Real Wedding | Emily and Spencer | May 5, 2018

A love story born at the University of Illinois, Emily and Spencer were drawn to one another from the start. He a college football player and she a cheerleader, they were the all-American couple. Following college they managed a three-and-a-half year long distance relationship allowing themselves time to establish their careers. All the while, they shared a very special love for their dog, Heidi, who was living with Emily, but stayed with Spencer when Emily traveled.

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On a weekend visit to see Spencer, Emily was asked to meet him and Heidi at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX. When she arrived, Emily was so excited to see Heidi that she didn’t notice her collar was engraved with the words, “Will you marry me?” When she read them, Emily turned around to see Spencer on his knee with a ring in his hand.

Emily and Spencer were married (with Heidi right by their side, of course!) at The Laurel on May 5, 2018. Emily was kind enough to share with us how she and Spencer chose The Laurel, what was most important to them on their wedding day, and what it was like having Heidi right by their side. Enjoy!

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From Emily:

It was most important to me and Spencer that our friends and family had fun and walked away from our wedding saying, “Wow! That was a really good night!” For us that meant great (and hot) food and drinks, good music, a convenient location, and a timeline for the night that didn’t drag on at any point.

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[After I toured The Laurel] I knew right away that it was the place where I could see myself walking down the aisle. It is so naturally beautiful and simple, yet very elegant. I knew the style I wanted to achieve for the wedding would fit right in.

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Spencer is an avid outdoorsman, so it was important to me to bring in some of those natural rustic elements such as the deer antlers along with the wood pieces that his dad handmade for us that we used for centerpieces, cakes and name cards and even the big H covered in moss that served as our mantelpiece (by far one of my favorite things!)  

With those more rustic and natural elements, I added in a mix of navy, greenery and gold, which brought in the chic feel, while still achieving more of an overall simple vibe.

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My caterer, Wendy Krispin, gave me the idea of serving a family-style meal. It’s a fun and different way to serve guests at a wedding and gives people a chance to get a little bit of everything. And most importantly family-style ensured that the food would be hot, which was SO important to me and my family.

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I still remember the feeling when the doors opened to the chapel and I began to walk down the aisle with my dad. It was surreal to think that the day was finally here. Being in a relationship with Spencer for seven years and imagining this moment for so long, made it that much more special. Following that moment, hugging my parents and seeing Spencer so emotional as well was a very sentimental feeling.

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Having Heidi at the end of the aisle meant the world to me. As she was part of the proposal, it really brought everything full circle for our wedding day. I couldn’t imagine not having her there! She was beautiful and my florist,Holly Viles, did an AMAZING job with her flower collar.

From a little black labrador silhouette on the save-the-date and invitation, to wreaths on the door and even as the shape of our name cards at everyone’s table, I found little ways to include her.

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I tried to take in the final moment of having all of the people we love in one place. I don’t know another time in our lives that will happen, so we were soaking it up as we walked through the sparklers!

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I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to have our wedding. I received so many compliments on the venue throughout the night and the staff was incredible. Tzahhia put up with all my crazy little details and didn’t miss a beat. Thank you to EVERYONE at The Laurel!

We are so thankful for our families who made it possible and truly felt so overwhelmed by all the love and happiness in the room! It was a dream come true.


Thank you, Emily and Spencer, for sharing your wonderful day with us. It was such a pleasure and we wish you nothing but the best in all the days to come. Please give Heidi a kiss from us!

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Two Pair Photography

 Holly Viles Design

Wendy Krispin Catering

Royal Dukes Band

The Jenny Layne Bakery