Lauren Dillard and Cordel Blair met online in June 2010 and got engaged 10 years later on New Year’s Eve, while vacationing in Barcelona. But, it was before the proposal even happened that they found their perfect wedding venue.
“We were in Prospect Park in Brooklyn for a barbecue with friends and stumbled upon the Boathouse during a wedding,” Lauren remembers. “I fell in love immediately, and told Cordel that this is where I wanted to get married. It is such a beautiful, classic building that is tucked away in the middle of the park; it doesn’t feel like you are actually in Brooklyn. When it came time to find a venue, we only looked at the Boathouse.”
Their vision was small and intimate—the guest list came to 75—but big on style. “We wanted simple but elegant with a touch of glamour—black, white, and gold,” says Lauren. “Every decision we made for our wedding was about who we are and what represents us, from the food to music to decor.” On top of that, every vendor they pegged to bring the personalized vision to life was a Black- or woman-owned company.
Read on to see all the simply chic details of their August 20, 2021, wedding, planned by Deniehsa Joseph at Fun Fête Fabulous and photographed by Kesha Lambert Photography.
The wedding day was extra special for Cordel, who had been in an accident just six months prior. “He has a few scars and hyperpigmentation on his forehead,” shares Lauren. “Our makeup artist suggested that he use sunblock daily before the wedding and they used concealer the day of to cover the scars.” For attire he went ultra classic: a black tuxedo with a shawl lapel, white shirt, suspenders, and patent leather shoes.
Lauren went with a simple, elegant, and romantic makeup look and a nude lip—“nothing too bold, but somewhat dramatic,” she says. “My wedding was during the most humid time of the year in Brooklyn, but I really wanted my hair down during the ceremony. I was worried about sweating my hair out in the heat, so my stylists came to the venue during the cocktail hour to put my hair up for the reception.” Her ombré gel manicure featured a lace design on the ring fingers to match her dress.
Her wedding day fragrance was one of a kind. “My maid of honor and I stumbled upon Olfactory NYC one day in Soho and created our own custom scents,” she adds. “I named the scent Very Blair. I used it on the invitations and wore it the day of the wedding.”
“I was worried I would have a hard time finding a dress because I can be very indecisive, and I didn’t have a style of dress in mind,” Lauren recalls. Yet, she found “the one” at her second stop. “My bridesmaids, mom, and mother-in-law came with me dress shopping. When we walked into the dressing room at Pronovias, there was a large image on the wall of a model in one of their dresses. My mom took one look at it and said ‘That’s your dress,’” Lauren remembers. “I paid her no mind because we normally don’t agree on style, but she pushed the salesperson to bring out the dress for me to try on. Once I tried it on, I knew my mom was right. It was my dress. I bought it that day.”
“Following the ‘simply elegant’ theme, the bridesmaids where in gold dresses with matching shoes, and the groomsmen wore black suits with white shirts. We also had a groomswoman who wore the bridesmaids’ dress but in black.” Lauren carried a bouquet of white roses and greenery for her trip down the aisle.
The couple originally scheduled a first look for convenience, so they could get photos out of the way and fully enjoy the festivities after “I do.” But there was a second, bonus result: “It took a lot of pressure off the ‘walking down the aisle’ moment for me,” Lauren shares.
“We wanted the park to be our backdrop, so our planner and designer created a simple yet beautiful flower structure for the altar,” Lauren says. “It was perfect.”
“My 5-year-old cousin was our flower girl, and she wore a white dress that mimicked my dress, with gold shoes,” Lauren describes. “My 35-year-old brother was my ring bearer, and he wore a dark blue suit. We didn’t know any young boys and I liked that I could include him in the wedding in some way. He thought it was hilarious and was happy to do it—he carried little white pillow and everything.” Following the attendants, Lauren entered with her dad to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.
The couple recited traditional vows and performed a tree-planting ceremony, symbolically merging their roots. After their first kiss, they recessed out as newlyweds to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours).”
A live saxophonist serenaded guests during cocktail hour, while they sipped on a signature drink dubbed The B’s Knees. “It was gin, lavender simple syrup, honey, lemon juice, and lavender garnish—super refreshing for a summer wedding.”
“Our entrance into the reception was a favorite moment,” Lauren shares. “I was really nervous about any ‘all eyes on us’ moments, like the procession and first dance, but this was perfect. Our DJ and planner made it such a cool moment. Everyone was so hyped for us and we really felt the love.” They kept reception decor simple and chic. “We didn’t have centerpieces; decor was more focused on the details like linens, chairs, chargers, and flatware,” Lauren says. “The only flowers in the room were on the amazing staircase and our sweetheart table.”
Their gilded white cake was Baileys flavored and featured an acrylic monogram.
“We had a DJ who was amazing; people still talk about how great the music was. We played mostly R&B, hip hop, reggae, dancehall, and Afrobeats,” Lauren says. Their first dance—to “My Song” by H.E.R.—was a truly special moment. “The guests were motioned outside to the deck of the Boathouse,” Lauren says. “We danced under the stars surrounded by our loved ones.”