Real Wedding: Lauren and Mike
My husband and I met in college, and very shortly after we began dating, we knew we wanted to be together forever. Our connection was instant. We were engaged just one short year later, but were way too young to get married so we waited another four years before actually tying the knot. Mike proposed to me at sunset on my favorite beach – West Meadow Beach in Old Field, my hometown. It was very romantic and was such a special moment in our lives.
In 2009 the fun part finally arrived – planning our wedding! Since I was a little girl, I had always wanted a very formal, lavish, “over the top” wedding, and I have my parents to thank for giving us the wedding of my dreams. Our wedding was something that Mike and I planned with my parents and my sister, since we all have very similar tastes. It was a blast. I cannot say that I had a specific theme in mind, but I did want the wedding to exude pure elegance. I wanted a very formal and upscale wedding, as did my husband, and I wanted it to be very traditional. We chose ivory, champagne, latte and pale pink as our color scheme, a timeless combination of colors.
For years, I had admired The Garden City Hotel and had pictured myself in the arms of my husband, performing our first dance in their breathtaking Grand Ballroom. Their attention to detail, fabulous food and impeccable reputation set them apart from the rest. I was praying that my dad would agree that our wedding should be held there, and I felt so blessed when he did!
I always knew that I wanted to have live music at my wedding. My husband’s family is in the music industry, and my family and I are very musically inclined, and so it was never even given a second thought to have a live band at our wedding. My dad and I went to see a few bands and when we saw Code Bleu, we knew that they were the choice for my wedding. When I brought my husband to listen to them, he agreed wholeheartedly. One thing that stands out to me the most about Code Bleu is that they learned “Bruccia La Terra,” a Sicilian song from The Godfather, so that my dad and I could dance to it at my wedding. They did such a remarkable job - it actually sounded like the original recording. It was such an incredible moment, and is a memory that will never fade in my mind. For our Cocktail Hour, we decided that a string quartet would be appropriate. We chose Code Bleu’s parent company, Skyline Orchestras, to provide the string quartet, and it was a lovely touch. They did a remarkable job and we still receive compliments regarding the performances of both Skyline Orchestras’ string quartet during our Cocktail Hour and Code Bleu during our reception.
My planning process was not as stressful as most brides. I didn’t have an exact vision for my flower arrangements, theme or the like, so I was very open to suggestion and I think this helped make the process run more smoothly. Robert with Pedestals really saw what I was aiming for and made absolutely exquisite creations. We could not have been more thrilled with the flowers he gave us on our wedding day. They really brought everything together and made for wonderful photographs!
For me, the most memorable parts of our wedding day were walking down the aisle, taking our vows, seeing the Grand Ballroom for the first time, and witnessing my sister’s Maid of Honor toast. Walking down the aisle at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Bay Shore was so emotional for me. It was an incredible moment to hear the trumpet and organ blasting, knowing it was my turn to walk down the aisle. Having my dad at my side, and seeing my husband at the end of that aisle was one of the most dramatic moments of my life. I cried halfway down the aisle and was filled with utter joy, as my dad held my arm and my soon to be husband stood waiting for me with tears in his eyes, too. I also became emotional during our vows. My husband and I had been together for five years and lived in different states for half that time. We also never lived together so we were so incredibly happy to know that we could FINALLY be together forever. Ironically, we were married the day after our five year anniversary.
When we arrived at The Garden City Hotel and saw the Grand Ballroom for the first time, it took our breath away. It was absolutely exquisite and even more than we had imagined. We knew it would be a night to remember. My sister’s Maid of Honor toast was special not only because she is my best friend, but also because she put so much love into it and did an absolutely incredible job. So many people, including the members of Code Bleu, told her it was the best Maid of Honor/Best Man toast they had ever heard. We are so lucky to have it recorded on video by Imagine Studios so that we may treasure it forever. Another memorable part of our wedding was when my dad sang. He sang Billy Joel’s, “I Love You Just the Way You Are,” which was my parents’ wedding song. He sang it to my mom since they were celebrating 30 years of marriage. My dad has an incredible voice so everyone was really “wowed.”
One aspect of our wedding that stood out to our guests the most was probably the food and drink that were provided. We served Moët & Chandon for our champagne toast, and it was available for our guests throughout the evening as well. We had a top shelf open bar that included all the finest liquors, and we served our signature drink, Santorini Sunset, during Cocktail Hour. We named it this because we were leaving for our honeymoon in Greece the following day, and one of our stops would be the lovely island of Santorini, known worldwide for its exquisite sunsets. Our signature drink featured the Greek liquor Metaxa and was quite a hit with our guests! Some favorites during Cocktail Hour were the sushi and sashimi bar, the raw bar, and the Peking duck station. For our appetizer, we served a lobster sampling plate for each guest, and for our main course there was a choice between swordfish and filet mignon. As for our white and red wines, we served Pouilly-Fumé and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, respectively. These French wines were enjoyed by our guests throughout the evening. Another favorite of the night was the Haagen-Dazs sundae bar we added to our Viennese Hour. My father-in-law said that our wedding was so impeccable that for any of his friends who asked how the wedding was, he told them that the only difference between a wedding at the White House and our wedding was the location. I know it’s more than a stretch but it was wonderful to hear how blown away our guests were. We were humbled by the compliments received.
If I were to give future brides one piece of advice, it would be to start planning at least a year in advance, and only focus on one to three vendors at a time. We first chose our venue, then our church, and then we focused on our music choices. After that, we focused on photography, videography and flowers. After those were chosen, we focused on the next two vendors, and so on. This absolutely made the process less overwhelming and made the entire experience much more pleasant. And always keep in mind that it is the MARRIAGE you are celebrating, not the wedding. Always cherish the love you share, and remember to take moment on your wedding day to sit back and just take it all in. It goes by in a flash and you want to remember that special day forever. We wish future brides and grooms all the happiness and love in the world!
Note: ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF IMAGINE STUDIOS