Dreamlike installations of sleek florals paired with a facade of monochrome marble offered a far from traditional styling take on exchanging vows.
Inside a magnificent space of luminous light, Lauren & Federico’s opulent ceremony befitted the magic of Lauren’s sculptured lace gown, quintessentially traditional with a train of elegant plumage..
Referencing the contemporary theme of the ceremony, the gallery space held their reception. A spectrum of sterling tints with dramatic botanical displays were the perfect alchemy of details to create an uninterrupted sensory experience for guests…
Stunningly photographed my MK Sadler..
NAMES: Lauren Elizabeth Lanni & Federico William Castellucci III
WEDDING DATE: March 5, 2016
GUEST NUMBERS: 275
HOW WE MET: We met at Cornell University in 2006, the fall of our senior year, almost via set-up from my now sister-in-law. She was two years younger, but we were in the same sorority, and her brother, who was my same age, was in a fraternity we were friendly with. She hosted a little pre-game and invited us both. I saw Fred from across the room, and once we locked eyes it was over (at least for me!). There was something infectious about him … fun followed wherever he went, and I was quickly drawn into the vortex. Our courtship started in a very typical college manner. We would meet up at parties or bars, go to greek date functions together and before we could catch our breath the occasional hang out turned into a 10 year romance. I moved to London after graduation to take my first job and Fred back to Atlanta, his hometown, to take over his then struggling family business. We kept in touch despite the 6-hour time difference and I flew to Atlanta one of the first weekends I was back in the states that fall. The long distance lasted for 4 years - A LONG TIME. But love, honesty and the vow to always communicate openly kept us together, and somehow despite the miles between us, we continued to grow closer. I moved to Atlanta in the Spring of 2011, and it’s been a whirlwind since. I wouldn’t trade our love story for any other and know that I married the man meant for me. I still remember what he was wearing the night we met, and when we purge his t-shirt draw every year I make sure to tuck that one away so I never risk losing it!
OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY: Fred proposed to me in August 2014. At that point we had been dating for almost eight years. We had certainly talked about marriage and knew we were headed down that path. Earlier that year, we went to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day and after guzzling 3 glasses of champagne I gave him “the talk”. I told him that this was it and that I was hoping for a ring by the end of the year. He sunk in his chair and also proceeded to guzzle wine while two couples seated at tables next to us got engaged moments after my ultimatum speech. Timing was impeccable.
Anyways, flash forward to the end of the summer, we were headed to London to attend a dear friend’s wedding. Fred had been acting a bit strange, but he was also recovering from a pretty bad concussion (birthday party accident earlier that month) and had a terrible stomach bug. He was irritable and testy when I tried to help him pack for our trip and he was possessive over his bags during our travel - I thought it was odd, but I also didn’t realize he was hiding my ring the entire time. We made it through the wedding and the next morning Fred was awake before the sun came up. He was pacing around the room, urged me to get up and go for a run, asked me to change outfits a few times before we headed out for our one day to explore London. At this point I knew his behavior was strange, but engagement was the last thing I was thinking about. We went out to breakfast and he didn’t eat anything and he rushed me out of the restaurant. We walked into Hyde Park to see the gardens and he quickly asked me to walk a certain way - which happened to be away from all the flowers and people and into a random empty field with a single tree. I primped my hair for a photo and turned around to find him down on one knee with the ring box popped open. At this moment time stood still. I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I said YES before he could finish his speech. We spent the next many hours on a complete adrenaline high. We rode the London Eye, had high tea at the Corinthia hotel and then we dinner at Hester Blumenthal’s famous restaurant, Dinner. Neither of us remember anything other than the elation we felt. Since we were abroad the news was just ours for the entire day. It was really nice to spend the rest of the day just us - not on the phone with Mom, Dad, sister, best friends, etc. To this day I don’t know how he pulled it off. I think I was a detective in my prior life and it’s VERY hard to sneak anything by me. This was executed flawlessly and I will be forever thankful.
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS: True partnership. To love, honor and respect each other unconditionally, and no matter the circumstances. To support individuality while challenging each other to be the best versions ourselves. To build a life together that is bright and rich that celebrates family, friendship and adventure.
WEDDING LOCATION: At this stage in our adulthood, we would consider ourselves wedding attendee pros. We have traveled all over the world from Thailand, to England, to Napa Valley to Little Rock, AK to celebrate with different friends. Every couple chooses the sequence of their event differently, but we honestly just wanted to keep things simple -- limiting bus rides, waiting times, breaks, and other unnecessary downtime. Our goal from the beginning was to create an intimateness, even though we were having a large wedding. We hoped that time would stand still and wanted our guests to just absorb the moment without having to think about where they needed to be and how or why. That said, we held the ceremony and reception all in one place, in a historic old building that used to be a soap manufacturing facility on the westside of Atlanta. Built in the 1920’s, the building was a beauty on it’s own and fit in perfectly with our idea of a modern classic wedding. The large windows and therefore excess of natural light and all of the old exposed brick were a photographer’s dream (I am sure Meghan would opine!!). We got married inside - Fred hates to be overheated and couldn’t take a risk with humidity messing with my hair! The ceremony was short, but we made every part count. A string quartet took care of the music and everyone in our wedding party had their own moment walking down the aisle. Fred pulled up the rear for the groomsmen and then my ladies in all their glory followed. We took a pause for a song change before my Dad and I entered - such an overwhelming moment, but all I remember is tunnel vision and staring straight ahead at Fred. We asked our wedding parties to take seats during the entire ceremony so it was just the two of us and the officiant standing in front our friends and family to take our vows. The officiant started with an opening prayer and some remarks about Fred and I -- his words of advice are engrained in my mind. After that, my godmother and Fred’s brother each did a reading, the first the traditional Corinthians, and the second a Robert Frost poem. We then exchanged rings and “I do’s” and then a huge kiss before Fred raised his hands in victory, as if he just won the Superbowl. You can see from the photos as we are walking back down the aisle -- neither of us could contain our excitement.
THEME/STYLE: Amy, our wedding designer, and I spent a lot of time on this. We had imagination sessions, attempted pinterest (I am so bad at it!), and created moodboards for each element of the event to ensure we kept on track delivering on theme and style. I would describe the event as sophisticated, elegant, lush and welcoming. We wanted a modern wedding with industrial flair while adding softness with neutral colors, organic textures, greenery and delicate blooms. Our color palette was a bit complex, with a primary focus on neutrals through creams and shades of grey, building saturation with mocha and adding touches of gold, natural greens, black and marble. The space was adorned with lush draping and romantic candlelight to create warmth.
(Interview continues beneath gallery..)
PHOTOGRAPHY: We hired Meghan Sadler to do all of our photographic work. I was drawn to her editorial portfolio and liked that she wasn’t a traditional “wedding photographer”. Her shoots was artistic and adventurous and nothing seemed rehearsed. Her subjects seemed so at ease, and were all gorgeous. I signed a contract without ever even speaking to her! We flew her to Atlanta from California and met her the night of our rehearsal dinner. Despite the brevity of our relationship (less than 48 hours!) we were fast friends. She understood Fred and I without any explanation and there was a natural comfortness with her. Her camera had a magnetic connection with our smiles and she was able to capture our true raw emotion - the photos literally look alive! I am not sure how she does it but she is pure genius.
BRIDE’S DRESS: I wanted something timeless - a dress that was classic, elegant and glamorous, and that would take Fred’s breath away. The shopping part was WAY easier than I anticipated. My mom, sister and I met in NYC and had a series of appointments. I skipped Kleinfield’s and chose to visit designer showrooms -- Carolina Herrera, Reem Acra, and Inbal Dror to name a few. I swooned over Elie Saab gowns for years and ended up visiting the Pronovias salon where some of his gowns are featured. Before even trying on an Elie, my fitting room was full of Pronovias. It was my last stop on an epic day and we ended up purchasing the last gown I tried on. The dress was called Presea, which means fast, easy and free in English -- it definitely wasn’t free!! but the decision to say yes to this dress was both fast and easy. It was a fitted soft mermaid style satin dress with lace appliques, an abstract sweetheart with an illusion neckline and an open back. The veil was also Pronovias, cathedral length with lace applique and trim. The veil had a blushes, but I chose to leave it flipped back for a layered effect.
I changed for the after-party into the Herve Leger Giulia dress. It was an ivory silver studded body-con dress. It had contour bands, skin-baring cutouts and the hardware to add a tough by luxe finish. I saw Kendall Jenner wearing it on the runway and I had to have it!
BRIDE'S SHOES: I wore the Jimmy Choo Lance Sandal in crushed champagne. I opted to choose a style that I knew I could dance my pants off in -- I have this shoe in three other colors and knew it wouldn’t let me down on my biggest night.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: I asked each bridesmaid to choose their own dress. I wanted each of my ladies to feel amazing, and knew selecting one style just wouldn’t cut it. They range in height from 5’ 1” (my sister!) to 6’ 2” (Fred’s sister!) with lots of variation in between! If you line these ladies up they could rival Taylor Swift’s squad -- I don’t know a group of gals who are more beautiful, inspirational and special than my six besties. I supplied them with a moodboard, of course, and asked them to select a flattering formal black floor length gown to suit their individuality. We opted for clean makeup and loosely structured hairstyles to keep a clean aesthetic. Modern gold accessories were also their choice.
FLOWERGIRLS/PAGEBOY OUTFITS: We didn’t have either - kept the party 21 and older on purpose!
WEDDING RINGS: Our weddings rings and my engagement ring were designed by Ascot Diamonds. Fred chose my engagement ring without any input from family or friends - so typical for him - and ended up selecting the exact style I had secretly always dreamed of, a solitaire round stone in a simple platinum setting; timeless and classic. My wedding ring is channel set diamonds and his is yellow gold. Rather than the traditional date and inscription ring engraving we chose a lyric from one of our favorite songs by Ra Ra Riot, “Can You Tell.” We fell in love with this band, and this specifically this song. The line “my bed’s too big for just me”, which is inscripted on the inside of both of our rings, embodies the bond that we share.
JEWELRY / ACCESSORIES: I opted to keep it simple, allowing the dress take the main stage. I wore a diamond tennis bracelet and diamond stud earrings, also from Ascot.
GROOMSMEN ATTIRE: Fred is one dapper gent. Our inspiration for his look was James Bond - specifically Sean Connery. He wore a custom Sid Mashburn tuxedo with all the classic touches made from the most luxurious black Italian wool from Loro Piana. Fred wore black patent leather Christian Louboutins and had moon and star cufflinks that I gave him on our wedding day. The cufflinks had special meaning - tied to the Coldplay song Sky Full of Stars - which made a significant appearance during our wedding reception. He loosened his tuxedo look for the after-party and threw on a pair of Bottega Veneta high tops for comfort.
You may be asking who is Sid Mashburn? Sid and his wife Ann own a store in Atlanta which sells a combination of their own designed-and-produced clothing and a curated selection of their favorite brands. To us, Sid’s clothing, specifically his tailored work, represents the epitomy of modern American style - classic and iconic with an ever so slight Southern accent.
HAIR: The lovely and talented Claudia Mejerle was in charge of my hair and makeup. I hired her sight-unseen with strong recommendation from Amy Osaba over a year before my wedding. We met and did a test run one week before the big day and it was love at first trial! I was most nervous about these elements of my look, and was so pleasantly put at ease by Claudia. She has a gentleness about her and once I surrendered, it was magic. She is insanely talented and nailed the hair on her first attempt. We ended up choosing a low knot, pulling the front and sides all back, but kept a touch of volume on the top for a modern edge.
Claudia was also responsible for hair and makeup for my sister
and mother, and her glam squad, Raney O’Keefe and Hope
Ferguson took charge for the rest of the ladies. Everyone looked
like the most beautiful and glamorous versions of themselves,
exactly what I had hoped for.
MAKEUP: I asked for a more dramatic clean look and let Claudia run it. I love makeup and encouraged her not to hold back. The makeup for the wedding featured a bold eye and a bright cheek with a softer saturated lip. Somehow I was picture ready by 3pm and didn’t touch-up once between then and the after-party lip color change! The bright red lip for our grand exit added some spice!
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Julie DeWalt, owner and creative director at Gather + Co, was tasked with all of the paper goods and our website. The stationary was a minimal design-style, with refined typography and mixed metals offset by natural textures.
Our save-the-dates were grey with gold foil, simply stating the date and our names on the front. We used a matching grey envelope and a custom stamp. We wanted our wedding invitations to have presence. The invitation suite came in a grey box with a white label and gold type, wrapped in a plastic self sealing package. Inside, guests unfolded a custom geometric print white and gold tissue to first see a rectangular piece of plexi-glass adorned with our logo in gold. Behind that the invitation in white stock with grey letterpress and then all of the additional enclosures including reply cards and other weekend information on white stock with either black or gold type. All fonts were custom designed by Julie.
Amy wanted to do something unique and different for our table assignment board; we wanted something non-traditional, yet still clean and modern in design. Amy, her team, and Julie DeWalt created a floating wall that was large enough to hold the 250+ names and make a statement, but it was still cohesive with the overall look and feel of our wedding.
Julie also created a menu that was modern and sleek, and it paired well with the gold flatware and glassware we had styled on the table. Dennis Dean Catering had beautiful charcuterie boards and delicious bread that helped put the finishing touches on the table!
FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: We skipped the favors and threw an after-party!
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS: Amy Osaba and her creative team were in charge of the florals and greenery. Kind of a funny story, I stalked Amy via instagram for years leading up to my wedding; I was literally obsessed with her floral design. I felt like I knew her and we hadn’t even ever exchanged emails! She was the first vendor I contacted after my engagement and then I basically blindly trusted her in the execution of the entire event, not just for florals. Her work and eye for design is exceptional. She is edgy and a bit quirky and I love her. We worked so well together and honestly, other than me liking her instagram posts, we didn’t spend much time deliberating the floral design. I was most excited about this element of decor and wanted to be surprised. I gave her creative license to do what she does best, and it was sheer perfection. We used a combination of flower boxes, floral arrangements in various sizes and overhead greenery installation to give the room life. I almost cried when I saw my bouquet - everything she touches is gold. I guarantee she didn’t realize she was signing up for 18-months of dealing with me :-) Fortunately, I think we would both agree that not only was the wedding an enormous success, but our friendship is also a pretty cool result. I owe her everything.
VIDEOGRAPHY: At the last minute, and we would highly recommend it, we hired a videographer. A friend told us that, especially at a wedding our size, it would be impossible for us to see or participate in everything happening in the room. The videographer could capture moments -- the special ones like vows and speeches -- but could also surprise us with treasured moments that we weren’t even experiencing. We have yet to see the footage, but are so happy with our decision to have this done.
We also had a smilebooth - think modern version of a photobooth. Smilebooth is a mini photography studio that inspires creative fabulous-looking photographs, animated GIFs and videos that are instantly social media ready and shareable. It got a ton of use (maybe the best $$ we spent!) and was another way we could share in moments. Our friends could load their pictures and videos directly to their phones, and we were able to look through all of the footage captured throughout the course of the evening. Definitely a highlight.
PREPARATION: Fred and I both got ready at the Loews hotel in Atlanta - where all of our wedding party was staying. I woke up at 4AM and watched Full House re-runs until 7:30AM and then hit the gym with my trainer Julie Belknap (she and I worked on my Jennifer Aniston arms for over a year), hit cryotherapy and my juice bar just like it was any regular morning. I was back in the bridal suite by 10am and the first round of hair and makeup for the ladies was underway. We had breakfast and then lunch delivered to our room and kept things light and breezy. I started hair and make-up around 12:30PM and was tucked away along with Claudia for that time. I wanted the moment to reflect on the day and did some meditation to stay calm. We left for the ceremony around 3PM so we could take pictures and relax at the venue before the main event. The girls and I shared some champagne and light bites in a small tucked away room to stay busy!
The groomsmen had a more active day -- most hitting various forms of exercise, a group trip to cryotherapy (as you can see Fred and I both swear by this) and then met to have lunch. They all got dressed together and went outside for some easy picture taking before they came over to the ceremony. Once at the venue, they shared a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle to ease the nerves.
Fred and I both gave our wedding parties gifts, the gents all wore their gifts, and the ladies was a small collection of items I use for pampering. I figured they would all need them to recover! We wrote each other cards, and each wrote our parents cards. Opening and reading Fred’s card to me was one of the most special moments of the entire day.
CEREMONY DÉCOR/ RECEPTION DÉCOR: I think we hit on most of these elements above…but there were a few other details to note- We wanted to make a big statement at the ceremony altar, but wanted a design that still had that “clean line look.” Amy and her team dreamed up a 12ft marble wall that served as our ceremony backdrop - it was light, airy, modern and went along with the rest of the decor. They softened the ceremony site by adding lush, mocha draping and organic wildflower boxes. Amy and her team also created a gorgeous all-greenery installation that hung over the aisle and helped lead guests’ eyes towards the altar. The ceremony space was flipped during cocktail hour, so the installation also hung over the estate table during the reception. We kept the lighting for the ceremony very light and airy; to change things up, we added some dramatic, concentrated lighting to the installation for the reception. We also had a few furniture vignettes that our guests loved - it created another a sort of lounge area in the reception space and allowed guests to relax. The furniture was very reflective of our style: modern with a mid-century flair.
CAKE: We chose a geometric cake taking inspiration from our white and gold custom print from Julie. The cake was three tiers of off-setting squares, with an ivory buttercream frosting accented with gold paint. I honestly can’t remember the cake flavor because I didn’t even taste it!
WEDDING SONGS: Music was certainly an important component for us. We had the string quartet playing the classics during our ceremony and then Fred curated a playlist of our favorite dinner-time songs that the band piped through the sound system for cocktail hour. Fred’s parents gave us a record player (and their entire collection!) for Christmas last year and we listen to vinyls every night during dinner. As a result, the cocktail hour playlist had selections from the Beatles to Justin Bieber and Vampire Weekend. We used this same playlist during dinner time later in the evening. For our first dance we selected Sam Smith’s song “Make it to Me”.
ENTERTAINMENT: We hired A-Town A-List for the night’s entertainment. They are an 8 person party and they brought down the house. Song selection was left up to them, but they honored our request of keeping the old timey songs to a minimum. We wanted to hear Usher and Beyonce, and they delivered.
FOOD & BEVERAGES: Food was a big to do because Fred runs restaurants. They are Spanish and Italian and damn delicious. We didn’t want to cater the event ourselves, but did want our guests to sample and enjoy some of their (and our!) favorites from our menus. We worked with Dennis Dean, a dear friend and a pro in the business, and he partnered with our chefs to showcase a selection of our recipes. We served five of our specialties during cocktail. Dinner was seated but with a casual twist - service was a combination of family-style and Dennis inspired action stations. Guests were greeted with a selection of meats, cheese and breads, and heaping bowls of salad pasta and meatballs. The meatballs were the star of the show - a classic family recipe from Fred’s dad; they may be my favorite thing to eat on earth. In addition to the all you can eat stations set up around the room we also had an Iberico Ham carving station, a novelty served at Fred’s restaurant, The Iberian Pig. For dessert we displayed cake and Italian inspired petit fours on gold trimmed bar carts via table-side service. And just in case - we really didn’t want people leaving on an empty stomach - we had Shake Shack deliver double shack burger for the late night hunger pains. Turns out dancing works up an appetite because we went through 200 burgers!
Beverage service was serious. We stocked the bars with beer and liquor, had wine free pouring on each table and had a specialty cocktail station with our joint favorite classic cocktail, barrel aged Negronis (which we made in house) and a tequila bar, which is all Fred!
TRANSPORT: We arrived at the wedding, separate, in black Escalade limo buses and our getaway car was a 2016 white Rolls Royce Phantom.
HONEYMOON: We mini-mooned in the Dominican Republic at the Aman resort in Playa Grande for five days immediately after the wedding. After arriving on Monday we promptly slept for almost 24 straight hours and barely left the room until Wednesday. We chose this destination with pure relaxation in mind. My birthday was also that week and it was pretty special toasting on the beach with fireworks and a private concert marking our first new event as a married couple.
Our honeymoon was six weeks later, two weeks in France. Fred planned the entire trip and we split time between Burgundy, Provence and the Monte Carlo. Epic all around. A recap from that trip would require its own entry!
GIFT REGISTRY: I despise clutter and don’t like accumulating things for the sake of having things. Rather than a traditional registry we opted to register for one thing - CASH. Our guests could bring envelopes to the wedding, which many did, or they could send us money via credit card on our website. It was easy and painless on everyone -- and I have to admit, much easier to write the thank-you notes!
CELEBRANT: We decided against having a religious ceremony and therefore the options for a celebrant were completely open. We really wanted to choose someone who had deep meaning to our lives, and someone who knew us both. We settled on the chaplin from Fred’s high school, Woodrow Barnes. Woodrow, without knowing it at the time, helped to change the course of Fred’s life when he was a high school junior. Woodrow provided guidance and support to Fred over the years and he and his family are very regular customers at our restaurants! We spent the 6-months leading up to our wedding meeting with him and his wife over tea and pound cake to talk about love, our relationship, what marriage meant to us, etc and developed a profound understanding of each other. Woodrow was the perfect selection for the role for us and know he will be a part of our lives forever.
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: Although many of the moments stand out, and all are memorable, there is one that deserves special attention. Fred and I had a few little surprises built into the evening for our guests -- most which served to keep the energy and intensity of the party high. After dinner and after speeches we kicked off the dance party with the biggest surprise of all. Amy and her team passed out all sorts of glow-in-the-dark dancing props including necklaces, bracelets, sunglasses, wigs, etc and also handed everyone a PixMob bracelet. If you aren’t familiar, check out a recent video from a Taylor Swift or Coldplay concert. The bracelets contain light emitting diodes and are operated remotely by radio frequency. The room turned completely dark and Fred and I tucked ourselves away while everyone gathered on the dance floor. Our band synched the song “Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay to the wristbands and the bracelets started to light up the room in synchronization. The light show built as the song built and we weaved our way into the center and a spotlight hit us at the climax of the song. We felt on top of the world. Looking around the room to all of our friends and family dancing and singing was truly amazing. The dance floor was full from that moment on.
ONE THING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED MY WEDDING PLANS…That even if you are the most organized and keep up with all of your deadlines, the last 60 days will be a blur! You can only plan ahead so much, and a million things will come at you right up until the end. Don’t think twice about hiring someone to help and choose a planner that perfectly meshes with your personal style. It makes decision making much easier.
IF I COULD GIVE OTHER BRIDES TO BE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE…For your wedding day, do your very best to live in the moment. Don’t worry or think about what happened minutes before, or what is supposed to happen next. Savor each second of the day because it passes in a flash. Oh, and take the entire week of leading up to the wedding. You will need more time than you think to mentally prepare for the excitement that lies ahead. And one last thing, plan an after-party.
LAUREN & FRED'S CONTACTS:
PHOTOGRAPHY: Meghan Sadler
BRIDE’S SHOES: Jimmy Choo
BRIDESMAIDS SHOES: Stuart Weitzman
GROOMS FORMAL WEAR: Sid Mashburn
WEDDING RINGS: Ascot Diamonds
JEWELRY & ACCESSORIES: Ascot Diamonds
HAIR & MAKEUP: Claudia Mejerle
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: Gather + CO - Julie DeWalt
FLORIST: Amy Osaba
CAKE: Sugar and Slate
CATERING: Dennis Dean Catering
WEDDING STYLIST/PLANNER: Amy Osaba
CELEBRANT: Woodrow Barnes
WEDDING VENUE: The Foundry at Puritan Mill
HONEYMOON DESTINATION: Amanera - Domincan Republic
TRANSPORT: Cooper Global Transporation