Real Wedding: Lauren and Michael

These former high school athletes sprinted toward love, but took their time to get to the altar.

All photographs by Ever After Visuals.

Lauren Cartee and Michael Nunley met while both were on their high school track team; she thought he was “handsome and kindhearted,” and he found her “beautiful, intelligent, and unique.” A first date at the zoo marked the start of a blissful eight-year relationship before Michael, a customer service manager, popped the question. He surprised Lauren, a marketing coordinator, by proposing at the National Harbor pier, overlooking the water. Afterward, they had a special dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s and a night’s stay at the Gaylord Hotel. A romantic wedding followed a year later.


Photographer/Photo Booth: Ever After Visuals

Officiant: Reverend Lance Orndorff

Venue/Caterer: Airlie

Event Coordinator: Amanda Smith, White Pumpkin

Bride’s Gown: Badgley Mischka 

Hair: Tina Gibson and Jessica Thomas with The Hair Garage

Makeup: Groom’s aunt Vivian Turnelle

Groom’s Tux: Calvin Klein, Men’s Wearhouse

Cake/Cake Pops: Farazon, Cupcake Novelties

Cake Flavors: Red velvet for the cake; white chocolate with cranberry and orange and cookies and cream for cake pops

Cake Topper: Cherry Red Toppers

Florist: Barbara Von Elm with Growing Wild Floral Company and groom’s aunt Dena Nevarez

Flowers: Orange, white, and purple calla lilies, orange and red hypericum berries, pincushion protea, bells of Ireland, purple and orange roses, white gladiolas, curly willow, and safari sunset

First Dance Song: “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton

Entertainment/Lighting: John Caniford, JJDJ Entertainment

Ceremony Music: Perfect Harmony String Ensemble

Flautist: Eileen Martin

Invitations: Dena Nevarez 

Bride’s Favorite Detail: “My mother’s veil and pearls from her wedding dress, and the head piece, which was handmade by my grandmother.”

Groom’s Favorite Detail: His Spectator shoes 

Biggest Surprise: “How nervous Michael was before the ceremony.  Thankfully we chose to have first-look photos beforehand, which helped calm both our nerves.”

Wedding Favors: ChillBalls and ChillRocks

Wedding Theme: Classic

Four Words That Describe the Wedding: Romantic, family, friends, memorable

Where They Currently Live: Sterling, Virginia