Wedding ceremony at the Country Chapel in Freedom, WI

Lauren & Ryan’s Great Gatsby Wedding at The Grand Meridian in Appleton

March 9, 2021

From First Love to Love of Their Lives

Lauren and Ryan, both from Marion, Wisconsin, first met in 2002. They crossed paths through a roommate of Ryan’s who worked with Lauren at a grocery store. The two dated for about four months before breaking up, each moving on and chalking up the relationship to a “first love.” Fourteen years later, Ryan tracked down Lauren and reached out on Facebook. “We started talking and decided to meet up casually as friends,” Lauren says. But the connection they felt was off the charts, and they knew they couldn’t be just friends. They started dating again in 2016.

Ryan popped the question one night after Lauren got home from work. “When I was getting ready to go out, he pulled me aside and gave me a letter,” she recalls. “As I was reading the letter he wrote, Ryan played Ed Sheeren’s ‘Perfect.’ I got to the end of the letter where it asked if I would marry him. I looked up, and Ryan was holding a ring.”

A Great Gatsby Wedding

Ryan and Lauren planned a June 2020 wedding with a 1920s Great Gatsby theme. The aim was a wedding full of glitz, glam, and class with colors of black, gold, and pearl accents. In fact, bringing the Gatsby theme to life was one of Lauren’s favorite things to plan. “It was fun finding items to decorate the reception to create the look I wanted.”

Ryan found his classic black tux and bow tie at DuBois Formalwear. Lauren’s gown was draped with beading in the back, and her hairpiece featured a flourish of feathers. Guests of the wedding even leaned into the theme, some donning pearls and flapper-inspired looks.


An Outdoor Ceremony

Lauren and Ryan said “I do” at an outdoor ceremony at The Country Chapel in Freedom, Wisconsin. One of Ryan’s good friends officiated. According to Lauren, the highlight of the ceremony featured wine and chocolate. “This was to symbolize the sweet and bitter times we would experience throughout our marriage,” Lauren explains. “Ryan’s friend, conducting the ceremony, poured more wine than needed into the glasses. I took enough to fill my mouth and put the glass down. Ryan obviously took it as a challenge and downed his entire glass. Everyone laughed. I couldn’t let him drink alone, so I grabbed my glass and finished mine too. Everyone laughed.”

The Grand Meridian Reception

The reception was held at The Grand Meridian in Appleton. “The reception hall was decorated so beautifully that everyone was complimenting it all night,” Lauren says. “Even now we hear how beautiful everything was and how good the food was. I’ve been to other weddings at other places, and The Grand Meridian’s food is by far the best.” As for coordinating the event: “Sue at The Grand Meridian is wonderful to work with. She helps keep the stress level low and is very accommodating.”

To decorate the space in the Gatsby theme, Lauren and Ryan made all of the feather centerpieces and set up a stunning champagne fountain. Matt’s DJ Service kept the energy up on the dance floor all night long and also provided a photo booth. “They were excellent to work with.”


Taking Care for Covid-19

Ryan and Lauren’s wedding date nearly had to change completely because of the pandemic. “We almost rescheduled due to restrictions on gatherings. A month before the wedding, they repealed the extension of the order.” To keep guests safe, Lauren and Ryan bought masks and hand sanitizer for everyone. At the reception, they set up additional tables to further spread people out. The newlyweds haven’t taken a honeymoon yet because of travel restrictions, but are hoping to hit the Caribbean once they have the green light to go.


Make-Up Artist Salon Aura,  Appleton
Ceremony Location The Country Chapel, Freedom
Reception/Catering The Grand Meridian, Appleton
Cake Cake Anatomy, Kaukauna
Floral Bouquets Bouquets by Nicole
Flowers- Ceremony & Reception Centerpieces Marshall Florist, Kaukauna
Music/Entertainment Matt’s DJ Service
Officiant Andy Werth
Photographer Don Krueger Photography
Photo Booth Matt’s DJ Service
Formalwear DuBois Formalwear
Gown Designer Kenneth Winston
Videographer Video Reflections, Madison
Rentals- Ceiling Draping Wedding Perfect, Appleton