In April of 2012, amidst a sea of Match.com messages full of humble (and not so humble) bragging, Lauren spotted one that stood out. "It simply read, 'What is your favorite Mumford and Sons song?'" says the bride of her first message from her now-husband Brenden. Nearly 100 emails later, she finally asked him when he was going to ask her out. "Our first date ended at a café in Greenwich Village that's literally across the street from my old apartment," says Lauren. "I had a midnight curfew because I was supposed to help my mom move the next morning, but I stayed out until 3 A.M. and was completely useless to her the next day. Thankfully, she adores Brenden and eventually forgave him!"
Two years later, with a little help from some friends, Brenden lured Lauren to Gantry Park in Long Island City, where a group of their friends held signs that read "WILL YOU...," and Brenden got on one knee. "We always joked that he'd never be able to surprise me, but I was shocked!" says Lauren. Since they both grew up in the New York area, they had a mutual love for the Hudson Valley, which made searching for a venue much easier. When they found Shadow Lawn, they knew it was the perfect spot for their open-air ceremony and whimsically glamorous barn reception. "We really wanted to find the balance between rustic and elegant," the bride says. We'd say they nailed it! Check out this September 26, 2015, wedding, photographed by Lauren Fair Photography, below!
Pops of burgundy were perfect for the mid-fall celebration, and the gorgeous floral invitation liner hinted at the wedding palette to come. Lauren added a little blush to her bridal ensemble with crystal-adorned pumps from SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker. Her Sarah Seven wedding dress, with an A-line skirt and a beaded bodice over a silk slip, was actually the second dress she purchased. "I bought a different dress first, but fell out of love with it," she says.
Brenden wore a classic navy tux from J.Crew, and both accented their looks with a combination of burgundy and ivory blooms — and their pup, Ollie! "We spent months trying to figure out how to incorporate him into our big day, but were worried he'd cause all sorts of problems. At the last minute (after two glasses of champagne), we decided to let him off his leash and hope for the best." Thankfully the pooch trotted right down the aisle to his parents!
Lauren's fall-hued bouquet combined burgundy and bright pink ranunculus, dahlias, Sahara roses, spray roses, magnolia leaves, raspberries, and chocolate cymbidium orchids, tied with flowing ivory ribbon.
Groomsmen matched Brenden in navy blue suits, while bridesmaids wore chiffon Joanna August dresses in a soft blush hue. Says the bride, "We had three ring bearers under the age of two. It was an adorable mess — tears, belly laughs, and a near Janet Jackson Super Bowl moment when Brenden's nephew almost pulled down his mother's dress!"
The ceremony took place on the lawn, with a petal-strewn aisle leading to an arch covered in roses, willow branches, and greenery.
Instead of hiring an officiant, the pair asked a close friend — an entertainer by profession and one of the most eloquent speakers they know — to officiate. The bride and groom wrote their own vows, and invited four of their family members to read snippets of advice to the newlyweds.
"I did so much research going into our planning process, and was worried we'd never be able to make a decision," says Lauren. "Thankfully, the moment we found our venue, photographer, videographer, florist, and caterer, it was love at first sight and we immediately stopped looking!"
Guests' escort cards were strung from lengths of twine with miniature clothespins.
Before everyone headed into the barn for dinner, they enjoyed a spread of Hudson Valley specialties, like cheese and local charcuterie, and sipped the #BeLegendary, a combination of Grey Goose Le Melon, lime juice, simple syrup, St. Germain, Lanson Brut Champagne, and a ball of cantaloupe for garnish.
In the barn, long tables were topped with garlands of magnolia leaves studded with white roses and burgundy dahlias. Each place setting featured an ivory napkin and a printed menu outlining the meal of beef short ribs, crispy cod, and a butternut squash bisque.
"We lit the barn with café lights and battery-operated tea lights &mdsah; so the barn wouldn't burn down!" says Lauren.
On the lawn, benches were covered with blankets so guests could cozy up around the bonfire later in the evening. There, everyone could enjoy obligatory s'mores!
The couple had a small cutting cake, but the main focus was on their two favorite sweets: chocolate chip cookies (his) and doughnuts from Dough Brooklyn (hers).
The couple shared a first dance to "What Would I Do Without You," by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. Two other songs that guests loved? The Hora and "What Do You Mean" by Justin Bieber!
Says the detail-oriented bride, "Everyone says no one will notice the details, but I can't tell you how many people commented on ours. If you're a bride or groom who takes pride in planning and hosting, then do sweat the small stuff — in advance of your wedding day, of course — and then relax and have fun on your big day!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Shadow Lawn || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Sarah Seven || Shoes: SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker || Jewelry: Kuty Jewelry || Hair: MG Hair & Makeup || Makeup: Mute Beauty || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August || Groom's Attire: J.Crew || Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux || Floral Design: Floresta || Invitations & Paper Goods: Minted; Love Letter Studio || Music: Beat Train Productions || Catering & Cake: Main Course Catering || Videographer: SparkStory || Photographer: Lauren Fair Photography
Looking for more fall wedding inspiration? Then check out another couple's autumnal celebration in the video below.