If the name Lauren Brisben sounds familiar, it should. The Brisben family has been a household name since Lauren’s mother, Patty Brisben, founded Loveland-based Pure Romance, the famed in-home party company specializing in relationship-enhancing products. So it’s no surprise that the wedding for Lauren—Patty’s youngest of four and her only daughter—would not only be purely romantic, but also purely dazzling, purely stunning, and purely personal.
The date was December 31, 2011. It was New Year’s Eve, beachside at world-renowned The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
“I wanted crisp, clean lines,” Lauren says about her vision for the wedding. “I wanted a contemporary feel with a somewhat boutique element.” To give it glitzy New Year’s vibe, they mixed winter whites with accents of black, metallic, “and a lot of bling.”
It started with the dress: a mermaid-cut Enzoani with billowing ruffles that Lauren describes as “exactly my personality, which is sassy and sophisticated and a little different.” Rounding out her look were a custom-made headpiece that matched the dress’s crystal-embellished shoulder strap and glittery peep-toe Jimmy Choos. With its festive flair, that dress inspired a wedding brimming with Auld Lang Syne pizzazz.
The Mt. Lookout–based couple’s wedding unfolded much like a Broadway production—dramatic and suspenseful, with scenery changes and multiple costumes. Guests were on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what came next. “We were entertaining for a wedding, and also for New Year’s,” explains Patty, who was instrumental in the planning. “I wanted to do a progression of elements of surprise throughout the whole night.”
The progression began with a sunset ceremony in the Ritz’s intimate outdoor courtyard, a space encompassed by stately pillars adorned in romantic, sweeping white draperies. Guests were then led to the back of the hotel for an outdoor cocktail hour that centered around a majestically illuminated fountain. Towering palm trees encircled the space, which was dotted with metallic gray bistro tables and silver Chiavari chairs.
Next, guests were ushered into a grand dining room garnished top-to-bottom with suspended lampshade-esque structures filled with sparkling chandeliers. Burgeoning bundles of roses and white peonies (Lauren’s favorite) and tall crystal candlesticks topped the tables. Seating assignments hung like ornaments from the branches of winter “ice” trees.
“I wanted everybody in that room to feel like they were a very special guest, so everybody’s table [decor] was somewhat different,” says Patty. Before dinner, the newlyweds cut their stacked, square-shaped cake, which was wrapped with a “staircase” of white peonies and crowned with their bejeweled monogram. A classy jazz trio crooned as guests enjoyed gourmet selections of beef tenderloin, seared stone bass, and mushroom risotto, all served with Champagne-infused sorbet palate cleansers. A single white baby grand piano punctuated the room’s stage area, and white drapes hung to block out the other half of the ballroom.
Then, the show’s climax: the curtains swept open to reveal Lauren and Andrew dancing to their first song, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Hard to Concentrate,” played powerfully by an 11-piece band. “I loved to see the guests’ delight when we revealed the reception dance party room because it was a totally different look than the dining area,” says wedding planner Brigid Horne-Nestor of i-do Weddings & Events. Indeed, the room was electric. Chic white lounge couches bordered the sleek white dance floor, and disco balls dangled from the ceiling. Floating candles in glass balls hung from ice-like branches of towering crystal trees.
To catch a break from dancing, guests could retreat to the photo booth or get some fresh air in the outdoor “after glow” space—yet another surprise scene that boasted white lounging couches and a fire pit. When it came time to bid adieu to 2011, everyone gathered for a classic countdown, complete with party hats, noisemakers, and a Champagne toast.
“It was fitting for the wedding to be on New Year’s because it’s always been one of our favorite times of the year to celebrate with our friends,” Andrew says.
Making It Personal
Complementing the modern finesse of shimmery accents and bling-tastic embellishments, Lauren and Andrew’s wedding also included several traditional elements. Andrew requested Canon in D as Lauren’s processional song: “I just had to hear that when she walked down the aisle,” he says, “and I also didn’t want to see her before the ceremony.” It was also intentional to have a priest officiate the ceremony, representing Andrew’s Catholic upbringing.
A new tradition they embraced was the “wine box” that holds love letters written to each other and a nice bottle of wine purchased by their parents. They will open the bottle of wine on their fifth anniversary, read their letters from each other, and celebrate their journey thus far. As the tradition goes, the box can also be opened earlier if trouble has arisen in the marriage and the couple needs to renew their love and commitment. “I love the fact that they took the time to write that letter about where their heart was and how they felt on that day,” says Patty. “I love that they were aware of the road that will be traveled.”
“It was symbolic of unity—not just Andrew and Lauren, but of Talia [Lauren’s 8-year-old daughter] and the formation of a new family,” adds Brigid.
Perhaps the most intimate detail of the evening was the couple’s exchange of vows, which they wrote themselves. That’s when Lauren got her own surprise: “At the end of his vows and all his promises, he said, ‘And now to quote one of my favorite authors,’ and he read a poem that I had written for him. He didn’t say who had written it, but at the first line I knew. At the end of the poem, he looked at the audience and said, ‘Lauren wrote that.’”
Even Lauren’s daughter Talia had a surprise up her sleeve. The “mini maid of honor” had prerecorded a speech, but when it came time to play it, she insisted on giving it live in front of the 150-guest room. It was unique, personal moments like those that shone brighter than any of the flashy decorations that evening.
“More than all the details, I was just so happy that so many people took time out of their lives to come down and spend that night with us,” Andrew says. “It was a good New Year’s, and it represented new beginnings in a lot of ways.”
Photography by Ashley Brockinton Photography • View the Photo Gallery
Wedding Planner: Brigid Horne-Nestor, i-do Weddings & Events
Lighting: Frost Lighting
Stationery: Poême of Hyde Park
Flowers and Decor: 50-Fifty Creative Services
Videographer: Jeff Weinkam, Pure Romance
Bride’s Hair and Makeup: Nancy Borin of Paragon Salon
Music Booking: Service Talent and Entertainment Productions
Reception Band: The Headliners
On-site Ritz-Carlton Coordinator: Nicola Long
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bridal and Formal