His story and her story are rooted in faith and devotion to their faith. Their story, according to Lauren, "is a picture of the Lord's abundant faithfulness and His perfect timing." Placement and timing played an intricate role in affording Lauren and Matthew the opportunity to share their journey.
Their life story began in the summer of 2014. Like most journeys, their path wasn't always a straight line and the two share the setbacks and joys that their lives' together brought. "Our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other well and that we work and lead well together." From this their love had room to grow.
With a defining moment of Lauren and Matthew's relationship being sorted out, Matthew was opened to setting things right following a setback. "Matthew says he knew he wanted to marry me. When he told me he wanted to try again he said that he wanted to date me with the intention of marrying me; he said he knew how special I was and he wasn't going to let me go easily. He was serious and sure..."
After a night of a "heavy conversation" filled with talks of hesitation, independence, commitment, and freedom, Matthew uttered "I love you" with assurance and dedication to Lauren and the hope of moving forward. However, as Lauren recalls, "it took me two weeks of thinking and overthinking and WAY overthinking, before I realized that all along I was too scared to say those words."
"But then I realized that, hello, love is a choice and I can choose to stay with him and make the relationship work. So one night, in a dramatic but not-cool-like-the-movies fashion, after I had dropped him off at his car I realized now was the time and I just had to say it to him right then. So I texted him to pull over in a parking lot, pulled up beside him and told him I loved him." Needless to say, it was the best choice!
Sharing their lives exposes the differences and commonalities that enriches their relationship, their love for the outdoors, the joy of living in a food enriched city, their thrilled for all things Harry Potter, their ability to teach and learn from one another and the balancing of their personalities allowed Lauren and Matthew's relationship to thrive.
So, on January 28, 2017, after many hours of plotting and planning by Matthew and a rockstar of a friend, Hillary Hallman, Matthew was prepared to ask for a lifetime with Lauren. After an elaborate twist to an evening spent being photographed by one of their college students at the Vulcan, Lauren hurried home to gather her things and meet Matthew at his home to watch Downton Abby with his family. Upon pulling up in the backyard, the scene was set for the big ask.
"I saw string lights everywhere. I walked through the back gate and saw Matthew standing under the lights, surrounded by candles. There were notes strung up along the walkway that I read as I walked towards him. Naturally, by the time I go to him I was already crying. He quoted Harry Potter saying that "words are our most inexhaustible source of magic." He told me the things that he loved about me, but then said that words couldn't convey everything that he felt, so he wanted to spend the rest of his life showing me how he loves me by serving me and protecting me and respecting me. I said yes and felt the happiest I'd ever felt."
In a full circle moment, on the 12th of August 2017, Lauren and Matthew found themselves in another backyard to exchange vows of commitment to love and honor one another all the days of their lives. With a intimate collection of 60 of their dearest loved ones, Lauren reports, "As I walked down the aisle everything felt so surreal but I've also never been so aware and in-the-moment as I was then." "I distinctly remember looking up as we sang "He Will Hold Me Fast" and seeing the soft pink of the sunset over the trees and feeling so perfectly happy and content."
Event Planner/Florist- Hillary Hallman | Venue- Aunt Robin and Uncle Joe's backyard | Photographer- Ryland Creative | HMUA- The Hair and Makeup Collective | Officiant- Yannick Christos-Wahab | Catering- Kathy G at the Gardens Cafe | Reception- The Botanical Gardens Cafe | Treats- Steel City Pops | Performers- Jules Huff and Claire Johnson | Gown- Bella Couture | Designer- Allsion Webb of JLM Couture