Sarah Anderson was minding her own business when a green pickup truck rolled to a stop in front of her house that fateful spring evening about a decade ago. That’s when one of the vehicle’s occupants, Brad Gill, introduced himself and changed both of their lives forever.
“I was hanging out with friends and these guys were piled into the truck. They got out and said they were looking for a place to go camping ” says Sarah, recalling the day she met the young man who would become her husband. “We lived in the same neighborhood and went to Brentwood High School but I didn’t know him. But my husband walked into my front yard, literally.”
Sarah and Brad were separated by two years but they were never far apart. That is until Brad graduated and went away to college, a journey that lasted all of one semester. He returned home and enrolled at Belmont where Sarah joined him a year later. They’ve been together ever since.
Given the way they met, became high school sweethearts and endured that agonizing semester apart, they practically had to get married. Screenplays aren’t written so sweet and so well. In fact, some writers might want to take notes from the way Brad proposed on Easter weekend two years ago.
“I had an idea that it was coming but he surprised me nonetheless,” says Sarah. “We went out to dinner then he said, ‘let’s go for a drive.’ I said ‘OK’ but really wasn’t suspecting anything.”
They drove to Crockett Park where they went for a walk, and Brad proposed. Then, after a ring, a kiss and an embrace, their closest friends emerged from behind the nearby tree line. Among them was Sarah’s eventual maid of honor, Evan Galin, who Brad flew in for the occasion. Taylor Roth and Komron MacLean, who were to be Brad’s co-best men, were there, too. Just as they were in that old Ford F-150 so many years earlier. There was even a photographer, discreetly hidden, to capture it all.
But when the celebration subsided, there was a wedding to plan.
By this time, Brad was in Memphis at the UT Health Sciences Center, studying to become a dentist. That left Sarah at home with her mom, Becky Anderson, to plan Sarah’s dream wedding.
“Mom and I handled most of the details but Brad was involved with the big stuff, like the mood and the feel of the wedding,” says Sarah. “We wanted it to represent how we feel about each other and to tell our story. It was important that it be highly personal. We wanted everyone there to know that they were special to us.”
Special touches included a single rosebud and “thank you” note to each guest. A floral cross at the altar was another significant element. “It was so beautiful and represented God in our relationship,” says Sarah.
Sarah and Brad chose Riverwood Mansion because they wanted a wedding that was elegant but still very southern. “It was old and southern but it had that awesome, new-Nashville feel,” says Sarah.
Sarah concedes that there were times that a formal wedding coordinator would have been beneficial. “I knew what I wanted; I’m a pretty decisive person, obviously. But the invitations, for example, were overwhelming. There are so many options.
“Tiny details, like fonts, did not add a ton of detail but decisions had to be made. I’d stare at the font for hours and they all looked great. I don’t even remember which one I chose.”
The days leading up to the wedding went off without much of a hitch. But they weren’t without a few nerve-wracking moments.
“I was so excited in the weeks leading up to the wedding that I lost a lot of weight and three days before the wedding, my dress would not fit. It fell right off,” says Sarah.
But a potential moment that would live in wedding infamy was averted, thanks to Joy Bridal Studio in Brentwood. Alterations were made so that Sarah could look the part of a princess.
By the time the ceremony began, everything fell neatly into place. The bride and groom exchanged vows they wrote themselves. Friends and families made heartfelt toasts. The bourbon-glazed tenderloin was prepared perfectly. The Soul Searchers entertained, and guests danced for hours. The newlyweds exited beneath a handheld sparkler-canopy, hopped in their limo and took the next jet to St. Lucia for a relaxing honeymoon.
“It was so exciting and it was so awesome to finally be married,” says Sarah.
Today the Gills are in Memphis where Sarah has joined Brad while while she studies to become a physical therapist. But she says it’s just a temporary layover.
“Eventually, we’ll come back to Brentwood. This is our home. This is where we want to be.”