Heartfelt vows were at the core of this celebration, which took place in an open-air chapel. Then, the party continued with dinner and dancing in the barn.
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Trey McDonald was throwning an ugly Christmas sweater party with friends as a charity fundraiser. When Lauren Reed arrived early, he noticed their similar sweaters, introduced himself, and sparked up a conversation. But they parted ways without exchanging information. Luckily, they crossed paths a few more times at other events during the holiday season in Houston. It was at a college football championship watch party where Lauren approached Trey, they chatted all night, and followed each other on Instagram. That evening, he knew he needed to get to know more about her and asked her out on the social media platform.
About a month later, Lauren was on a trip to Colombia when her trip was unexpectedly extended due to a flight cancellation. Trey bought a spur of the moment plane ticket to join her and that's when she knew he was "the one." "That 24 hours was the perfect amount of time for us to know we should really invest in our budding relationship," Trey says of the short trip which was basically their fourth date. Upon their return to Texas, Lauren (a chemical engineer practicing process design engineering) and Trey (an associate attorney practicing media and business litigation) were inseparable. Their relationship developed as they spent more time together and merged friend groups.
After a year together, Trey popped the question, and a year after that, on March 30, 2018, they celebrated their love with a black-tie wedding in Leonard, Texas. Exactly 150 guests joined them at The Grand Ivory—though the couple initially planned on marrying in Puerto Rico. After the impact of Hurricane Maria, the pair planned their wedding closer to home in just three months. Thankfully, the new venue had availability, and the couple fell for its serenity and its origin as the location for the owners' wedding. With its French country details, it also felt like an escape from the city.
The couple came up with a theme of simple elegance that helped play up the natural beauty of the location. In the end, ceremony and reception highlighted the best parts of both of the bride and groom as individuals as well as their love for one another.
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Lauren originally wanted a radiant-cut stone for her engagement ring, but after going ring shopping, she fell in love with an oval shape. "I used Blake Lively's ring as the inspiration and opted for rose gold to give it more of a vintage feel," she says. Though she gave Trey some photos as inspiration, she didn't want to see the actual piece he picked out ahead of time.
On their first anniversary, the couple went for a walk through the garden, where Trey gave Lauren a book of their love story with custom illustrations for each month they had been together. When he got to the last page, he got on one knee as Lauren read the words in front of her, "Lauren, Will you marry me?" with a blank for her to write her answer. That's when she saw the beautiful ring Trey had picked for her. It was perfect, but one thing wasn't—her manicure. "I was horrified by my nails," she explains. "I hope that other women will learn from my mistake and listen to their friends when they urge them to come to the nail salon with them."
As for that book? It became the guest book at the wedding.
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The Bride's Wedding Dress
Lauren went home for a weekend and went on a dress hunt with her "board of directors"—her mom, future mother-in-law, aunt-in-law, sister, and sister-in-law. But she made a rookie mistake and tried on a dress that was way out of her budget and fell in love with it. "I had my eye on this dress since before I was engaged," she explains. "I tried to get what I loved about this dress recreated with a custom dress design and when I received it a month before the wedding it just wasn't working for me." It wasn't working for the flower boy (her nephew) either…in a FaceTime call with her sister, he voiced his disapproval of the dress.
Lauren called up her local bridesmaid and they ran around town to every bridal shop that sold off-the-rack dresses. After having no luck, she went out on her own to a sample sale in her neighborhood, which is where she tried on a dress that was not like the A-line style she thought she wanted and instantly fell in love. She sent photos to her "board of directors" and they loved it, too. But to her dismay, the dress wasn't actually for sale. "Luckily, the sales woman (guardian angel) I was working with made an exception and sold it to me," Lauren says of her Vivienne Atelier gown. "I left with a classic yet sexy ball gown dress with beautiful Victorian details. The corset and bustier of the dress provided some sex appeal and gave me a flattering shape while the silhouette made me a princess for the day and was classic like my mother wanted. But most importantly, my nephew loved it!"
Her simple, everyday pearls matched the pearl accents on her dress, and she tackled her somethings old, borrowed, and blue in the form a Cartier love necklace Trey had gifted her, the matching bracelet she received on the wedding day, and a vintage sapphire (her birthstone) tennis bracelet from her mother.
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Black Tie Guys
The groomsmen wore tuxedos they already had in their closets or rented one from The Black Tux. The group was mostly childhood and college friends of Trey's, plus his two brothers-in-law. Trey rented a gym prior to the wedding and the group played basketball all morning, further strengthening the bond between everyone.
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Lauren's sister served as matron-of-honor and friends and other family members rounded out her bridal party. The ladies wore eggshell-colored Tulle & Chantilly dresses that were chosen to highlight the personality and style of each.
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The Flower Girls
The flower girls were the officiant's daughters. The older one is an unofficial professional and has been in many weddings. It was her younger sister's debut and she did an excellent job.
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The ceremony took place in the open-air chapel on site. Greenery and lanterns lined the aisle and more greens and floral clusters decorated the columns and beam at the front of the aisle.
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The Cutest Ring Bearer
Lauren's two-year-old nephew stole the show by clamming up and tackling the wedding planner who was trying to encourage him down the aisle. But on the upside, it made Lauren laugh and eased her nerves right before she made her entrance on the arm of her father to the sounds of "Shout to the Lord" by Phillip Keveren and David Angell.
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Trey's godbrother officiated the Christian ceremony. "Our wedding was conducted on Good Friday and our minister did an excellent job highlighting the parallels of our faith and this special weekend with the covenants of marriage," Lauren says. A good friend of the groom's read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which is a scripture that discusses the benefits and strength that comes with marriage.
They also exchanged personalized vows. Trey started writing his three months out, but during the rehearsal dinner he realized his words were geared toward the audience and not his soon-to-be-wife. He started fresh and rewrote them that evening and into the next morning. "It was important that the vows could be read to Lauren regardless if people were around," he says. "To my surprise, as soon as I started to read them, the chapel felt completely empty and like we were the only people in the room. It was a surreal moment. It was the first time I understood Ronald Reagan's quote about Nancy Reagan making him lonely just by leaving the room."
"As expected, Trey's vows blew mine out of the water," Lauren says. "He's a lawyer by day and the most romantic poet by night."
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The couple exchanged Cartier wedding bands that they'd inscribed with messages they'd kept a surprise. Lauren chose to engrave "You know how I feel" on the inside of Trey's as a nod to the first time he told her that he loved her; in turn he had "It will be ok" etched inside of hers. "It's the ethos of our relationship," he says. "Regardless of what hurdles we face in our marriage and life, our faith in God will ensure that everything will be ok."
Trey's favorite moment of the day was discovering those messages together. "We played the guessing game for months, but each inscription described our respective personalities," he says. "My role as protector and her role as being the rock that makes sure we never stop laughing."
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In hindsight, Lauren stresses the importance of pre-marital counseling. "The wedding process is the perfect opportunity to practice marriage," she says. "The planning process was a microcosm of what to expect during a marriage and will include unexpected obstacles, difference of opinions, managing joint finances and more. Participating in pre-marital counseling throughout the planning process gave us the opportunity to reset our priorities and gain perspective on how to manage these challenges. I highly recommend using it to keep you energized through the process."
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Lauren took the hands-on route for all of the signage and day-of paper goods, including this seating chart which she designed in Photoshop, had printed to size, and then used a paint pen to trace the names onto the glass.
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A mix of rectangular and round tables filled the white barn, with a head table at the end of the room. Candelabras covered with pink and ivory blooms adorned some tables, while lower floral arrangements in gold pedestal vases decorated others.
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The Floral Centerpieces
The flowers used in the centerpieces created by Zephyr Floral included peonies, veronica, spray roses, and larkspur.
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Ivory cheesecloth runners softened the wood farm tables, which were set simply with classic silverware, water goblets, ivory napkins, printed place cards designed by the bride, a sprig of eucalyptus, and the menus. The meal began with a carrot and ginger soup, and then guests chose between braised short ribs, baked fish Florentine, buttermilk fried chicken, and stuffed peppers. Each entrée was served with truffle mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and jalapeño cornbread muffins.
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A Gilded Wedding Cake
The vanilla bean cake was unanimously decided on by Lauren, Trey, and her mom, who joined the couple at their cake tasting. Sugar Bee Sweets decorated the exterior with rose gold sugar leaves and ivory sugar roses.
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Lauren's father chose "Your Daddy Loves You" by Gil Scott Heron as the song that played for their dance together. It followed the newlyweds' first dance to "A Sunday Kind of Love" by Etta James, which was chosen for its sentiment. "My very romantic husband had this as my ringtone for the duration of our romance and it became our song," Lauren explains. Adds Trey, "The song represented the type of love that was beyond a cheap thrill or infatuation. I know this concept best captures our relationship."
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Cheers to the Couple
Five speeches (including an original rap) were given, and in the best man's, it was revealed that Trey told him he knew Lauren would be his wife before he even got her phone number. The backdrop to the toasts was a projection of the couple's nickname of TreyLo—which the bride's sister came up with early on in their relationship.
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The Mirmir photo booth was a huge hit at the reception. "A lot of our guests have gone on to make them their profile pictures on social media," Lauren says. "Mirmir makes everyone look their best." White picture frames that fit the print outs were on hand so guests could take them home and put them on display.
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Photography, Charla Storey Photography
Location, The Grand Ivory
Event planning, Taylor & Hov
Catering, Low Country Quisine
Flowers, Zephyr Floral
Videography, Company N Films
Cake, Sugar Bee Sweets
Music, DJ Mr. Rogers
Rentals, BBJ Linen
Bride's gown, Vivienne Atelier
Bride's necklace and bracelet, Cartier
Bride's reception dress, Xscape
Hair and Makeup, SASA Hair & Makeup
Bridesmaids' dresses, Tulle & Chantilly
Groom's tuxedo, Suitsupply
Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, Leforce Entertainment
Transportation, Blue Diamond Limousine
Photo booth, Mirmir
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