out of town. When Lauren arrived home, Drew was sitting with Lauren’s beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Lucy. After greeting one another, Drew mentioned that he had gotten Lucy an early birthday present. Lucy, on cue, jumped down from the couch to greet Lauren. Around Lucy’s neck was a new leather collar with a gold plate. Engraved were the words “Lauren, will you marry me?” To say she was impressed or surprised would be an understatement!
Lauren told us that her vision of her wedding day was very clear. Marrying in her hometown of Birmingham was important to her because of the opportunity to share the place and people she loved most with all of her friends. She also loved the idea of getting ready at her parents’ house with pre-wedding photos in her childhood home. Since having her pup Lucy be a part of the day was an absolute must, it all worked out perfectly! Lauren and Drew kept things traditional with a church wedding and reception at Mountain Brook Club. Lauren loved the formal Southern qualities of the club architecture and view of the golf course, complete with beautiful tall trees and perfectly manicured grass.
Wedding planning studio Mariée Ami helped pull everything together. One of the shop’s planners, Emma, had been close with Lauren’s family for many years, making it especially fun for them to work together. Lauren kept things very neutral in terms of her palette—grays with light greens, and only a sprinkling of pink. Carole Sullivan from Lagniappe Designs created exactly what Lauren wanted with subtle tones and calming arrangements.
For her dress, Lauren struggled to make a decision. Though she initially thought she found the right one, it did not pass the mom test, so more searching was necessary. Nothing quite compared to that first dress by Monique Lhuillier in their first attempts at looking, but a trip back to the bridal boutique several weeks later revealed a brand new dress at the shop that was a home run with mother and daughter alike. The figure-hugging silhouette looked lovely on Lauren’s tall, slight frame while the lace overlay gave the dress a unique, but still traditional, feel.
After traditional vows at Canterbury United Methodist Church, the couple and their families and friends headed back to Mountain Brook Club to celebrate the newlyweds. The buffet style dinner featured strawberry pecan salad, chicken tosca and roast beef tenderloin as well as whipped potatoes, parmesan-stuffed tomatoes and haricot verts. Yum!
Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan then took the floor for their first dance to “Crazy Love.” Drew was very serious about the music selection playing at the reception. He chose the band Az Izz, a Tuscaloosa favorite. Both Lauren and Drew wanted their celebration to be the type where the dance floor was always packed, and Az Izz delivered!
Lauren told us that one of her favorite moments of the whole day came as she and Drew were leaving. Her grandmother, “Granny,” is a sprightly 91 years old. Lauren says, “We have always had a special bond. I was born on her 61st birthday and was her first granddaughter. She is one of the most important people in my life.” As Lauren and Drew went through the send-off tunnel, Granny stood waiting at the end of the line next to the getaway car. Lauren was surprised and touched to see that her grandmother had stayed through the entire party, sitting in the room with the band and watching her granddaughter celebrate with the man she loves. The photo below is one that captures the sweet goodbye between grandmother and granddaughter, a beautiful reminder of family love.
Congratulations to Lauren and Drew! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!
Wedding planner: Mariée Ami
Photographer: A Bryan Photo
Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Ivory & White
Flowers: Carole Sullivan of Lagniappe Designs
Church: Canterbury United Methodist Church
Reception: Mountain Brook Club
Band: Az Izz
Cake: Barb’s Cakes
Grooms cake: Pastry Art Bake Shoppe
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Bride’s makeup: Melanie Dobson
Lighting: AG Lighting
Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited
Getaway car: Vintage Auto