Jessica Jessing & Alex Gauna (Sylvania)
How did you meet? We met on the online dating app, Hinge! Alex was my first in-person date while on the app. We met halfway between our cities, in Ann Arbor, at Grizzly Peak Brewery about two weeks after we matched and started talking on the app. After that, meeting in Ann Arbor became our regular routine — every Wednesday evening — and we’ve talked everyday since!
Who popped the question and how? Alex popped the question exactly one year after we met. We had purchased a house together a month prior and he proposed in the house. He decorated the family room with roses and candles, and had our special song playing in the background when I came home that day. His daughter, Brooklyn, now my step- daughter, was with us, which made things even more special!
How long was the engagement? Did you ever want to elope and just get it over with? Our engagement was exactly eight months. Neither Alex nor I had the urge to elope — we both had the vision of a big wedding with all of our family and friends. Alex has a large family, and I have a lot of friends… we wanted everyone to help us celebrate!
Did you have a bridal shower, lingerie shower, and/or bachelor/bachelorette parties? If so, what did you do? I was blessed enough to have all three! My mom and my mother-in-law both held bridal showers for me and both were beautiful. We ate brunch, played games, had champagne, and exchanged gifts at both showers. My lingerie shower was included at my bachelorette party, which took place in Traverse City. Kendall, my younger sister, truly did an amazing job planning and surprising me with the majority of the activities that took place at my bachelorette party. My sister and I and my seven friends explored downtown Traverse, did a lot of hot tubbin’ that was included at our AirBnb, and took a wine tour on a private bus through the exquisite vineyards there.
Did you do anything during the wedding that would be considered non-traditional? One of the most memorable moments during my wedding took place at the ceremony. Before walking down the aisle, I made a special tribute to my dad, who had unexpectedly passed away a few years earlier. Our ceremony was outside, so I held a white balloon in my hand at the beginning of my walk, I took a moment to honor him and speak to him before letting the balloon go, then continued the rest of my walk with my mother.
In one word, what was the theme of your wedding? Timeless. A black and white theme, with a few gold accents sprinkled throughout. I wanted to keep everything clean, classy, and timeless for our day.
Color scheme: Black and white.
Your top moments: The tribute to my dad, the first time we were announced husband and wife, and truly being able to enjoy all of our hard work together — everything came together beautifully!
Your favorite part of planning the wedding with your partner: Learning about the small details that my husband actually cared and had an opinion about! I would say the most surprising detail that he showed heavy interest towards were the table settings at the reception, specifically how the napkins were folded and placed on the plates.
Your least favorite part of wedding planning: The small details that no one thinks about, or tells you about, that you learn on the fly!
Did you DIY any of the decor or other elements of the ceremony? Yes! All of my stationary designs were made by my sister. She made my “timeless” vision come to life by using her Cricut and graphic design applications on her computer. Everything — my save the dates, invitations, signage and table numbers — was all designed and created by her.
Three words to describe your wedding expectations: Smooth-sailing, exhilarating and unforgettable.
Three words to describe your wedding reality: All of the above!!
Where did you spend your honeymoon? Aruba… and we will be back.
Tips and tricks for other couples: 1) Set a schedule for yourself as far as what you want to accomplish from month-to-month. 2) Make your partner have an opinion and bring them along for the ride, even when they don’t want to! 3) Try not to stress about the small stuff — people mainly remember the food, drinks, and dancing/DJ. 4) Do what YOU both want and what feels right for your day together — everyone has an opinion or a suggestion as to how they would do things, but remember that it’s your day and no one else’s.
List of Vendors
Venue: Both the ceremony and reception were held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Levis Commons, Perrysburg.
Dress: Custom gown from Beloved Bridal in Ann Arbor.
Suit: Vera Wang suit from Men’s Warehouse.
Officiant: Diane Forrester, our longtime family friend!
Hair: Marne Hughes
Makeup: Katie Sayles
Catering: Provided by the Hilton Garden Inn.
Cake: Village Patisserie
Photographer: Martha Pizza (Martha May Photography)
DJ and/or band: Decorative Sound
Florist: Flower Mercantile
Lighting/Drapery: Mager Designs
Devon Ormsby Howard and Tyler Howard (Temperance and Lambertville, MI)
How did you meet? We met in the eighth grade and remained close friends for over a decade until we started dating in 2020.
Who popped the question and how? Tyler popped the question at sunset on the beach in St. Pete Beach, FL.
How long was the engagement? Did you ever want to elope and just get it over with? We were engaged for a year and a half. We didn’t want to elope; we just wanted our day to come as soon as possible.
Did you have a bridal shower, lingerie shower, and/or bachelor/bachelorette parties? If so, what did you do? I (Devon) had a bachelorette party in Grand Rapids, MI, where we rode the Great Lakes Pub Cruiser, explored the city, went to a street fair, played the “guess who brought the lingerie” game, and danced the night away. Tyler had a bachelor party at a cabin in Baldwin, MI, where they went kayaking and golfing and played lots of yard games. My bridal shower was held at Brick House Commons in Toledo on Oct. 1.
Did you do anything during the wedding that would be considered non-traditional? We did not cut a cake, and we skipped the bouquet and garter events. Instead, we did a photo dash with each table at the reception where they had to race up one table at a time to get a picture with us on the dance floor. It was so fun and helped us get a picture with everyone! We also chose to do a video guestbook instead of the traditional guestbook that you sign.
In one word, what was the theme of your wedding? Modern industrial.
Color scheme: White, dusty sage green, gold, tan, blush pink and wood tones.
Your top moments: When my nana saw me in my dress right before the ceremony, seeing my husband at the end of the aisle, looking out at our family and friends enjoying dinner and taking it all in from the head table, seeing everyone out on the dance floor having fun and meeting up with everyone for the after party in the hotel.
Your favorite part of planning the wedding with your partner: How much we agreed on things and liked the same things, and also how easy it was to make decisions together that we were both happy with.
Your least favorite part of wedding planning: The rush in the last 30 days for last-minute things!
Did you DIY any of the decor or other elements of the ceremony? We rented most of our decor from the venue, but we did make an awesome greenery wall with our neon sign on it. It was used as the backdrop for pictures and our video guestbook during the reception.
Three words to describe your wedding expectations: Que Sera, Sera — this helped me stress less!
Three words to describe your wedding reality: Classic, dreamy and fun.
Where did you spend your honeymoon? We stayed at the Jewel Grande in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Tips and tricks for other couples: Get a day-of coordinator; make a binder with all the important information and details to stay organized and help other people help you; make your seating chart early on as if every guest will come and remove people/re-work it as you get declines (way easier than trying to make it from scratch at the very end during the busy last month!); use an app like The Knot to make your wedding website with all the important information on it, and use the electronic RSVP function (way easier than having people send them back through the mail!); follow up with anyone who may not be tech-savvy and complete their RSVP for them; and enlist a team of people to help with cleanup at the end of the night.
List of Vendors
Venue: The Loft at The Pickwick Place
Dress: Atlas Bridal
Suit: Men’s Wearhouse
Officiant: My uncle, Steve Riddle.
Hair and makeup: Makeup by Lori: Lori Millenbaugh
Hair: Marnie Anderson and Bre Pratt (friends of the bride and groom)
Catering: Howard’s Meats
Cake: No cake, but we did get donuts and apple cookies from Bennett’s Orchard.
Photographer: Laura Lyn Photography
Videographer: Fordham Footage
DJ and/or band: Decorative Sound
Florist: Something Borrowed Blooms