It's not as if we expected anything less than full-on Pinterest perfection. But even the origin story of Lauren Conrad's 2014 vows is pretty sweet.
Well before William Tell dropped to one knee in October 2013, candles filling their Laguna Beach condo and a stunning round-carat diamond in hand, the reality television veteran was browsing at a flea market when a brass apple trinket caught her eye. It immediately made her think of Tell, the University of Southern California law school student pals had matched her up with for a Valentine's Day date in 2012, and his moniker that brought to mind the 14th century folk hero who purportedly shot an apple off of his son's head.
"We like to have things in our home that our meaningful," she explained to Us Weekly just ahead of their Sept. 13, 2014, wedding. "And because of William's name, I thought, Oh, this makes sense. And then I started finding more and more."
Just like that, a seed of an idea had been planted.
By the time their forever was sealed with Tell's proposal, she had amassed a collection of fruit baubles and begun scouring antique stores for brass vases to match. Soon she was on the hunt for complementary china pieces, perfecting her apple pie recipe and playing around with floral arrangements, declaring trendy dusty millers too done and sweet peas (the first bloom Tell had given her) a must.
"She did lots of DIY. She was crafting for weeks and weeks and weeks," pal Lo Bosworth marveled during an October 2014 chat with HuffPost Live. "She made a lot of the stuff that you saw, and it was such a beautiful tablescape. Not one piece of china, not one piece of silverware, not one cup was identical to another piece on the table, so there was so much love and effort that went into it. It was really lovely."
And to think she had almost scrapped it all to be barefoot on a (non-Laguna) beach.
"I always said I wanted a destination wedding," Conrad admitted to Us Weekly of her initial oceanfront vision. Thankfully, a seemingly endless guest list foiled that plan and the lifestyle mogul—who's amassed a whole empire with her eponymous website, LC Lauren Conrad fashion line, artisanal fair trade shop The Little Market and her latest venture, Lauren Conrad Beauty—gifted us the gorgeous, fanciful, no-detail-left-unattended nuptials that made our double-tapping, vintage handkerchief-loving hearts squee with joy.
And the celebration itself wowed the 230 guests (including bridesmaid Bosworth, Conrad's former Laguna Beach love Stephen Colletti and The Hills star Frankie Delgado) from the moment they were handed their choice of a Ketel One-spiked lemonade or a brandy-and-hard cider Apple of My Eye libation upon arrival at Sunstone Vineyards, some two-and-a-half hours up the coast from Los Angeles. "Good cocktails," Bosworth recalled of the bash. "Good bartenders. My friends and I, we know how to have a good party."
And Conrad, host of many a Friendsgiving get-together, certainly knows how to plan one. Teaming up with friend and bridesmaid Cassie Katz, founder of Cassandra Bette Events, the goal was to create something whimsical and just the right side of feminine. "I didn't go overly pink!" she insisted to Us Weekly.
But the result was unmistakably elegant. Guests enjoyed cocktails under strings of bistro lights, the Santa Ynez mountains providing the natural backdrop Conrad envisioned. "We didn't want to be surrounded by structures," she explained.
Olive trees, arrangements of white blossoms and teardrop chandeliers filled the ceremony tent where the guests perched on benches to watch Conrad and her dad make their way down a burlap runner, tastefully strewn with gilded eucalyptus leaves, to the strains of a violinist and guitarist playing the Beatles' "In My Life."
And while the moment was undoubtedly sweet ("I don't know that I have ever been as happy," the bride gushed), all eyes were trained on Conrad for the big reveal: a custom two-tone ivory Chantilly lace Badgley Mischka gown dusted with crystals, pearls and glass beads. A piece months—and many cross-country trips to the designers' NYC studio—in the making, it was crafted with thorough input from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising grad, who'd decided midway through the process to nix the long sleeves and add a show-stopping 10-foot train. "In fittings, the train kept getting longer," James Mischka, one half of the famed design duo joked to Us Weekly. "But it's beautiful!"
As was the reception tent, where guests sat at long wooden tables topped with apples (both brass and edible), candlesticks and arrangements of dahlias, garden roses and peonies to enjoy their choice of black striped bass, Tuscan roasted chicken or beef tenderloin off the aforementioned china and watch what Conrad called "the most amazing sunset" on her Asking For a Friend podcast.
Guests dug into the 50 made-from-scratch pies ("It was a lot," Conrad admitted of slicing and coring some 300 apples. "But I liked the idea of a home-baked dessert") and watched the new mister and missus (changed into a more dance-friendly strapless Monique Lhuillier) sway to The Once's version of "You're My Best Friend," the song Tell had chosen for his at-home proposal. And then the onetime guitarist of O.C.-bred band Something Corporate opened the dance floor—situated under a massive installation of paper lanterns—in spectacular fashion.
Tell's rendition of Frankie Valli's hit "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," was a reception highlight, Bosworth raved to Us Weekly, "It turned the dance floor into a crazy party!" Handed an untold number of cocktails and glasses of champagne from friends, "I drank a little too much," Conrad allowed on Asking For a Friend. "I had a blast."
And though a local noise ordinance forced Elan Artists' Ground Control (chosen by Tell because "I wanted a Motown vibe") to power down at 10 p.m., after playing their way through hits like Bill Withers' "Lovely Day," Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" and Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," an iPod and a late night menu of miniature grilled cheese, chicken and waffles kept the party going well past midnight.
"Our wedding was a dream," Conrad wrote on her lifestyle blog months later in May 2015, "and William and I were over the moon with happiness to be celebrating with our closest friends and family."
The six years since have been just as lovely, starting with an Italian honeymoon that saw them doing "like a tour of pizza," she told E! News, "it was like pizza every night."
But her day-to-day—managing several businesses and the care of sons Liam James Tell, 3, and 11-month old Charlie Wolf Tell—isn't quite the carefully cultivated dreamscape her followers might imagine. "It's really funny to me when people have this idea that I have things very put together," she noted to Redbook in 2018. "My life is a bit of a mess, and I don't broadcast that, but I like it that way."
Because for all the hours she devoted to carefully planning the type of wedding worthy of our Instagram likes, she's no longer living as if cameras are trained on her at every moment. "I like to focus on the prettier parts of life, but that doesn't necessarily represent all of it," she explained to the outlet. "I feel bad. There's such a high standard now to do everything and have it all look picture-perfect. You're not going to enjoy the pretty things if you've been up all night doing them. Your life isn't supposed to be Pinterest."
But, let's be clear, it's okay if your wedding is.