As a freshman at Michigan State, Allison sat down to a Catholic student center spaghetti dinner after Mass one Sunday. Two young men asked if they could sit with Allison and her friend, and her heart somehow knew she'd just met her future husband and their Best Man.
Allison and Mike's friendship grew over the next two years through their Catholic campus ministry and the opportunities it afforded for Mass, retreats, and growth in faith. They started dating their junior year, not long after Mike and his friends moved into an apartment one floor above Allison and hers. Although graduation took Allison to Newport Beach and Mike to Houston, they had no doubts their relationship would continue across the distance. With each visit, "Leaving was always the hardest part," says Allison. "I will never forget standing at my door saying goodbye countless times, seeing him turn to blow me one last kiss and dreaming of the day we were together forever."
Yosemite National Park was a day trip from Newport Beach, and a place where Allison and Mike had long planned on visiting while Allison lived in California. Months later, as they were both preparing for moves to Chicago, Mike proposed in front of Half Dome at sunset.
From the Bride: As a Catering Manager at a Chicago hotel, and a witness to so many weddings, I had a specific vision for our wedding day. I also knew, however, that I had seen way too many brides get caught up in the details and lose sight of where their focus should be on such an important day. I vowed to not be that bride.
Our wedding day was an absolute dream--a taste of heaven. It was joyous, personal and seriously fun. I got dressed in the very hall where Mike and I met, thanks to the lighting our photographer wanted to capture.
We incorporated our family and friends in various parts of the Mass to make it personal. Mike and will forever remember my mom reading from Corinthians and bringing tears to so many of our guest’s eyes as she paused, looking at us, and firmly proclaiming, “Love never fails.” Music was a major focus, as well, with Danielle Rose’s Hail Mary sung by my dear high school friend during our dedication to the Holy Family.
The ballroom where we held our reception was beautiful. We walked around in awe as it sunk in that this was our wedding dinner. The toasts given were thoughtful, meaningful and humbling. The dance floor was packed all night, until Chris Brown's “Forever” played to close the evening. Our DJ arranged everyone in two lines, and we all took a turn dancing down the middle aisle before friends and family circled around for our last dance.
Celebrating with our closest friends and family, in the very church where our relationship began and grew, was the best part of the day. God blessed our marriage abundantly and continues teaching us how to love each other better every day, for which we are eternally grateful.
My advice to brides is to be intentional and truly present in each moment of your wedding day. Take a step back, and you will find God in every single moment.
Photography: Emily Jane Furney | Church: St. John Church and Student Center, East Lansing, MI | Reception Venue: The Baronette Renaissance Hotel, Novi, MI | Flowers: Jody Costello of J. Costello Designs | Bride's Dress: Watters Agatha Gown | Bride's Shoes: Antonio Melani | Bride's Jewelry/Accessories: Earrings- BHLDN, Mother's pearl bracelet, Handbag- ModCloth, Handkerchief- Gattle's, Perfume- Jo Malone | Rings: Jared (Custom Engagement Ring) | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dessy | Groom's Tux: Men's Wearhouse | Groomsmens' Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse | Cake Baker: Bella e Dolce | Hairstylist/Makeup Artist: PRIMP Beauty | DJ: Bryan Kaylor of Bee Entertainment