Elegant Estate Wedding

Scans by: PhotoVision Prints | Venue: Kingwood Center, Ohio
Day of Event Coordinator and Styling: Birds and Honey | Event Coordinator: Umbrella Barrel
Catering:  Blue Ribbon Catering & Mazah Mediterranean Eatery
Floral: Bride’s Family and Friends | Videography: Little Tree Studios
Cake: Blanca Guerra | Wedding Bands: Store5a | Bride’s Makeup: Columbus Wedding Makeup
Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Music: Isaiah Wu, Daniel Wu, Stephan Spottswood 
Henna: Bindu Verma, Creative Calla Corner | Calligraphy: Plume Calligraphy

About the lovely couple, from the bride, Madison: I met Michael in the 7th grade, I must have just turned twelve.
Michael walked in the side doors at our church group and I knew he was new. He had big “mushroom” like hair and a lanyard out of his cargo shorts. I welcomed him to the group and left before he was swarmed by the other middle school girls. That was the start of our friendship.
My Teta, grandmother, told me once that the beautiful relationships start as buds and then bloom. I can tell you she was right about ours, except that maybe the blooming part took a little longer than Michael might have liked.
Michael and I’s relationship consisted of me dodging his throws during dodge ball (unsuccessfully) and visiting Steak and Shake on Wednesday nights until my parents sent me to Worthington Christian for high school. Michael was one of the two people I knew at the school. Michael walked me to class on my first day and nearly every day after that.
During our first class together (Spanish), we talked about guitar, Michael told me how he only played electric and he’d never sing in front of people. I told him that I liked acoustic and he should sing and play, I told him I’d play with him. A week after, Michael was playing acoustic and singing “Better together” with me before school… I should have known.
Slowly, we became best friends. We studied together, challenged each other, distracted each other in class, called one another with broken high school hearts, sang in choirs, planned each other’s dates, debated theology, played in bands, attended each other’s sporting events, grew to love the same friends and ate lunch on the floor of the hallways together.
Michael and I were teased by everyone in the school. The girls on my soccer team would spot us and giggle. At our senior gala  everyone clinked their glasses as a friend started a toast by saying, “Dearly beloved we are gathered here today…” (I was so embarrassed that I can’t remember the rest). It didn’t help that I wore a white dress and Michael a black suit… (Note: Michael asked me to spring gala the first day after Christmas break).
Two days before graduation, as we were sitting on the front of my car after his baseball game he looked at me and told me he “loved me and wanted to marry me”. I responded by telling him I didn’t feel the same way and I wanted to forget he’d ever said anything so we could just keep being friends (ouch, I know. Michael doesn’t remember this so either he blocked it from his memory or I thought it instead of saying it out loud. You might say that moment is a bit of a blur for both of us.)
… Yes, graduation was awkward.
Michael says this phase in life should be titled, “The escape from the friend zone”.  I’m stubborn but Michael is persistent. Soon flowers would show up in my dorm room, letters would be sent, and no matter what function I went attended – Michael would be there too.
The phrase “distance makes the heart grow fonder” couldn’t be more true.
Michael moved to Terre Haute, Indiana – 254 miles away –  our first year of college while I stayed in Columbus. Before the first month of undergrad was even over, I realized I missed him terribly. Michael became a constant pixelated face on my computer screen. (Sorry, Amber (my college roommate)). We’d talk till 2 in the morning, meet each other’s new friends, and of course – study. Michael played baseball at his university and I made a visit to him in Indiana. When I got there to see him, he picked me up and spun me around, I knew something had changed.
November 23, we starting dating outside of La Chatelaine, thus began our four year long-distance relationship. (And there was much rejoicing by all of you). During those four years, Michael grew a beard, cut his “mushroom” hair and learned to eat spinach. I finally got my A in calculus and learned an umpire wasn’t called a “ref”.
We studied on Skype for hours on end (sorry for all of you who’s internet connection suffered as a result). We decided that we wanted to love Jesus most and each other second. We drove to each other’s universities for weekend trips. We had picnic dates on the river bank in the summer. We started ONELIFE, now POINT, together. We hiked. We grew with the Lord. We danced on top of the roof. We lost loved ones. We (I) tried to make Michael mad at me, but it never worked. We invested time on our campuses. We jumped the fence and snuck onto the baseball field after dark. We valued our friends. We built things, Michael a robotic foot- me a company. We learned about each other’s cultures. We looked at mountains we wanted to visit. We began to love each other’s families. We traveled. We learned how to cook.
We wrote letters. We prayed together. We fell in love.
Remember those mountains? On the morning of my birthday, Michael gave me a map with the mountains circled in it. We headed out to Colorado a month later. There on the last day of the trip, in a valley quite like the photos we exchanged in college he said, “Remember I told you I loved you and wanted to marry you? I mean it more today” and with that he asked me to marry him.
(And obviously I said yes, though I just stood there in shock for a few seconds and forgot there was a ring involved). (And yes, he asked my dad first).
Growing up together is an odd thing. The boy I met in middle school isn’t the man I’m marrying today. And, I’m positive I’m not same girl either. This has been our first year living in the same city as a couple. Michael is back in Columbus at Ohio State for his doctorate in biomedical engineering and I’m trying to change how society connects with charity through a social media app.
We are more than happy to have put Skype to rest and be 10 minutes away from each other again. This year we’ve ran races, hosted dinner parties, made business plans, explored Columbus, planned our wedding and best of all – seen each other every week. (EEP!)
So when you see us walking down the aisle, I hope you feel the Lord’s blessing as we do.

We have been blessed these past ten years with a story that has turned into the most beautiful bloom.