Vicksburg Living Wedding Edition: A gift of pearls
Published 6:39 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024
Laura Leigh Dorman had always wanted her grandfather, Leon Gilmer — lovingly known by his grandchildren as Baddaddy — to walk her down the aisle. And on Nov. 26, 2022, when she married Shannon Shivers Jr., she got her wish.
“Since I was a little girl, he (Baddaddy) always said he would one day walk me down the aisle on my wedding day,” Laura Leigh said. “And because he was able and proud to do so, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.”
Laura Leigh, who was born and raised in Vicksburg, and Shannon, who grew up just across the river, met through a mutual friend, during a time when she said she was struggling with a lot emotionally.
Email newsletter signup
“It had been one of the hardest times of my life from a great unexpected loss,” Laura Leigh said, “but Shan came along and showed me kindness and patience — something I so needed during that chapter of my life.”
The couple dated for five years, and each year Laura Leigh and Shannon would take a trip for his birthday.
Laura Leigh said most of the trips were to the mountains since it was a “favorite get away.”
In 2021 the couple made their way to Gatlinburg, Tenn. Unbeknownst to Laura Leigh, Shannon, with the help of good friends Mallory and Jon Hoffman, had something special lined up.
“On Nov. 12, 2021, 500 feet above Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at the end of the most beautiful sky bridge,” Laura Leigh said, “Shan started Facetiming my little girl, Juliana.”
It was during their conversation, Laura Leigh said, that Shannon asked Juliana if he could marry her mother.
“I broke down in tears. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life and Juliana’s. He had made sure she was there in the moment even if she wasn’t physically, because he knew what that meant to us,” Laura Leigh said.
FINDING THE PERFECT WEDDING DRESS
When it came time to go shopping for her wedding dress, Laura Leigh had her mother, future mother-in-law and her bridal party accompany her on the hunt. And believe it or not, it did not take long to find the dress of her dreams.
“The very first dress I picked out and put on we all immediately knew that was the one,” Laura Leigh said. While she slipped into a couple more just in case, nothing compared.
“It was a done deal,” she said.
THE REHEARSAL DINNER
As is the tradition, Shannon’s father, whose name is also Shannon, gave a speech during the rehearsal dinner and during that speech Laura Leigh said he told a story about three pearl necklaces he bought 18 years ago and had kept in a safe for safe keeping.
“He said he had bought the pearl necklaces with the intention of giving one to each of his two sons’ wives when they married,” Laura Leigh said.
He also shared how he had purchased a third necklace, which had smaller pearls and were light pink in color, she said.
“He said he really wasn’t sure why something told him to get all three (necklaces) that day, but that he knew now that God had his plan,” Laura Leigh said.
And that plan, she said, included gifting the smaller necklace to her daughter, “Which fit Juliana perfectly.”
Shannon and Laura Leigh’s wedding was held at the Silver Creek Equestrian Center in Bovina, which is owned by Laura Leigh’s mother and where Laura Leigh serves as the manager of the facility.
“God knew exactly what I needed as he always does,” Laura Leigh said. Which started with the patience and kindness Shannon had shown her.
“Those two words are how we started, and they still remain today with my soulmate,” she said.