Though Lauren Last and Matt Johnson grew up just 30 minutes apart, they didn't meet until she was invited to join his group of friends on a chartered boat during Seattle's Seafair festival in August of 2011. "We were both on a break from dating, but life had other plans," says Lauren. "They say love happens when you're not looking!"
In keeping with the nautical theme, Matt decided that their lifelong story should also start on the water. So, with her parents' blessing, he took Lauren on a foggy cruise around San Francisco Bay, joined by her brother and cousins. "She had no idea. She was even telling her cousins about how we met on a boat during our drive to the marina," Matt laughs. After a cruise around the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, Matt handed Lauren a pair of binoculars to check out the tourists on shore. There, she saw her friends and family holding signs that spelled, "Lauren, will you marry me?"
As a former event planner herself, Lauren tackled nearly every detail of the wedding day herself — "We did everything a step at a time and didn't leave anything to the last minute," she says — and created a formal fete that reflected the couple's love of the water and each other. Clane Gessel Photography was there to document every stunning detail.
"Because we met and got engaged on a boat, we loved the idea of getting married on the water, too," says Lauren of their August 16, 2014 wedding at The Woodmark Hotel, which sits on the shores of Lake Washington, in Kirkland, Washington.
Lauren wore a Maggie Sottero dress with a sweetheart neckline and organza ruched bodice. "I wore a simple veil because my dress was so detailed," she says. The bride carried a round bouquet of ivory and peach roses, orchids and stephanotis.
Bridesmaids wore coral-hued, knee-length dresses in different styles, and each carried a nosegay of peach-and-ivory blooms. Before they slipped on their dresses, the bride and her eight 'maids lounged in bathrobes that complemented each gown — and indulged in a little champagne, of course!
The couple held their ceremony under a white tent decorated with chandeliers, ribbons and white Chiavari chairs for their 225 guests.
Lauren surprised Matt by walking down the aisle to his favorite song, "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. "The look on his face was priceless, and it's something we'll never forget!" Lauren says. "The moment you look into each other's eyes while walking down the aisle is already so special, but this meant even more."
With views of the ocean behind them, Lauren and Matt exchanged traditional vows beneath an arbor of coral and ivory flowers and willowy greens.
After waterfront cocktails, guests returned to the tent for the reception.
The couple hosted their reception beneath another tent filled, it's peaks covered in ivory fabric. Round tables were topped with low arrangements of coral roses and hydrangeas.
At their shimmering sweetheart table — set beneath the arch where they'd exchanged vows — Lauren and Matt's chairs were marked with "Mr." and "Mrs." signs.
Lauren and Matt's three-tiered white cake was decorated with a peach icing and fresh roses, and filled with strawberry cream. The bride again surprised her groom, this time with a Seahawks-themed groom's cake. "This was not only the year we got married, but the year the Seahawks won the Super Bowl," says Lauren. "Matt is the ultimate 12th man!"
Lauren and Matt honeymooned for two weeks in Hawaii, just perfect for an ocean-loving couple.
"If you're like me, you have probably spent months — lets be honest, years — envisioning every detail of you wedding day and will spend endless time planning to make it a dream come true," Lauren says to future brides. "Delegate so you can enjoy your day and focus on what's important — getting married!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Woodmark Hotel || Day-Of Coordination: Rebecca Grant of New Creations || Bride's Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Jewelry: BHLDN || Hair: Salon Maison || Makeup: Marlu A. Soria || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alfred Sung || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Black by Vera Wang || Rings: Sholdt Design, Chris Ploof || Florist: Aria Style || Invitations, Escort Cards, & Menus: Paper Passionista || Music: ceremony - Encore Four, reception - Bamboo Beats || Catering: The Woodmark Hotel || Cake: Honey Crumb || Favors: Tom Douglas || Rentals: ABC SPecial Event Rentals || Photo Booth: Phototainment || Photography: Clane Gessel Photography