School Daze


110714_beshertLauren & Matthew Mittleman
First Date: June 2008, Artful Gourmet Bistro

Wedding Date: June 14, 2014
Venue: Woodholme Country Club
Residence: Owings Mills
Favorite Activity: Walking their Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix, Chloe

Lauren Shapiro and Matthew Mittleman were schoolmates. They played at the JCC preschool and attended Franklin Middle School together. They even summered together at Camp Milldale.

However, the two were just acquaintances. It wasn’t until after their college graduations in 2008 (she from Towson University, he from the University of Maryland) that they actually became friends. By then, Lauren had moved to Pikesville, so Matthew offered her a ride home from a graduation party. The next day, he called.

They met at the Artful Gourmet Bistro in Owings Mills during Matthew’s lunch break. Flattered by his choice of one of the nicest restaurants in the area, she also was concerned about the menu, not wanting to be embarrassed by lettuce in her teeth. So, they headed over to Courtney’s, where they enjoyed a simple bagel. That impressed Matthew.

They were together again the next day, and that quickly grew to about four times a week. Within a month, they returned to Courtney’s, where Matthew asked Lauren to be his girlfriend.

Both returned to graduate school. Matthew earned his M.B.A. and is now a health care consultant for Signature Consulting Group in Windsor Mill; Lauren earned her master’s degree in education. After briefly teaching, she is now a real estate agent with Keller Williams in Ellicott City.

They professed their love about a year into their relationship. By 2010, they discussed marriage, but there was no rush.

“We were young, having fun, trying to find what we were going to do with our lives,” Matthew said.

Their first major vacation together was to Turkey and Greece in June 2012. Matthew proposed in Athens on the last night. They strolled in a park next to the Acropolis, and he knelt down and presented her with the ring she had helped design a year earlier.

They were married at Woodholme Country Club on June 14, 2014. Columbia Jewish Congregation Cantor Jan Morrison officiated the traditional ceremony. The weather was perfect for the outdoor ceremony witnessed by 200 friends and family members.

The most telling moment was Matthew’s first glimpse of Lauren in her wedding dress. As he twirled his bride, he was shaking and crying, full of emotion. They celebrated with their 28-member wedding party, and the night concluded with a sparkler sendoff, as they departed on a golf cart.

Matthew calls Lauren the “It girl,” noting her drive, determination and bubbly nature. Lauren relies on Matthew’s calmness, and his caring and romantic nature.

“He’s the type of guy who would rather please you than himself,” she said. She must have known something good was in store when he shared his blocks with her in preschool.

Linda L. Esterson is an Owings Mills-based freelance writer. For “Beshert,” call 410-902-2305 or email

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