These two are actually getting hitched this Saturday! They are full of fun, unique ideas, and I’m so excited for their starry night wedding. Read below for all the details of their love story and what they’re most excited for on Saturday! Photography by Brad Bierman Photography.
How did you meet?
Ha! I was actually Matthew’s boss at the Kemper Art Museum. We were just friends and co-workers at first, but we found out we had so much in common and that we really loved hanging out together. Once we realized that we wanted to have a relationship, Matthew selflessly decided to find a job elsewhere so that we could feel comfortable dating.
How long have you been together?
We count our first date at July 4, 2013, so just about five and a half years. Having a dating anniversary on the 4th of July is great because there is always a big party and magical fireworks!
Share one of your favorite dates.
I think some of our most memorable times together are when we are travelling. Exploring new cities, states, and countries is one of our favorite things to do and we have created innumerable memories while travelling the world. Two things we always try to do when we go to a new place is to visit their art museums and their craft breweries. I think that these two venues provide the perfect opportunity to explore a place in different ways: through culture and through socialization (and beer). For both of us, these “dates” give us the chance to delve into a new experience in a way that both of us find interesting and meaningful, and allows us to connect through our curiosity of new places.
When did you know he/she was the one?
Lauren: I wouldn’t say there was one moment when I knew. I am just so lucky that I feel completely comfortable around him and that I get to be my true self. Even when I act like a total weirdo, he doesn’t judge me or make me feel kooky. Sometimes he will even do my macaroni dance with me 🙂
Matthew: I don’t know if there was a single moment, but really a collection or sequence of moments. We were lucky (in a weird way) to work together and develop a friendship before getting together. This has helped us to be totally real with each other, especially when it comes to being a little silly. We joke and laugh a lot, and that’s probably more indicative of us than any moment by itself.
How did he pop the question?
Lauren: I thought I was being tricky at Christmas of 2016 when I surprised him with a trip to Iceland for a gift. Little did I know that once he got that gift, he started planning a surprise of his own… The night after we landed in Iceland, and it was time for bed, Matthew couldn’t sleep. I figured he had jet lag, so I went to bed since we were going to wake up early (and I mean real early) in the morning so we could go hunt for the Northern Lights. We left the house around 5am while it was still dark to try and find a remote area to see the auroras. On the side of the road in Iceland, with no one around (except a chirping frog?) and all bundled up in coats and scarves and mittens, Matthew proposed. I think I must of blacked out because I cannot remember almost anything that he said to me. But I remember him bringing out the ring and I definitely remember saying yes. I proceeded to take off the wrong glove because I was so nervous. And then he told me not to cry, because my tears would freeze. It was perfect and unforgettable and since it happened so early in the trip, we got the pleasure of being newly engaged without all of the necessary noise of everyday life following us around. We got to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Iceland and giggle like little excited kids for a week!
Was the proposal a surprise?
Totally! We love to travel, so being somewhere besides home isn’t terribly unusual. So just because we were in Iceland didn’t make me think something big was going to happen. Especially since I had planned the trip myself. But I always knew we would get married, I just didn’t know that he would be such an expert at planning a proposal and designing a ring!
What is your favorite thing about your fiance?
Lauren: Matthew is so many great things all rolled into one. I don’t know if I have one thing that I love the most, because different things are important at different times. But I have always appreciated his curiosity. He is so smart and has a depth and breadth of knowledge that astounds me. And despite that immense knowledge, he always wants to learn more. He dives into facts and subjects and topics in a way that is inspiring and makes me want to learn more. He talks passionately about his interests and he makes you want to take a deep dive into learning in a way I have never experienced before.
Matthew: Lauren combines two of the traits I admire most in people: curiosity and empathy. Lauren is one of the smartest people I know, and in a variety of subjects. It’s crazy! What’s more, she’s constantly learning about more things, reading, listening to podcasts, etc. Lauren combines this curiosity with her incredible capacity for caring. Lauren is always looking after others, taking care of people, and trying to help others feel better. She inspires me to think more about others and to consider friends and family more in my everyday life and has really helped me to learn how to be a more empathetic person through her example.
How do you envision your wedding day?
Well, when we first started planning the wedding, we wrote down a mission statement – a guiding principle so that we could try and make our decisions based on this idea. We literally wrote down that we wanted to host a “dope-ass party that celebrates our marriage and is as anxiety-free as possible.” That is definitely true, but as we have gone through some of the pre-wedding events like the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the bridal shower, and other get-togethers, I think we just want an event where we get to spend time with the people we love the most and that we don’t let the day rush by us without taking the time to appreciate the moments and the people.
How did you decide on your venue?
We technically have two venues – Joule for the ceremony and Willow for the reception. We booked Willow first, and would it be crazy to say we booked them because of their chairs? They have great chairs. And those chandeliers! But, of course, Bailey’s food group (who runs Willow) has an outstanding reputation in St. Louis and we were happy to have them on our team. Joule really matches the feel and ambiance of Willow well, allowing us to host an event in two different spaces that still has continuity in the atmosphere.
Are there any special or family traditions you’ll be incorporating?
We will be doing a handfasting ceremony. While not a family tradition, we wanted to find something to include that felt symbolic and ritualistic. Our ceremony is secular, so we did some research to try and find something that would fit our personalities. Handfasting – where the phrase “tying the knot” comes from – just felt right for us.
I am also excited to wear a necklace that was given to me when I was 4 years old. Have you ever seen the movie Annie? That was my absolute favorite movie when I was a little girl and I watched it on repeat MANY times (sorry mom and dad). In the movie, Daddy Warbucks gives Annie an engraved heart-shaped necklace. My parents gave me one that is engraved with my name and birthday. I have a tiny photo of my family from 1992 inside and it is my most favorite treasure. I am so thrilled to wear it with my wedding dress!
What are you looking forward to most about your wedding day?
Lauren: Can I say all of the things? I am excited for everything. But I think I am most excited to be surrounded by all the people that mean the most to me. People who have traveled thousands of miles to see us. People who I haven’t seen in years. People who have supported both Matthew and I in countless ways. All of them will be with us on this most important of days and I look forward to sharing more memories with the people I love.
Matthew: One way to look at a wedding day is as the culmination of lots of things: the build up of a relationship, all the planning, the anticipation, etc. That’s somewhat true for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all the things we’ve planned come together, how our family and friends interact, and how the day itself is (weather in November is a gamble!). I’m also looking at the day as a start to our married life, so I’m looking forward to starting something new as well, and surrounded by people we love and having a big party to start on the right foot.
Stay tuned for all the beauty on the 3rd!