If you’re a fan of the Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black,” you may know California native and bride-to-be Julie Lake as Litchfield inmate Angie Rice. She steals the screen as one of Litchfield’s endearing drug addicts who reigns supreme in the the prison’s laundry room—but in real life, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that Lake (and her teeth) are totally unlike her character’s. She’s an incredible actress, comedy writer and producer who also knows a thing or two about getting dressed up.
Last week, Lake graced The Knot Gala in a stunning emerald gown and attended Matthew Christopher‘s Bridal Fashion Week show in New York (he’s designing her wedding dress!), so naturally, we had to get the scoop about her fiance, screenwriter Jeff Cahn, vintage engagement ring, winter wedding plans and more.
The Knot: How did you and your fiance meet?
Julie Lake: On Tinder! I had one date before Jeff on Tinder and it was so terrible. Jeff was very persistent, sent me funny messages and seemed charming. I was so nervous on our first date, because he was so tall and so my type! We fell in love quickly after we met on April 14 of last year. After a week we said “I love you,” moved in after a month and got engaged after five months. We’ve now been engaged for a year, and he’s the perfect guy for me.
TK: Were you surprised when he proposed?
JL: We went to Santa Barbara for the weekend. We went sailing and got ready for dinner, and then went for a walk on the beach, where he proposed under the stars. I kind of saw it coming, but when he proposed, everything just blacked out around me. It was perfect.
TK: Did you talk about your engagement ring ahead of time?
JL: Yes, we’d been talking about that for a long time. He knew what I wanted—a classic ring. I wanted a round-cut diamond with a diamond band. The stone is actually a family heirloom, an old mine-cut dating anywhere from from 1840 to 1920. It’s so beautiful.
(See a photo of her gorgeous ring below with two diamond wedding bands—Cahn gave them to her all at once when he proposed!)
TK: When and where did you decide to get married?
JL: We’re getting married in December 2015 in New Orleans. Jeff grew up there in the French Quarter, my dad loves New Orleans and I love it too. It’s a fun place. We’re getting married at the Cabildo Museum in Jackson Square and then walking across the street to Muriel’s Jackson Square where we’re renting out the whole upstairs. It has a wraparound balcony and lots of outdoor space. There’s actually a séance lounge too, with couches and cushy chairs—ghosts have lived there for sure!
TK: Are you planning your own wedding or do you have a planner?
JL: We do have a planner. Jeff’s mom was nice enough to get us Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events. I don’t care about the color of the napkins or anything, I’m just excited to have a party.
TK: Tell us about your wedding dress!
JL: My dress is the perfect dress. I looked up bridal salons in the area on The Knot, and went to Haute Bride in Los Gatos, California. I went with family members, and I immediately gravitated toward Matthew Christopher wedding dresses. His gowns are so timeless, romantic and elegant. The first dress I tried on was amazing, and we’re working together now to design mine. I’m excited for everyone to see it!
TK: How many bridesmaids are you going to have?
JL: I’m having seven bridesmaids and a bridesman. I didn’t want to pick a dress for them, I just chose a blue-gray color and they selected their own dresses. It’s more important that they pick something they’re happy wearing.
TK: Who has the bigger guest list?
JL: I have a huge family with a million cousins, and they all have kids, and Jeff’s family has a ton of friends, so we’re pretty even. I think we’re having about 200 people.
TK: What’s a unique touch you’re putting on your wedding?
JL: We’re writing our own vows. Jeff is also getting a Phish-inspired groom’s cake. I was a jazz singer growing up and sang in high school, so I’m having a jazz band play when I walk down the aisle. And I think I’m going to sing at the reception too with our band. Wendell Brunious, a famous jazz trumpeter, and his band will perform. We’re also doing something cool with our florist, Kim Starr Wise. We’re going to have rainbow-colored flowers hanging down in daisy chains at the altar. And I love white Christmas lights, so we’ll have those too.
TK: What’s on your menu?
JL: Muriel’s is making all the food, and it’s true NOLA cuisine. I’m having a wedding cake too. I didn’t think I wanted cake at first, until I tried Bittersweet Confections. I love baked goods, and they have the most amazing tasting cakes. We’re having a four-layer naked cake with Funfetti cake, edible glitter and lemon, almond, raspberry and strawberry fillings with flowers on the top.
TK: You’re obviously seen with fake teeth more than you’re not, so what beauty rituals are you looking forward to incorporating into your bridal look?
JL: I started getting more intense facials, since my skin has gotten really dry. I’m also going to Barry’s Bootcamp—it’s really fun.
TK: Any chance of an OITNB reunion at wedding?
JL: I’m inviting a few friends from the cast. I’m so grateful; the show has a really great group of people. We love being on set together and hanging out.
TK: What advice do you think Angie would give you about wedding planning?
JL: Laughs. Probably to do some drugs before the wedding to stay calm!