What would you say if you were proposed to with a ring made out of bacon? If you're Jamie O'Neill and the person proposing is your long-time girlfriend Lauren Owens, the answer is most definitely "yes!"
"We'd been dating for about seven years," says Lauren, "and I didn't want Jamie to feel the pressure of getting me a fancy ring. So I made breakfast while he was getting us coffee on a trip to Jackson Hole, and made him a ring out of bacon." Though Lauren had planned a whole speech, all she could do was present the ring and pop the question. "He asked if I was joking, and I burst into tears," she says. "The bacon grease burnt his finger when I put the ring on. It couldn't have been more perfect."
So what's a quirky couple to do for the wedding? "We hunted for a fun, inviting space that we could make our own," Lauren says. They settled on Front & Palmer in Philadelphia, and filled the room with a mixture of gold, sequins, and organic elements. Sarah Kudlack of Juniper & Dash helped fine-tune the details, and photography by Lindsay Hite of Readyluck shows them off beautifully.
"I never learned how to walk in heels," says Lauren. "Jamie and I went to the Jimmy Choo outlet and found the world's most fabulous gold flats." And where would a gold-loving bride keep her essentials except in a gold beaded clutch?
The bride's tulle a-line gown was by Reem Acra. "I had no idea what I wanted my dress to look like, but I wanted something light," says Lauren. "I smiled as soon as I put it on. There was no crying, my mom just said 'Should we buy it now or later?' and that was it." She topped her updo with a birdcage veil and carried a textured bouquet of garden roses, tulips, and lilies in white and soft pink.
Jamie donned a Paul Smith tuxedo and black Nike Air sneakers, dressed up with gold laces. His centaur cufflinks were a gift from the bride. "He kept telling our friends that the wedding was going to be centaur-themed, which drove me crazy," says Lauren. "But I knew the cufflinks would be a hit. Thank goodness for Etsy!"
The maid of honor, bridesmaid, and groom's maid wore their own deep blue and black dresses. "I loved that they each expressed their own style," says Lauren. The groomsmen wore black tuxedoes, accessorized with blue bow ties. The ladies carried pink and white bouquets of garden roses, tulips, and lilies. The groomsmen's boutonnieres featured a single tulip. Gold sequined heart pins completed their ensembles.
The ceremony took place beneath strands of fairy lights. Candles in hurricane vases lined the aisle, and guests were given pouches of confetti to toss after Jamie and Lauren's first kiss.
The couple made their ceremony personal, asking friends to turn off their phones to be really present. "Our (adult) friend Matt was the ring bearer—he took it so seriously," laughs Lauren. "Our friend Andrew was supposed to be the 'flower girl,' but he had to go on a business trip. I still wish we had those pictures!" Two friends gave readings, then Jamie and Lauren exchanged vows they'd written themselves. "They were a surprise, which made it really emotional," says Lauren. Jamie's father officiated the ceremony—but refused to rehearse beforehand!
"Needless to say, we were a little anxious, but he did great," Lauren says.
Gold glitter made yet another appearance on the place cards, made by the maid of honor. The couple offered guests two signature cocktails, as well as a champagne and gin Punch of Honor.
The reception space was quite literally dripping in gold. Tables were topped with gold and blush sequined linens and guests sat on gold Chiavari chairs. Centerpieces added a pop of color, featuring lilies and peonies in orange, coral, and pink. Antlers scattered around the centerpieces added a natural touch. "I loved all the textures, from the wooden floors to the light fixtures to the sequins," says Lauren.
"We took the food very seriously," says the bride. Guests chose between filet of beef, striped bass, and seitan picatta. "I was so glad to have really delicious vegan options so my maid of honor could eat well, too."
An instant camera took the place of the guest book.
Jamie and Lauren's first dance was a mash-up of "It Takes Two (To Make a Thing Go Right)" by Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock and "Let Me Clear My Throat" by DJ Kool. "We practiced our choreography for months, and stayed up late the night before practicing until we nailed it," says Lauren. "Of course, just as we were being announced, I totally blanked!" The newlyweds struggled through the moves, laughing the whole time. "It was still pretty impressive!" And the dance party continued from there, with Lauren dancing so hard that she broke the boning in her dress's bodice!
The couple visited Cabo San Lucas for their honeymoon, where they "ate dozens of tacos and slept 13 hours a night," says Lauren. "It was glorious." Looking back, Lauren is so thankful for the people she and Jamie surrounded themselves with. "Our maid of honor and best man brought down the house with their speeches, and were so helpful," says Lauren. "I had a hard time letting go of the things I couldn't control, but on the day of our wedding, having people we love brought the beauty and fun of the day into focus."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Front & Palmer || Wedding Planner: Sarah Kudlack of Juniper & Dash || Bride's Wedding Dress: Reem Acra, from Elizabeth Johns || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Jewelry: The bride's mother, Elizabeth Johns || Hair: Jill Kozar of Up Your Do || Makeup: Cheekadee || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Elizabeth Johns, Alvina Valenta || Groom's Attire: Paul Smith || Wedding Bands: Fred Doh Jewelers || Florist: Falls Flowers || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Paper Goods: The maid of honor || Music: DJ Idlemind || Catering & Cake: Feast Your Eyes || Transportation: King Limousine || Accommodations: Hotel Monaco || Videography: Birdhouse Productions || Photography: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck