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Originally published in the Fall 2014 issue of Inside Weddings

Nick Carter never had to wonder what his family would think of his girlfriend, fitness expert and actress Lauren Kitt, after they began dating in 2009. That’s because it was Nick’s sister, Angel, and brother, Aaron, who intuitively knew the couple would enjoy each other’s company and persuaded them to meet. The two were introduced at a movie night at Nick’s house, where a sign from the heavens seemed to approve the match. “Three hours into conversing on my balcony overlooking the beach, we saw shooting star after shooting star,” Nick remembers. “We both looked at each other and it got quiet.”

While on tour in Australia, separated from his love for the longest time since they met, Nick realized he couldn’t live without her. After obtaining permission to propose from Lauren’s father, Nick set off on a mission to design the perfect engagement ring. He sent Lauren to look at jewelry for her birthday with his business manager. A diamond on one particular necklace captivated Lauren, so Nick had the stone removed and set into a ring. “I personally love it because it looks like a Star Wars battleship,” he explains.

With the ring in his pocket, Nick took Lauren on a boat ride to a private island in Key West. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though – the boat broke down several times, forcing the two to stop and tinker with the engine. But all was forgotten after they arrived on the island, where Lauren’s father and Nick’s best friend were on hand to witness Nick drop to one knee and ask Lauren to be his wife.

Nick happily turned the wedding planning over to Lauren, who envisioned a celebration she calls “organic elegance with a rustic twist.” To complement the theme, a picturesque Santa Barbara resort with lush grounds and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean was selected as the ceremony and reception venue. Guests took their seats on wooden chairs adorned with greenery that were arranged on a grassy lawn overlooking the ocean. The aisle featured clusters of candles housed in antique lanterns alongside ivory flowers and succulents wrapped in burlap. A trellis fashioned out of birch branches and covered with arrangements of white hydrangeas, roses, and violet orchids served as the altar.

An eclectic soundtrack of familiar tunes – including the signature songs from Star WarsTwilight, and the Legend of Zeldavideo game – accompanied the processional. Preceding the resplendent bride were bridesmaids wearing mismatched dresses, the daughter of Backstreet Boys’ A.J. McLean who served as an adorable flower girl, and the couple’s two dogs, who carried the rings on bone-shaped pillows.

“Before I walked out, we played the Jaws title track to break the ice!” Lauren laughs. After this humorous prelude, she made her way down the aisle carrying a fragrant bouquet of anemones, white roses, herbs, hydrangeas, orchids, and moss. Lauren looked radiant in a chic fit-and-flare gown featuring a lace sweetheart-neckline bodice and floor-length veil, which was affixed to her intricate braided updo. “When I saw Lauren walking down the aisle I thought, ‘Wow, this is it, this is really happening. I am so lucky,’” Nick reminisces.

Guests moved to an outdoor, Spanish-style courtyard illuminated with strings of old-fashioned light bulbs for a sit-down dinner. Long wooden tables boasted “runners” of floral arrangements that included Spanish moss, ivory garden roses, tulips, hyacinths, violet orchids, and succulents. “We also wanted the reception to smell as romantic as it looked,” Lauren reveals, “so we had burlap napkins stuffed with lavender.” Additionally, herbs, such as sage and rosemary were also incorporated into the décor. The newlyweds sat in view of their guests, beneath a floral arch at a table overflowing with blooms, succulents, and candles.

Heartfelt toasts given by Lauren’s father and sister and Nick’s fellow band mates from the Backstreet Boys invoked moments of love and reflection. “I’m the youngest [band member] and last to get married,” Nick explains, “and I could feel how proud they are of me and the love they have for me and Lauren.” After cutting their elegant five-tiered cake, which was covered in fresh flowers that matched the centerpieces, the newlyweds and their guests hit the dance floor, located inside an adjacent ballroom awash in lavender lighting.

Though the reception wrapped at 11PM, the party wasn’t over quite yet. A Moroccan-themed after-party, complete with bright red and orange lighting, and hookahs, kept guests celebrating until 2AM. Lauren even changed into a flowing white gown embellished by gold, silver, and orange embroidery to complement the style of the celebration, which was inspired by their upcoming honeymoon to Morocco.

After a whirlwind evening filled with love, laughter, and nonstop dancing, Lauren’s only regret is that she didn’t take more photos with her guests. Nick, too, shares his new wife’s enthusiasm for their perfect wedding day. “I was surprised by how emotional and freeing it was to become a husband,” Nick says. “I wouldn’t change anything, except to make it last longer!”

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