Photos provided by Kelly Benton Photography
When Lauren Hoyt finished teaching a fitness class back in March 2010, she decided to stop at The Buckle on the way home.
“I needed a pair of jeans because the next day was ‘Jeans Day’ at school and as a teacher, I really look forward to those days,” said Hoyt, an English teacher at New Haven High School. “I walked in the store, super-sweaty from my fitness class and Anthony Duckett happened to be the clerk who helped me shop for jeans.
“I happened to notice two things: I was completely flirting with this young guy, and he was flirting back!”
Long story short, the couple began dating (first date was at Flat-Top Grill) and four years later, their happy families and friends watched as they exchanged vows in July.
Parents of the couple are Keith and Pam Hoyt, Caril Bernard, her husband, Johan Bernard, and the late Michael Duckett who passed away about a year-and-a-half ago.
The wedding was coordinated by Empyrean Events & Catering.
“They did everything and it was all in one location, including the officiant, catering and much more,” said a happy Hoyt.
According to Empyrean’s chief event designer, Renee Miner, the company provides a bridal attendant who stays right with the couple throughout the entire event, and who tends to the planned moments as well as the unexpected surprises that may occur before, during and after the occasion. Empyrean works closely with the Hilton downtown to offer special rates to the company’s guests.
Bridesmaids included Beth Velasquez, matron of honor, Terri Wallace, Lauren Lydon and Maude-Jo Baczynski, and flower girls were Anthony’s daughter Saturnina Duckett, and Lily Lydon. Ring bearer was Ammon Lee, Anthony’s 5-year-old cousin.
Groomsmen were Andrew Duckett (best man and Anthony’s brother), Justin Mullins, Justin Foster, Roman Shoda and the bride’s younger brother, Alan Hoyt.
The recorded song played for Hoyt’s entrance was Kenny G’s “The Wedding Song” performed by the O’Neill Brothers. And the recessional (“My favorite part!” said Hoyt) was The Cure’s upbeat “Just Like Heaven.”
“My wedding dress was ivory, but my husband and I did have traditional leis made in Hawaii and drop-shipped to Indiana for the big day,” said Hoyt. “We also received money leis handmade in Salt Lake City, Utah from our families as we danced.”
One of the most touching parts of the ceremony, said Hoyt, was the unity flower.
“The three of us – Anthony and I and Saturnina, his 5-year-old daughter, – did the ceremony together, unifying us a new family. The tradition was based loosely on my Irish background and the flowers we used were tropical to represent Anthony’s Samoan culture. Most of the wedding choices I made were based on the unifying of two very different family backgrounds,” said Hoyt. “This cultural thread was woven all through the wedding and reception, the venue and the flowers. And the Three Rivers Festival fireworks later were a giant plus!”
Anthony’s favorite part of the day was the ceremony itself, “because I really liked the way the two cultures were joined together throughout,” said Duckett, an independent professional wrestler.
According to Miner, the highlight of the day was a dance by Hoyt, performed as part of the first reception dances.
“Lauren’s Samoan bridal dance added a very unique element to the occasion,” said Miner. “She was very nervous about it beforehand, knowing the importance of the symbolism with his family, but performed it beautifully.”
Halfway through Hoyt’s stunning performance, some of her new in-laws impulsively joined in, creating a huge crowd-pleaser.
“As my new Samoan family and I danced, my family looked on with awe at the incredible sight,” recalled Hoyt.
After spending their wedding night at the Hilton downtown at the Grand Wayne Center, the couple drove to Indianapolis where they spent their second night at the Marriott Fairfield Inn, before leaving for Mexico’s Riviera Maya Cancun, an all-inclusive luxury resort, the next morning.
“My parents’ favorite part of the day was definitely the fact that their little girl was happy and smiling ear-to-ear,” said Hoyt.
“And my mom especially loved watching me perform the Samoan Bridal Dance for our wonderful family and friends who shared our big day!”
The wedding party wishes to express gratitude to all the vendors who made this memorable event possible, including:
- Ceremony location: Empyrean Events & Catering
- Reception location: 110 W. Berry Street, Suite 2600, Fort Wayne
- Photographer: Kelly Benton Photography
- Cake: Hall’s Takes the Cake
- Hair: Halie Harris, Lauren Hoyt’s stylist
- Makeup: Deedra Morris of MAC Makeup
- Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid Gowns: Bride to Be
- Floral: Rose’s Bouquets
- Rings: Bradley Gough
- Wedding Officiant: Christine Leto of Marry Me in Fort Wayne
- Bride and Bridesmaid Jewelry: Bride to Be and Etsy
- Catering: Empyrean Events & Catering
- DJ: Quattro Systems
- Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse
- Invitations and Save the Dates: The Monogram Shoppe
- Wedding Coordinator: Renee Miner, Chief Event Designer, Empyrean Events & Catering