Leigh Tyson and Brian Lunsford wanted to wed in a place that meant something to them and that they could revisit in future years. Their choice: Atlanta's Historic Oakland Cemetery.
A cemetery is a permanent fixture, and this one had been established in 1850. Hallowed by the graves of Civil War soldiers and many celebrated Southern citizens, it's open to visitors who appreciate its natural beauty and artistic monuments.
But a cemetery for a wedding? Really?
"It started as a joke," said Tyson, a partner at Constangy, Brooks & Smith. "We were talking about places that were special to us, and Brian and I spent many Sunday mornings walking and photographing in Oakland Cemetery. But the more we talked about it, the more we liked the idea. So we called, figuring they'd say no. They couldn't have been nicer."
The couple was married on Sept. 25, 2010, and among the wedding pictures are some of Leigh and Brian in front of a giant mausoleum, as if they were moving in.
Leigh admitted that there is a decidedly quirky side to her personality. The Daily Report wanted to know more.
Were your friends and relatives appalled?
No, we told them that it wasn't going to be in the middle of the night and we weren't sacrificing a goat or anything. It would just be an outdoor wedding, like in a park, and everyone thought it was a cool idea.
Actually, we learned that it was an old Southern tradition to get married in cemeteries, because then the whole family would be there. The Victorians certainly wouldn't have been appalled.
Weddings take so much work and organization. Were there special challenges getting married in a cemetery?
Yes, we had to find a space big enough for about 250-300 guests. We chose a big field with huge magnolias and got married under twinkling lights that we hung from the trees. We set up all the chairs in a circle around the wedding party. It was such a neat feeling, like being on hallowed ground, but to no particular religion.