"Tyler Scott Forrest's love of the state is impressive. A native of Athens, Tenn., he is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and was appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen to serve as the student trustee of the University of Tennessee. In fact, the 22-year-old has every intention of running for governor of Tennessee himself some day. But every leader needs a strong woman by his side and Tyler is no different.
He knew he had met his perfect match in Emily Christine Martin, now 23, when they started running in the same circles on campus. A senior to his junior, she began to notice him as well, due in no small part to a certain accessory.
"I actually used to call him the bowtie guy since he was one of the few students around campus who would wear bowties," she says. It was that extra something that made her notice him everywhere she went. And she started seeing him around … a lot.
"We literally ran into each other everywhere we went, which became a running joke because Emily thought I was even stalking her," Tyler says. "It was almost like it was meant to be."
Once she knew he wasn't a stalker, she realized he was extremely well-liked, something else that appealed to Emily. She was also drawn to his loyalty to family and home.
"We both come from deep-rooted Tennessee families and have a true spirit and passion for the state," Emily says.
They became close friends and then more as they immersed themselves in the university. He was the vice president of the student body, then president. She worked for four years in the UTC Chancellor's office.
"Tyler was very dedicated to the university and that was something I could see was a true passion of his," she says of the qualities that drew her in. "He is very future oriented and strives to do well. I am very much a planner so the fact he plans for the future was very appealing to me."
He felt the same way about her and her driven personality — perfect for someone with political aspirations.
"I was always looking for that perfect girl and when Emily came along, I was just taken aback," he says. "I knew she was the best I could possibly find. She really is talented in so many areas and has a great personality and so many people think highly of her."
Realizing he had a gem, he wasted no time in proposing. Just seven months after they began dating, he popped the question.
"A lot of people thought I was totally crazy, including me sometimes," Tyler says. "But once you know you have found the right person, why stop there? It was the right time in our lives and we were committed to getting married."
He proposed to Emily the night before she graduated, knowing she wouldn't expect it at all considering he had made it clear she would have to get that diploma before he would ask her to marry him. He needed the element of surprise behind him or she might have figured it out. The previous Valentine's Day, she called restaurants all over town until she found out where he was taking her for dinner.
"He knew my family would be there the next day and we could all celebrate," Emily says. "We call it the 'Diamond and Diploma' weekend."
And on June 26, the two of them got married in front of 275 guests on the UTC campus. The black and white affair with touches of pink was accented by touches of Tennessee, like the groom's cake shaped like the state and "Rocky Top" played during the reception.
And when Tyler does run for governor, just look for the guy with the bowtie.
"It is kind of a signature," Tyler says. "In fact, I am wearing one right now."
The location: Devoted alumni through and through, the couple wed in the Patten Chapel on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's campus. The reception was held at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Chattanooga.
The bride wore: Emily wore a white taffeta gown from the Bridal and Formal Shoppe in Murfreesboro that featured ruching on the bottom, beadwork through the bodice, a chapel train and buttons running up the length of the back.
The attendants wore: The six women wore black taffeta, tea length dresses with V-necks and white sashes from David's Bridal.
The groom wore: He and his groomsmen wore black tuxedos from Men's Wearhouse. And while the groomsmen wore straight ties, the groom was in his signature bowtie.
The music: The couple went traditional at the ceremony with classic hymns, but added a little twist. During the sand ceremony, they played "The Tennessee Waltz". DJ Gene Lovin of 410 Productions performed during the reception and the couple's first dance was to "My Girl" by The Temptations.
The flowers: The bride carried white and dark pink Gerber daisies with black centers, tied with a white ribbon. Her attendants had only pink daisies tied with a black ribbon. The mothers had pink daisies, the fathers and grandfathers had white and the groomsmen had pink. Flowers N' Things of Cleveland, Tenn., supplied the arrangements.
The food: The Doubletree provided light hors d'oeuvres like fruit and vegetables. But the real star was the groom's cake, created by a friend of Emily's. The replica of the state of Tennessee was decorated in the likeness of the state flag."
I hope you enjoy our love story as much as we do! - EMF