Four years before their first date, Justin Spencer of Auburn had already noticed Ellen Oakes in his middle school yearbook. During their sophomore year at Auburn High School, Justin gathered the nerve to ask Ellen to the homecoming dance, and their courtship began shortly thereafter. Sharing similar faith and values, their relationship grew over the next six years. They were members of the Auburn University Singers throughout college, and both graduated from Auburn University in May 2009.
The wedding took place on June 6, 2009, at Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn. Parents of the couple are Perry and Janey Oakes, and Steve and Starla Spencer, all of Auburn. Ellen and Justin were married by Rev. Curtis Black, the college minister at Lakeview. In addition to the traditional vows of the bride and groom, the ceremony included unique vows by the parents in support of the couple.
Ellen wore a strapless, satin, A-line gown with a sweetheart neckline, intricately beaded bodice and beaded accents at the hem and chapel-length train. Her mother cut a small piece of Ellen’s childhood blanket in the shape of a heart and sewed it inside the dress.
Clay Mitchell of Opelika Floral Company artfully designed arrangements to complement the color scheme of orchid and champagne for both the wedding and reception. The reception was held at the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center and was directed by Amanda Zoch.
The bride’s cake was four-tiered strawberry covered with vanilla butter cream icing, accented with ribbon bands, edible pearls and a monogram topper. The groom’s cake was three-square tiers of dark chocolate with ganache and chocolate-covered strawberries, topped with the United States Air Force emblem. Both were designed by Susan Hoisington of The Gourmet Tiger. The couple cut the cakes using the silver knife from the bride’s parents’ wedding in 1977, which was also used at the wedding of Ellen’s sister in 2008.
The reception included a multi-tiered candy station designed by John and Kim Baker of Enterprise. The station featured a variety of candy in purple and champagne hues displayed in unique glass containers. It included photos of the couple throughout their courtship, as well as a sign that read, And they lived happily ever after. A second table showcased framed photographs of the couple’s parents and grandparents on their respective wedding days.
The band 84 West entertained guests on the dance floor. All current and former AU Singers, including the groom’s sister and the couple’s brother-in-law, encircled the couple to sing the Auburn University Alma Mater, a long-standing tradition. Additionally, all Alpha Chi Omegas in attendance, including the bride’s mother and sister, surrounded the couple to sing the traditional Sweetheart Song. After tossing the garter and bouquet, the couple was showered with rose petals while descending the staircase to depart in a 1964 maroon Ford mustang convertible, escorted by the owner, Ray Chambliss of Auburn.
The couple honeymooned on The Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. They now reside at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, where Justin is training in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program and Ellen plans to practice nursing. After a courtship spanning more than six years, the couple is looking forward to the adventures ahead of them as a military family in the wild