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A New York Wedding In A Week

In just a week, The Early Show made it possible for long-time friends Lauren Anderson and Craig Shand to tie the knot.

Friday, June 27, outside our plaza, former Mayor of New York City Rudolph W. Giuliani officiated the ceremony and Jeffrey Osborne performed the couple's wedding song.

Here is the bridal party:

Best Man: Charles "Chuck" Shand (Craig's Brother)

Maid Of Honor: Jill Anderson (Lauren's Sister)

Walking The Bride Down The Aisle: Fred Fischbach (Lauren's Uncle)

"I Do" was the conclusion and the beginning of a beautiful story. Lauren and Craig met on a school bus en route to a school trip when they were just 10 years old. For Craig, it was love at first sight; for Lauren, it took a little more convincing.

After seven years of late-night telephone calls (Lauren would play the violin for Craig over the phone) and friendship, the two started dating during the latter part of their senior year in high school - and have been together ever since. It's been about 12 years.

Craig proposed to Lauren on Valentine's Day this year in a most creative way. He went to the drugstore and bought two boxes of the sweetheart candies with messages written on them. He opened the boxes, took out the hearts that said "marry me" on them, and resealed the boxes.

When he and Lauren returned from their Valentine's dinner, he nonchalantly pulled the boxes of sweethearts out of his pocket and told Lauren he picked them up at the drugstore for her. He added that "a few of the hearts fell out into his coat pocket," and handed the loose hearts he had taken out of the boxes to her.

Lauren seemed more concerned about eating the loose candies than reading the message on them, wondering if they were safe or poisoned. Craig asked her what the candies said, and she said, "Marry me" and "Marry me." She turned to throw the loose hearts away (still not understanding what was going on), and Craig dropped to one knee with ring in hand.

Lauren was surfing The Early Show Web site the week before in search of a Chef on a Shoestring recipe from the previous weekend, when she stumbled upon the entry form for a Wedding in a Week. Earlier that day, she'd received a phone call from Craig at work. The two were planning a garage sale for the weekend, but Craig called to ask her if she wanted to skip the garage sale and get married instead. When she saw the contest on our Web site, she just knew she had to enter.

Prior to the ceremony, Lauren was being styled by John Barrett, owner of the John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman. He did Catherine Zeta-Jones for her wedding and said he was astonished by Lauren's calm.

He said, "I work with a lot of very famous people. I have never worked with anyone as calm as this. I hope that if I ever get married, I'm this calm. But what we're focusing on is just bringing out this radiant, beautiful smile and the beautiful eyes. So I'm really excited to be here."

Outside was Craig, who was very anxious to see his bride. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who while at office did over 200 ceremonies and is happily married, offered some advice about marriage.

He said, "They're going to be very excited today and very happy. They've got to keep remembering it. They have to build on it. They have to keep reminding themselves this is something you keep working at. You keep remembering how important it is to be together."

Remembering his own wedding, the former mayor says he is very happy. "It's a great thing, " he says the secret is "You got've to like each other. You have to be friends. Love is a very important part of it. The excitement. But you've got to be friends. You've got to get along with each other."

Well, that is good news for the couple. Lauren says that Craig is her best friend, and though times have not always been easy, they've always made it through the difficult periods together. And Craig says that he's always known she's the one for him, and cannot imagine life without her.

Filled with joy, their eyes were tearful throughout the whole ceremony. Mayor Giuliani gave them the blessing and as a wedding gift, Jeffrey Osborne sang for the couple, "The Rest of Our Lives" from his new CD, "Music is Life."

Osborne said, "I have so many songs that people get married to. I said, 'I'm going to write a real wedding song.' I didn't think it would be the first single. The timing was perfect."

So what was the best part of the wedding? Lauren said, "I want to say Craig."

Craig was still choked up with emotion. "I am overwhelmed. I'm so happy," he said.

Lauren added, "I love the fact that Mayor Rudy Giuliani was here. I'm over the top of that." She thank Colin Cowie for putting it all together for them and noted designer Michelle Roth called her from Australia to wish her the best.

The celebration continued on The Early Show plaza as well as in Camden, N.J., where 125 of Craig's colleagues at Campbell's Soup headquarters gathered to toast the newlyweds while watching them on a projection screen TV.

Lifting her champagne glass, Craig's boss, Susan Pansius said, "Craig and Lauren, you've planned your wedding in a week. Here's hoping that your marriage lasts a lifetime. On behalf of all your friends here at Campbell's Soup, here's wishing you a lifetime together that's (everybody in unison) Mmm-mmm-Good."