Lauren Baker and Gordon Cortez both attended Auburn University, graduating less than a year apart from one another. They had dozens of mutual friends, but that is not how they were introduced. Less than two weeks after diving into the world of online dating, Lauren and Gordon matched up together. Noticing the alma mater and friends that they had in common, the pair knew they had to meet in person. “After dinner and sharing ice cream, we still talked for another two-three hours,” gushes Lauren. From there, they had a whirlwind romance, and about six months after meeting, Gordon organized a custom scavenger hunt. He went to the same ice cream parlor where they went on their first date, even roping the staff into his plan. The cashier handed Lauren a flyer that Gordon had designed. “The scavenger hunt took them by several of our previous date memories and at the end of the trail was a letter,” reminisces Lauren. “That’s when Gordon proposed.”

The couple decided to get married quickly, electing to have a five-month engagement leading to their nuptials. “I had always dreamed of getting married in the church I grew up attending and having the wedding reception on the front lawn of my childhood home,” the bride reveals. With help from her mother, her sister and an expert planner, Lauren was able to have that dream come true.

Forgoing the “first look” trend, the bride and groom did not see one another until she walked down the aisle. This proved to be the most memorable part of the day, and the look on Gordon’s face is engrained in Lauren’s memory. “That moment was so special and one that I will never forget!” she exclaims. 

Once pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds and 280 of their closest friends and family moved to the stately home where Lauren’s parents reside. The set up included an alfresco lounge area, outdoor dining, and a tented reception space complete with chandeliers. With a crisp white and light grey color palette, featuring plenty of mercury glass, the décor was a modern take on a Southern garden party. The bride and groom embraced their upbringing with the cuisine offered during dinner and cocktail hour. “We both grew up in the South and wanted the menu to reflect traditional southern and low country dishes, as well as some of our favorite foods,” Lauren explains. That motif continued through dessert, with a traditional butter pound cake with buttercream frosting. Edible flowers and lace to match the bridal gown embellished alternating layers. While a groom’s cake is especially common in the South, the couple instead paid homage to a treat with roots in Gordon’s home state of Louisiana. “We chose to have a made-to-order praline station so our guests could enjoy a local favorite hot off the skillet,” shares the bride. More pralines were packaged up as favors for the attendees, with a label nodding to a frequent debate that the newlyweds have about the pronunciation of the confection: “Gordon: Prah-leen; Lauren: Pray-leen”. However they are pronounced, the pralines were a hit, as was the outdoor reception. “We were fortunate to have perfect weather on our wedding day including a beautiful full moon and high tide,” the bride notes. “It was simply gorgeous.”