Bride: Lauren Rachel Casty
Groom: Brandon Nicholas Boros
Wedding gown style: Eliza
Wedding date: July 13th, 2013
Boutique purchased: Vera Wang Bride Chicago, IL
Location: Chicago, IL
Photographer: Shane Welch Photography
First things first, where did you meet your husband? How did you know he was the one?
It’s interesting – it depends on whom you ask. If you ask the bride, Lauren:
The night I returned from Teach For America’s five week training program in LA, I had some friends over. One of my new friends from the program (Best Man Michael Abello) brought his best friend Brandon. We chatted, played the Chicago name game and the following day met again at a barbeque in my mother’s yard. Towards the end of dinner, Brandon asked me where my friend and I were planning on going out that evening. I said we hadn’t decided yet. Brandon coyly suggested that we go to the same place, wherever that may be. From there, for the next four and a half years, Brandon and I usually ended up going to the same place.
If you ask the groom, Brandon:
We first met freshman year of high school at a homecoming dance for a school that neither of us attended. She admits to being there, but doesn’t remember meeting me. I, of course, remember meeting (who could forget) her. As the years passed by and our paths didn’t cross, we finally met again at her apartment when she got back from Teach for America training in LA. My best friend invited me and said, “This girl’s from Chicago you should come in and say hi, you probably know some of the same people.” We chatted for a bit and then my friend and I left, but I had a feeling I hadn’t made much of an impression again. The next night we met again at her mom’s barbeque and the third time was finally the charm. At the end of the night I asked her where she was going and when she said she wasn’t sure I said, well we want to go wherever you’re going. Since then that’s always been the case.
I knew Brandon was the one when I constantly caught myself staring in his eyes for too long. It was totally awkward for people around us, but we got to a point where we lost ourselves in the other’s eyes, and that’s when I knew. I wanted to lose myself with him forever.
How did he propose? Tell us the story!
I had been working extra hours and weekends for three weeks now. Brandon invited me on a “date night” Friday, November 4th. We usually go out the 6th of every month (who says we can’t have a monthly anniversary!). The 6th fell on a Monday, so Brandon invited me out that Friday. I wouldn’t get off of work until 7:30, but Brandon insisted I leave work at 7 to make a surprise “show” that started at 7:30. After wrestling with the logistics of having the car, parking, timing, etc, we decided that I would get in my car at 7 and call Brandon to find out where to go. At 7 on the dot, I left school and was handed an envelope by a man standing with a black towncar. Inside the envelope, I found a note that told me to tell the driver to take me to where Brandon and I had their first date. Slightly confused (reading “do not call, just follow the clues”), I told the driver to take me to Le Creperie, a tiny French restaurant where we had our first date. There, I walked in and the bar-tender handed me another envelope with another note telling me to meet Brandon ‘where we fell in love’, which I knew was at my first apartment, which eventually became our first apartment. Inside the door, I found another envelope telling me to meet Brandon where his “ring fund” started. This I knew was Brandon’s cute name for the second job he picked up to save for my ring. I got back in the towncar, which had suspiciously waited at all these stops, and told the driver to take me to Paris Club. There, I was handed yet another envelope that told me to meet Brandon upstairs. When I reached the top of the pitch-black stairwell, my eyes followed the candle-lit path of roses to meet Brandon’s in the middle of the room. There, Brandon handed me the final envelope, which read “Lauren Casty…” As I read it, he dropped to one knee and finished the question with “I love you. Those three words have my life in them. Will you marry me?”
Once the wedding plans started, what made you decide on a Vera Wang gown?
How could I choose anything else?! I tried on a whole bunch at a boutique before the Chicago VW opened. I made that hour long appointment count! I would put on a dress and quickly discard it. If I liked it, I might turn around in the mirror, turn to my mom and ask what she thought and then go try the next one. When I put Eliza on, I didn’t want to take her off. I spent the remaining 20 minutes of my appointment walking around the boutique, talking to other brides, playing with my hair, anything to keep me in that dress! That’s how I knew. Then, when the boutique on Oak opened, I was there three days after the opening and fell in love with the dressing rooms, the team, the little chocolates, everything! Walking in there is a dream…
How did you accessorize to make your wedding day unique?
How DIDN’T I?! Every little detail was OURS. Our one goal for the wedding décor/feeling was to have it fit us to a tee. We wanted every detail and decision to reflect who we are, what we’re about and the people we love. Here are a few of the ways we accomplished this: When guests arrived in Chicago, they were greeted with two treats – Mony’s Rum Balls which is Brandon’s family’s recipe and Nanny’s Blueberry Cake which is my family’s recipe. At the wedding, my brother, Jordan Casty, who is an unbelievable musician, sang us down the aisle. He played acoustic guitar and first sang Unchained Melody for the grandmas. Then, he played Sade’s By Your Side for the bridesmaids. By Your Side was the first song that Brandon and I ever danced to. Then, he played Crazy Love for my parents to walk me down the aisle. Brandon met me halfway (both literally and symbolically) and we walked up to the chuppah together. Our officiant was the founder of my Hebrew school and has known me since I was three. She was fantastic. I made our program and included how we met, our proposal story and an explanation of each step of the ceremony. For our cocktail hour music, jazz band students from my school (I’m an Assistant Principal at a Chicago charter high school) wowed guests as they came upstairs to see the framed notes from Brandon’s proposal and leave us “Guest Libs” as our own Guestbook. Then, we dined on unbelievable Italian food (close to my heart because I lived in Italy for a year) and heard some amazing speeches. My brother’s speech included a song that he wrote especially for us on our wedding night (think: “Heaven’s got posters on telephone poles, saying an angel’s been lost from the sky, and the man she came down for is bringing her roses on an evening in middle July”). We DIY’ed our wedding dance choreography that ended with a huge high five – crushed it! At the end of the night, Brandon and I left in a horse drawn carriage from the stable where I used to take riding lessons as a kid. The night couldn’t have been more ‘us’ and no one had more fun that we did!
What was the inspiration or theme for your wedding?
Because the phrase was used in Brandon’s proposal and both our vows (and engraved on his ring!) the theme became “Those three words…” The night was all about celebrating who we are individually and who we’ve become as a couple. We were so lucky to work with such an amazing team to make the night reflect us – this was no cookie-cutter wedding!
Did you incorporate any other Vera Wang products into your wedding? If so how?
I LOVE Vera Wang’s fragrance that was gifted to me when I first bought my dress. I sprayed it on both before and after I put on my dress!
Did you stay true to the Old English wedding rhyme: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. If so, what were yours?
Of course! My ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed’ were combined: I borrowed my great grandmother’s engagement ring from my aunt who wears it as her wedding ring. I had two ‘something blue’: My undies were blue hanky-panky that said “I DO” in rhinestones on them and my toe nails were blue. My ‘something new’ was my Vera Wang, of course!
What tips do you have for new brides picking out their wedding dress?
Don’t waste time on ones that don’t elicit a visceral reaction. You’ll FEEL it more than know it when you’ve found your dress. (And even if you think you won’t, you WILL) Also, make it fun! Bring champagne, a friend or two (not too many, too many cooks…) and make sure you are working with a boutique and team that make you feel like a “bride” not just a customer.
What was your favorite part of the day? And, are there any other anecdotes you would like to share?
My husband and I talk about this all the time – what WAS the favorite part?! I loved our first look – we met under a tree canopy in the Montrose Bird Sanctuary. It felt like we were in a secret garden! I loved seeing my mother’s face when I gave her a handkerchief that said: “For your happy tears today because you’ve always dried mine.” I did a spinning class with some of my bridesmaids Saturday morning – it was a blast! Everyone thought I was nuts for working out on my wedding day, but I loved every second of it! When we got back, I gave them each a tote bag with their initial that held a big monogrammed oxford and leggings to wear while we got ready and flip flops that I wrote messages to each on to wear when we went to take pictures in the tall grass and sand. Brandon’s vows blew me away. We both said the phrase that he proposed with: “I love you. Those three words have my life in them.” I was so excited when I had him look inside the ring right after the ceremony to find the engraving that said “Those three words…7/13/13” Leaving together in the carriage with our Sofia Coppola champagne cans with straws was the best way to depart – we got to wind down together in the quaint carriage and beautiful night with friends, family and strangers honking their horns shouting congratulations!