Meeting through mutual college friends at New York University, Lauren Panariello and Roman Rozenfeld instantly had chemistry, though it took it a couple of run-ins and several years for them to actually go on their first date. The rest is history. 

Fifteen years after their initial kismet, the two walked through Washington Square Park in New York City, an area where the two had unknowingly circled each other for over a decade before their love story began. “Once we were in front of the arch, he got down on one knee and proposed,” Lauren describes. “The best part of it all is that Roman had spent the whole day rehearsing his speech, but when he got down on one knee was so nervous that all he got out was, ‘Lauren, will you make me… the happiest?’ And that’s all he could muster,” she smiles of the memory. 

As the bride dived into wedding planning, hiring a highly esteemed event planner for guidance, she began to arrange her other wedding vendors based on stellar advice from her planner. “Book the vendors who can’t have more than one event on a night the second you have a date and venue. That means the photographer, the band, and anything else that can’t have more than one wedding booked on a single date,” she suggests to other couples. 

Lauren’s mother helped to make most of the final decisions. “She has great taste, and most importantly knows our taste, so when we had some decision paralysis or fatigue, she was the perfect person to not only make a quality decision but one she knew would best serve us,” explains the bride. “Involving someone whose decision making you trust and also knows your styles and priorities well is essential!” 

Beginning with a custom stationery suite, beautiful save the dates featured a hand-painted watercolor map of New York City including depictions of the venue, landmark hotels, and the couple’s favorite places across Manhattan, all perfectly illustrated for guests’ enjoyment. Deciding on an iconic location as the wedding venue, the glamorous property worked with the couple to meet their wishes. 

“We wanted everyone to feel like they were being tended to like they were in our own home, so they allowed us to double the waitstaff and never said no to our customization requests,” tells the bride. Though in hindsight, Lauren wishes she had applied the additional staffing to more bartenders, so the bar did not get bottlenecked during dance breaks. 

“Our photographer [Roey Yohai Studios] conducted pure magic.”

The most surprising element for the bride ended up being what Roman cared about throughout the process. “There were moments that made us laugh, including that he didn’t care what the many floral installations looked like, but when he saw invitation samples, was adamant that the beveled edge could not be gold. He just arbitrarily did not like the gold, and passionately,” Lauren starts. “He didn’t mind if we read our own vows or not, or the order in which people walked down the aisle, but he wanted us both to break the glass under the chuppah and take equal part in a ceremony integral to his Jewish heritage, but in a very contemporary manner.” 

Ceremony décor was kept light and classic with ivory and muted blush florals, made complete with an impressive floral installation suspended directly over the stage. When it was time for the bride to reveal herself, she majestically appeared in a strapless gown – purchased from renowned bridal salon Mark Ingram Atelier – adorned with lace and floral embellishments. Watching Lauren walk down the aisle was her groom’s most precious memory. “He saw me and immediately started tearing up and told me how beautiful he thought I was,” she confides. 

The fare was carefully curated for the dinner service, while the after-party included the bride and groom’s respective comfort-food favorites: Artichoke Basille’s Pizza and Taco Bell. “Our wedding cake was cut and put in a monogrammed box and bag with disposable fork, so each guest could take their slice home and eat it for breakfast,” Lauren adds of the sweet touch. 

For the Jewish tradition of the hora, the band took the couple’s love of hip-hop and remixed the hora to a rap song background, culminating in Fat Joe’s “All the Way Up” as the newlyweds were lifted up in chairs by their closest friends. 

With so many amazing memories of the big day, it was difficult for the bride to sum up just one, but she admits that walking down Fifth Avenue, stopping traffic, and taking photos with her best friends will be engrained in her mind forever. “Our photographer [Roey Yohai Studios] conducted pure magic, and it really goes to show that you can plan all you want but the most amazing spontaneity will find its way into your day,” she confirms. “The day was perfection.”

This real wedding was originally published in the expanded digital edition of the Winter 2024 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

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