With the breathtaking views at Promise Ridge in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Lauren and Allen had a natural and authentic microwedding. What was most important to the couple was that the venue and ceremony were both a genuine reflection of their love for each other and for nature. It absolutely was just that. The images showcase such a beautiful union that we are excited to share with you.
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How did you meet?
Allen and I met at an old dive bar in Bethlehem. We were each there alone, and when a stool finally opened up next to me, he moved over and struck up a conversation. (But I confess I immediately noticed him standing outside when I first walked in!) We bonded over loving the outdoors and music, and he shared that he wrote, sang, and played the guitar. He had even been to the same Black Angels concert that year that I had bought tickets to but couldn’t attend because of a blizzard! We also did our fair share of arguing over politics that night, but we enjoyed challenging each other. Allen was so intelligent and easy to talk to that I immediately wanted to learn all about him. I knew that week that he was unlike anyone else I would ever meet, and that I wanted him in my life forever. I was so happy this handsome Texas-born man made it all the way to that tiny bar in Bethlehem, PA!
What was your proposal like?
His proposal was sweet and genuine. He set up a series of lyrical clues that led me to favorite objects in our home and ended with him down on one knee, asking me to be his wife. Just hearing him say the word “wife” felt so powerful, and I could barely concentrate on the midterm I had to take that night!
What was your favorite design detail?
My favorite details were the natural beauty of Promise Ridge, and of the wildflower-inspired bouquet Allium Floral designed for me. I’m especially happy I had Allium also make me a floral crown. I loved it so much I wore it all day and night!
What was most helpful on the day of the wedding?
I know many brides get ready separately from their grooms, but for me, being with my partner the whole morning helped me to feel more excited than nervous, and I would have been much less calm without him.
What was going through your mind when you saw your significant other for the first time that day?
I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and excitement that this man was about to become my husband. I was always so proud to be Allen’s friend, girlfriend, and fiancée. That day, today, and every day, I am now so proud to be his wife.
What made you cry?
Hearing my processional song (John Lennon’s “Oh My Love”) and recessional song (Johnny Flynn’s “Detectorists Theme Song”) made me emotional because it reminded me of the time Allen and I spent together planning and imagining those moments. But I really cried when my father shared a story during his toast about the conversation we had before Allen and I moved into our apartment together. I had told my father that for the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt truly happy, and felt I could trust Allen with anything. I didn’t know it then, but that conversation made my dad tear up with happiness. This was a reminder of how much our wedding meant not just to Allen and me, but to the parents who watched our love grow these past five years.
What was something unique that you did?
One unique decision was simply choosing to have a small ceremony with only family in attendance. It was one I stressed over early on, because I knew I would miss seeing friends and extended family. But I wanted the day to be more about our commitment than about hosting a party. And I was especially grateful we made that choice given how current events later changed the nature of public gatherings. Beyond that, I’m glad Allen and I made our own music playlist (filled with plenty of Beatles!), and that Allium was able to use my own antique glass bottles for a small cake table display.
What moment was most important for you to have captured by the photographer?
It was wonderful to have our vows fully captured, because we wrote our own, and they meant a lot to us. The highlight film Dearly Beloved Weddings made is something I will always cherish and come back to in times of both happiness and sadness. I’m also thankful we got photos of my father seeing me in my dress for the first time, and of our families together. Family photos are certainly easier with professional photographers!
What was your favorite moment of the wedding day (if you had to pick just one)?
Just seeing both of our families look so happy and proud during the ceremony made me feel such tremendous gratitude for that day, and for the people who have always loved and supported us. And walking hand in hand with Allen down the aisle also gave me feelings of immense joy and trust in the world that I will never forget.
What surprised you?
While I wanted it to be this way, I was still pleasantly surprised by how emotional and meaningful the day felt for Allen and me. Keeping the ceremony small helped us focus on the story of our love and on our vows to each other. I took my promises to him very seriously, and I know he felt the same about his.
What would you do differently?
The wedding was so beautiful and positive, so I mainly wish that I trusted myself more throughout the planning process. I think it’s important to go with your gut and not second guess too many decisions, because managing stress matters for everyone involved. I would tell engaged couples to keep in mind that the joy and excitement of their day are going to carry them through any issues that arise. So it’s worth focusing more on the meaning of the day than on the many small details it can be easy to worry about.
What was most helpful in the planning process?
The greatest help was simply finding local vendors who felt right for me, and whom I felt I could trust knowing they had each worked together before and spoke highly of each other’s work. Choosing to do a microwedding also helped me narrow my focus to the vendors who mattered most to me. Each of them was great at understanding my style and communicating throughout the planning, and so finding the vendor “matches” you feel comfortable with is a great help.
What made you laugh? Did you have an unforgettable funny moment?
Just seeing both our families together made me smile, and I loved that we were able to relax together afterwards at brunch, and while opening presents at our house.
Leading up, what moment was most important to you?
All of the moments where Allen and I discussed what we wanted the day to look like felt really special, because they reminded me of how much we value each other’s tastes and input. It felt natural to involve him in the planning, and especially to get his input on my dress and flowers. While I’m sure I stressed him out plenty of times, I’m glad everything we chose for our wedding was chosen together.
What advice would you give to couples who are currently in the planning process?
I would tell couples that the planning is important to do together, and that if you can commit to trying to focus on the marriage itself above everything else, the process can ultimately bring you closer. I dealt with a lot of unexpected stress trying to plan even a small wedding during a pandemic that was obviously so much bigger than me and my day. But having a partner, and parents, to help and encourage me was a constant reminder to focus on the love first and foremost.
What is something you wished someone would have told you in preparation for your wedding day?
Something I was told, but couldn’t believe until I experienced it myself, is that the excitement and magic of that special day will outweigh all the little details and unforeseen hiccups. Looking back, more than anything else, I remember the love I felt for Allen and our families.
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|| Photography/Videography: Dearly Beloved Weddings || Venue: Promise Ridge || Cake: Kitchen Chemistry || Invitations: Designed by the Bride; Printed by Prints of Love || Wedding Gown: Sposabella Bridal || Menswear: Asos || Jewelry: Point No Point Studio purchased at Love Locked Jewelry (Engagement Ring) || Reception Venue: The Steel Club ||