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Lauren Grech: The Journey from Forensics to Luxury Wedding Planning

Lauren’s journey from forensic toxicology to wedding planner is not one you often hear. It is a story of daring, tenacity, and evolution. Discover how her passion and determination led to creating bespoke, extravagant weddings worldwide, setting new industry standards with innovative concepts and immersive experiences.

Lauren Grech arranging a vibrant floral wedding dining table outdoors with string lights in the background

Status quo. Safe. Conventional.

These are not words that apply to Lauren Grech or her company, LLG Events.

Lauren likes to say her way of operating is like jumping without a rope. 

But that hasn’t always been how she’s lived.

Lauren grew up in Long Island, New York, a first-generation American and the daughter of two immigrants. Part of being an immigrant’s child is the expectation that you will pursue one of a few career paths. 

“You're a doctor. You're a lawyer. You're a professor. That's kind of what is drilled into you as the careers that can make it in America so that you don't have to scrub floors like your parents did.”

So Lauren tried to pursue medicine to become a doctor, specifically a forensic pathologist who performs autopsies and studies how people die.  

“I have always been a very curious person. And I watched ‘CSI,’ and I thought those shows were so fascinating, but the reality is it's really depressing and gruesome.” 

Lauren applied to medical school. Then she applied to several physician assistant programs. She was rejected for both. But giving up was not in her vocabulary, so she decided to go into forensic toxicology, which focuses more on the testing of samples to identify drugs or chemicals present in the body. That path worked and she earned her Master of Science degree from Pace University. 

During her time at Pace, two critical events occurred. She met her future husband, Paul, and she interned at the medical examiner’s office in New York City. It was during her time at the ME’s office that she and Paul got engaged. It seemed like her life was going exactly according to plan, but it wasn’t all Lauren had hoped it would be.

“I remember the moment when I got engaged. I was so happy and excited, and I remember dreading walking into work. I knew I was going into this really hard place. It's not easy to talk about those things all day and live that life.”

Lauren felt it was time to make a change, so she moved back to Long Island to work in a different lab as a research and development scientist. She ran toxicology reports all day, but she was great at what she did. Her boss envisioned that she could one day be the director of research and development and offered to pay for her to go back to school and get her doctorate.

That unexpected offer made Lauren evaluate her life with new eyes.

the luxury New York Plaza Hotel ballroom dressed for an exquisite wedding reception
Credit: Shawn Connell Photography
Plaza Hotel, New York City Wedding, January 2024
Lauren says 'This wedding was inspired by Kim Kardashian's Met Gala dress with a 40-foot ice bar, a performance by Radio City’s most famous kickline, custom mixologists, and the largest floral chandelier in The Plaza Hotel’s history.'

“I kept thinking, ‘I don't even know how I got here.’ It felt like I just blanked out, and I woke up and found myself sitting in a lab. I was getting ready to be married and start a new life. His offer shocked me into realizing that I could not keep going like this. Especially since I was spending my spare minutes at work looking up wedding-planning companies. The world of weddings had taken over me. Before I got engaged, I didn’t even know this world existed. Planning my own wedding had shifted into dreams of planning other people’s weddings. I found myself creating Pinterest boards with wedding ideas, and creating my company logo on napkins. Before long I was going to work early to start building my website.”

Meanwhile, Lauren had her own wedding to plan, and she and Paul were married in November 2014. Amid marital bliss, they kept working toward making Lauren’s work dreams come true and they put all of their wedding money toward the venture. 

“We knew we could do amazing things, and even more than that, what drove us was that we wanted to recreate what we had at our wedding for other couples. And we said ‘Okay, how do we do this again and again and make it bigger and better than our wedding?’ And that became our motto– this or better.”

How LLG Started

Lauren’s first step was to approach the banquet manager at her wedding venue and ask him to train her. He was not interested. But her offer to work for free and do whatever it took changed his mind. So for three months after their wedding, Lauren and Paul spent every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night working at the venue.

“I couldn't tell anybody my name– I was just so-and-so's intern and I shadowed that person. Paul and I worked there for free, and we never asked for any money. We would get a vendor meal, but if there was a tip pool at the end of the night, we were not a part of it. We were really off the books. And I didn't care. Every night at the end of each event, we sat down with my mentor [the banquet manager], and we would open a bottle of wine. and we would recap the wedding. I would watch other event planners and see some of the best do their work.”

Meanwhile, Lauren was still working in the toxicology lab and applying for wedding planning positions. But no one would hire her because she had no experience and her weekend work was off the books. 

So when all the doors remained closed, what was Lauren to do?

She decided to start her own business, and she believed in it enough to voice her dreams.

A glamorous line up of dancers under an enormous floral chandelier at the Plaza Hotel, New York
Credit: Shawn Connell Photography
Plaza Hotel, New York City Wedding, January 2024

“I got my first break with my realtor because we were trying to sell the apartment Paul and I were living in to move back home to start this business. She said, ‘You're a wedding planner. My daughter is getting married, and she's having a tough time.’ I gave her a business card and her daughter reached out to me. She was very, very apprehensive to hire me because her wedding was in New York City and all I knew were weddings in Long Island and at a particular venue. She didn't want to take a chance, so I asked her, ‘What is something that you need right now that you can't get?’ She said she was having trouble locating a dress for her maid of honor. It was sold out everywhere. She gave me the designer and the size, and I asked her if she would hire me if I found the dress. She said she would consider it. So I went home, I researched, and I found the dress in the right size in California. I bought it on my credit card, and I shipped it to her with a note that said: “It looks like I'm your wedding planner.”

Lauren worked with her mentor to create a proposal and contract, and two weeks later, the client returned the signed contract with a deposit check for $3,000. 

Lauren went home that night after work and told her husband she had put in her two weeks’ notice that day. 

“I thanked my boss for helping me realize what I really wanted because that job wasn’t it, and he was shocked. I told him I was going to be a wedding planner, and he said my job would be waiting for me in a year when I failed. I thanked him for the opportunity and I walked away. I never looked back and I never failed because that was all the ammunition I needed– for someone to tell me that this was a little hobby and I would figure that out and get over it. Initially, everybody discouraged the idea other than my mom, dad, siblings, in-laws, and of course Paul.” 

Lauren and Paul incorporated LLG Events on March 30, 2015, and their first wedding in August in New York City changed her life.

The Next Chapter

an aerial shot of a wedding ceremony under a waterfall in Costa Rica with the guests watching from the plunge pool below
Credit: Sylvia Guardia Photography
Costa Rica Wedding, January 2024
'A four-day destination wedding for which LLG landscaped someone’s private land to allow the couple to have their dream wedding ceremony under a waterfall. Highlights of this event were custom lighting, a black and silver dance floor, and DJ Nora En Pure.'

One of her first steps in planning that wedding was to meet with the banquet manager of the venue, Cipriani Wall Street. 

The banquet manager was certainly the more experienced of the two and declared that Lauren had entered his house and would play by his rules. Until he discovered that they had both been trained by the same banquet manager on Long Island. That connection changed their relationship.

“The first piece of advice he gave me was that if I wanted to be taken seriously in New York City, I needed to change my phone number to a 646 area code. He said that New York City Manhattanites care about other Manhattanites, and they want to know that they’re calling another 646 or 917 area code. That one move alone changed my business because I started getting inquiries about New York City weddings calling from a New York City number.”

Needless to say, that first wedding was a hit, but that was 2015 and a lot has changed for Lauren and LLG Events.

LLG Events Today

LLG Events is now an award-winning event-planning firm that plans extravagant events all over the globe. They have worked on nearly every continent in the world except for Antarctica.

“We are for a specific type of client that wants a bespoke wedding experience with an out-of-this-world different itinerary and immersive experiences for their guests. I think we have accomplished so much because of our world-class team and because we never do the same thing twice. I am talking to a potential client now and she said, ‘You’re basically double the competition.’ And I told her the reason is no one will ever be able to give them the experience we do. We innovate and invent new ideas and concepts that the industry uses as inspiration. We are the idea generators and that’s what sets us apart from our competition. We take those themes and turn them into real-life immersive experiences. That's what I am meant to do in this industry– push boundaries, change things, question the norm.” 

This recipe of unimaginable creativity combined with Lauren’s boundary-pushing philosophy and ability to bring the best out in her vendors may be the secret behind LLG Events’ success. They are able to produce luxury weddings all over the world because their leadership and vision are constant.

Lauren has built an impressive company in nine years with no plans to slow down.

“I envision the future of LLG Events as a lifestyle brand where it's not just weddings and formal events. It's the first birthday party for your miracle baby. It's the decor in your first home and creating your first living environment together. It's your child’s sweet 16 or your glamorous 50th. I have even been receiving requests for end-of-life celebrations, and I don't even know where to begin with that. LLG is the full life cycle of celebrations.”

As her company evolves, the same is true of Lauren herself. 

“I'm not the planner that I was 10 years ago. Building NYU’s event design and production curriculum at the Tisch Center of Hospitality changed my perspective on event management as a profession. This is a legitimate career, not just some hobby. Currently, I have $15 million in weddings under our management and it’s my responsibility to properly invest it for our clients so that they have the most successful outcome for their weddings. We work with event budgets at all different scales-- what’s important to me is securing my client's investment in the right team within their means.”

And having a daughter who’s 15 months old has also changed her perspective on being a business owner.

“I look at my clients differently, because I think, ‘Gosh if my daughter was getting married, how would I guide her and make sure she was making the best decisions for her day?’ So I've had a better response and relationship with my clients because of Aurelia. It's really endearing and it's allowed me to connect with my clients and couples in a way that I haven't in the past.”

a glamorous couple enjoying a speedboat ride while celebrating their marriage on Lake Como in Italy
Credit: Vivid Symphony Photography
'This wedding took place in a private villa in Lake Como, Italy. There was actually no formal wedding ceremony as Alejandro and Taylor were married a year prior. Instead, we focused on the party, a 2-day wedding festival in a private villa for 2 nights with their closest family and friends. Taylor wore custom runway couture by Gucci for their rehearsal dinner, a custom wedding dress designed by Celia Kritharioti, and vintage Dior for her getting-ready portrait session.'

Lauren’s journey from forensic toxicology to wedding planner is not one you often hear. It is a story of daring, tenacity, and evolution.

These are traits that are required by us all in small and large ways as we go about our lives. I think Lauren would encourage all of us to be unafraid of jumping without a rope.

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