Small Talk: Weekend of engagement parties for Vandervoort-Stimpson
by Annette Maddox
Special to The Star
May 20, 2012 | 4247 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was a grand Annistonian welcome for Will Vandervoort’s fiancée, Nancy Stimpson, and her parents, Jean and Sandy Stimpson, of Mobile, when they arrived at the home of Buddy and Martha Vandervoort on May 11 to begin a weekend of festivities.

The weekend began with dinner at Classic on Noble with the parents and the engaged couple. It was a beautiful time to share memories and excitement about the upcoming weekend and wedding.

Will met Nancy when they were both freshmen at the University of Alabama. Will played football that year, and became good friends with Preston Dial, who introduced the two. Preston (who now plays for the Detroit Lions) was a high school friend of Nancy’s.

On Saturday morning, the men headed to the Vandervoort farm. The ladies picked up Betty Carr (Will’s honorary grandmother) for a tour of Anniston, and then joined the guys at Cheaha Mountain.

Betty was a fabulous tour guide, providing many interesting and historical facts about Anniston.

Everyone then gathered back at the Vandervoorts’ home for lunch, and Will and Nancy opened wedding gifts. One special gift from Betty was a framed “Wedding Toast” that encouraged Nancy and Will to always “accentuate the positive” in their relationship.

Later that evening, John and Becky Hollingsworth, longtime friends of Martha and Buddy, hosted (along with other friends of the family) an engagement party filled with music, attended by relatives and friends from near and far.

Under the guidance of party organizers April and Stephen LaFollette, Mitzi and Jeff Collins, and Margaret and Blane Bateman, the Hollingsworths’ home was transformed into a Mexican fiesta, with tasty Mexican fare, fun drinks and glowing party rings for each guest.

Other hostesses included Scott and Augusta Andrews, Jeff and Farley Fink, Dan and Cathy Fockele, Gordon and Erna Hardy, Robert and Betty Jackson, Don and Becky Ledford, Kennedy Lewis, Herb and Kathy McCrimmon, Gary and Cherri Morgan, John and Cam Payne, Mike and Mindy Poe, Jim and Joanne Robbins, Rodney and Trixie Snead, Steve and Gina Stephens and Rick and Deborah Westbrook.

Out-of-town hosts included Ken and Jean Deal from Birmingham, Clark and Marlene Carpenter, Rick and Tracy Barber, and Gayle and Allen Gray McMillan from Talladega; and Dodie Newman from Jacksonville.

Lisa and Andy Soleman, longtime neighbors (and also hosts for the party) had another surprise for Will when both their sons, Andrew and Stewart, came home for Mother’s Day and were able to make the party. Andrew is now living in California, and Stewart in Wyoming.

Will and his parents had a great time introducing Nancy to Will’s many classmates from days at The Donoho School. A real surprise, however, was when longtime friend Wade Svendson walked in with his mother, Moo (from Baton Rouge), and sister, Jeanne (from Savannah).

Martin and Moo Svendson left Anniston several years ago to return to their home state of Louisiana, and the families have continued to stay in touch through the years.

No one was expecting the Svendsons to make the party, especially since their oldest son, Robert, will be married next weekend in Baton Rouge.

Will was not the only one surrounded by special friends. Three of Nancy’s four cousins from Mobile — Pamela Hanes, Sunny Shackleford and Amelia Stimpson — came up for the fun; they have been best friends since they were toddlers. The fourth cousin, Taylor Stimpson, was unable to attend, but all four cousins will be there as bridesmaids for Nancy in June.

The Vandervoorts’ family from Guntersville was also in full attendance. Will’s grandfather, Hal, and Buddy’s sisters, Susan, Julie and Ann, along with their spouses, were able to make the trip. Joining the party from Birmingham were Martha’s sister and her husband, Sally and Will Legg.

It was fun for the relatives to see their Anniston friends, some of whom they had met last April, when Will’s sister Lucy married Andrew Morris from Birmingham.

The weekend ended for Will and Nancy on Sunday, with breakfast at The Victoria Inn with their family. Everyone was making final plans for the trip to Mobile for the wedding on June 23.

Until then, it’s back to the books for Will (who is in dental school at UAB) and back to work with Hoar Construction for Nancy.

To share your news with Small Talk, contact Annette Maddox at

Save the Date

World No Tobacco Day is May 31. The World Health Organization (WHO), along with local community groups including Family Links, hope to raise awareness of the millions of deaths attributed to tobacco use. Alabama residents who want to quit tobacco use can call the Alabama Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or visit
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