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.

Lauren and Drew Sullivan leaving Calvary United Methodist Church

Lauren and Drew

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.

Button down shirts and robes are the best way to get ready for big events because it requires no pulling over hair or face once you are ready to get dressed!

Lauren’s bridesmaids included family, childhood and college friends from Texas to Illinois to New York City and many places in between. Lauren’s sister holds Lucy, the lovable pup who helped Drew pop the question!

With a large family, it can be hard to pair down the number of groomsmen!

Drew’s father served as his best man while the other groomsmen and ushers were predominantly family and a few childhood and college friends. With a brother, two half-brothers, three step-brothers and a stepbrother-in-law, it was hard to keep the number of groomsmen down! Always fun to see how weddings incorporate all the near and dear people into the festivities and celebration.

Flower girls are the cutest!

We love this cute picture of one of the three flower girls in the wedding, all daughters of a first cousin on Lauren’s mother’s side. The ring bearer was the son of Drew’s half-brother.

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.

Beautiful arrangement by Lagniappe Designs in Birmingham

Variation in texture and subtle differences in green and white made for beautiful floral decorations throughout the festivities.

A close up of the whites, greys, and almost pinks at the Smith-Sullivan wedding in Birmingham

We love the barely there breath of pink in this small centerpiece.

The leafy and less manicured arrangement looks lovely against the crisp white walls of the Mountain Brook Club.

Another lovely arrangement showcasing the different types but same color of flowers used throughout the celebration

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!

Beautiful lace dress by Monique Lhuillier

Look closely to notice the two types of lace overlay on Lauren’s gown … so beautiful! This is also such a neat view into Lauren’s home as the pre-wedding photos of her were taken in the backyard of her parents’ house.

Monique Lhuillier designs dresses with a true understanding of the female figure.

We love this glimpse into the bride’s childhood home, where she got dressed on the big day.

White peonies and white lace - wedding classics!

Look at the beautiful lace overlay on Lauren’s dress and her stunning white peony bouquet. The diamond bracelet on her left hand belongs to Drew’s grandmother and served as Lauren’s “something borrowed.”

Wedding cakes sometimes look too good to eat!

The wedding cake was a classic French vanilla almond cake with buttercream icing. Barb’s Cakes did a beautiful job with the intricate piping details.

Many grooms cakes take on non-traditional forms in modern weddings, especially in cake pops or baby bites!

Rather than a traditional groom’s cake, Drew requested various flavors of baby bites to please his sweet tooth. Chocolate fudge, turtle and red velvet bites from Pastry Art Bake Shoppe were a delicious and easy variation!

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!

The first dance is always such a sweet picture at weddings!

Lauren and Drew during their first dance as man and wife. Lauren also danced with her dad to “What a Wonderful World.”

Reception photos are always so fun to see after the wedding.

Bride, groom and all their friends celebrating BIG!

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.

Granny says goodbye to Lauren at the end of the sendoff line.

So many fun ways to do a send off - sparklers, flowers, rice, or confetti!

Congratulations to Lauren and Drew! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!

RESOURCES

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

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