While attending college at Vanderbilt University, Delilah Bennett and Swayze Brumfield first met at a football-game tailgate. “I asked Delilah’s friend to introduce me to her ‘short friend with the big hair,’” smiles Swayze. Delilah adds, “There was an immediate spark, which my friend – who later became one of my maids of honor – happily takes credit for!”
Their relationship progressed over the years, and when the time was right, Swayze asked Delilah’s parents for their blessing. “Delilah and I were the first siblings in either of our families to get engaged, so it was a big moment for her parents, as well as mine, when I spoke to them,” he remembers.
Swayze planned the ultimate proposal at his family’s farm in Michigan. He led Delilah around the property, stopping in front of a pond to propose at a beautiful site decorated with flowers and Champagne. “But the surprises didn’t stop there!” Delilah says. He then told his bride-to-be that their families and closest friends were there to celebrate their engagement with a farm-to-table dinner, bluegrass band, and fireworks. “It was spectacular and better than anything I could have ever dreamed up,” reminisces the bride.
The betrothed, who now reside in Chicago, spent the next two years planning their dream wedding back where it all began in Nashville. “We wanted to get married in a place that meant something to both of us,” shares Delilah. She worked closely with her groom-to-be, as well as her mom and future mother-in-law to organize the details of a luxurious celebration.
Over 250 friends and family members were invited to celebrate at a beautiful estate venue, which is the former home of country music singer Reba McEntire, set on 15 acres of lakeside property just outside the city. The sprawling estate allowed for the couple and their parents, siblings, and wedding party to stay on-site all weekend long.
Loved ones found their seats for the ceremony on either side of the aisle, which was lined with florals in shades of rose and ivory. “I am obsessed with pink, so the wedding ceremony and reception were pretty much an explosion of all things pink!” explains the bride.
She arrived by horse and carriage to “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles, one of Swayze’s favorite songs. “It was a surprise for him and played into one of our key wedding themes: fairy tale!” adds Delilah, who donned a Tony Ward gown fit for a princess with a jewel-embellished bodice and short puff sleeves.
She walked down the aisle to “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley, carrying a hand-tied bouquet of garden and quicksand roses, ranunculus blooms, and astilbe in blush and snowy tones to meet Swayze at the altar. “We wanted a Christian ceremony that exemplified traditional Christian vows but had a modernized message that highlighted the bride and groom’s role in the relationship as equals,” muses the bride. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, they recessed to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne.
“I am obsessed with pink, so the wedding ceremony and reception were pretty much an explosion of all things pink!”
A lively second line led wedding guests from the ceremony space to a poolside cocktail hour complete with synchronized swimmers for additional entertainment. An array of passed hors d’oeuvres were enjoyed by all, as well as a choice of three signature cocktails named after the pair’s pup and their nicknames: “The Bo Tie” dirty martini, “The Queen Dee” dragon fruit Champagne cocktail, and “The Swizzler” bourbon slushie. Prior to dinner, table assignments were discovered by way of escort cards displayed on a tall, garden-inspired trellis adorned with overgrown greenery and fragrant blooms.
As friends and family entered the reception space, they were immersed in a fairy-tale garden setting. A verdant installation covered the ceiling, which suspended glimmering chandeliers. Translucent chairs surrounded tables featuring mirror tops or textured white linens, and high and low centerpieces presented bountiful florals in pale pink and vanilla alongside warm candlelight.
Each place setting included crystal-cut glassware, scalloped china with a metallic edge, a monogrammed hemstitch napkin and watercolor menu card, and a single rose. The reception was so true to the bride’s vision and personal style that one wedding guest even described it “as if Delilah leaped off of a page and became the room.”
After dinner, the bride changed into a sparkling tea-length Berta dress for dancing. “We danced to the song ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ and choreographed a dance inspired by the scene from the end of Dirty Dancing,” describes Swayze. “We are always the first ones on any dance floor and the last ones to leave, so we wanted an upbeat, fun song to get the party going.”
The newlyweds finished their first dance with the famous lift from the movie and then waved everyone onto the dance floor. “There was a ton of energy after that, and it set the tone for the rest of a great night,” confirms the groom. His bride exclaims, “I felt on top of the world as Swayze lifted me up under the disco balls. It was a highlight of the night for us!”
The rest of the celebration was filled with joyous revelry, thanks in part to the live band the couple had flown in from Chicago. “I’ve always had the opinion that a wedding band can make or break a wedding, so I was set on getting a band that would bring the dance floor to life and play songs that were easy and fun to dance to,” says Swayze of their decision to hire The Gold Coast All Stars of Gold Coast Events. They played a wide range of songs their guests knew and loved, along with Motown tunes to get the dance floor going, and the night ended with the wedding party jumping into the pool – dresses, tuxes, and all. “I wouldn’t change a thing!” the groom affirms of the fairy-tale wedding.
This real wedding was originally published in the Summer 2023 issue of Inside Weddings magazine.
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