When a mutual friend introduced Lauren Estes to “Tonio” one night, she had no idea that he had just been drafted into the National Football League to play for her hometown Pittsburgh Steelers. After a few hours of good conversation, the two decided to keep in touch and a few days later Santonio Holmes invited her to dinner—the couple’s first official date. “After that night,” says Lauren, “we never lost contact. Our story grew bigger, we grew together.”
“I knew from the moment I laid eyes on her,” adds Santonio, “that she was the one I was going to marry without a doubt!”Although Lauren had no idea a proposal was coming—Santonio had taken her brother, grandfather, cousin and dad to help pick out the ring, but the entire family kept the secret—he asked for her hand on Christmas Eve 2013.
“I LOOKED NOWHERE ELSE BUT AT SANTONIO. I WAS FILLED WITH SO MUCH HAPPINESS. IT WAS LIKE A DREAM.”
Teaming with Carrie Zack Events made wedding planning a breeze, says Lauren. “MVP” was the theme for the wedding weekend, which held two different meanings for the couple. For Santonio, it referenced that he was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIII, and for Lauren, “He calls me his princess all the time, so it stood for Most Valuable Princess.”
The three-day weekend took place at The Breakers Palm Beach. On Thursday, all 150 guests were treated to a Palm Beach chic welcome dinner. The Friday evening “Royal MVP ceremony” was a “five-star kind of wedding,” explains Lauren. The Breakers’ Mediterranean Ballroom was filled with more than half a million flowers in hues of coral, gold, champagne and cream. As the groom walked down the aisle, an orchestra played Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” Prior to Lauren making her entrance, golden gates were erected to mimic the couple’s invitation. As the gates opened and she began her walk down the aisle—a runner of plush, white carpeting—a gospel choir beganto sing Whitney Houston’s “Joy.” “I looked nowhere else but at Santonio,” says Lauren. “I was filled with so much happiness. It was like a dream.” “I tried to hold back the tears, but it didn’t work,” adds Santonio.
Following the ceremony and cocktail hour, the newlyweds made their choreographed entrance to Charlie Wilson’s “Life of the Party,” mixed by the DJ into “Here and Now” by Luther Vandross for the couple’s first dance. Dinner hadn’t yet been served but the DJ got everyone on the dance floor. Mango sorbet in MVP ice sculptures served as a palate cleanser prior to the meal of filet, sea bass and other delights. After a change of attire, the duo cut their five-tier coral velvet and white chocolate mousse cake.
“The day was magical,” says Lauren. “All the glory to my lord and savior Jesus Christ for allowing this union to become one!” adds Santonio. Festivities continued the following day with brunch for all and concluded that evening with an all-white beach BBQ on the Ocean Lawn.A honeymoon is forthcoming and as Lauren says, “We are excited to plan together as husband and wife!”
Location, Caterer and Cake: The Breakers, Palm Beach, Palm Beach, FL; Planner and Stylist: Carrie Zack Events, Miami, FL; Floral and Event Design: Always Flowers & Events, Miami, FL; Linen: Nüage Designs, Miami, FL; Rentals: Greathire, Miami, FL; Ceremony Dress and Veil: Vera Wang; Reception Dress: Ines Di Santo; Bride’s Shoes: Rene Caovilla; Groom’s Ceremony Attire: Stefano Ricci; Groom’s Reception Attire: Saint Laurent and Tom Ford; Groom’s Shoes: Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo; Cinematography: Suzanne Delawar Studios, Miami, FL