The Ray Wedding

Randal and Brenda’s Story

Brenda and I were introduced to each other by a mutual friend and have been together since 2013. We have a “blended Brady Bunch” type of family with a total of 5 children and our Wheaton Terrier, Bella. All of our children are now young adults and living in Minnesota and Chicago.

Brenda is a native Minnesotan – born and raised in Richfield. I (Randal) am a native Alabamian – born and raised in a small town best known for being the “Home of 9-1-1” (Haleyville).  That’s right – the first ever 9-1-1 call was placed at Haleyville city hall. (Feel free to use that little bit of trivia to stump your friends!)

Brenda and I became empty-nesters in 2014 and married later that same year. We decided to spend our honeymoon in Gulf Shores Alabama after visiting there earlier in the year. It was during our honeymoon that we first got the idea of relocating to L.A. – Lower Alabama. During that 10 day period, we looked at potential condos to buy for rental purposes AND we looked at single family homes for our possible primary residence. (Yeah, we were pretty busy during our honeymoon!) In the end, we found a great wooded lot in a golf course community in Fairhope Alabama to build a house on and we found a beach view condo in need of updates to buy.

After we returned from our honeymoon, we signed the purchase agreements for the two properties. We ended up closing on our condo at Gulf Shores Surf & Racquet Club first – in October 2014. We drove down from Minnesota in our Chevy Tahoe *packed* with tools, supplies, and suitcases to attend the closing. That night we slept in our outdated, somewhat smelly condo and then, we spent the next 6 back-breaking weeks renovating it. (We will be posting about this *first renovation* soon.)

We returned to Minnesota in mid-December 2014 and immediately started decorating our house for Christmas – all the while knowing that we were committed to relocating to Alabama in spring 2015.

We won’t go into all the details here about what happened next and how we subsequently relocated – we’re going to save those for a series of blog posts about empty-nesters relocating to the South. Needless to say, it was a ton of work and there were LOTS of emotions surrounding it but in the end, we are happily living the Sweet Life in the Heart of Dixie – and enjoying lots of sweet ice tea!

Randal and Brenda Ray

P.S. Here are pictures of our front yard and back deck before we moved to Alabama.