Lauren and Warren initially met on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. “I purchased additional ‘bagels’ just to connect with Warren,” Lauren told ESSENCE. “After being introduced, I told him he owed me 99 cents back if things didn’t work out. Fortunately, I never got my dollar back!”
After getting engaged during the most picture-perfect vacation in Florence, Italy, the couple went full-steam ahead planning their wedding. Unfortunately, their original plans were derailed due to COVID-19. Still, it was important to Lauren and Warren to keep their 4/25/2020 wedding date. So with the help of their wedding planner, Melissa Williams of B’Astonished Events, they switched gears and arranged an intimate outdoor ceremony attended only by Warren’s father and their local pastor. Melissa made sure the Andersons felt special by decorating their bridal suite at Four Seasons DC with rose petals, champagne, champane and flowers.
“No bride can prepare for their wedding plans being detoured by a pandemic,” says Lauren. “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.”
Scroll through the gallery to see the most beautiful moments from Lauren and Warren’s Washington D.C. wedding.
The Scenic Proposal
During a vacation to Florence, Italy, the couple went enjoyed the day with activities like horseback riding and a wine tour at a castle with a breathtaking landscape. The day was perfect and beautiful and ended with the most heartwarming surprise. "We finish the remainder of our session with sunset photos of the Tuscan backdrop," says Lauren. "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."
Ready For Forever
"Being a groom was the greatest honor I’ve had to date," says Warren. "I felt ready for the journey I’ve prepared to embark upon with my wife. My father aided me in getting ready for the day and made me feel confident in my next steps to becoming a husband."
"I woke up feeling immensely grateful to become a wife, but I also experienced some mourning thinking about the reality of my mother not being physically present," Lauren tells ESSENCE. "Although it was bittersweet, marrying the man God created for me during this time overwhelmed me with gratitude."
Oh Happy Day
"Seeing my wife walk down the aisle with my father was more than I dreamed of," Warren tells ESSENCE. "It was a day I will never forget."
Beauty Is Her Name
Lauren found an exquisite strapless wedding gown for her ceremony in place of the dress she originally picked out for the larger ceremony. "I didn’t want to display my original wedding dress until my mother and family would be able to witness it," she explains, "so I found an alternative option online during COVID. It was the perfect classic and understated gown that allowed our joy and love to shine."
Distant, But Always Present
Due to COVID-19, Lauren and Warren's mothers were unable to physically attend their ceremony as they both live in different states. Instead, they attended the ceremony virtually via a group FaceTime. "My father-in-love walked me down the aisle and gave me away during, which was the moment I cherished most that day," Lauren says.
LOVE Everywhere You Look
Lauren and her father-in-law walked down the aisle to "Love" by Fred Hammond.
Cherish The Day
The bride explains that although coronavirus upended their wedding plans, getting married on this day was of utmost importance. "Warren is literally the greatest human I know," she says. "Nothing was going to stop me from being Mrs. Anderson on 4/25/2020, which marks our 2 year anniversary. Because of the significance of the day, we really wanted to keep our date and dedicate our lives to one another and God -- no matter the unprecedented times we faced."
God Bless This Union
The Andersons' local pastor facilitated their traditional ceremony, though they chose to save the exchanging their personal vows for the rescheduled wedding date.
Officially Mr. and Mrs. Anderson!
A Beautiful Surprise
"Knowing the emotional toll COVID-19 had on me, Warren wanted to surprise me with having some of our local friends drive by and honk their horns during the ceremony," says the bride.
Love From All Over
The love was on high as the couple's family and friends drove by to send their congratulations and celebrate them from a safe distance.
Love was on full display as the couple's family and friends showed up with huge signs to celebrate the momentous occasion.
All In This Together
"Obeying social distancing rules, local friends and family lined the streets of DC and shared their love in such a beautiful way," the coupled told ESSENCE. "I love you all immensely and adore the memory of having you present in your own special way."
In 2011, Lauren wrote and prayed over a list of qualities she wanted in a husband along with all of the characteristics she wanted to possess as a wife. "I joke that maybe that’s it took so long because I had a lot of work to do," she says, "but Warren far exceeds every single item on that list -- a list some would call impossible or too detailed, but was written by faith."
My Better Half
"I had just about given up on online dating because the monotony was wearing on me," says Warren. "I took a chance on such a beautiful person and it turned out to be the greatest blessing. I found the best part of me in Lauren."
Something Old, New, Borrowed And Blue
"My something old was my veil from my highschool friend, Katie," says Lauren. "My something new was my dress gifted to me from my sister, Ericka. The something borrowed was my headpiece from my close friend and planner, Melissa, and my something blue was a custom made garter that I wore for my husband."
"I will undersell this, but Warren is the closest thing to perfection that a human can be," says the bride. "Not because he gave me an engagement of a lifetime, but because he has been beyond intentional and purposeful with my heart from day one."
Lauren's Advice To Brides
"The biggest lesson I learned throughout the stages of wedding planning, the heartbreak of COVID-19, and now being a newlywed, is to focus on the importance of marriage and not solely a celebration," says Lauren. "A number of exterior factors can impact plans, but keep your attention and energy set on the love you share with your partner and the life you are beginning together."
These bride and groom custom masks are everything!