By L'Oreal Thompson, Baltimore Sun Media Group
8:24 AM EST, November 5, 2012
Wedding day: Oct. 14, 2012
Her story: Lauren Webb, 26, grew up in Glen Burnie. She is the grants manager for Young Audiences Arts for Learning Maryland. Her father, Gary Webb, works for Verizon, and her mother, Renee Webb, is a neonatal nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
His story: Brennan Tolstoi, 29, grew up in Gaithersburg. He is an assistant branch manager for M&T Bank. His father, Joel Tolstoi, owns Oval Office Supply, and his mother, Deborah Tolstoi, works for the family company as a bookkeeper/office manager.
Their story: Lauren and Brennan met on the first day of their Introduction to Shakespeare class at the University of Maryland, College Park. Brennan was a junior and Lauren was a sophomore.
"I thought it'd be a nice way to meet girls," Brennan says. "And I may or may not have picked her out to be in my discussion group."
The couple started dating the Sunday after Thanksgiving that year. In January 2012, Brennan popped the question before Lauren left for a black-tie gala in New York for work.
"I gave her the ring and told her she should wear this," he says.
Lauren and Brennan picked out the setting for the engagement ring together. They bought the setting at a jewelry show and had Morstein's Jewelers in Federal Hill customize the ring to fit the princess-cut diamond.
The place: About 115 guests attended the wedding at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore's Waterfowl Lake Pavilion. The reception took place at the Mansion House. During the ceremony, Brennan's younger sister recited Shakespeare's Sonnet 116.
YouTube moment: "When it came time for the best man to hand the rings off, Lauren's wedding band got loose in the box and fell in the lake," says Brennan. "So we ended up rallying, and I pulled off her engagement ring and gave it back to her. People thought it was a joke."
Luckily, the best man was later able to retrieve the ring, using a cane borrowed from a wedding guest.
Special touch: As part of the wedding package, the couple selected two animal ambassadors to participate in the festivities. Lauren chose a penguin, while Brennan selected a Chinese alligator.
"We got some great photos with the animals," Lauren says. "It was really fun, and I feel like the adults liked it more than the kids."
Her dress: Lauren wore a strapless fit-and-flare lace gown with a sweetheart neckline and sash from Priscilla of Boston. To fit the zoo theme, she wore leopard print Manolo Blahnik shoes she purchased online.
"Since we were at the zoo, I wanted to go with the look of the event," she says. "The shoes were my favorite part!"
Bridesmaids' dresses: Lauren asked her bridesmaids to select their own gowns in shades of reddish orange, and they wore neutral shoes.
Men's apparel: The groom and groomsmen wore suits from Jos. A. Bank with ties and pocket squares from TieBar.com.
Music: Invitation, a band based in Silver Spring, entertained guests throughout the night.
"They were ridiculously good," says Brennan. "The only thing I cared about was the food, booze and music — and all those things were good."
Dessert: Because Lauren has celiac disease, the couple served gluten-free cupcakes from Sweet 27 in Baltimore.
"We had pumpkin cream cheese, Key lime — which is my favorite — chocolate-vanilla buttercream and chocolate peanut butter," says Lauren. "They were fantastic!"
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