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A Glamorous Black Tie Bash at The Crane Estate in Massachusetts

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Dreamlove Photography

People always say you have to ask for what you want, and that’s exactly what event planner Lauren Young did one October night in 2013, when she was getting ready to go out with a friend. “I looked in the mirror and said to myself, ‘Tonight I am going to meet someone who makes me happy and treats me the way I deserve to be treated. I’m going to meet the kind of man I want to marry,’” Lauren recalls. Later that evening at New York’s Village Tavern, Lauren ended up chatting with Nicholas Fink, a lawyer and engineer with whom she hit it off immediately.

For their first date, Nick—a Yankees fan—took Lauren, who’s originally from Boston, to watch the Red Sox in Game 6 of the World Series. “When the Red Sox won the World Series that night, Nick slid into the booth next to me and planted his first kiss,” she says. “From then on, we spent every day with one another.”

After dating for a little more than two years, the couple embarked on vacation to Ravello, Italy. One day, the two went on a long walk along the cliff all the way down to the sea, where Nick got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes and from there they walked to a quaint little village, where the two enjoyed pasta and champagne for lunch. “We loved that we had that time together just the two of us before rushing to call our family and friends,” she says. “We also had the whole week to celebrate in Italy and enjoy being newly engaged together.”

Even though the couple splits their time between New York City and Long Island, Lauren always talked nostalgically about the North Shore of Massachusetts, where she grew up. For their one-year anniversary, Nick took her to Castle Hill, and the two discussed getting married there. When it came down to choosing the venue, they both agreed there was no other place they would rather do it than The Crane Estate on Castle Hill, a 59-room mansion built in 1928 with sprawling gardens and spectacular views. “It’s so breathtaking; it feels like you’re at an estate in Europe,” Lauren explains.

They settled on a summer wedding date (August 19th), and without a planner, went straight to work on putting together the perfect day. “My mom was a huge help,” Lauren says. “She still laughs about the fact that we bought 175 floral bread plates and emerald green glasses because I was determined to have those as part of the table aesthetic. I would have boxes from Etsy and eBay arriving almost daily. Our basement looked like Martha Stewart’s workshop!”

As for the wedding’s aesthetic, Lauren ended up creating two different looks for the tablescapes. One was gray, and the other had a lace overlay. She also incorporated a lot of maiden hair ferns, lush greens, and blue and white florals, while making sure each centerpiece was different so none of the tables looked exactly the same. “We had greenery draping from the chandeliers and a lot of votives on the tables to make it feel romantic and lush,” she adds. As a nice personal detail, each table was labeled with the names of all the places in the world Nick and Lauren had traveled together.

When looking for her wedding dress, Lauren spent an entire day going around the city to different bridal boutiques with her mother, sister, and future mother-in-law. She found the dress she was looking for at Vera Wang. “I loved its delicate, one-of-a-kind lace; it was like nothing I had ever seen,” she explains. For her jewelry, she chose emerald and diamond earrings, and a similar emerald and diamond tennis bracelet that was lent to her by her brother-in-law’s mother. “I also wore my grandmother’s engagement ring because I felt like it went well with the setting and evoked the golden era of this beautiful 1920s estate ,” she adds. To complement her jewelry, Lauren chose a pair of emerald green Manolo Blahnik satin pumps.

Meanwhile, Nick opted for a custom Ralph Lauren tuxedo, with a white bowtie, white suspenders, and a white pocket square with Lauren’s initials on it. In another nod to his future wife, Nick also wore Mother of Pearl cufflinks, which happen to be Lauren’s birthstone. Her bridesmaids chose from an array of navy dresses from Reformation, while the flower girls were in adorable floral dresses by Janie and Jack.

The day of the wedding, guests were driven to the Crane Estate on old town trolleys and were greeted with lemonade and cucumber water once they entered the grounds. A cello, harp, and flute trio played music as they took their seats. The bride and her father walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Once she reached the large arch built with greenery and flowers, a justice of the peace told a story about how the couple met, and the bride’s close friend Gabby read a passage from Jane Eyre—one of Lauren’s favorite books growing up. “It’s a tradition in my family to release two white doves at the end of the wedding ceremony,” Lauren says. “The two doves that were released represented both Nick and I and our new life together.” After they were declared husband and wife, the newlyweds processed back down the aisle to “Home” by Edward Sharpe. “I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the ceremony,” adds Nick. “Lauren looked so stunning and she was just beaming with happiness!”

Cocktail hour followed, and guests enjoyed canapés and two specialty drinks: a Moscow Mule (Lauren’s favorite) and an Americano, which they renamed “The Ravello Refresher,” as a nod to the place of their engagement. Instead of a photo booth, the couple offered a red-carpet like step and repeat where guests could have their picture taken on an old tripod camera.

From there, guests were escorted to a large sperry tent, where the bride’s mother delivered an opening welcome speech, which was followed by a blessing of the food by Lauren’s eight nieces and nephews. “It was the cutest thing because they were all in unison when they spoke!” the bride recalls. Lauren later danced to Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” with her father. “I remember dancing around in our living room as a kid on my dad’s feet to Billy Joel songs!” Nick chose “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack for his dance with his mother.

Then it came time to cut the cake, a semi-naked layered confection with vanilla cake, strawberries, and lemon custard. (The top was gluten free!) Nick later invited all of the guests into the ballroom where he and his new wife finally took to the dance floor to Van Morrison’s “Someone Like You.” “We spent several months going to dance classes so we could perfect our routine,” Lauren explains. After the song wrapped up, Lauren’s stepfather, a former member of the original band Santana, played a special tribute to the newlyweds that got everyone up and dancing for hours.

Once the party was over, trolleys took everyone to an after-party at the newlywed’s hotel by the beach, The Blue Inn. “There were keg stands and skinny dipping involved,” Lauren remembers. “My mom ended up having to break up our ‘frat party’ in the wee hours of the morning, so I’d say it was a hit!”