When Warren and Lauren’s original wedding plans were derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, the couple decided quickly that while they would postpone their celebration, they were committed to wed on their intended date, which holds special meaning for the couple as their two-year dating anniversary. So on April 25, 2020, they held a tiny ceremony of just themselves, a pastor, and the father-of-the-groom, who walked the bride down the aisle, and exchanged vows on the steps of the Potomac View Terrace at The American Pharmacists Association headquarters. Not to let the day go uncelebrated, the couple’s loved ones lined the street in their cars, holding up signs of love and congratulations from a distance. Read more about their day below.
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Lauren Bennett, a special education coordinator from Beaumont, Texas, and Warren Anderson, a financial consultant from Vienna, Virginia, met online via Coffee Meets Bagel in March of 2018.
They hit it off immediately—each “captivated” by the other’s charm and sense of humor—and after chatting for a couple of weeks, agreed to a first date at Aqua 301 in Navy Yard, where things continued to go well. The pair dated for 18 months before getting engaged while vacationing together in Italy last October.
The first stop on the couple’s Italian adventure was Florence, where they went horseback riding with photographers in tow under the guise of shooting photos for a Christmas card. “Following the breathtaking ride in the Italian hillside,” Lauren says, “we changed our attire and went on a wine tour at a remarkable castle with the most impeccable landscape. The photographers met us after the tour, to finish the remainder of our session with sunset photos of the Tuscan backdrop. As we posed for our final photo, Warren got on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. The answer has always been yes.”
The Decision to Keep Their Original Date
The couple had been planning their April 2020 wedding—on the date of their two-year dating anniversary—for four and a half months when things took a turn. Before that, Lauren says, planning a wedding on a six-month timeline had been “effortless” with planner and friend Melissa Williams from B Astonished Events. “But then COVID-19 hit and all of the peace we had in preparing for a wedding in six months, turned into making alternate plans less than six weeks before our special day,” she says. The couple ultimately decided to postpone their larger celebration, but having such a sentimental attachment to their original wedding date, it was important to them to keep it. “We really wanted to keep our date and dedicate our lives to one another and God, no matter the unprecedented times we faced,” Lauren says. Moving forward was not easy. “Everyday was a new revelation, a new setback, and an unexpected mandate…” she explains. But ultimately, she says of staying the course, “I love this man, he is literally the greatest human I know and nothing was going to stop me from being Mrs. Anderson on April 25, 2020.”
Planning a New Wedding
With their sights on a socially distant ceremony on their original wedding date, the couple forged ahead. “I was overwhelmed with so many decisions to make overnight but the harshest reality was that my friends and family—mainly my mother who is 22 hours away in Texas and auto immune-compromised—would not be able to attend,” Lauren says.
On the big day, Lauren says, the emotions were bittersweet: “Grieving the postponement of our day and not having our family present, but also elated to become one and grateful to have each other.”
Warren’s dad walked Lauren down the aisle, and the couple’s pastor of six years, James Marshall of Zion Church, served as the officiant.
“Toting masks and smiles, the amazing team at Beaute Elevated served as the most gracious glam squad, our friend and favorite florist ever at Pretty Petal Florist’s prepared the most beautiful bouquet, and of course, the day would not have been the same without the lady with the best eye in town, our fearless and devoted photographer Terri Baskin,” Lauren says of their vendor team.
Among the sweetest parts? Family and friends came out in socially distant droves to support the couple from afar. “Obeying social distancing rules, local friends and family lined the streets of DC and shared their love in such a beautiful way,” Lauren says.
The Big Day
It was not the day the couple imagined, but it was one they will never forget. ”No bride can prepare for their wedding plans to be detoured by a pandemic and honestly, although I cherish this chapter in our love story, I wouldn’t wish this level of altered planning on anyone,” Lauren says. “After many breakdowns, tears, prayers and reflection, I am grateful that Warren and I were able to have an intimate and sacred ceremony that is a reflection of what I pray our marriage will be, making the best out of any situation, together. Vows > Virus!” Following the ceremony, the couple celebrated with champagne, cake, and dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel. They postponed their celebration to later this year, and plan to eventually take their honeymoon in Bora Bora.
Photographer: Terri Baskin | Venue: The Potomac View Terrace at The American Pharmacist Association | Event Planning: Melissa Williams of B Astonished Events | Florist: Pretty Petals Florals | Invitations: Minted | Hairstylist & Makeup Artist: BeauteElevated | Officiant: Pastor James Marshall | Bride’s Rings: White and Ivory Fine Jewelry | Groom’s Ring: Cartier