We first met at a local restaurant in East Nashville. It was a very short meeting. Our friend Julie was trying to set us up and Lee didn't want to have anything to do with me! I was hanging out with his best friend, Julie, and his younger brother, Nate a lot over the next handful of months so Lee would be around every now and then. After I got to know him better, and got over the fact he flaked on the first time meeting him, I really started to like him. At Lee and his brother's Christmas party, we were very flirty and started to realize we liked each other. A couple days later I asked him out! Our first date was planned at a local restaurant, one of our favorites, Lockeland Table. However, we actually ended up going out a couple days before by chance. I always told my friends that I dated to marry, contrary to a lot of people my age (21 at the time). I knew Lee was the one after that night. I had already gotten to know him fairly well over the previous 6 months, but our impromptu date was the best date I ever had. I was reassured with that feeling when we had our planned date a few days later.
Fast forward a couple of months, I had been talking about Lee a lot to my friends in class (I was in my last semester of college). They kept referencing him as my boyfriend, yet we had not had that discussion. So one day, I told him, "You know, everyone keeps referring to you as my boyfriend...I like the sound of that, what do you say?" It was perfect.
A couple of months later we went to dinner after we got off of work, no special occasion, but it ended up being one of the best dates we have ever had. Lee started getting emotional and I was wondering what was wrong. He told me that he was falling in love with me. He said, "I'm giving you my heart, don't drop it." That has stuck with me ever since. I had never fallen in love with anyone before, but he had and he had his heart broken. So for him to be the first to tell me, I knew he meant it. We have been in love ever since!
I moved in a couple of months after that and everything just got better! A couple of years later, nearing our two year anniversary, I started talking to Julie, our mutual best friend, about proposing. I researched flash mobs, hot air balloon rides, etc... and was planning on doing it in Chicago (during our annual anniversary trip in December). I was telling Julie these details and for some reason she was deterring me from proposing around that time. She said "you know, anniversary is too predictable and then you don't want to do Christmas/New Years because everyone does it." So, I dropped the idea completely for the next month. Little did I know, Lee had been planning on proposing to me for the last couple of months.
Instead of doing the traditional ring, he purchased a beautiful TAG watch... actually, he gave Julie the money to purchase the watch so I wouldn't somehow see it in our budget and find out! The night before he proposed, we went to one of Lee's favorite restaurants for his birthday. I had no idea he had this planned. We had a great dinner and had a 5:30am flight the next morning to catch. We drank a little too much that night and, as per usual, we had not packed yet for the flight. I am an early-bird and told him I'd wake up at 3:00am and pack, which I did. And as I was packing, Lee handed me a box and told me to pack it. Half asleep and admittedly, a little hungover, it took me a second to realize that the box wasn't supposed to be packed. I opened it up and looked at him and he was on his knee proposing to me! It was absolutely incredible and SO unexpected. It was perfect. It was in our closet, packing for our flight in 2 hours, totally unpredictable and very much us.
Lee had a mini-bottle of champagne to toast and of course we had to get a picture of the moment. That being said, we had to rush to get out of the door in time for our flight. We had to pull a Home Alone and rush through the airport. We literally were asking people to let us pass them in line and eventually just started passing people, apologizing but running through security. I didn't even put my shoes on and ran to the gate as fast as possible, leaving Lee behind. The girl at the gate goes "Mr. Buckley?" I knew immediately that we had missed our flight. Out of breath, Lee spoke with the girls and told them what had happened and they happily changed our flight to the next flight. Needless to say, that Chicago trip was amazing!
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We knew we wanted a small, intimate wedding. We knew we wanted it local, but did not anticipate actually being able to have the ceremony in Nashville. When the supreme court ruling came through, we immediately decided to have an intimate back-yard ceremony, we couldn’t have wished for a better environment.
What surprised you during planning?
You’ll always blow your budget! Doing it without a wedding planner, we were a little overwhelmed with the amount of details, but it all came together!
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
If we had the money, we would have definitely used a wedding planner for ease. However, it made it that much better that it turned out. We had to put together the whole thing the day of the wedding. Also, have someone record your toasts!
Any advice for couples planning weddings now?
Don’t worry about what could go wrong on the day. Even though you’ve gone over your list and made sure you’ve dotted every "i" and crossed every "t", something will inevitably not go as you planned. However, embrace it. No one except you will know that something actually went wrong! Don’t sweat the small stuff.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
So many to choose from! Our favorite part of the day were the toasts by far. They were so heartfelt and incredible that they topped everything. It feels incredible to know people care about you and your partner so much.