Instead of a Destination Wedding in Thailand, This Couple Hosted a Celebration in Their Home State of Arizona

bride and groom on balcony
Daniel Kim

When Justin first saw Lauren at the airport while he was disembarking a plane, he knew he had to go speak to her—he knew it. Under the guise of being a passenger on her flight, he sat near her in the waiting area and struck up a conversation. Roughly 20 minutes later, her plane to Cleveland began boarding; she asked him where he was sitting and he finally admitted his ruse. It worked, though: They exchanged phone numbers and shared their first date a few months later when she returned to Arizona to visit some friends. While they didn't have to wait long to see each other, "it felt like forever!" says the groom. But it was well worth it—they were engaged just one year later.

In December 2019, the couple journeyed to Cleveland so Justin could meet Lauren's extended family during the holiday season. He, however, had other plans. Just before they began opening gifts, Justin hid an engagement ring in an unassuming drawer; after all of the presents had been unwrapped, Justin told Lauren that she had one more. When she opened the box and found her ring, Justin got down on one knee and proposed with her overjoyed family looking on (her father secretly recorded the whole thing!).

Lauren and Justin initially planned an intimate 10-person ceremony in Thailand on February 18, 2021, followed by two receptions—one in Lauren's hometown of Cleveland and one in Justin's childhood locale of West Palm Beach. When travel restrictions deemed all three of their celebrations impossible, they made the difficult decision of cancelling their Thailand nuptials and decided to remain in the Arizona area, while maintaining their 10-person guest list. Ultimately, Lauren and Justin were wed ahead of schedule, on February 2, 2021, at the stately Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, Arizona. While they could not have their destination wedding, they decided to bring the tropics to them via a lush outdoor garden wedding complete with a coral-and-peach color palette.

01 of 20

Sweet Arizona

bride and groom descending stairs outdoors at venue
Daniel Kim

Lauren and Justin selected the Wrigley Mansion for their stateside wedding. The recently renovated locale had a picturesque outdoor garden space, which was ideal for the duo's intimate event.

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Picturesque Dress

bride posting with bouquet
Daniel Kim

Although Lauren originally selected a wedding dress for her Thailand ceremony, it didn't align with the couple's new desert locale. About a month before their Arizona wedding, she found a lovely option, one that spoke to the garden setting, at David's Bridal. Her tip for brides as the shop for their own ensembles? Photograph yourself in each option, she says—doing so gave her an opportunity to consult with others not present at her appointment and ultimately ensured the dress was the best fit.

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All in the Details

bride walking past painted wall with gold accents
Daniel Kim

The stunning button-back trumpet gown—which photographed prettily against the murals at Wrigley Mansion—featured delicate floral-patterned lace on the bodice; off-the-shoulder sleeves and a sweetheart neckline added romance. A sliver and pearl band cinched the waist, and a court-length train streamed out behind her. Her loosely-structured cascading bouquet was composed of garden roses, ranunculus, and greenery and spoke to the day's color palette.

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Pearls, Diamonds, and Gold

close up of bride's pearl necklace and diamond earrings
Daniel Kim

For jewelry, Lauren selected just two pieces: Her pearl necklace carried special significance, as it once belonged to her grandmother; the diamond stud earrings were a college graduation present. Gold Valentino sandals completed her look.

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Traditional Tux

groom adjust cufflinks
Daniel Kim

A black bow tie was the perfect accent piece to Justin's white button down, black tuxedo pants, and black suit jacket from The Black Tux.

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Socks in the Desert

matching men's wedding socks
Daniel Kim

The groomsmen's cactus socks spoke to the desert locale.

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Fatherly First Look

bride first look with dad
Daniel Kim

In lieu of a first look between the bride and the groom, Lauren shared a private moment with her father ahead of the ceremony. "My dad is my biggest supporter, and I was so grateful to share that moment with him," says the bride.

  • Trending Now: First Looks with Family Members and Friends
08 of 20

First Touch

bride and groom first touch separated by doorway
Daniel Kim

Lauren and Justin did, however, share a first touch before walking down the aisle.

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Outdoor Ceremony

bride and groom at the altar
Daniel Kim

Two structured pillars of peach, coral, and ivory florals framed the couple during their outdoor vow exchange. The bride descended the mansion's stairs arm-in-arm with her father; white folding chairs were provided for guests looking on. Violinist Jonathan Levingston furnished the musical accompaniment. The ceremony was officiated by Jamie Lindberg, and the duo exchanged their own promises.

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Just the Two of Us

bride and groom holding hands
Daniel Kim

Prior to entering their cocktail hour, Lauren and Justin took a moment to celebrate privately as newlyweds. They knew that it would be easy to get swept up in the excitement of the day, and wanted to ensure that they had an opportunity to enjoy time together as a couple. "This was the advice we took from other couples, and it was definitely worth it!" says the groom.

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Significant Signature Drinks

specialty cocktails
Daniel Kim

The bride conceptualized the cocktail menu, which featured four signature drinks. Each sip represented a different significant location for the duo—"The Phoenix" (the place they built a life together), "The Cleveland" (Lauren's hometown), "The Palm Beach" (Justin's hometown), and "The Koh Samui" (their original wedding location). The violinist serenaded guests well into the interlude, while hors d'oeuvres, catered by Wrigley Mansion, circulated.

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Love You, Mom

groom hugging his mother
Daniel Kim

In the middle of the cocktail hour, Justin took a moment to pose for a photo with his mother, who was dressed in a coral frock to match the party's color story.

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An Illuminated Garden

outdoor reception table set with greenery and candles
Daniel Kim

During the reception, a king's table was set up in an open area of the garden and illuminated by bulbed string lights. A table runner comprised of blooms and greens extended across the middle of the table, providing one extended centerpiece. Gold chiavari chairs were placed around the table, providing an intimate dinner party vibe.

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Custom Calligraphy

dinner menu with gold charger and greenery
Daniel Kim

A personalized laser-cut name plate marked each spot. At every setting, a menu peeked out from the artfully folded white napkin, which was placed in the center of a patterned gold charger. Ivory candles in gold-rimmed hurricane glasses were arranged around the centerpiece table runner, providing additional lighting as the sun set.

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Food and Family

bride and groom seated at reception table
Daniel Kim

The pair cites dinner as one of their big-day highlights. Since their guest list was so small, they had an opportunity to actually "sit and enjoy the company of our loved ones, something that we were told couples rarely get to do on their wedding day," the duo says. Dinner was delicious and included citrus glazed prawns and peppercorn encrusted filet with gratin dauphinois and broccolini as sides.

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Message in a Bottle

wooden box of wines
Daniel Kim

Lauren and Justin bonded over their shared love of wine, and decided to include this in their future wedding anniversary plans. Together, they selected three bottles of wine that hold meaning to them; they were stored in a custom-made box with three separate compartments to be opened on their one-, three-, and five-year anniversaries. They requested that their guests place handwritten notes in the compartments so they could read the messages on each respective anniversary.

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First Spin

bride and groom first dance
Daniel Kim

During dinner, the newlyweds took a spin to "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys.

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Looking On

father of the groom watching the dance floor
Daniel Kim

Justin's father looked on as his son and his wife danced to Boys II Men's "A Song for Momma."

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Coral Cake

bride and groom cutting the cake
Daniel Kim

The bride and groom selected a single-tier white cake from A-Bakeshop. Their confection was placed on a translucent cake stand and decorated with artfully arranged peach, coral, and white florals.

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bride and groom walking holding hands
Daniel Kim

Photography, Daniel Kim
Venue and Catering, Wrigley Mansion
Day-of Coordinator, Shannon Smith Events
Officiant, Jamie Lindberg
Bride's Gown, David's Bridal
Bride's Shoes, Valentino
Menswear, The Black Tux
Engagement Ring, Shane and Company
Wedding Bands, David Yurman
Violinist, Jonathan Levingston
Cake, A Bake Shop

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