My Cousin’s Wedding and Grandmother’s Wedding Dress

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My beautiful cousin Laura was married to Gabriel this summer on the 4th of July, their original wedding date! The ongoing pandemic caused them to postpone their larger wedding celebration til next summer, and Laura and Gabriel decided to move forward with a small family ceremony and luncheon on their original wedding date. This year is clearly not an ideal year to be married, but, as I often share, love is not canceled and celebrations can still occur! I absolutely love that Laura and Gabriel pivoted their wedding plans and were able to find such a beautiful, meaningful, and personal silver lining for them and for their immediate families. While we all hated that we couldn’t be there to celebrate their love and their new marriage in person, we are all so glad that their parents and siblings could be there, that they were still able to be married as planned, that it was such a joyful and beautiful celebration for them, and that we have been able to watch such a touching video and see such marvelous photos from their intimate wedding day!

It’s also incredibly special and moving that my cousin was able to wear our Grandmother’s wedding dress for their wedding! I’ve shared a little about my maternal grandparents over the years, including sharing about my grandma’s wedding planning book and their 60+ years of marriage. My grandparents, Dwight and Thelma Sparks, were married on June 8, 1953 in Ohio. My beautiful, beautiful grandmother wore this stunning, classic wedding dress (images below), and it is so special to see my cousin wearing it again almost seventy years later. My grandparents were married for 63 years and had such an inspiring, love-filled, dedicated marriage. The Sparks family legacy is so strong because of my grandparents, their marriage, and the love, dedication to family, and strong values that they instilled in all of us. It was a marriage that has certainly inspired countless people who knew them and loved them. They raised four wonderful, smart, loving daughters and nurtured, spoiled, taught, and loved all of their grandchildren (and great-grandchildren!) so, so much. As their granddaughter, I have always known how deeply blessed I have been to have such incredible grandparents and role models in my life. Their faith and family came first and foremost, as anyone can attest to. Grandma and Grandpa loved traveling abroad, traveled far and wide to visit their family, and hosted large holiday gatherings at the 4th of July and Christmas in their home. Many of my fondest memories in life come from our time with our grandparents and family in Ohio, for sure. We’ve always had the most loving, fun, close-knit family, due in large part to my grandparents’ love, legacy, and focus on family. I could go on and on about all that I have learned from my grandma and grandpa, but that would be an endless list!

Their marriage and love has impacted so many, from the young couples they mentored to their daughters and sons-in-law to their friends and community to the youth in their church and most definitely to their grandchildren. I can only hope and pray that Rob and I (and all of my cousins and their spouses) have a marriage as strong, fun, full of adventure, family-focused, and Christ-centered as theirs. Their love for one another was truly something special, and it’s something we all got to witness even more so as my grandma’s physical health deteriorated while my grandpa’s mental health and memory declined. No obstacle was too big for their love; that’s for sure, and while we miss them tremendously, I know that they’re reunited together in Heaven (and likely square dancing!).

Seeing Laura wear our Grandma’s wedding dress is the most meaningful nod to a woman that we love, admire, and miss so much. It fits Laura perfectly, and she was also so radiant wearing it! The off-the-shoulder design and long sleeves are so classic, timeless, and elegant – and perfect for twirling, too! I could not get over how beautiful and glowing Laura was on their wedding day as she married the love of her life, and their joy shines through so vividly. A million congratulations to Laura and Gabriel on their wedding and marriage… we sure can’t wait to celebrate with y’all in person next summer!! Wishing you two a lifetime of love, laughter, and joy as you begin your marriage!

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Some thoughts from Laura:

The silver lining of the pandemic (and totally changing plans from our original wedding day) is that we made our wedding completely intimate and personal. Only our immediate families were in attendance. We had an outside ceremony where Gabriel’s two younger sisters sang 1,000 Years by Christina Perri and my brother and his older sister each read quote we had picked out. Afterwards, we celebrated with an Indian food picnic at my childhood home on the patio and enjoyed apple pie and chocolate cake for dessert.
I am extremely grateful to be married to the love of my life!! I think going from a long-distance relationship to living together and not leaving the house (other than walks outside/grocery) is a big transition, but he is so gracious and giving. It has been a wonderful time to try our hands at cooking, baking, and mixology! I am also so glad that we had room to be flexible with our wedding budget and were able to hire a videography service. I think the video memory is invaluable to remember how unique our wedding day was.

all photos of Laura and Gabriel’s wedding by Zimmerman Photography