How did you two meet? We met during my clinical rotations as a Physician Assistant student. Tom was working as an x-ray technologist at a small medical practice where he held the door open for me on my first day. It wasn’t long before we were going on coffee dates, taking long walks along the river in Edgewater after work, having conversations late into the night, and eventually, going on wonderful vacations together…which sparked our love of traveling together! How did he ask? Tom proposed during my favorite season of the year: Christmas! Each year, I throw a holiday party and host a holiday-themed trivia game for the guests. After my last question, Tom stood up next to me and said, “There’s one more question, and this one is just for Lauren”, at which time he got down on one knee and asked the easiest trivia question I would ever have to answer! It was the best Christmas season yet. Details of your day? We wanted to embrace the beauty of Spring in our colors and themes, so we chose Spring flowers such as pastel colored roses and deep purple ranunculus, as well as greenery and Spring foliage in the bouquets, centerpieces, and on the archway during the ceremony. The groom and bridesmaids wore our favorite color: navy blue, which was also the color of the bride’s Jimmy Choo flats. Being a May 5th wedding, we also added subtle hints to Cinco de Mayo with our signature drinks and favors. Our signature drinks were the Matri-mojito and the Cinco de Mayo mule, and our favors were agave and tequila bottled by the bride and groom. Why did you choose your venue? We knew Rock Island Lake Club would be the perfect venue the moment that we visited. Rock Island provided the perfect combination of rustic and elegant to our day; from the rustic cocktail hour in the ground-level indoor/outdoor lounge by the lake, to the elegant ballroom where we had our perfect reception. We’re also big craft beer fans and LOVED the variety of local beers on tap! What was on your menu? The menu at Rock Island is phenomenal! Our cocktail hour featured a VERY impressive bacon station complete with bacon/bourbon shots, a Spring station with an array of Spring salads, flat breads, and a rack of lamb, as well as an ode to Cinco de Mayo: the guacamole station, where guests can customize their own guacamole paired with homemade tortilla chips and a margarita shooter! Our dinner menu included a delicious Spring salad (with poached pear, brie, and candied walnuts) and choice between four entrees (bacon wrapped filet mignon, chicken rossini, seared mahi mahi, or a vegetable strudel). What was your wedding cake like? The beautiful four-tiered cake from Palermo’s featured accents of our wedding colors, with touches of navy blue frosting and pastel colored flowers draped down the side, and a cake topper of us in our scrubs to honor our medical roots. It’s flavors were vanilla cake with lemon mousse or dulce de leche filling. Rock Island also provided an impressive Venetian dessert spread and Ice Cream Sundae bar which came included with our package. The entire menu still has our friends and family raving! How did you know your gown was “the one?” I found my Maggie Sottero dress in a small shop in Kenilworth called Hollywood Bridal. There, I was able to pick any dresses off the racks and try on at my own pace, with no pressure or restriction. The Elison was the first dress that I had tried on and no other dress could compare to its beauty! Every detail about the dress reminded me of Spring, from the Swarovski crystal and pearl leaf cap sleeves to the floral details in the lace dress and train. The plunging back with illusion lace sides are what won me over; this dress was not only elegant and stunning, but also incredibly sexy! Favorite moment? Our favorite moment was definitely the first look. Getting ready with our bridesmaids and groomsmen was a lot of fun, but the anticipation of seeing each other definitely builds up to that moment! Tom waited for me on the dock while our families and friends watched from the ballroom balcony up on the second floor. I remember the feeling of my heart racing when I placed my hand on his shoulder and he turned to see me in my dress for the first time; nothing beats it. We were surrounded by a thick fog over the lake and it seems that only we existed in that moment; it was magical (and so were the pictures!). What was one detail you couldn’t live without? The umbrellas! They were definitely props that we were hoping we wouldn’t need, but thanks to quick thinking (and Amazon prime), we were able to get ten white umbrellas and one navy one in a pinch. Looking back, our bridal portraits and group shots with the umbrellas are now some of our favorites! It really wouldn’t have been the same day without the rain, fog, and umbrellas. Did anything go wrong? Plenty! Besides five guests canceling the day of, we had a complete downpour of rain the morning of our wedding. We had pictured our beautiful Spring day at Rock Island as mild, sunny, and with our guests enjoying cocktails and yard games by the lake. We neglected to realize that rain is a very natural part of Spring weather! Thankfully, Rock Island has a spacious lounge area with a covered patio that allowed for guests to enjoy the outdoors and the lake without getting wet. First dance? Stand by Me by Tracy Chapman Advice for other brides? Do not be afraid of rain, or any weather that isn’t sun – embrace it! Buy the umbrellas! No matter what, it will be the best day of your life. Where did you go on your honeymoon? We started our trip to Dubai after a 14 hour flight on Emirates airlines (HIGHLY recommend!). The day we arrived, we had a romantic dinner on the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. We then made our way to the observation deck and can truly say that we were “on top of the world” during our honeymoon! While in Dubai, we also: rode camels, drove dune buggies and sand-surfed, shopped in the fabulous souks, and enjoyed a romantic dinner in the starlight of the dessert. We then traveled to Mauritius, a small island off the eastern coast of Africa, where we were pampered for the remainder of our honeymoon at the lovely Four Seasons Anahita. The highlight of Mauritius, however, was the Casala nature park where we walked with lions! It was truly an incredible adventure that we will never forget.