Fashion / Weddings

Childhood Romance Turns into Marriage 22 Years After the First Kiss for a Houston Couple

Dream Destination Wedding Defies the Odds — Who Says Teenage Smooches Don’t Matter?

BY // 08.09.17
photography Melissa Musgrove Photography

Ah, that first kiss — whether it was the amorous first grader giving you a smooch behind the tree or a young teenager puckering up on the softly lit front porch, we would bet that hardly any of those early sparks of romance led to a walk down the aisle. In fact, when Lauren Lucas, at age 12, and Nicholas Ashley, age 14, shared her first lip lock, neither imagined an elaborate wedding in Santa Barbara.

But 22 years later, the friends since early childhood joined hands in marriage after having gone their own ways for many years.

After graduating from college in Boston and working as an event planner in New York City for five years, Lauren returned to her hometown and rekindled her friendship with Nicholas. That soon evolved into a relationship and wedding plans ensued. No place would do for the couple to wed other than Southern California, their mutual happy place. Lauren notes that she and her mother, Trish Millard, spent a year traveling back and forth from Houston to California to plan a dream wedding. By all accounts, they succeeded.

The couple was wed in late July in ceremonies, officiated by Pastor Chris Seay of Ecclesia Houston, at the Unitarian Society in downtown Santa Barbara. The reception followed at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore in Montecito. As is tradition, the day before the wedding, the groom’s parents, Marilyn and Michael Smith, hosted a welcome party at the Belmond El Encanto for guests who had traveled from across the country for the festivities. Included in the thorough planning, the bride and her mother made sure that all three venues were flush with magnificent floral displays.

The small wedding party included the bride’s sister, Jennifer Aery Millard, as maid of honor and the groom’s best friend, Brandon Michael Lincoln, as best man. Joining the party as special groomsman was the couple’s dog, Olie, dressed in a custom-made tuxedo and collar.

The couple are making their home in Houston where she is an event planner and project manager at Cadence Bank and the groom is in supply management at Lonestar Aluminum Specialties. And it all started with that first kiss — even if they didn’t know it at the time.

Holiday Gifting

  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Nocturne Studio
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Casa di Lino
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings

Wedding planning and production: Katie Seefeldt aka Wedding Kate

Floral design: Michael Mantalos of Lou Loudi Design

Bridal gown: Monique Lhuillier from Joan Pillow Bridal Salon

Groom’s suit: Bespoke tux from Norton Ditto

Mother of the bride gown: Custom gown by Les Habitudes of Los Angeles

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