Colin Walker cannot be accused of giving up easily. After meeting Lauren Moerings at a Halloween costume party, he was determined to see her again – even if Lauren wasn’t initially keen on the idea. “Colin tried to give me his number, and I said no,” Lauren recalls. “He had to get creative, so he grabbed my phone from my purse to call himself from it! I was intrigued.” Three years into the couple’s subsequent romance, Colin once again proved resourceful by planning an elaborate proposal to take place on a vacation in Napa Valley. “I wanted to make sure that she was completely surprised, even though she was half expecting a ring on every weekend trip,” Colin says. “I had to throw a couple of ‘pump-fakes’ in there just to always keep her guessing.” Having covertly secured the blessing of Lauren’s father the night before, Colin proposed on a romantic vineyard stroll while a photographer hidden in the shrubbery recorded the momentous occasion.

The wedding planning began with Lauren’s assertion that she would not move forward on anything without the joint approval of both her mother and her maid of honor, Renée. “If we all agreed on something – which was not very often – I knew it was a good decision.” Fortunately, the bride’s preferred location for the event was met with unanimous support. “I have always wanted to get married at Bethesda by-the-Sea, and have my reception at The Breakers,” Lauren confides. “Bethesda is the most beautiful old stone church, and you can’t get much better than The Breakers, in my opinion.” Coordinating a Florida wedding from California proved to be easier than anticipated, as The Breakers provided a pre-approved list of wedding vendors that took the guesswork out of hiring professionals from afar. Plus, with two stunning venues serving as the backdrop to their affair, Lauren and Colin agreed to keep the wedding décor minimal so as not to interfere with the intrinsic beauty of either site.

The formality of the couple’s traditional Episcopal wedding ceremony was infused with warmth, beginning with the pair’s choice of officiant. “It was very important to me to get married in a church with the reverend I grew up with,” Lauren explains. The short, summery dresses worn by the bridesmaids added a light-and-airy element to the scene, and the glossy green ribbon that wrapped the stems of their bouquets coordinated perfectly with the attire of the flower girls. The bride’s entrance in a silky Amy Michelson sheath made quite an impression on the groom: “Seeing her appear through the doorway of the church while the organ music echoed against the cathedral ceilings is my favorite memory. She was gorgeous, stunning, and breathtaking.” His second favorite moment? “Kissing the new Mrs. Walker and then strutting down the aisle together… Very cool.”

The celebration that followed was a fusion of sophistication and fun. The groom’s specific requests for great music and a premium bar proved to be a great combination. “The 10-piece band was unbelievable, while the bar kept delivering amazing libations,” he recalls. “The dance floor was filled from beginning to end – the perfect celebration.” The couple’s laid-back style was evident in their choice of favors: butler-passed flip-flop sandals from Hawaii for the ladies, and Nicaraguan cigars rolled with custom labels for the men. Place cards were displayed in antique gold frames that guests also took home as gifts.

The reception décor was designed to complement the ornate beauty of The Breakers without competing with it. “I just wanted it to be bright and colorful, yet still look simple and elegant,” explains the bride. Three floral designs composed of different varieties of orchids alternated as centerpieces, while single blossoms were tucked into linen napkins. Additional orchids adorned the couple’s multi-tiered wedding cake and blanketed the table beneath a clear glass overlay that gave the confection a “floating” effect. “I liked not having coordinating flowers,” Lauren reveals. “Everything flowed nicely, but nothing was the same.”

Lauren and Colin’s unique approach to wedding planning ensured that the day included those aspects that were important to each of them. “I didn’t feel I had to settle for anything, so the end result was exactly how I imagined it,” asserts the bride. “Make sure that you are passionately involved in at least a couple items,” Colin adds, “and your life will be much easier. Trust me.”