Today’s wedding took place in December, but it’s proof that winter weddings can be full of bold, beautiful colors (so you know it’s got my stamp of approval). I actually forgot this wedding was in December until I re-read Lauren + Michael’s interview! Their festive spin on traditional holiday colors is like a jolt of energy, just like these images from Landon Jacob are. Like true Southerners, Lauren + Michael made sure all of the wedding weekend events could be in downtown Columbia, the place they call home and where they fell in love. Despite their short four-month engagement (“We were ready to be married!” says Lauren), their big day is full of details that served as wonderful treats to their guests who came to celebrate (and plenty of actual treats, too). Big hugs to Landon Jacob Photography for sharing this sweet day with us!
I was really unsure of what I wanted for wedding flowers. I knew that I did not want the more traditional bouquets and centerpieces. I wanted flowers that would pop and be a beautiful accent against the emerald green in the bridesmaids’ shawls. I saw an inspirational shoot that Jordan from Landon Jacob Productions had done where the colors were reds and corals. I loved how there were so many different types of flowers, but how they truly blended together beautifully. When I showed Sarah from Fern what I had in mind, she orchestrated beautiful bouquets, as well as incredible centerpieces! The main flowers that were used were poppies, anemones, ranunculus (one of my favorite flowers!), peonies, tulips, and jasmine bay leaves. My absolute favorite idea that Fern had was to include pomegranates in the bouquets and in the centerpieces. The pomegranates were something I had never seen in a bouquet, but they were phenomenal! It was perfect for the time of year that we had our wedding, and really added so much to each bouquet.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I made my first appointment at Bella Vista in Columbia. I did not expect to find a dress in my price range, but still wanted to look. Due to the short timeline, I had to buy a dress off the rack as there was not enough time to order one. We picked out several dresses. I know it doesn’t work this way for most people, but the first dress I picked out and tried on was honestly the one! It did have one strap that I wanted to take off, but other than that, I loved it. I wanted to be sure, so we looked at one other store, but nothing compared to this dress. It was nothing like I thought I wanted, but I fell in love with it!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We did! Landon and Jordan from Landon Jacob Productions suggested doing a first look, and allowed us to see many pictures of “first looks” that she had photographed. After also talking with friends who had done a first look, we decided that it was what we wanted. Our biggest concern was that it would take away from the moment when I walked down the aisle, but it actually built the excitement! Another reason that we chose to do a first look was because we were concerned with losing light for pictures. Seeing each other prior to the ceremony was great for us. It gave us time together and calmed some nerves! We would absolutely recommend it!
We wanted to choose songs for our ceremony that represented the ultimate purpose of our marriage: God’s display of His constant and perfect love for us through Jesus Christ. I walked down the aisle to “Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by Ascend the Hill, which was a wonderful correlation of marriage and our relationship with God. We chose to take communion with our guests as “Resurrection (He Lives)” by Joel Davis. We had two extremely talented friends perform the music for our ceremony. They played an original song as we walked back up the aisle. We danced to “That’s Where It’s At” by Sam Cooke as our first dance.
I love this shot, below!! Even more than the sweet, happy kiss the newlyweds are sharing, I adore the faces of the guests behind them.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My favorite moment of the day was when we had our first look. There was so much anticipation, and I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed. But once I saw Michael, it was like none of that mattered. I was right where I wanted to be! We had a few minutes to ourselves and I felt so calm and peaceful, but mostly excited! I was reminded that I get to marry my best friend! We got to laugh, cry, and be silly together. It was great!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Our black and white striped tablecloths! It absolutely made that room! We loved 701 Whaley from the beginning, but with the high ceilings and large windows, we wanted to find something to really pop in that room. Jessica suggested looking into black and white tablecloths, and it was the perfect addition! They were classy, yet simple!
The biggest challenge that we faced was the timeline. We chose a shorter engagement (four months). A lot of people thought we were crazy, but we were ready to be married! The biggest detail with a short engagement was the venue. We looked at a lot of different options, but due to the time of year and short timeframe, we ended up having to be flexible on the date. We were blessed with being able to have our ceremony at Main Street United Methodist Church and our reception at 701 Whaley. We loved it! We wanted all of our events (rehearsal dinner, bridal luncheon, ceremony, reception) to be in downtown Columbia, and it worked out!
We felt so blessed to have our friend, Gwyn Marie Pevonka make a chalkboard mural for the reception. She did an amazing job, and it was a fun personal touch! We are so grateful that she offered to make that for us!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I really wanted to have barbeque at our wedding. I love barbeque, and felt like it was the big Southern thing that I wanted. A friend of ours had used Fancy That! Catering and suggested that we try it out. I went and had one bite of their barbeque and didn’t need to look any further! Fancy That! was great to work with. They provided lots of options in our price range. Along with the barbeque, we had baked chicken, green beans, a mashed potato bar, macaroni and cheese, fruit trays, and cheese and crackers. It was amazing, and the perfect Southern addition!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: We had a last minute change of plans with the cake, but ended up with a beautiful DIY cake by Jessica from Parkside Wedding Studio. I ended up choosing a small, round, two-layer white cake. Jessica then decorated the cake with flowers from the wedding and edible gold flakes. She did a better job decorating than any bakery I’ve seen by far! For the guests, we ordered chocolate and vanilla sheet cakes.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met in the fall of 2005 at Anderson University. I was a freshman, and Michael was a junior. Michael led an organization on campus that I began to attend in order to get to know people. We became friends and served together in the organization which led to many trips together alongside friends. When Michael graduated in 2007, he moved to Columbia, SC (my hometown) to help with a new church. The lead pastor of the new church was actually the husband of my best friend. When I graduated in 2009, I moved back to Columbia, unsure of what my next steps would be. We remained good friends while there. People often made little jokes that we should date which we both continually blew off. We insisted that we were just friends. It wasn’t until the summer of 2011 that anything started between us. We went on a trip to NYC over July 4 with another friend. I was planning to move to NYC, but on that trip, I felt like it wasn’t the right time. Coincidentally, it was there when I first realized that I had feelings for Michael. Yet, it wasn’t until January 2012 that Michael worked up the nerve to ask me on our first date. Technically, you could say I asked Michael to go to a work function with me first and he said, “yes,” but refusing to be outdone he then immediately asked me on a date for the weekend before. We still debate over to who asked whom on the first date!
Describe the proposal. Michael did a phenomenal job making our proposal incredibly special for the both of us! For months, he had me thinking that he was on a different time line, so I had no idea that it was going to be as soon as it was. In September 2012, Michael and his family invited me to go to the opening game of Clemson University’s football season at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta against Auburn. The night of the game, Michael asked me if I would like to get a very early breakfast the next morning with my best friend who had moved to Atlanta — like 6 am early. At first I thought it sounded a little strange, but shrugged it off and told him that would be fine. The next morning on our way to our very early “breakfast,” I fell asleep in the car. When I woke up, we were pulling up to the airport. I asked him what we were doing and he said, “We’re going to New York for the day!” He had me fooled for months because we had talked about how fun and spontaneous it would be to go to New York City again, but just for the day. A proposal never even crossed my mind. We got to New York around 9:30, and took a taxi to the Upper West Side to have breakfast on the patio at Fred’s, one of my favorite little restaurants in Manhattan. After breakfast, we walked around and then decided to go to Central Park. Central Park is my favorite place in Manhattan and, coincidentally, also the place where I first thought, “I think I like Michael!” Knowing this, he took me on a walk for the “perfect view of the city.” We didn’t find it, but we did find a beautiful meadow to sit in. Pretty soon after we sat down, Michael told me that he had a gift for me, and he pulled out a Bible. I had mentioned many times that I wanted a new Bible, and was so appreciative. He told me that he wrote something in it, and at this point I start putting the pieces together. As I frantically flipped through the Bible, he took it from me and turned to Ephesians 5 and read a portion of it, explaining that he wanted to commit the rest of his life to loving me and our family in the same way that Jesus has loved us. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Without hesitation I said, “Yes!” We looked around, unsure of what to do next and were stunned that the world was still going on around us. After calling several friends and family, we spent the rest of the day walking around the city, going to Brooklyn, and finally taking a flight back to Atlanta that night. His parents were waiting to celebrate with us when we got back to Atlanta. It was so much fun and could not have been more perfect!
In what month did you get married? December
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax and enjoy being engaged! It will all get done, and what doesn’t get done no one will even notice. Being engaged is so much fun, but can be stressful. Just take things one day at a time, and decide what are the most important things. And remember, you are marrying your best friend! That’s the most important thing to work on — your future marriage. The wedding details will come together!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We don’t have any big plans, just learning to be married and love each other well!