Lauren Salerno, a Clifton native, met and began dating Daniel Kushner in 2001 during their first semester as college freshmen at Marist College. Little did she know that she would be asked the biggest question of her life right outside her freshman dorm eight years later. Daniel, of Southington, Connecticut, proposed to Lauren at the couple’s alma mater on October 3, 2009. “We weren’t able to make it to alumni weekend, so we went up ourselves one random weekend,” Lauren explains. “It was a nice fall day and we were just walking around campus when I turned around and there he was, down on one knee.”
When she and Daniel, a high school biology teacher in Pearl River, New York, began planning the big day, they decided to celebrate over Memorial Day weekend to accommodate their traveling guests. Lauren, who works in digital advertising sales in New York, knew she wanted an outdoor, garden-party themed wedding with warm, sunny weather. “I didn’t want a lot of pomp and circumstance,” she says, “but I wanted a nice day with lots of flowers, greenery and foliage.”
The couple got everything they dreamed of on May 29, 2011, when 210 friends and family members joined Lauren and Daniel in the freshly planted gardens at the Manor in West Orange. Purple, green and white accentuated the bridal party’s dresses and bouquets of peonies and ranunculus.
The same color scheme continued indoors at the reception, where tables were adorned with white, mixed-flower centerpieces, black lanterns and white candle votives.
The newlyweds walked into the reception to a rendition of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” Prior to the big day, they had taken dancing lessons to prepare for their first dance to their special song, David Gray’s “Please Forgive Me.”
Lauren and Daniel shared another romantic moment when they took a step back and spent a minute by themselves. “We had such a great time watching everyone else have a good time. We felt so much love on that day and it was just the best feeling ever,” she says.
After the weekend of wedding festivities, the Kushners escaped for two and a half weeks to Hawaii, Tahiti and Bora Bora. They currently live in Long Branch.