Story By Shelbi LeMeilleur
Photos by Crystal Littrell
For Lauren Ghinelli and Ricky Flores, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. They met through a couple of mutual friends in the organization Young Professionals of Aggieland and became good friends. They stayed friends for a few years before their relationship developed into something else.
“We were friends for a long time before we dated,” Lauren says, laughing. “He had to convince me.”
After dating for a couple of years, Ricky proposed while they were on a family vacation in Mexico in October of 2015. “We had rented a catamaran to go snorkeling and we snorkeled a couple of times,” Lauren says. “Then we were passing a senote that was in the water and a sea turtle swam by it. We were all looking over at the front of the boat looking at the sea turtle. He said, ‘I have a question for you,’ and got down on one knee at the front of the catamaran.”
The couple then started planning their wedding together, but with both Ricky and Lauren working full-time and trouble deciding on a venue, they decided to enlist help from Ashley & Company.
“The biggest thing we knew we had to lockdown was the venue and that was the thing we struggled with the most,” says Lauren. “That’s ultimately why we ended up going with a wedding planner. We didn’t know what our options were venue-wise.”
Not only did Ashley & Company help secure a venue and many of their other vendors, but they also introduced the couple to the idea of a “flip wedding,” a new trend where the same room is used for both the ceremony and the reception. The room is “flipped” after the ceremony is complete.
“All of my guests said they loved it,” says Lauren. “It was all in the same location. They didn’t have to go anywhere. They really liked that.”
Lauren and Ricky found a few other ways to make their wedding unique and personal, one of those being strobe light balloons. “Everybody does glow sticks nowadays,” she explains. “I wanted to do something that was fun, but not glow sticks. So we found some strobe light balloons on Amazon and it was really fun … everybody started popping the balloons and taking the strobe lights and putting them in bow ties and in their mouths. They were everywhere.”
One of the more special elements of their wedding was when Ricky and Lauren braided the ropes on their unity cross. Lauren says she wanted to do something besides a unity candle, so her youth director from high school, who also officiated the wedding, made them the cross. While the couple braided the rope, she read Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. One cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
For Lauren, the wedding still feels like a dream. She urges other brides to get a wedding planner if they can afford it, because it made everything so much easier.
“We just danced and partied; it was perfect,” Lauren says. “It was beautiful and it was fun. … I didn’t want it to end.”
Ashley & Company
Downtown Event Services
Post Oak Florist
Cakes by Blondie
Brickhouse Bridal in The Woodlands
Dinner Phillips Event Center
Hair & Makeup
North Hair Design
To see more photos of this wedding, visit our Pinterest page.