University of Virginia college sweethearts Lauren Williams and Malik Shareef tied the knot in a bright and beautiful celebration on May 8, 2010 at the Hotel Monaco in Washington D.C.
Lauren added a personal touch to her wedding invitations and programs by designing them and assembling them herself.
Lauren’s make-up artist, Nikki Fraser, kept the gorgeous bride’s wedding day look simple yet dramatic with special attention to the eyes.
Lauren’s mother does the honors of placing the veil in her daughter’s hair.
To go along with her yellow wedding color, Lauren found these beautiful marigold wedding pumps to wear on her big day.
At first glance Lauren did not like the Pricilla of Boston wedding gown she eventually chose.
“The bridal consultant said, ‘you can try it on first to get it out of the way.’” Lauren remembers. “So I tried it on and it ended up being my dress. She put a broach on it and it just made it come alive.”
Lauren’s big sister, ESSENCE.com Beauty Editor Tia Williams and her daughter show off their bright smiles.
“My sister’s wedding was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen,” Tia says, “and not just because she art-directed every detail with Martha Stewart-like precision. The wedding reflected Lauren and Malik’s love and their love of family in the sweetest, most touching way.”
Malik and his groomsmen take some time out to chill before heading down the aisle.
Lauren’s bridesmaids stand beside their friend and sister on her big day.
For this couple that fell in love so close to the nation’s capitol, historic D.C. was the perfect place to celebrate their union.
Malik shares a private moment with his mother before heading to the altar.
Just before heading off to start a new life with Malik, Lauren takes a time-out to share a smile with her mom and dad.
Lauren chose her two sisters as her matrons of honor.
Lush yellow roses for the bridal bouquet keep the spring theme going.
Lauren and her father play a quick game before walking down the aisle.
Lauren’s darling niece tiptoes down the aisle.
Lauren tears up a little while reading her vows to Malik.
Malik places the wedding band on his beloved.
Lauren’s cousin designed the couple’s wedding bands. The bride’s is a two-piece band made to curve around her engagement ring and Malik’s band features a jagged line of diamonds that run through the center of his ring.
“They are very special,” Lauren says.
The happy newlyweds kiss as husband and wife for the first time.
Lauren and Malik revel in their newlywed status as they walk down the aisle together as husband and wife at last.
Malik’s folks welcome Lauren into their family with open arms.
“He has this infectious positivity around him at all times,” Lauren says of Malik, “and it rubs off and makes everyone happy. He’s just an amazing person and everyone loves him.”
“Now that we’re married, we don’t want to be away from each other for one second,” the new wife says.
“I had to go to New York for work last week, and it was painful to be away from him for one day,” Lauren says of never wanting to spend another day away from Malik.
“We joke that in a few years we’ll be like, ’isn’t your next business trip coming up soon?’” Lauren kids. “But for now, we’re in wedded bliss.”
The golden lights in the reception hall add warmth to this joyous family gathering.
Lauren’s wedding coordinator Sara Muchnick of Engaging Affairs helped he find a florist that would add an extra touch of spring to each of her tables.
Yellow Door Floral Design’s short bouquets of white flowers accented with lemon halves were the perfect centerpieces.
“He brings out the best in me,” Lauren says of her new husband. “And I hope that I do the same for him.”
Lauren’s father smiles proudly at his newlywed daughter as the two dance to Stevie Wonder’s “As.”
For their first dance as husband and wife, Lauren and Malik danced to Jill Scott’s “Not Like Crazy.”
Malik and Lauren are lost in each other’s eyes as the two dance together on their wedding day.
Malik is congratulated with big hugs.
Lauren also designed and assembled the menus for her wedding reception.
“I think a lot of people are shying away from cakes,” Lauren said of choosing cupcakes for her wedding day, “I wanted the option to have a variety of flavors. And it’s a lot less expensive.”
Lauren and Malik’s wedding desserts were made by Fluffy Thoughts and included cupcakes made with blackberry buttercream filling with lemon buttercream frosting and lemon buttercream filling with vanilla frosting.
The newlyweds cut their wedding cake together.
Lauren and Malik raise their glasses to a happy union.
Lauren’s dad jokingly lets his new son-in-law know he’ll be watching him.
“We are so happy to be together and to finally make it official,” Lauren says.
For gifts, Lauren and Malik found lemon sugar cookies decorated like lemon slices on Etsy.com.
“They were delicious!” the new wife exclaims.
“Our relationship is so strong and I just look forward to building on the great foundation of trust, love, friendship and mutual respect that we already have,” Lauren gushes.
“Oh and babies of course.” she continues. “But not for a few more years.”