The theme of Lauren and Justin’s story is “expect the unexpected.” In the way of many modern romances today, the couple met on their phones via the popular dating app, Bumble. Location-matching can be tricky though; Justin was only in town visiting his parents and, according to Lauren, things “lost a bit of steam when we found out we lived 90 miles away from one another.” But they stayed in touch, and eventually met up when Justin came back to town to celebrate his mom’s birthday. Says Lauren, “Neither of us thought anything would come of it, but lo and behold we met, sparks flew, and that was that.”

Some might assume that the relationship would take a while to gestate into marriage-proposal stage, but we all know what happens when you assume. According to Lauren, “We are both impulsive, emotionally charged people, so naturally we waited a whole two months before realizing that this was it.”

The proposal was unexpected and delightfully quirky (very on-brand for our lovely couple). After spending the day in Portland being tourists and enjoying some of the local breweries, Lauren recalls, “Justin had the idea to go for a walk along the river, and eventually we came across a small beach. Once we got down near the water, Justin asked to borrow one of the rings I was wearing, and then with the Columbia River as a backdrop he got down on one knee and went for it.”

Lauren’s reaction? “Get up.” (She agreed shortly afterward.) 

They were married one year later to the day at The Firehouse. The ceremony celebrated their unique and fun-loving personalities and included some “interactive” moments. Says Lauren, “We ended up writing our own vows. These included some personal flair on each of our parts, including the mention of deep-seated sports rivalries. Justin even received some ‘boos’ from my side of the family.” Nothing says love like a bit of in-family heckling!

Unexpected moments run in the family: Lauren’s sister and aunt sang the first dance song, and her dad won the day by opting for a poem instead of a traditional speech. Says the bride, “It was completely unexpected and had everyone in stitches.”

The entire wedding day, and their relationship, was unexpected, explains Lauren. “Never would I have thought that I would meet the love of my life on a dating app, least of all us getting engaged a few months later. We wouldn’t have it any other way though. But if we’re talking specifically about the wedding, then I’d say the most unexpected thing was that nothing went wrong. Literally nothing. All the lost sleep and stress planning: this thing really paid off!” 

—Sharon Penny