The Marietta Square may be the center of community for this Cobb County city, but it’s also become known as one of Cobb’s most romantic areas; there are about 25 weddings a year in Glover Park in the gazebo or on the stage across from the Earl Smith Strand Theatre. Surrounded by the shops and eateries that residents have come to love throughout the area, many couples have found this patch of greenery to be the ideal location for their big day.
“The Strand hosts about the same number of wedding-related events each year, whether it is the wedding itself, reception, rehearsal dinner or combination thereof,” says Andy Gaines, Strand facilities and events director. “The number increases when you add in the anniversary parties celebrated throughout the year. We’ve even worked with couples who married in the park and celebrated in one of our two different event spaces.” Considered the gem of the Square, more brides and grooms than ever are exchanging vows under the golden proscenium arch in the 531-seat auditorium or in the rooms on the upper floors of the Strand. “We’ve done sunrise weddings outside on the patio, intimate weddings in our second floor lounge and big productions in the auditorium,” adds Gaines.
Todd and Lacey Hull
In July 2008, Todd walked into an art supply store in Roswell where Lacey worked. She rang up his supplies purchase and he left, only to return a few minutes later and ask her out for coffee. “We decided to have our first date on the Square,” Todd recalls. “I asked her out for coffee and that following Friday, we went out on our first date at Shillings, then we went over to Cool Beans afterward. We spent the whole night on the Square just talking until 2 a.m.”
The Hulls feel a close connection to the Square, from the shops and restaurants to the events and community outreach that are central to the area. That first date lead to living in the Brumby Lofts right off the Square for about a year, and now that they are ready to celebrate five years of marriage in May, they still live about a mile from the Square. When it came time to choose a location for their wedding, the Hulls say the Square was a natural choice. Todd, a professional photographer, had gone to the Strand to photograph an event there while previously working for the local paper and learned that they allow rentals. “We just thought what better place to get married than on the Square where we had our first date?” he says.
The Hulls were married in a room on the second floor of the Strand with a lot of windows that sat all of their family members, making for a quaint and intimate ceremony. The reception was held one floor up in a larger room with a patio that lets you look out over the Square and see the lights, making for the perfect venue.
It seems the Square will always hold a special place in their hearts, offering a connection to the community and a great place to gather for something to do any night of the week without needing to drive down to Atlanta or Decatur. From getting ice cream over at Sweet Treats to exploring antique shops and coffee shops, the farmer’s market and the art shows, there is never a shortage of things to do. “It’s just such a community,” Todd says. “That was one of the reasons we loved Marietta and wanted to stay there, because when we thought about getting old we thought this has to be the best place to raise a family.”
Rachel and Matthew Gray
“My mother fell in love with the Square the first time we took her there,” says Rachel Gray, senior copywriter for Mopdog Creative + Strategy in Kennesaw. “She instantly felt Marietta would be a town where many of my dreams would come true. Also, because of the warm late autumn day, our brightly colored wedding attire and the smell of hog roasting… our wedding day felt very southern.”
Married to Matthew Gray, an outside sales representative at Liberty Mutual Insurance, Rachel met her husband when both of them were living in Albuquerque. “He was an Air Force brat, spending much of his young childhood in Europe,” Rachel recalls. “His family relocated to Ohio when he was in high school, but he is not one to stay in one place for long. We met on MySpace in 2007 and spent months talking (before meeting in person) about being new to Albuquerque and offering ideas on where to go for fun.”
The two moved to Georgia looking for their next adventure when they felt they’d explored most of New Mexico. Renting a small house in Hiram with their two kittens, Gin and Tonic, the two set an expected wedding date on Sept. 29, 2013, and told their families it would just be the two of them. “When we first moved to Georgia, I worked as a hostess at Shillings on the Square, to get to know the area, the people and what media/communications jobs might be in Cobb,” Rachel says. “The Square was really the first place in Georgia that I became familiar with. The first place that made our new community feel like a home.”
Wearing a coral dress with white, yellow and turquoise jewelry, Rachel recalls her wedding morning feeling “relaxed, sunny, young, inspired and intimate” with only one moment of nerves. “We posed for many pictures, per my mother’s only must-do request,” she says. “We took pictures around the fountain and coming up the steps with the clock tower in the background. After the ceremony, the lovely city of Marietta threw us a reception—we happened to wed on the same Sunday as the Whole Hawg Happenin’ BBQ & Music Fest on the Square. We sat with our friends outside for a giant brunch at Shillings while listening to live music from the nearest corner and watching a crowd of wedding guests we had never met.”
The Marietta Square has inspired so many beautiful stories of love and commitment and earned its reputation as a cornerstone of community in Cobb County. The next time you’re grabbing a coffee at Cool Beans or catching a show at the historic Strand, take a look around and think of all the love in the air.