Alison Hogan and Andrew Ross | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Alison Hogan and Andrew Ross


Alison Hogan and Andrew Ross on their rainy wedding day.

From the night that Alison Hogan and Andrew Ross met, they never wondered whether they were going to get married. They just assumed it. "It's very cliché," Alison says, "but we had love at first sight. It was an instant connection."

In February 2008, a mutual friend from dental school, Bridget, introduced the couple at a get-together. Though they were both were students at University of Mississippi Medical Center—Andrew two years ahead of Alison—and both had graduated from Ole Miss, they had never crossed paths.

"She was just real genuine," says Andrew, who was born in Egypt and raised in Oxford, Miss. "Easy to talk to, and the more you talked to her, the more you wanted to know. She was just so interesting that we were one of the last couples to leave that get-together."

The couple soon went out for sushi with a small group of friends. Since then, they've been inseparable. "There was never that awkward period of 'What are we?' and 'Is this the right guy?' We never had to define anything, because there was never any question about it," says Alison, a petite redhead.

Andrew and Alison had a lot in common. They knew a lot of the same people. They were both close to their families, and had each been on international trips to do mission work. The summer after they met, they took a mission trip together to Piedras Negras, Mexico, to provide free dental care for low-income people. Both loved that they could combine their faith, travel and professional skills in service to others. Before the couple had even been dating a year, their friends started pestering them about when they would get married.

A Bear, Balloons and Bubbly
Dec. 19, 2008, was the last day of Alison's dentistry classes. After a day of laboratory work, she had her hair back in a ponytail and wore little makeup. Her scrubs were covered head to toe in dust from the lab.

Alison's sister, Kelli, a senior at Ole Miss, was home and insisted that Alison help do some last-minute Christmas shopping. Alison had plans to meet girlfriends at Margaritas Mexican Restaurant and kept asking Kelli to finish up, but Kelli kept dragging her to new stores. Finally, Kelli dropped Alison at home.

"When I opened the door, the whole apartment was lit up in candles, and there were rose petals everywhere," Alison says.

On the door was a note and a safety pin instructing Alison to pop each of the balloons she found inside, one for each month that the couple had dated. Inside each one, Alison found a note from Andrew with a different reason he loved her.

Meanwhile, Andrew was hiding nervously in Alison's room."I sat in the dark for literally about an hour," Andrew says.

On the dining table, next to a bouquet of red roses, was a Build-A-Bear with a voice recorder inside. Andrew's first gift to Alison had been a similar bear, dressed in scrubs. This one was wearing a tux, with a note to press its hand. She heard Andrew's voice when she complied. It said, "Will you give me the privilege of letting me love you for the rest of my life?"

Alison turned around to see Andrew behind her, down on one knee. He proposed, and Alison excitedly accepted. Andrew popped open the bottle of champagne that he had brought over and poured two glasses.

After a toast, Andrew told his new fiancée that he'd made reservations at Bon Ami for just the two of them, in order to enjoy the moment before they started calling everyone. Alison changed out of her scrubs, and when she and Andrew arrived at Bon Ami, about 30 minutes late for their reservation, their families were there to celebrate the engagement.

Rainy-Day Wedding
On Saturday, Aug. 1, rain poured over Lakeland Presbyterian in Flowood as the church filled with about 250 guests. Under the high ceiling with exposed wooden beams and suspended glass lanterns, Andrew and his father and best man, Dr. Samir Ross, took their places. Ten attendants for the bride and 10 for the groom joined them, all smiles.

Bells rang, and the guests stood up to see Alison walk up the aisle in a strapless ivory dress that showed off her slim, fair shoulders. Her chapel-length train floated behind her.

Dr. Gary Richardson, the preacher from Andrew's home church of North Oxford Baptist Church, officiated. He told the guests that he met with Alison and Andrew before the wedding, to help them face their points of conflict before they get married.

"They blew me away," Richardson said of Alison and Andrew. "I had to make up things to talk about."

As the couple took their vows, comfortably flashing their dentist-perfect smiles, they looked thrilled to pledge their commitment to each other for the rest of their lives.

A Simply Elegant Reception
The newlyweds arrived at Belhaven's Fairview Inn in a vintage teal and white antique car rented from couple Hudson and Melba Williams. The 1908 Colonial Revival mansion, is so elegant that the couple wanted to keep their accents simple. They borrowed a friend's homemade mason-jar candles that she'd used for her own recent wedding and set them up around the inn. They also brightened the rooms with hydrangeas, among Alison's favorite flowers.

Guests enjoyed songs like "Stand By Me" from local Motown band Mo' Money as they nibbled from the buffet at Sophia's Restaurant inside the inn. Spinach artichoke dip with fresh tortilla chips, and cold orzo with pesto and vegetables were among the buffet dishes, accompanied by wine and beer.

Alison's wedding cake was adorned with the vintage cake topper from her parents' wedding in 1972. Andrew's chocolate cake had a topper shaped like Colonel Reb— Ole Miss mascot—surrounded by baseball paraphernalia. The soft glow of crystal chandeliers illuminated both cakes against the backdrop of the Fairview's antique sitting rooms.

The next afternoon, Alison and Andrew left for their honeymoon at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., for eight days and seven nights. Afterward, it was back to work for Andrew—now a practicing dentist—and school for Alison. After she gets her dental degree in 2011, she and Andrew hope to open a dental practice together as Dr. and Dr. Ross.

Alison's mom had a bunch of fancy paper, which she'd bought from a stationery store that was closing. She and Alison designed and printed the menu and place cards for the rehearsal dinner at AJ's Seafood Grille. They printed the programs on ivory cardstock, and then tied a ribbon around each one.

A friend gave her a photo album with sticky pages to use as a wedding planner. Instead of carrying dog-eared magazines, Alison cut out and pasted her preferences into the album to show to vendors.

To learn calligraphy, Alison checked out a library book and bought pens at Michael's. She taught herself to hand-letter her invitations, and spent her spring vacation from school preparing them. Now she volunteers to do calligraphy for friends.

• Invitations: Fresh Ink (601-982-0235, 4500 I 55 N # 136,
• Photography: Karla Pound (601-317-1483)
• Reception Venue and Catering: Sophia's Restaurant at The Fairview Inn (601-948-3429, 734 Fairview St.,
• Reception Band: Mo' Money (601-981-1100,
• Transportation: Vintage car by Hudson and Melba Williams ({encode="[email protected]" title="[email protected]"})
• Cakes: Cakes by Iris (601-540-6347,

If you're fit to be Hitched, e-mail Melia Dicker at [e-mail missing].

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