Now that it’s crystal clear that hosting a big wedding at this time is just not possible due to the spread of COVID-19, we’re sharing the experiences of real couples navigating the re-scheduling, cancellation, and civil and commemorative wedding processes in an attempt to help others make informed decisions and to spread our support to all during this time.
NYC-based designer Lauralyn Renn and Paul Miletic first met at Little Branch, a snug speakeasy tucked away in the West Village, and exchanged numbers before parting. “Right after, my phone broke, and I never heard from him,” Lauralyn remembers. “Then, about two weeks later he texted me. Turns out, he had been trying to get in touch the whole time, but for some reason, his messages never went through to my new phone!”
Finally connected, Lauralyn and Paul began dating, and, years later, went ring shopping together. A week before Lauralyn’s 30th birthday, while on a walk through their neighborhood, Paul stopped in front of their local fountain and got down on his knee to propose. Over the moon with her new dazzler and the unexpected timing of the proposal, the couple returned to their apartment…where all of their friends were waiting for them with champagne to celebrate their engagement and Lauralyn’s birthday. Lauralyn admits, “It was the best party and the best day.”
They soon found their dream venue in Gold Canyon Arizona and scheduled their big day for April 11th, 2020. Shortly after, though, COVID-19 dominated the news. “We were debating what to do, as COVID was a relatively new thing at the time, and it was scary because we had already made significant deposits and signed contracts with all of our vendors,” Lauralyn recalls. But once they spoke to their venue and discovered that the deposit would be moved to a further date, they realized that it might be possible to postpone the wedding. They connected with their other vendors, who agreed to do the same with their deposit.
Thinking of their guests’ safety and having peace of mind that they could keep their vendors and deposit, the couple postponed and downsized their wedding to October 25th, 2020, which happened to be their 10-year anniversary.
Lauralyn had already planned most of the wedding during August and September of 2019. “When I toured the desert wedding site, I immediately fell in love with it because it was a blank canvas. I did all of the styling myself, which made planning the wedding from the east coast all the more challenging,” she says. After the couple rescheduled, they knew they could keep most of the styling and design details Lauralyn had already selected. The couple’s wedding planner, Carlie Rouse and her team at Riding Tandem, also went above and beyond to assist Lauralyn with her vision. The bride adds, “They made my dreams a reality.”
Lauralyn saw a photo of Bella Hadid in a stunning SYLVIO dress that captivated her so much, she contacted the designer over Instagram DM. She explained that she wanted a tiered gown in a non-traditional color, and he replied right away. “He was excited about my vision, and the rest is history!”
The bride paired her custom dress with matching Dior slingbacks and her own designs from her jewelry brand Renn New York. Monica from Ideal Bridal completed the look with a natural, glowing makeup look.
The groom wore a custom suit from Martin Greenfield Clothiers. The master tailor is a classic New York family-run institution that has occupied the same Brooklyn warehouse for generations. Lauralyn also points out that this warehouse is where they filmed scenes from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The couple’s dear friend, Csillag, works at the warehouse and helped pick the brown coloring for Paul’s suit.
For her bridesmaids, Lauralyn discovered that her blush-colored dress somewhat limited their dresses. She selected neutral colors that both complemented her own dress and the desert vista. The bridesmaids chose their own dresses, while Lauralyn designed custom jewelry for each of them. This was one of the designer’s favorite things about planning the wedding, and “it also made for a very personal gift” that each of her friends will cherish for many years to come.
Paul’s groomsmen wore suits in a dark blue to contrast from Paul’s brown suit and the bridesmaids’ neutral dresses. The entire wedding party’s outfits were made complete with flowers that were the same color as Lauralyn’s blush gown.
They were married in the vast desert, surrounded by the Superstition Mountains. Their officiant greeted the guests and welcomed them to this “cathedral under the sky.” Lauralyn agrees that there could be no better way to describe their outdoor desert venue.
Truly a family affair, Paul’s cousin played “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman, and Lauralyn’s nephews delivered the rings. Lauralyn designed the wedding bands herself, modeling each one from clay and using an embossed seashell design in homage to their favorite place in Ventnor, New Jersey—the seashore. Having such personal bands has been so precious to the couple that she now provides this custom service to her clients.
Elated, the couple joined their guests in the makeshift outdoor lounge for a sunset reception. The evening featured a dinner catered by Cloth & Flame and drinks concocted by Couple of Bartenders. As the sun descended over the horizon, the newlyweds cut into their Bear and the Honey cake. A decade ago, Lauralyn had seen a celebrity wedding in Vogue that featured one of Monica’s cakes and tore out the picture to use for her own wedding someday. The cake and gluten-free cakelettes Monica baked were well worth the wait.
While reminiscing over their wedding, neither Lauralyn nor Paul would change a thing. The day may not have been what they initially planned, but it could not have been more seamless or beautiful.