Lauren and Larry first met while attending Florida A&M University. Friendly, and occasionally flirty exchanges led them to go on their first date and they have been by each other’s sides ever since!
Bride Lauren describes the proposal as “An absolute moment in time!”. After a day of parading and celebrating, Larry surprised Lauren by purposing to her at the end of the annual Carnival celebration in Antigua, W.I.
Originally having planned a destination wedding in Jamaica, the couple had to completely change their plans due to the pandemic. Despite the difficulties, they wouldn’t have changed a thing about their big day. Their intimate, stress-free tropical wedding in Palm Beach was more perfect than they could have ever imagined.
See the gorgeous details from this beautiful wedding featured in our Winter 2021 magazine below!
- Couple: Lauren Joseph & Larry Polynice
- Occupations: Account Managers with CSXT (Bride) and Pepsi Co. (Larry)
- Wedding date: November 21,2020
- Wedding location: Palm Beach, Florida
- Photography: Renee Hollingshead Photography
- Ceremony entrance song: “Eternal Source of Light Divine” by Elin Manahan Thomas
- First dance song: “Into You” ft Tamia by Fabolous
How did you meet?
We met while pursuing our MBAs at Florida A&M University in our Commercial Banking class in the Fall of 2014. Although we spoke in class and exchanged answers a time or two (lol!), our interaction didn’t go beyond that. One day, after class ended, myself, Larry and his friend Elexander were walking to our cars. We were all casually conversing when Elexander stated an aspect of my physique that he asked Larry to confirm – “Larry, Lauren has a lil’ a** back there, doesn’t she?!”, which Larry slowed down to positively confirm, ha! As we approached our cars, Larry invited me to a birthday party he was heading to that evening, which I politely declined. After various interactions in and outside of the classroom, I asked Larry if he’d like to get tacos for lunch. He likes to highlight that he was impressed that I paid! Ever since then, we’ve been by each other’s side.
Tell us about the proposal
The proposal was an absolute moment in time! After over a year of planning, in August 2019, Larry and I, along with our family, traveled to Antigua, W.I. to attend and participate in the annual Carnival season – a two week celebration that takes place at the end of July to the first Tuesday in August that represents the emancipation of slavery in Antigua & Barbuda.
Upon our arrival, we fully immersed ourselves in the celebration, participating in fetes, cultural events and our fair share of rum! All of the events that occur build up the anticipation for the grand finale, Carnival Tuesday, which is an ongoing parade of bands, costumes, music and beautiful people. Unbeknownst to me, I had no idea how grand this finale was truly going to be. With soca and rum in our system, we paraded through the streets of St. John’s with Myst Carnival from sun up to sundown, having the time of our lives. Towards the end of the parade, there is a judging point at the Recreation Grounds that determines which mas troupe showcases the most energy and has the best costumes when revelers cross the stage. Our mas troupe eventually crosses, however, Larry tells us to wait by the stage as opposed to leaving the arena. Soon after, the MC calls his name, instructing him to come to the front of the stage as he’s “won a prize”, and asks me to follow him. In all my years of playing mass, I have never known them to give out prizes, and certainly not at this time, but hey! who says they can’t start new traditions?!
As we make our way to the front of the stage, they pass the mic to him for his “acceptance speech”, and he says, “Lauren, I love you so much, you are my everything. Will you marry me, babe?”. At this point he’s on bended knee, the crowd is going wild, a piece of the stage that was make-shift gave way, surrendering to the weight of those who crowed on it to see the commotion, and in this moment it hits me! Coming back into focus, I exclaimed “I DO!”, but Larry’s cousin would not accept anything less than a “yes!”. So they passed the microphone to me, in which I excitedly said “YESSSS!!!”, and the crowd went wild! It was an exhilarating and special moment, surrounded by our family, in attendance on and below the stage, and with love. It was quite the surprise!
My wedding dress was chic, modern, elegant, but simple. It was a custom look that was designed and made by Laurie Underwood of Laury Bride, and we collaboratively worked together to come up with the design. I provided my inspiration of the dolman sleeve, the column skirt, and to add a touch of detail, having the cuffs be exaggerated in length and with pearls. Laurie added her touch with the fit, the beautiful detachable tulle train and the off the shoulder look of the dress. My desire was to have a clean and chic vibe, but it all comes together when one includes their pieces — a modern take on a pearl earring, my mother’s rings and my floral birdcage headpiece by Filipa Cardoso Millinery in London. Larry’s suit was also a custom design by Jean Francilon of Garcon Couture, a double breasted hunter-green suit, complemented with Giuseppe Zanotti smoking slippers. I would say that my wedding shopping experience was successful. I was not the type of bride that dreamt about my wedding day before being engaged, haha! In fact, I didn’t think about it at all, so I approached this experience with an open mind and heart, and with absolutely no fanfare.
The first two bridal salons I visited, I quickly realized what I liked and didn’t like in regards to fabric preference, embellishments, how dramatic or how simple a dress was, the style and fit, and which designers I preferred. From that experience, I came to realize that there were certain aspects I enjoyed about the dresses I tried on, but none truly rang through as “this is THEE dress!”. I never had that moment that we as brides hear about, celebrating finding the one over champagne and with friends and family. So, I decided to take those elements that I liked to design a custom dress that specifically spoke to me, my style and my vibe.
Larry and I both hail from Caribbean households, he being Haitian and myself, Antiguan. The cultural aspects came in with the food which were all Haitian delicacies – Pate, Black Rice, Bunun, Griot, Pikliz and more; and with our music which showcased Kompa, Calypso, Soca and Reggae.
Ooo I have two! Walking down the aisle to see Larry; how fixated we were on each other, both exchanging approving looks and complementing one another, and when it came time to exchange our vows, seeing the emotion in his eyes as I read mine. Another favorite memory is when Larry and I first saw the reception space, just the two of us, and had an intimate dance, it was beautiful.
I know it will be hard, and sometimes you will falter, but do not feel obligated to manage other people’s feelings, especially at the sake of your own. I’ve learned that family and friends, near and far, will try to provide their own input, especially when it comes to the guest list. Never fold. Always remember that this day, this union, involves two people, and that it is a celebration of your love. Center yourselves in that, and all will be well.
Do you have any tips for planning/rescheduling/pivoting a wedding during Covid-19?
First and foremost, BREATHE! I know first hand how all over the place one can be when it comes to planning, rescheduling and pivoting during this time. You can experience anxiety trying to sort out the details of your wedding due to the uncertainty of the future with this pandemic, let alone the financial commitment that comes with it. With that being said, I would start by evaluating what is important to you and your spouse (having a large or small celebration; getting married on your intended date or pushing it back; getting married now and have a party in the future, etc.) and don’t be afraid to get creative. If you do decide to still get married on your intended date and feel that you have to scale back to an intimate/micro-wedding, that doesn’t mean you cannot have the beautiful day you desired. You ABSOLUTELY can! Everything always starts with intention – be intentional about your vision and the vibe that you would like to have for your day, and choose vendors who resonate with that, this is very important. I believe that intimate weddings will become a welcomed trend that comes out of these times, as they are special and unique, but they also show that you do not have to blow the bank to have an awesome day. Be mindful of the energy around you, especially when it comes to fear. Do not allow others to sway your decision based on THEIR fears. The reality is that COVID-19 is not going away tomorrow, next month, six months or even a year from now, but life is. Have your moments, be present, and be in the now, but just be safe.
Tell us about the custom dress process
I had my consultation with Laurie at the beginning of the year and immediately felt confident in her ability to deliver. Similar to choosing boutiques, I went with Laurie because of her vibe and style aesthetic. It helped that I tried on dresses beforehand to understand styles, fabrics, and drapes that I liked on me, but also gathering inspiration from designers that I liked that fit my aesthetic – chic, modern, and minimal. From that conversation, Laurie produced three sketches to choose from, as well as providing sketches for my bridesmaids’ dresses. I was able to view these sketches on my custom bridal portal that she designed specifically for me that provided detailed commentary for each dress. She also sent me several fabric swatches to choose from which was great, to visually see, since this was being done remotely. After selecting the dress and providing my measurements, she immediately went into production, starting with my bridesmaids’ dresses. Throughout the process, month by month, Laurie kept me in the loop with updates and abreast with any delays that occurred due to the pandemic. In August, we had to pivot to a virtual fitting vs an in-person fitting in Chicago, where her studio is based, in which she sent me my dress express. During the virtual fitting, albeit the dress was beautiful, we both decided that the original dress didn’t have that “zing!”. It needed something more. So at that moment, we came up with a whole new design and finalized it. We went from sleeveless to sleeves; train to column skirt, and even tweaked the fabric. Two more virtual fittings would follow to get the fit and desired drape right until the final dress was delivered to my doorstep, and boy did Laurie deliver! I would absolutely recommend going custom if you find yourself liking certain aspects of a dress, but have not found the one that captures all of the elements you are looking for. For me, I am all about putting pieces together to create THEE look. Your dress can be a canvas that you build upon, or, it can be a statement piece.
- Photographer: Renee Hollingshead Photography IG: @reneehphoto
- Hotel: The Brazilian Court
- Venue: Social House
- Dress: Laury Bride
- Suit: Garcon Couture
- Florals: Anthology Floristry
- Makeup: Glam By Maggie
- Cakes: Earth and Sugar
- Rentals: South Party Rentals
- Veil: Filipa Cardoso Millinery
- Jewelry: Cult Gaia
- Shoes: Schutz
- Coordinator: Mimi Joseph
- Film Lab: The Find Lab