Sydney McLaughlin Had Her Wedding Dress Made in 3 Weeks After Getting Cold Feet with Her First Gown

The Olympic track and field star married NFL player Andre Levrone Jr. in a romantic vineyard wedding in Madison, Virginia

Sydney-McLaughlin-Andre-Levrone-Jr_ Photographer Nicole Ivanov (Instagram: @nicoleivanovphoto)
Photo: Nicole Ivanov @nicoleivanovphoto

Sydney McLaughlin had a change of heart when it came to her wedding dress.

The Olympic track and field athlete, 22, told PEOPLE exclusively that selecting a gown for her big day was "the most stressful part" of wedding planning. In fact, she decided to wear her sparkling Pallas Couture dress only weeks before tying the knot with her now husband Andre Levrone Jr. on Friday.

"I always envisioned myself in a ball gown, just because I wanted something that had a really long train," she shared. "So in September I went and found a dress and signed for it, but then three weeks later, I started having second guesses. I was like, 'I'm not sure about this.'"

Sydney wedding

McLaughlin — who won gold in the women's 400m hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics — revealed she was no longer "excited to walk down in the aisle in" the gown after her first dress fitting in March.

"I was worried because I was like, 'there's not a lot of time left, we're less than two months away,' so we made some really quick calls thanks to my agent Jill and got on the phone with like, the place I've always wanted my dream dress from in Australia," she explained. "She was able to get us in contact and they actually rush made my dress in three weeks."

"I just got it this week and it's amazing. It's completely different from a ball gown, so I'll say that," she added.

Sydney wedding

For her wedding, she paired her dress with a veil by Vera Wang and Jimmy Choo heels and accessorized with jewelry from Zales. Her hair was styled by Jess from Beyoutiful Bride, makeup look created by Michele Eva, and nails perfected by Phil Tran.

The former NFL star, 27, selected a suit by Brian Alexander with Salvatore Ferragamo shoes and a Tag Heuer watch for the occasion.

During the ceremony at Early Mountain Vineyards in Virginia, the couple exchanged wedding bands — his by Blue Nile, her's Tacori — under the guidance of Pastor Greg Hendricks.

Sydney wedding

The couple — who got engaged in August 2021 — focused on being "present" during the ceremony, they both told PEOPLE.

"The day goes by so fast," McLaughlin said. "So I told our wedding planner, our videographer, our photographer, 'I just want everything to be at a place where we can truly just enjoy every moment' and I think the best wedding advice I received was that no wedding is perfect, there's always something that's going to go wrong, so making sure that you're truly in the moment and just enjoying it and taking it for what it is, because before you know it, it's over."

Sydney wedding

"With having the majority of all of our planning and whatever anxiety out of the way beforehand, as we stood at the altar and looked each other in the eye, we literally, like, held eternity in that moment," Levrone Jr. added.

Sydney wedding

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Now, the couple plans to enjoy married life together and find ways to continue to support each other.

"Ultimately, just getting to wake up next to your best friend and tackle whatever challenges the day has is so exciting," said McLaughlin.

"I have a vision in life, she has a vision in life, and we just kind of merged our visions," Levrone Jr. added. "And being able to just model that the two of us are partners and what I like to call 'co-laborers' in life. And in this season of life, me primarily supporting her and her dream and her calling, is fun for me. And just knowing how supportive she is of me as well and in the long term."

Updated by
Lindsay Kimble

Lindsay Kimble is a Senior Digital News Editor and the Sports Editor for PEOPLE Digital. She's worked at PEOPLE for over seven years as a writer, reporter and editor across our Entertainment, Lifestyle and News teams, covering everything from the Super Bowl to the Met Gala. She's been nominated for the ASME NEXT Awards for Journalists Under 30, and previously wrote for Us Weekly while on staff at Wenner Media.

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