Ninety-nine percent of the ideas I sent [my planner] were bars, so she got the hint early on,” laughs bride Lauren Hydrick of the seeds that grew into the spectacular reception Tara Guérard Soirée
built to celebrate the bride’s vows with Clay Koch. “I knew Tara and I would be lifelong friends when we first met and she said her rules were ‘Great wine and no lines at the bar!’, ” adds Lauren. Take those not-so-subtle hints, and add a party in a massive ball-room style tent so decadent the mother of the bride was doing snow angels in the lush carpeting (admittedly with prodding from Tara), and you have a feel for how fabulous and fun this couple’s Big Day was.
That day was some four years in the making, and began when Lauren and Clay were at the College of Charleston. Turns out they’d been taking classes in the same building—Lauren pursuing her MBA and law degree and Clay completing his undergraduate degree in business—for a year before a friend introduced them. They met, hit it off, and headed out for a picnic at White Point Garden on The Battery for their first date. When Clay was ready to pop the question a few 365s later, he invited Lauren back to the waterfront park downtown one morning and asked for her hand.
From there, planning took off, with Tara setting up the requisite bars (one wrapped in a cherry blossom paper as a tip-of-the-hat to the groom’s D.C. roots) and laying the groundwork for an affair that began with a ceremony at First Baptist Church and fête that sprung out of the fields of Runnymede Plantation. Linens and custom light box chandeliers bore a marbled look that the stunning cake echoed, while the tent evoked classic supper club swank thanks to gilded floral vessels that towered over tables, Sputnik-like lighting that hung hither and yon, and lounges that any A-lister would embrace.
The music-filled evening (there were string instruments for the ceremony, a gospel choir during the couple’s recession, a cocktail hour band, and a separate reception band, as well) culminated in some serious moves delivered by the shimmy-loving bride herself.
“I started dance class at the age of two,” Lauren explains. “At my first recital I was the first on stage and the last to leave. So my number one request for my reception? To dance!” To properly get down, she slipped out of her Oscar de la Renta gown and into a Viktor & Rolf romper (with a removable to-the-floor train, no less) and didn’t stop till she and her groom (who, for his part, had changed into his Converses) paused to stand in awe of the surprise fireworks Tara had arranged.