Real Authentic Weddings - Jessica and Mike Holoka
Today we're starting a new feature on the TME Blog- all about REAL authentic weddings. These stories come from couples who planned their weddings their way, without compromise and without regret. Our first featured couple are Jessica and Mike Holoka, who were married July 20, 2012. Want to submit your Real Authentic Wedding? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details!
I don’t remember dreaming about my fairy tale wedding as a little girl. I don’t remember picturing exactly what my dress would look like, where the ceremony and reception would take place or where I would go on my honeymoon. I just knew that I wanted to marry a man who would love me as much as I loved him and who would accept me for all that I am and for all that I could be to him. When you’re standing next to someone you love and making precious vows, that’s all that matters--the special bond between the two of you.
My husband proposed to me on a January night. It was low key and private, just as we are. To me, it was perfect. Our engagement was short although we had been dating for four years. In May of 2012, I got laid off from my job. My husband and I discussed my future with my job before we even got engaged. I was going to leave it eventually to become a full-time homemaker and, one day, stay-at-home-mom. The timing was right. It was not long after my last day at work that we set our wedding date for July 20, 2012.
My husband and I are a quiet couple. We prefer to spend our evenings together in the comfort of our own home. We like to take walks and bike ride together when it’s warm outside. We like to snuggle close when it’s cold. It’s the simple things that make us happy. From the moment we knew it was okay to discuss the possibility of marriage, we both agreed on a small City Hall wedding. We don’t believe in bachelor and bachelorette parties. We didn’t want the big, church wedding with a fancy reception. That’s not who we are. People tried to sway our opinions, but we stuck to the decisions we both agreed on together. We knew exactly what we wanted. It was our day after all.
We applied for our marriage license and officially set the date. Because I hadn’t brainstormed my perfect wedding dress from a young age, it took me a couple tries to find “the one.” I wore a simple white dress from Macy’s with a hairpiece I bought from Etsy. My husband wore a dress shirt, tie and dress pants. The only people at our City Hall wedding were our parents. We were married at 10AM that morning by the mayor and we had brunch at a local diner afterwards. As simple as it seems, I will forever remember every single detail about that morning. From the music that played as we got ready, the look on my husband's face when he first saw me, how incredibly happy he was, the walk into City Hall and the car ride back home again. It was a day spent in happiness and wedded bliss. I was wife to a most amazing husband.
Our reception was being held the day after our wedding in my parents’ backyard. I bought decorations from Party City and Home Goods, called a local caterer to set a menu for 30 people and borrowed tents, tables and chairs from friends of the family. For dessert, I ordered a simple two tier wedding cake from our local bakery, no tasting needed. I set up a small candy buffet using glass vases I had borrowed from my brother's wedding (how fortunate that he had just gotten married himself a few months prior to our wedding!). Instead of wedding favors, I made wedding goodie bags that included plantable favor cards from TheKnot and lavender filled, stamped sachets that I made myself. I packaged everything in purple paper bags. Everything was done simply. Planning for our big day and following celebration was a breeze.
While we were in the midst of planning, I was asked numerous times by both sides of the family if this was really what I wanted. I was even offered the money to have a big wedding, but I declined. The little girl inside of me didn’t care about an expensive dress, a lavish church setting or an extravagant reception. I just wanted to become Mrs. to the man who was going to stand beside me then and forever after. After all, isn’t that what makes a marriage?
When we look back on our special day, we are both happy with every single detail about it. We stayed true to ourselves throughout the entire process. No regrets.
Thanks Jessica! What a great story. My favorite part is that even when asked and offered cash to do a "traditional" NJ wedding- she held her ground and said no! That is standing firm in your decisions.
What's your take-away? Do you think you could have the courage to have the wedding you really want? Chime in below!
And as always, Keep Celebrating!