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THE SANDLEWOOD TEAM

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Lauren & Shawn Sparks

SANDLEWOOD MANOR OWNERS

Lauren and Shawn Sparks founded Sandlewood Manor in 2016 with a shared vision for a ministry based wedding venue. Shawn and Lauren’s individual success in marketing and business management makes them a powerful team. Their hardworking personalities, strong passion for marriage, and a desire to help others have merged to create one of Houston’s premier wedding venues. 
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Tina & Darryl Kennedy

SANDLEWOOD MANOR VENUE OWNERS

Darryl and Tina Kennedy have had the opportunity to share in the vision of Sandlewood Manor, that was given to Lauren and Shawn Sparks years ago, by playing a strongly supportive role in the venue. After 35 years of marriage, Darryl and Tina have learned that sharing life together is a beautiful gift from God. “Learning to weather the difficulties of life together and having a partner to share in the joys is one of life’s greatest adventures and well worth the learning curve.” We feel blessed to have a small part in encouraging and supporting marriages in Houston through Sandlewood Manor’s Love for a Lifetime program. As co-owners and coworkers here at Sandlewood Manor, it is our desire to see excellence in every area of this business and we pray that God will use this magnificent property for his glory.”
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Ashley Jones

SANDLEWOOD MANOR VENUE CONCIERGE

Ashley joined the Sandlewood team in 2021 and brings with her nearly 20 years of Event Planning experience; curating intimate events such as Baby Showers and Engagement Celebrations, to grand affairs such as Weddings and Corporate Events. For several years, she owned a small floral shop in Washington state and got her start in the Wedding industry by creating custom invitations. She is passionate about walking with every client from creation to execution of their event at Sandlewood Manor. In addition to her experience as an Event Planner, she believes strongly in the power and effectiveness of teams in this industry. "We are better together," is Ashley's motto. She hails from Las Vegas originally and has called Texas home for 8 years. She has been happily married for 16 years and is the mother of five beautiful children.
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Shane Naylor

SANDLEWOOD MANOR VENUE CONCIERGE

Shane joined the Sandlewood Manor team with a true passion for hospitality and events. She completed her Bachelor and Master of Tourism Management degree from Colorado State University before moving to Asia and Europe where she gained valuable experience planning destination weddings. Shane is well versed in corporate travel and events, having worked with high level executives to create global itineraries. Her early career took her to San Diego where she had the opportunity to produce conferences, company celebrations and fundraisers. She understands the value of culinary experiences at the center of each event. Having recently made Texas her home, she is enjoying the notorious southern hospitality! Whether your event is an elegant wedding or corporate affair, Shane wants to use her skills as an avid planner to make your event amazing. She loves hearing how couples met, incorporating personal expression into your day and celebrating moments that matter!
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Ernesto Esparza

SANDLEWOOD MANOR BAR MANAGER

Ernesto considers himself a true Houstonian. Growing up in Northeast Houston from humble beginnings has taught him that you can be successful if you work hard, possess strong work ethics and stay persistent. Ernesto started off as a Busser, quickly worked his way up to a Banquet Server then Bartender. He was soon promoted to the Lead Events Coordinator for Hyatt Regency, Bellevue, Washington and Assistant Beverage Captain at the Sheraton in downtown Seattle (the two largest convention spaces in the Northeast). Ernesto started working at Sandlewood Manor as a bartender and was quickly promoted to Sandlewood Manor’s Bar Manager. He truly enjoys interacting with guests and helping make the couples day special. Ernesto’s favorite part of working for Sandlewood is getting to work with the amazing staff who he considers family!
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Jael Clark 

SANDLEWOOD MANOR MARKETING & HIRING MANAGER

Jael considers herself to be a true wedding and event aficionado, bringing a background of art, marketing, and venue management to the Sandlewood Manor team. She has over 14 years of event experience which ranges from custom painted stationary, event design and styling to managing core business processes for notable wedding venues. Weddings have always had a special place in Jael’s heart! She believes these momentous occasions are the start of new beginnings, promises and unending love. Jael strives for excellence, distinction, implements new ideas and creates strategic marketing campaigns that highlights the exquisite estate and five-star offerings. Her goal is to provide you with diverse inspiration across our social platforms allowing you to envision your personal experience at Sandlewood Manor before your event takes place.
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Leah Claxton

SANDLEWOOD MANOR BALLROOM DIRECTOR

Leah Claxton loves to dance! She began her training at Progressions School of Dance and continued her studies through the Theatre Under the Stars' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT). After being accepted into the Rocket Experience, she had the incredible opportunity to train with the Radio City Rockettes in New York City. Leah has competed as a professional ballroom dancer and has worked as a ballroom dance instructor and choreographer. She is also a certified Zumba and Piyo instructor. Currently, Leah is a member of the Magnify Dance Company and teaches ballroom, jazz and ballet classes for the Magnify School of Dance. Leah enjoys that art of choreography and is known for creating wedding dances that exemplify the personalities of the bride and groom. Leah has been noted as a "pioneer of the wedding dance trend." Check out Leah's own wedding dance (which she choreographed) that has touched nearly 4 million viewers from around the globe.