Taylor Goerke and Paul Eager had known each other through friends for a while, but they finally officially met at a party during their sophomore year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. What started as a classic sorority/fraternity mixer matchup turned into a whirlwind college romance and eventually into a partnership that would last a lifetime.
Paul really wanted to propose to Taylor in Dallas. It’s where they live, where they met and where they spent the formative years of their relationship. On December 1, 2018, he told Taylor they were going to watch a basketball game with friends but rerouted to a nearby park, where his sister- and brother-in-law were hiding in the nearby bushes capturing everything. After a resounding “yes!”, the party continued at the Canopy hotel where Taylor’s parents surprised her.
They had a short engagement, which forced Taylor to lock in all of the vendors quickly (in one week, to be precise) and plan everything else that goes along with it (parties, showers, dress fittings, etc.). Wasting no time, the Monday after the engagement, Taylor called Mona Dunlap — a Memphis planner her mom and friends highly recommended. Once they settled on the date, everything fell into place — all her top picks for photographer, band, videographer and venue were available!
“Since I live in Dallas and my parents live in Memphis, I heavily relied on their input (and my planner’s) when it came to the venues and vendors,” Taylor says. “Funny story – I never toured the Cadre until three months before the wedding. Talk about nerve-wracking!” But Taylor quickly fell in love with the space’s open floor plan, high ceilings, pillars and white-and-gold color scheme. “Once we decided on the venue, I decided to let the rest of the little details match the design of the Cadre,” Taylor says.
With eight months to plan, Taylor knew she had to get moving quickly on her dress. On one of her frequent family trips to San Diego, CA, Taylor was able to line up appointments over a few days with her parents, grandmother and aunts. The first few were unfruitful, and she was having a difficult time finding the styles she had envisioned. “I realized most of the dresses in California were the opposite of what I had in mind,” Taylor says. Finally, Taylor (and only her parents this time) stumbled into a boutique called The Bustle, and she found the style and shape she sought. “I put on the dress and knew it was the one when my dad started to cry,” she says. Not an impulse buyer, Taylor slept on it and then ordered it over the phone the next day.
It was extremely important for the couple to get married in a church, based on their family backgrounds. Plus, they wanted to keep everything downtown, so they finally landed on Calvary Episcopal Church. The staff and members welcomed their family — and their extensive guest list — with open arms! “It’s also the oldest public building in continuous use in the city of Memphis — a fun fact!” Taylor exclaims.
After a classic church ceremony, topped off with the exchanging of traditional vows, the new Eagers walked back up the aisle and prepped for a night of revelry at Cadre just a few blocks away. During cocktail hour, they had champagne as guests entered the building, and passed delicacies like “Southern Popcorn” (buttermilk- and Tabasco-marinated okra, then crusted with cornmeal and golden fried — yum!), pickled avocado with sprouts on a baguette, and chipotle-mango shrimp lollipops.
With a guest list of 300, they decided on food stations over a seated dinner. Taylor loved that the setup was conducive to a lot of menu variety, and encouraged people to walk around, meet each other and sample a ton of food! Some highlights: a charcuterie platter, chicken ‘n’ waffles, kale and lemon ricotta toast, vegetable crudité shooters, tuna spoons, fried green tomatoes, a tenderloin carving station and grilled peach and burrata salad.
RELATED: This Texas Wedding is a Must-See!
The two-flavor cake was classic almond flavor (chosen by the bride), and the groom chose lemon (great for summer). They decided not to do a groom’s cake; since Paul is from Louisville, KY, they made a joke that his dessert was bourbon. Later into the night, they surprised guests with passed chicken tenders and honey mustard (the couple’s favorite). In addition to the cake, there was also a nitrogen ice-cream bar. One of the biggest hits of the whole night? White Claws could be ordered from the open bars.
The newly (and aptly) named Eagers departed through a cloud of white rose petals and into an unexpected getaway vehicle. When the traditional horse and carriage they ordered never showed up, their planner improvised and found a Cinderella carriage with colored lights. Taylor laughs and says it’s not what she had wanted initially but, looking back, it was a funny moment — and the bright lights matched all of the light-up items on the dance floor. Once they got into the carriage and drove off, the driver asked, “So … where am I taking you two tonight?” Taylor and Paul burst into laughter. Into a lifetime as husband and wife, Driver!
Thanks for sharing this special day with us, Taylor and Paul, and to Taylor Square for the gorgeous photos.
Ceremony: Calvary Episcopal Church
Reception: Cadre Building
Planner & day-of coordinator: Mona Dunlap Events
Photographer: Taylor Square Photography
Videography: Message in a Bottle Productions
Flowers: Kevin Griffin Designs
Stationery: RSVP Stationers
Hair: Annie Coates at Juve Salon
Makeup: Caitlin McGill
Bride’s gown: The Bustle
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Groom and groomsmen attire: Jos. A. Bank
Cakes: Cakes by Mom and Me
Entertainment: Memphis Soul Revue
Rentals: White Door Events
Transportation: Tennessee Limousine Service
Catering: CFY Catering
Photobooth: Phancy Photo Booth
Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
Wedding After Party: Paula Raiford’s Disco
Bridal Luncheon Venue: Hedge Farm
For more wedding inspiration, check out more Southern weddings HERE!