By Cynthia Ellingson


Sandra and Bradley Grant’s wedding was a carefully planned surprise that took place twenty-two years after they first met. 

On January 23, 1994, the Kentucky natives noticed one another while out dancing with friends. The two hit it off immediately and discovered they had plenty in common: they both grew up on farms, loved Kentucky basketball, and shared close relationships with their families. They started dating but the relationship was slow going as both Sandra and Bradley were both studying to become doctors. 

They dated long-distance for eight years during medical school and residencies in different states. Finally, they both moved to Florida to open individual medical practices and were together in the same place. The couple frequently discussed marriage but with the demands of their new careers, the idea of coordinating a huge wedding for colleagues, friends, and family seemed overwhelming. 

The years passed. Then, on a trip home to Kentucky for Thanksgiving, Sandra and Brad realized their parents were getting older. They decided it was time to figure something out. That’s when they came up with the idea of hosting a small, surprise wedding for their immediate families. 

Once the plot was in place, planning was simple. They set the date for January 23, 2016 — exactly twenty-two years after they first met — at GlenLary Estate in Paris, a “breathtaking and intimate” horse farm. From there, they invited their immediate families to an “engagement dinner celebration”. The couple was delighted at the idea of a winter wedding on a southern plantation horse farm. They envisioned formal attire, candles, firelight, and snow on the ground. 

“Be careful what you wish for,” said the bride, because the day before the wedding, a blizzard hit with twenty-three inches of snow. 

Sandra and Bradley planned to fly in from Florida for their big day but once they got to Atlanta, all the connecting flights were cancelled. They chose to rent a car and made it safely to Kentucky, with snow drifts as far as the eye could see. 

The bride and groom’s families were greeted with drinks and the tunes of classical guitar. The couple loved the moment their families realized they were at a wedding rather than an engagement party, and the celebration began. 

Both the bride and groom are huge Kentucky fans and there was a basketball game on that night, so Sandra had her nephew walk through carrying a blackboard with score updates right before the ceremony. The guests also got a chuckle when, during the ceremony, Sandra dropped Brad’s ring as the pastor handed it to her because she was so “nervous and giddy” to marry him, even after twenty-two years. 

The marriage was celebrated with a dinner ideal for the cold weather: southern-themed appetizers, followed by tomato bisque, grilled asparagus salad, grilled beef tenderloin, sweet and regular mashed potatoes, broccolini, and yeast rolls. Dessert was a rich selection of carrot cake and cheesecake, along with plenty of champagne.