Sometimes we think stories like this aren’t really true, and that they only happen in the movies, but some people really do just pick up and elope to Italy. Dreamy. Michael + Jamie, hats off to you. They wavered between a chic wedding on the family’s boat, a rustic wedding in a barn, and a few other ideas, but they fell most in love with the idea of whisking away to Italy to celebrate their marriage in the most intimate, personal way possible (who wouldn’t!?). They eventually decided to have a small ceremony in Houston, which allowed them to celebrate with close friends and family, before packing up their bags and heading off to Lake Como, Italy the next day to have Half Orange Photography capture it all.
Their love story goes a little something like this…
My husband and I met in January 2011 at church where he was leading worship. I normally attend another church but made a new friend earlier that week and decided to meet her at her church for Sunday instead. Needless to say, my girlfriend was late for service that morning and as I ascended the grand-stand style stairs alone, my now husband (Michael), said that he spotted me immediately. He actually likes to tell it that I was a distraction. As service ended that day there was a new Bible study starting for singles and I told my friend that we should go. As we made our way to class, Michael says that he was searching for us in hopes of a “casual” run-in and possible introduction. It was his birthday that day and with no luck of finding us he was pretty bummed. Having agreed prior to that Sunday to attend the new single’s Bible study, when he turned the corner for class, there we were.
It was December of that same year that Michael proposed. He had originally planned to wait until a mission trip that we had coming up to Haiti in January but was concerned about bringing the ring to a third world country and it was already starting to burn a hole in his pocket, so he settled on Christmas Eve instead. Knowing that Christmas is my favorite time of year, Michael planned to come over early on Christmas Eve so that we could do something special together before meeting up with family for dinner. As we headed out the door, Michael handed me a single red rose, which I assumed was just one of his usual thoughtful gestures. However, as we headed down the street, stopping one by one at places we had gone together, including the church where we first met, I began to get suspicious. I was collecting roses at each stop as we reminisced about all the fun times we’d had that past year.
The last stop of the 12 places that we went was his house. As we walked through the door there was no mistaking the ambiance. With candles lit he led me to a table where he had made me a red velvet cake, my favorite. I could sense a change in his mood as the moment approached. He then led me to the dining room where we sat down at the piano and he proceeded to sing a song that he had written for me to propose. With tears in our eyes he pulled out a handmade box, bought on his last mission trip to Haiti, where he had hand written on the inside verses from 1 Corinthians 13. I said yes immediately, having known very early on that he may someday be my husband. We are both in our thirties and thought love was fleeting and may never happen but God is faithful and our lives together have been wonderful ever since.
For our wedding, we had a small ceremony in Texas for family where Michael’s father could marry us and make it legal. We had both always dreamed of running off to some place romantic to get married for the experience of a lifetime. That place ended up being Lake Como, Italy at Villa Balbianello. When searching for honeymoon options, I stumbled upon some photos of Villa Balbianello and it was love at first sight. It did not take much to convince Michael that this was the place to go. We did some research and found the perfect accommodations where we could bring our fantastic photographers from Half Orange Photography to capture the whole experience. Needless to say, the trip was magical! We got some breath taking photos of the elopement and some amazing engagement photos that we will forever cherish. The entire trip was so relaxing and wonderful. A highlight for me was going to the local boutiques and bakery to choose flowers, pastries and a “wedding cake.” What we found was hardly conventional and it was perfect. After the wedding we continued to honeymoon through Italy by train stopping in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice and eventually by plane to Paris. I still have day dreams about the trip and the entire experience. My advice to those who are engaged, get married or at least honeymoon in Italy and put Lake Como on your list. While you’re there, be sure to say hi to George Clooney for us.
Don’t you just love reading stories like this? Congratulations you two!
And with that, have a fabulous weekend everyone!