Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta’s Lori Allen’s son Cory may have married his bride Rebecca (Becca) Gunn back in December, but it’s the bride’s journey to find multiple wedding dresses that is the feature of tonight’s SYTTD season finale!
In exclusive interviews with the doubly responsible Bridals by Lori owner Mother of the Groom along with Becca herself, The Knot learned all the details about what it was really like finding the perfect wedding dresses while filming SYTTD with such close connections weighing in! Plus, we’ve rounded up an exclusive first look at Becca, Lori and Monte Durham’s visit with the designer of the bride’s reception dress, the amazing Lazaro!
Becca, who told The Knot that she enjoyed seeing the array of wedding dresses on the show well before she started dating Cory said, “I remember watching it with my sister when she was planning her wedding,” adding, “We had fun trying to guess which one they would pick – my dad even got in on the fun some nights!” But having Cory’s future spouse on the show choosing not one but three wedding dresses was quite a different experience for both Becca and Lori. Luckily everyone behaved…for the most part!
“Between my mom, Lori, Monte and my sister I had tons of help. Any time I needed to delegate a task, any one of them was more than ready to help,” the bride said. “Working with Lori was great. It was not the traditional planning but we became so close over the year of planning that I would not trade a moment.” Sharing that Lori really acted the part of a second mother to her daughter-in-law, welcoming her into the family, Becca told The Knot, “She really wanted me to do what I wanted and gave me that freedom.”
But if you’ve ever seen an episode of the long-running Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta series, or have taken a look The Knot’s sneak peek above, you’ll know Lori often has strong feelings about wedding dresses thanks to her years of experience. “Of course she had her opinions,” Becca joked, “but [she] made sure I said mine first.”
“I had to realize that although weddings are my business, I won’t spend all the future holidays with weddings – but I will with Rebecca and Cory,” Lori shared with The Knot, “So I decided I would speak my mind, tell them my thoughts and then try my best to hush!”
As veteran wedding dress guru and Becca’s future mother-in-law Lori explained, “It was very emotional helping the girl who is marrying my son select a wedding gown. As Mother of the Groom and a bridal store owner for over 35 years, I have helped countless brides but this was different.”
Wanting to give Becca “everything she had ever envisioned and more,” Lori shared she not only “wanted every dream she had ever had for a wedding gown to come to life,” she also felt pressure not met by typical retailers. With the wedding being televised in over 100 countries and many top designers in attendance, Lori said, “This gown was not only a representation of Rebecca it was also a representation of me, my store and everything I stand for everyday on Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta.”
Though the SYTTD star reiterated that it wasn’t easy to hold such a knowledgeable career in the wedding industry and not speak her mind she said, “luckily Rebecca listened and she could not have been any kinder to me.” Of course, she had a little help when certain styles were being overlooked by joking, “When I really felt like my point was not being heard – I made Monte be my voice!”
“She raised an amazing son and I was ecstatic to become his wife,” the bride shared with The Knot, citing only distance from her family and a career move as a catalyst for stress. “At the end things did get stressful because I had started a new job and moved away from my family a month before the wedding,” but she certainly saw a lot of love, and a lot of fun leading up to her big day!
The bride not only had multiple wedding dresses to say yes to for her December 12, 2105 ceremony at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge in Greensboro, Georgia, she also had multiple parties, showers, even costumed events to attend before becoming a Mrs.
“The parties were so much fun! Before the wedding weekend our sweet family and friends threw us parties… Each one was different and unique,” Becca said. While one couple threw Becca and Cory a “White Party” where they dressed in hot pink, the main events included a “Downton Abbey 1920s” themed bridal luncheon, a hoe down for the rehearsal dinner, and the wedding themed for “Southern Elegance with a nod to Christmas,” she shared with The Knot.
When asked if she assisted Becca in planning her many dress styles for the themed events surrounding Lori exclaimed, “Heck yes, I helped Rebecca choose all her dresses. This is what I do – I know shapes, latest styles and options with designers.”
“From the moment Rebecca and Cory got engaged I was sending her pictures and options – she also had several informal bridal gowns to wear to all her showers.” Sharing that Becca is a nurse and “is usually in scrubs not couture wedding gowns,” Lori said, “She was one lucky bride, but what I love about her is she was also humble and grateful.”
Letting The Knot in on the details of the themed events, Becca said, “It was very important to me to have a party to celebrate the women most important to me,” referring to the bridal luncheon hosted by her aunts. “Downton Abbey is one of my favorite shows that I would watch with my mom every Sunday night,” she explained of why she chose that theme. “Lori loves it as well and has been something we all love to talk about after each episode.” By the time the bride decided on the show as the luncheon’s inspiration, her aunts hooked on it too! “It was so much fun to get dressed up like they would in the 1920s. We even had an impersonator there as a butler – he was a hoot!”
Sharing the inspiration behind the hoe down rehearsal dinner Becca told The Knot, “Cory loves to hunt, fish and drive around in his big pickup truck. Lori thought this would fit him best and it did!” Members of the bridal party and the couple’s family donned cowboy boots and hats and danced while The Trotline Band played and the bride reminisced, “We had a moonshine man come and give us a little history.” There was even a Native American Chief offered a special marriage blessing to the couple before guests enjoyed s’mores by the fire at the end of the night.
As for the winter wedding planning itself, Lori called Becca and her mother “a dream to work with.” “Thank goodness Rebecca and her Mother Jackie (whom I just love) knew how important all this was to me so they included me in most everything,” she shared with The Knot. “I was so fortunate that they listened to my experiences and we all decided on things together.”
She and her SYTTD co-star Monte were quite the pair throughout the planning process and said, “We personally hand carried all the dresses to the church and set up the dressing area for not only Rebecca but also her 10 bridesmaids, both us mothers and grandmothers,” because they wanted everything to be perfect. “We also had all the reception dresses to deal with as Rebecca, us Moms and all 10 bridesmaids actually changed into party dresses for the reception!” That’s a lot of dresses to style and carry!
In an homage to their engagement story and the holiday season, the bride shared with The Knot that she and Cory’s wedding on December 12, 2015 had “nods to Christmas throughout the night.” Cory, who proposed to his bride on December 23, 2014, had stopped in front of a Christmas tree at the entrance to the Dalton Golf & Country Club seemingly to take a selfie. But when he revealed the photo to Becca, in the background there was an ornament that said “Will you marry me?”
“After I calmed down and stopped squealing he told me he had one more surprise,” Becca said. When the two entered the main dining room of the country cluba their friends and family were there, ready to celebrate their new engagement! “I have a large family and they all came,” Becca said. “At that moment I was overcome with emotion and still in shock – all these people came to support us and kept it a secret. It truly was a magical evening.”
Even more magical still was all the special touches that came together to create the couple’s Southern Christmas wedding. “At the ceremony we had a choir sing ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Joy to the World,’” while the flower girls and ring bearer carried bells, Becca shared with The Knot. At cocktail hour Christmas carolers serenaded guests as they sampled h’orderves and sipped the couple’s “Jingle Juice” signature cocktail, while the dinner menu was titled “Rebecca and Cory’s Christmas Wedding Feast” and included hints of cranberries to the delicious dishes “to add a taste of Christmas.”
“The night was spectacular and beyond my wildest dreams,” Becca told The Knot. You can see even more behind-the-scenes details of her beautiful wedding day, and of course she and Mother of the Groom Lori’s dress-hunting interactions on the season finale of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta tonight at 9pm on TLC!