August 4, 2008
For the love of Emory
By leslie king
A hot July midday in the cool of Cox Hall computer lab, Lucy Lee ’03Ox–’05C, with fiancé Stephen Collins, explains how she ended up as one of Modern Bride magazine’s five finalists for Bride of the Year.
Emory is intertwined in their story; it’s where they met (in an Ethics in Leadership class), got engaged (on the Quad) and would like to get married (stay tuned). “We have a combined over 10 years at Emory and we really wanted to include Emory in our wedding,” says Collins, an Emory graduate student.
One afternoon, Collins hopped onto the stage set up on the Quad for Commencement, and began singing a song he’d composed. Through her embarrassment — “it was still broad daylight” — Lee was struck, “It hit me — oh my god, he’s proposing!”
As a finalist with Modern Bride, she was flown to New York and put up in style, appearing for three days on CBS’s “Early Morning” show, modeling wedding gowns from bridal nirvana Kleinfeld Manhattan, sailing, vying with the other contestants in games to be on the magazine’s cover.
When she reached the Top 10 semifinalists, she enlisted a friend to shoot a video, with opening footage on the Quad. “When we made the video, we tried to get everyone to vote in the contest,” she says.
The Modern Bride judges made it clear they liked the couple’s desire to give back to the community.
“We wanted a nice event but couldn’t justify something grand. It would seem self-indulgent,” says Collins, who is working toward his Ph.D. in neuroscience. “So we decided to donate to a charity the amount we would spend on the reception. That’s the way we were both raised.”
He calls it a “carbon offset reception.”
“It won’t be easy. He’s a student and I’m working two jobs,” Lee says in the video. She’s a financial aid adviser for the University and works at Tory Burch clothing at Lenox Square.
“At the same time, we realize that charity isn’t about convenience. And if we can have a fabulous, amazing wedding while still putting others first, I think that’s what makes a modern bride,” Lee adds.
That vow is keeping it real for the couple, who are paying for the wedding. They are looking at a non-traditional wedding incorporating their respective heritages — hers Korean, his Eastern European — or “two family and two traditions coming together as one.”