This Couple Released Monarch Butterflies During Their Southern California Vow Exchange
Lauren-Leigh Frum and Kyle Stoutland were simultaneously working at the same company and both lived in the Southern California—but it took a work trip all the way to St. Louis for them to officially meet. And even then, during the training program they'd both traveled for, they didn't say hello until the very last day—when Lauren-Leigh was in search of Advil, and Kyle came to the rescue. You'd think that would have sealed the deal, but it wasn't until a second work trip to St. Louis—the couple was on the same flight—that they connected for good.
Three years later, following an epic helicopter proposal over the Hollywood sign, the pair made it official in front of 180 family members and friends in what Lauren-Leigh calls a "1920s elegance" celebration at the Four Seasons Santa Barbara, a location she was familiar with because she had vacationed there as a child. On September 28, 2019, the couple exchanged self-penned vows in a touching Christian ceremony led by Kyle's uncle. "We wrote our vows separately, but we both used very similar phrases," says Lauren-Leigh. Then, as a tribute to family that had passed, the two released a box of Monarch butterflies.
Following the ceremony, the two snuck off for a sunset photoshoot and embraced those few moments all to themselves. "We finally had a few minutes just the two of us, and it was special to soak in all of the amazing memories together as bride and groom," Lauren-Leigh says. This was necessary, because once they entered the party, they didn't want it to end. "Our dance floor was filled the whole time the band played!" she says. "Even when the clock struck midnight, the guests chanted, 'Encore!'"
The romantic invitation suite by Prim & Pixie featured hand-torn paper in blush (Lauren-Leigh loves all things pink) with floral embossing and gold foil. Cards shaped like church windows—a nod to their future ceremony backdrop—were also tucked into envelopes calligraphed with white ink.
Lauren-Leigh grew up vacationing at the Four Seasons Santa Barbara with her family every summer, so she knew it would be just the place for her big day. Her best advice for future brides? "Soak it all in every step of the way, because everything flies by in the blink of an eye," she says.
When Lauren-Leigh first tried on her crystal-encrusted Galia Lahav wedding dress, she wasn't totally sure it was the one. But after visiting a few other bridal salons, she quickly realized it was the number to beat. "I couldn't stop smiling when I tried it on," she says. "My maid of honor said it best: 'You are glowing!'" She finished off her look with a veil by the same designer, blush Badgley Mischka shoes, a Cartier bracelet, and a diamond bracelet she borrowed from her best friend's grandmother.
Before her walk down the aisle, Lauren-Leigh clutched a collection of roses (Koko Loko, Distant Drums, and pink tranquility), autumn eucalyptus, and black scoop scabiosa, all in soft mauve tones. Oak and the Owl put the whole look together.
Bridesmaids wore Monique Lhuillier dresses and carried smaller versions of Lauren-Leigh's bouquet to keep their styles cohesive.
One of the Guys
Kyle and his nine closest friends all wore suits from The Black Tux. "We loved the classic and traditional look," Lauren-Leigh says.
At First Glance
The couple had their first look in the gardens at the Four Seasons Santa Barbara. " It was such a special moment to share together. We felt totally at ease after seeing each other," Lauren-Leigh says.
At the Altar
As a nod to Kyle's love of architecture, Back Up Backdrops created an altar structure that resembled stained-glass church windows. The rest of the space overflowed with flowers such as peonies, dahlias, garden roses, Southern Smilax, and textured greenery.
Making an Entrance
Lauren-Leigh's father walked her down the aisle as a string trio played Ed Sheeran's "Perfect."
Fly with Me
To honor Lauren-Leigh's late brother, the pair released butterflies after exchanging vows. Two of the creatures landed on her wedding dress, and another clung to her father's pant leg before flying away. "It was so magical," she says.
Penny for Your Thoughts
The planning team at Amorology surprised the couple by scattering pennies on the ground from the ceremony to the reception—Lauren-Leigh's family says the coins are her brother's dropped kisses from heaven. Guests dropped the coins back into two jars on a table that also held cards for guests to share their best marriage advice.
Thanks to rental furniture, which was arranged into colorful lounge vignettes, the couple was able to achieve the 1920s glamour they were going for.
Two signature cocktails were on offer at the reception: a horsefeather, made of whiskey, ginger beer, and bitters; and a greyhound, a mix of grapefruit juice and vodka.
During the sunset cocktail hour, guests gathered on a terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Lauren-Leigh and Kyle wanted their reception to evoke the "ethereal elegance of the 1920s—with a dash of glam," she says. Gilded tablecloths and hanging chandeliers helped cultivate that aesthetic.
On the Menu
At dinner, guests choose between a filet mignon crusted in aged Comté cheese and Chilean sea bass with parmesan risotto.
Good Luck Charms
The penny motif popped up again at their reception; the coins spelled out "The Luckiest" on a wall in front of the four-tiered cake made of three flavors: chocolate and salted caramel, chocolate fudge, and vanilla with Champagne and strawberries.
Dancing to the Oldies
The newlyweds swayed to "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" by Frankie Valli during their first dance. "It was so tough to narrow down our song choices," Lauren-Leigh says. " But we felt like it was very fitting for our special day."
Guests went home with pouches and cardholders from Creative Co-op.
Photography, Brandon Kidd
Venue, catering, and cake, Four Seasons Santa Barbara
Event Planning and Design, Amorology
Flowers, Oak and the Owl
Videography, 618 Studios
Officiant, Cliff Reynolds
Stationery, Prim & Pixie
Rentals, Theoni; Casa De Perrin; Folklore Rentals; Nuage; BBJ; Amigo Party Rentals
Bride's Gown and Veil, Galia Lahav
Bride's Accessories, Badgley Mischka shoes; Cartier bracelet
Hair, Jackie Heredia; Cindy Cruz
Makeup, 1011 Makeup
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Mohnique Lhuillier
Groom's Suit and Menswear, The Black Tux
Lighting, Bella Vista
Favors, Creative Co-Op
Backdrop, Backup Backdrops