Brittney Gruberger had just moved in with her new roommate Kim, who invited her along to a family holiday party. She never would have guessed that Kim’s cousin, Sean Lakin, would turn out to be the love of her life. When Sean bought an engagement ring, he called his beloved’s father saying he wanted to pop the question and discuss it with both parents over a meal. “I went into dinner prepared to reassure them about my decision but they were already so enthusiastic that I ended up speeding up the proposal!” Sean exclaims. Soon after, he took his girlfriend out to dinner while his sister secretly set up the house with candles, rose petals, and a bottle of Champagne.
Alongside the mother of the bride and Linda Howard of Linda Howard Events, the couple spent the next year planning their nuptials. “When you work with Linda, you don’t have to worry about the unexpected,” the bride notes. A local Los Angeles country club made for the perfect venue to host their vision of classic elegance. The ceremony was held on the deck, which was tented in order to give the vow exchange an indoor/outdoor feel.
Though the base of the chuppah featured a full, lush arrangement of verdant greenery and ivory blossoms, there was also a special personal touch inside. The grandmother of the bride had crocheted the canopy and many family members had been married underneath it, with the names and wedding dates added for each new couple who wed. “We were the first to use it since my grandmother passed away,” Brittney confides. In lieu of a bridal party, the parents and siblings of the couple stood beneath the chuppah as Brittney and Sean exchanged vows. The groom looked sharp in a tuxedo while the bride was resplendent in a fitted gown with a slight trumpet flare in the crepe skirt. The cap-sleeved bodice featured a variety of modern embellishments on the illusion netting, which sparkled throughout the service.
“I figured if everyone is well-fed and can dance then it’ll be a great night,” the groom says of the reception. The cuisine and music were his focus in the planning process, which paid off. Guests enjoyed a summer salad that included goat cheese and crispy Brussels sprouts and were then given a choice between filet mignon and miso-glazed salmon. A variety of desserts also delighted attendees. A coconut cake was covered in the snowy flakes of the tropical fruit, as well as sugar flowers. “We also had additional rounds of chocolate and marble cake for guests who didn’t like coconut,” Brittney explains.
For favors, the sweets table included bags so revelers could take their favorite candies home, and their wedding planner surprised the newlyweds with heart-shaped black-and-white cookies reading “Mr. and Mrs.” With plenty of dancing fuel from all the delicious goodies, everyone was in a party mood, and the band delivered. “They brought so much energy and kept everyone engaged. They were a huge part of the night,” Sean confirms. The departure of the band didn’t even end the festivities. “Everyone on the dance floor started singing without them and the party continued for a couple more songs. It was cool to see how many people wanted the night to continue as much as we did!” the groom reveals.
When it comes to advising couples planning their own future nuptials, the new Mr. and Mrs. Lakin both agree that you should stay together the whole night. Sean adds, “It is really easy to get pulled in different directions, but at the end of the day you will want to experience that night with the other person, not just be at the same event. That doesn’t mean missing out on a shot of tequila with the guys… it means bringing her and her friends and family along for the ride.”