Spotlight Wedding: Lauren & Justin

bride and groom portraits
bride and groom bed and breakfast gardens

One of the biggest misconceptions about a rustic venue, is that you have to have the rustic theme and decor, instead of stepping away and creating something their own, like Lauren & Justin’s dark & moody gothic wedding in Houston. Well, we love when brides step out of that norm, and use the best features of the venue to create something totally different and so gorgeous. 

Lauren & Justin’s Leap Day wedding did just that. She took the movie-like setting of the town and turned it into something we have never seen before, and we thought this would be some amazing inspiration for brides to venture out of the set style of their venue & make it their own. 

First, let’s learn a little bit about Lauren & Justin:

1. How did you guys meet?

“February 29th, 2016 at Galveston Mardi Gras. He was finishing up a Process Operations degree at Sowela in Lake Charles, LA & I was attending my senior year of at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX (Eat em’ up, Bobcats!) –for my

He was there for a bachelor party & I attended a balcony Mardi Gras party with my best friend Emily and my parents. On night one of the weekend, my father (slightly tipsy at the time) looked out at the crowded street and saw a group of guys and picked my future husband out of the group & slurred “Never date the most attractive guy in the group, that’s the kind that will break your heart so stay away from him.” (I know super random right?)  So naturally I did as any 22 year old daddy’s girl would do, I threw beads directly at the attractive guys’ face. His group walked over to ask us to help with a few things on their scavenger hunt list such as, “Get a the phone number of a redhead” & “Get a girl to tie a cherry stem in her mouth” (sorry mom!), and shortly after walking away from the encounter I discovered a text from Justin asking if Emily & I wanted to meet up again with their group after the balcony party…I obviously said yes. So we did, and then we hung out the next night as well. Then we went our separate ways, but texted constantly & that didn’t last long because the next week was spring break/his birthday so he drove in for a week and stayed at my college apartment.(sorry dad!) The rest is pretty much history. He had an adorable & amazingly sweet 3 year old son at the time, from his first marriage, so it was fairly easy for me to get attached to the whole package. I could tell early on that he was someone I could see myself building a life with, because he knows how to make me laugh when I’m overwhelmed –yes it usually pisses me off momentarily, but in the long run I am so grateful for his attention to my state if mind. He is the most considerate, loyal, responsible & trustworthy man I have ever met and it was an added bonus that I got to see him in dad-mode before taking that step together.

It also meant that I got to experience the truly wonderful gift of helping him watch Eli grow. I graduated college in December of 2016 & moved back to Houston with my parents to begin the great post-college job hunt. One week after moving, I found out I was pregnant with Ella. (again…sorry dad!) So I made the move to Lake Charles, LA! Now, the four of us own a home in Westlake, LA, where he works as an Operator at Sasol. I managed a local Enterprise Rent-A-Car briefly, but am now the Director of Operations, Membership & Events at the Lake Charles Country Club & Golf Course and I wouldn’t change a thing.

2. How did he propose?

“Let me start by saying that if you know my husband in any way you know that the traditional means of human communication just doesn’t do it for him. So he either flat out refuses, or does something untraditional & quirky instead. (One of the many reasons I love him!) So, that day we had scheduled a mini session for some family pictures of us with the kids. I was confused as to why he didn’t use that perfect opportunity to pop the question, but he states “I would’ve freaked out and made him pay for more time with the photographer.” Okay, that may be partially true.

Anyways, fast-forward to later that night; We were laying on the couch watching Gotham on Netflix after putting the children to bed. I was sitting with my feet in his lap when all of the sudden it felt like I had a string caught in between my toes. (I figured it was from the blanket or something! Lol) I reached down to feel what it was when I saw the goofy looking grin on his face and it finally clicked. I said, “Did you just put an engagement ring on my toe?” –And all he did was laugh in reply. So we both started laughing because the quirkiness, strangeness & lack of textbook romance was a perfect match for the way we have always lived out our relationship.”

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Then, we asked Lauren a few questions about her big day and here is what she had to say.

1. What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
Watching my kids dance during the reception! They were pop-lock & dropping it with daddy on the dance floor- everyone had a blast! Also, the Smoke Bomb sendoff was pretty awesome! 😉

2. What was your inspiration for your wedding theme/decor?
“Dark & Moody. I wanted gothic themed décor, the less white the better, with enough ambient lighting and greenery to fill in all of the dead space. I drew my inspirations from Jewel tones and vibrantly deep contrasting colors, and tried to consider everything from the perspective of my friends and family members attending. I’m not one for matchy-matchy décor at any event, so I always end up bringing a large stock of decorations and ultimately deciding where they go in the moment. I scoped out backgrounds behind different aspects of my setup for pictures and found the “high-traffic” areas for items that I especially wanted viewed. Pushing away the ‘traditional’ wedding themes and staying true to who we are as a couple played an incredibly important role in the process.”

bride and groom wedding chapel

3. What was one part of your wedding that you were really happy you decided to do? (ex. videography, decor, type of ceremony, etc,)
If I had to pick one… The Donut Wall, the Pizza Buffet, the Bounce House & Coloring Station for the kids, the  Queso & Salsa bar, the fact that it was on Leap Day, the Smoke Bomb sendoff  and the Heating Pyramid Lamps. Oops, sorry I can’t choose it was all perfect!

4. If you could give one piece of advice to brides planning their weddings currently, what would it be?

Try and walk through the night in your mind from your own perspective as a bride, and then again as one of your guests. I call it a “functionality test”, but basically you’re just making sure that everything you expect the guest to do (i.e., eat, dance, move from cocktail hour to reception, specialty tables, sign guestbook, etc.) is clearly explained, supplied & laid out. *Like does the location of your cake table allow for a majority of your guests to gather around the table? Because they will definitely want to watch you and your beau cut the cake!*

dark moody gothic wedding houston
bride and groom cutting cake
bridesmaids at wedding in houston

5. Why did you choose Silver Sycamore as your venue?
Since I plan, decorate & coordinate weddings & events as a living, I knew that just any ordinary venue wasn’t going to give me that unique feeling I tend to look for. Silver Sycamore was anything but ordinary! I found the venue online and booked it/paid the deposit before ever even visiting the place, simply because I knew it was exactly the movie set theatrical venue that I had always dreamed of getting married at. So here’s a HUGE thank you to the Silver Sycamore and their incredible management team & service staff. I couldn’t have gotten through the planning process without you guys!

Vendor Team:
Photography:  Fuselier Photography
Bride’s Dress: Ventura Bridal
Florals: Grandma’s Garden of Lake Charles
Venue, Catering, DJ: Silver Sycamore

dark & moody wedding send off
smoke bomb send off houston wedding

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