Advice & Planning

Love Wins: How Real Dallas Couples—Like Lauren & Andy—Are Handling COVID-19

Our talented and personable staff photographer, Elizabeth Lavin, makes friends wherever she goes. It’s partly just her nature, but it’s also a professional strategy: By engaging with everyone, she manages to stumble upon some pretty fascinating people and situations—and be ready to capture it all with her camera by her side.

As she previously reported on Frontburner, a few Mondays ago was no different, when she stopped by Billy Can Can to pick up dinner prior to the citywide lockdown. In walked Lauren Niculescu and Andy Moore—the last people to pick up a to-go order from the restaurant before it closed. Turns out, it wasn’t just any dinner. It was their wedding dinner, following a last-minute elopement at Lakeside Park after having to cancel a friends-and-family celebration in North Carolina due to COVID-19 concerns. Elizabeth was all too happy to snap a wedding portrait for the happy couple, above. Here’s what Lauren and Andy had to say about their experience, their decision to seal the deal before sheltering in place, and what their future wedding plans are.

Lauren: “The decision to postpone the larger celebration was incredibly tough. Since our wedding date was March 28, there was a period of time where we thought the wedding could still happen, but some guests would choose not to attend given COVID-19. About two weeks before, it became clear to us that it wouldn’t be safe to host a large gathering, and we made the decision to cancel. Immediately after we felt relief. Despite postponing the party, we still wanted to get married and to celebrate our love with our close friends and family, albeit virtually. There is so much uncertainty in the world right now, but getting married wasn’t something we were uncertain about. We planned a private ceremony in Dallas for March 28, but when the shelter-in-place order came down, we moved it up to March 23.”

Andy: “When we got the news on Sunday that the shelter-at-home order would go into effect on Monday night, Lauren reached out to Just Elope to see if they could make a last-minute ceremony happen on Monday afternoon. Luckily, they were flexible, and we set up a live-stream link so family and friends could watch.

As it’s been a hectic and strange couple of weeks for anyone in the food biz, we actually both worked remotely Monday morning — Lauren for Frito-Lay, and me for Hwy 55, a restaurant chain that’s expanding into the area. We shut work down around lunchtime, and Lauren picked up flowers and a cake, while I ran off on a last-minute errand to pick up my ring, which was being resized.

We held the ceremony at 4 p.m. in Lakeside Park, a special spot for us, as we got engaged there last year. The officiant, Jennifer Allen, a photographer and videographer, met us at the park. We brought along our Yorkie, Milly, who served admirably as a bridesmaid. The ceremony was quick but special, and it was great to have it on a live stream so we could later see our friends’ comments as they rolled in.

Then we came back to the apartment, FaceTimed our families, and drove off to Billy Can Can to pick up our reception meal. (Which was delicious.)”

Lauren: “We are so excited to celebrate with family and friends once this is all over. The celebration will be different than what we’d planned originally. Since we already had the ceremony and live streamed it for family, we’ll just have a reception. Our venue in North Carolina is scheduled for renovations at the end of 2020 and we weren’t confident this would pass before end of year, so we’re planning to have the party in Dallas instead. After this is all over, we think a more relaxed party will be just what everyone is in the mood for.”

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