Summer romance is something that most people dream of having. There are countless movies that made me feel like every vacation or every break in school should result in a love story. For me, that wasn’t the case. But my amazing future sister-in-law’s summer romance was perfect (and thankfully lasted longer than a summer). (When I’m done this blog, I’m going to write it up as a screenplay. I’ll take casting suggestions.)
Fate was truly at play that summer. When you think about finding your soulmate among the billions of people on earth, it may not occur to you that your soulmate could be waiting thousands of miles and several time zones away. For Lauryn and Deniz, something had to be at play to bring a boy from Turkey onto the same dance floor as a Philly girl. That something was her brother, George.
It all started with her family’s annual trip to Brigantine, NJ. Her parents let her and her brothers bring friends down for the first night there. Lauryn’s brother, George, invited his friends down from his graduate program at Johns Hopkins University. In walked Deniz and I’m assuming Cupid with his arrow followed right after.
“Our love connection began that night – when we decided to go out to the casinos at 1 AM and the only bar open was a dance party at a casino bar,” said Lauryn. “Deniz doesn’t like to dance, but he did that night!”
When you do something routine, like an annual family beach trip, you typically don’t expect life-altering events to occur. But for Lauryn, she met her soulmate that trip. Three annual beach trips later, she experienced another life-changing event.
“Deniz proposed during a walk on the seawall in Brigantine, NJ at sunset,” said Lauryn. “It was beautiful and also the city where we met.”
Deniz originally planned to pop the question much sooner but decided to hand-carve the ring box.
“He’s never carved anything before, so it took him about 6 months!” Lauryn said. “The box is awesome though – hand carved hinges and all.”
Plus, the wait made the engagement perfect because it was in the city where they met, and she was able to celebrate with her family after.
Lauryn and Deniz got engaged pretty much right before the engagement boom happened and things began reopening from covid, so they wasted no time getting the ball rolling. Luckily, venue hunting was Deniz’s favorite part because they had to get through the venues quickly.
“I think we made a smart decision in booking the venue RIGHT away! We were able to snag a Friday in August, which usually isn’t super popular but at that point all weekend days in all months were booking up,” Lauryn said.
They were pretty lucky planning during the pandemic because things were just starting to open back up and the rules were relaxing, so nothing had to be canceled or rescheduled.
“We didn’t get to see our band live ahead of time (only videos),” Lauryn said, “but that worked out great because we had a fantastic surprise with how even more awesome, they were live!”
The band was probably one of the couple’s favorite part of planning because they got to send options for songs to the band and build a playlist together.
“A lot of wedding planning until that point had been stressful or tedious,” Lauryn said, “but as soon as I started listening to the band’s suggested songs, I thought – this is fun!”
Deniz and Lauryn found ways to take potentially boring, stressful or tedious tasks and made them fun. For their music selection, they invited friends over to their patio for happy hour and hosted party music listening sessions to develop the perfect playlist.
When it came time for their tasting, they used it as an excuse to spend some fun time together in Doylestown. They chose to take ballroom dance lessons to prepare for their first dance (remember, Deniz isn’t much of a dancer) and found fun ways to practice at home. They took the time to learn the steps to more fun styles of dance, like the rumba.
Finding moments like this to enjoy wedding planning together is so important! Would definitely suggest taking a page out of Lauryn and Deniz’s planning guide and make sure that the steps are still lighthearted and fun. Wedding planning can be stressful, so find ways to enjoy it together.
The one thing they couldn’t do together though, was wedding dress shopping. (However, as memory serves, we did still have fun with Lauryn and Deniz after with drinks).
“I didn’t really know exactly what I was looking for in my wedding dress,” Lauryn said, “but luckily my future sister-in-law owns an awesome bridal shop!”
This experience was honestly the most special for me. Every day we find incredible people their wedding dresses, but it’s not very often that you get to find someone you love a wedding dress. I was honestly so nervous about helping her find a dress, especially because I knew what this day would mean to her.
“We were able to set up a private appointment with my childhood friends, aunt (godmother), and cousin,” Lauryn said. “Since my mom passed away five years ago, it was great to have a group of amazing ladies to help me.”
Her friends and I shared some photos with Lauryn because she wasn’t sure where she wanted to start and there are so many options out there! So she did a little homework before she came in. And from knowing her so well, I knew the gown had to meet a set list of criteria: Lauryn loves to dance, so she has to be able to move. She needed something to make her shine. And it had to be something as special as she was.
There were so many good contenders, but only one perfect dress.
“Laura pulled some of the options I sent her as well as other suggestions from her and my family/friends,” said Lauryn. “I found the perfect Enaura dress with sleeves we could make removable for the dance party! It had beautiful beading, and I thought the design looked perfect for our outdoor wedding at the American Swedish Historical Museum.”
It’s amazing how quickly we went from saying “oui” at LLB to the day she actually got to wear the dress at the American Swedish Historical Museum and the party would begin.
“[My favorite part] was watching her walk down the aisle, summer breeze on my face, J.S. Bach [playing], surrounded by the people I love,” Deniz said.
The first night they met, they were dancing, so it only makes sense that one of the things Lauryn was excited for was celebrating the start of their forever with their first dance.
“I was most looking forward to marrying Deniz and our ceremony!” Lauryn said. “I was also looking forward to our first dance to “You are the Sunshine of My Life” and having a dance party with my family and friends.”
Her wedding day couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather held up, the sun was shining and they were surrounded by Lauryn’s family and all their friends.
“Everything was beautiful and worked out perfectly. The best part was walking down the aisle toward Deniz and then sharing our vows,” Lauryn said. “I loved having a huge dinner with all of my family and friends and spending the night talking to and dancing with them.”
The best surprise was how awesome their band turned out to be, since they never got to see them live before booking.
“Maui was super interactive, including dancing on the piano and with the guests! The vocalist was amazing, and the whole band was so much fun,” Lauryn said. “Even my uncle got up to dance!”
Their Advice For Future Couples:
Deniz: It’s one big party and people will enjoy whether the color of the candle holders match the handkerchiefs or not. Remember at the end you’ll have a great time with the people you love and leave with great memories – unless someone trips and falls on that cake!
Lauryn: Remember that the most important thing is you’re celebrating your love with your future spouse. Decide on what’s most important to both of you and make compromises where needed. Enjoy every minute of the celebration and once it gets started don’t worry about the details anymore – everyone is there to celebrate and will be happy to be having fun with you!
Dress: Enaura Bridal
Veil: Toni Federici
Bridal Party: Wtoo by Watters
The Vendors Who Made The Day:
Photography: Gretchen Hope Photography
Band: EBE Entertainment
Makeup: Aleksandra Ambrozy
Venue: American Swedish Historical Museum