Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You

Michael Lee marries Tori Freeman

Photos by Amy Campbell Photography

Texans Michael Lee and Tori Freeman were married at Hurstbourne Country Club on Oct. 26 of last year. The weekend included a welcome party at Captain’s Quarters and a rehearsal dinner river cruise on the CQ Princess. On the day after the wedding, friends Becca and Steve Savage hosted the group at Churchill Downs, where they placed bets and enjoyed each other’s company in the Turf Club.

Topping it off, Greg and Tanya Jones dedicated the day’s eighth race to the newlyweds – naming it “The Tori & Michael Lee Wedding Classic” and letting the couple present the trophy to winner Sharecropper.

Out-of-town guests loved experiencing Louisville, and the bride and groom loved having their big day in the Derby City. Michael and Tori recently shared with us the details of their romance and their magnificent wedding.

When and how did you two meet?

“We first met in high school in Dallas, Texas,” Tori said. “I am a year older than Michael, so we seriously started dating my senior year through my freshman year of college. When he decided to go to a different college than me, we broke ties but on a very good note.  We started dating again post-college when Michael was at the University of Virginia Law School, and the rest is history. We like to say we’re ‘two years going on 10.’”

When and how did you get engaged?

“Michael proposed to me on Nov. 23, 2018 in Corpus Christi,” she recalled. “I was in town with my family celebrating Thanksgiving while Michael stayed back in Dallas with his because he told me he had to work.The Friday after Thanksgiving, my cousin hosted a lunch at her house where Michael was hiding in the backyard. When he popped out behind a planter, I was immediately in tears and didn’t say many words. Michael actually dropped down to one knee twice just to make sure it happened! Out of the group of us in Corpus Christi, only my mom and sister knew it was going to happen, so it was a big surprise for all of us.”

Who assisted with planning the big day?

“It was definitely a team effort,” Tori explained. “My mom, Angela, helped along with Michael’s mom, DeeDee Lee, who is actually the one with the relationship to Kentucky and Hurstbourne Country Club. Michael and I were married on the same date and exact same spot as Jim and DeeDee Lee were 34 years ago. It is so special to share that with them.

“Michael was involved when he wanted to be involved (including cake, food and bar set-ups),” she laughed. “We also had the help of our wedding planner, Colleen Harkins, here in Dallas. Our florist, Wayne Esterle from In Bloom Again and Meredeth at Hurstbourne Country Club played a huge role in making things happen and bringing our dream wedding to life.”

What moment from the wedding stands out most in your mind when you look back on the day?

“Aesthetically, watching all of the hard work from a year come to life literally brought me to tears when I walked into the country club,” she said. “Emotionally, I remember that I couldn’t take my eyes off of Michael. Smiling ear to ear and dancing like I’ve never seen him dance before was truly amazing. At the end of the night while getting into our getaway car, he turned around to look at everyone sending us off and did a huge fist pump.”

“I have three favorite moments,” Michael said. “First, watching Tori walk down the aisle. My second favorite moment was being on the stage with all of my groomsmen and the band. The third moment was the getaway. I loved seeing everyone who had stayed all night to celebrate with us.”

What advice would you give to couples who are in the middle of planning their wedding?

“Think about yourself first,” Tori said. “This is your time and your wedding – plan it for you and your fiancé, no one else. The people who matter will be there and it will all work out. On the day of the wedding, get there early, walk around and soak it all in. The night goes by so quickly and it’s hard to remember all of the details you worked so hard on.” V

Vendors

Wedding Dress: Gowns of Grace
– Dallas, Texas

Groom’s Tux: Knot Standard

Bridesmaid Dresses: LuLus

Groomsmen: Personal tuxes

Hair & Makeup: Ana Crane

Flowers: In Bloom Again, Wayne Esterle

Venue and Catering:
Hurstbourne Country Club

Band: I Love This Band

Officiant: Harry Weddington (“Harry got ordained specifically for our ceremony,”
Tori said. “It was amazing having
someone officiate our wedding who
was so close to us.”)

Rings: deBoulle – Dallas, Texas

Invitations: Cleggraphy Designs
– Dallas, Texas

Acrylic Invitation: Artifacture
– Dallas, Texas

Photographer: Amy Campbell Photography

Videographer: Bryan Starr