Holly and John met the summer of 2010 while she was interning at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach, FL. John worked in the photo department, so Holly saw alot of him throughout the day while monitoring guest swim programs. John would take pictures and she would play lifeguard. Although they didn’t hang out all that much that summer, they did chit chat while hanging out by the pool, and unbeknownst to Holly, John would refer to her as the “cute intern.”
After Holly’s internship ended and she moved back to Ohio, they lost contact until 2011 when she ended up taking a full-time position as a dolphin and sea lion trainer at Gulf World. They rekindled their friendship, once again chatting it up by the pool at work. At the time, they were both hooked on the game, “Hanging with Friends” and they started competing with each other. More often than not John would beat her, until one fateful day when she ruined his winning streak! To make things more interesting, they both agreed that the loser of the next game would have to take the winner to lunch wherever they wanted. Holly won!! (Whether John let her win on purpose or not, no one will ever know 😉 On Feb 11, 2012 Holly and John went out for lunch at Red Robin and a simple lunch turned into a 4 hour “non date.”
By the end of March though, they decided that they were indeed dating. They both knew early on that what they had was something special and Holly was sort of adopted in as one of the Blei family. He met her family as well when they came down to visit that summer, and then in the fall they both flew up to Ohio and John got to see Holly’s hometown and meet more of her family. They started talking seriously about marriage a lot around that time, but what Holly didn’t know was that John already had a plan in mind. He came up with a plan to propose and include her family in the scheme so that they could help organize it!
When Holly flew back to Ohio at Christmas time to spend the holidays with her family, she invited John to come too, but he wasn’t able to make the trip because his Grammie (who lives in Pennsylvania) would be spending Christmas with his family in Florida. Holly was really bummed but understood why he couldn’t come. The time came for her to catch her flight to Ohio, and they had a tearful goodbye at the airport. The first few days of Holly’s trip home were normal, until the night when her dad asked for her help in the barn. She hadn’t seen her dad all day because, as her mom said, “he was out getting feed for the animals and working in the barn.” So then her dad called her out to help him and she grudgingly pulled on boots and a coat. When Holly got to the barn though, her dad wasn’t there, and instead she saw John! The barn had been decorated (by Holly’s mom and sister) into a christmas scene and there he was, waiting for her. Holly’s immediate reaction was, “What are you doing here and how did you get here?!” She was so shocked and surprised that it took her a minute to realize that John was getting down on one knee. Holly started to cry and laugh at the same time as John asked her to marry him, and through the laughter and tears, she said yes. 🙂
To make it even more amazing, it started to snow! (John hadn’t seen snow since he was 12 and moved to Florida from Pennsylvania). The whole story about Grammie going to Florida for Christmas was a total lie, and John came clean about how he had been planning this trip and the surprise proposal since late that summer. John stayed in Ohio for Christmas with his soon-to-be in-laws, and it turned out to be one special holiday celebration!
This past weekend, Holly and John were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony. That morning, with the sun trickling through the trees surrounding the gazebo, there was nothing that could dampen their spirits. It was really awesome to see the love that these two families have for this wonderful couple. We love when couples take time to make memories on their wedding day instead of just running around so busy that they don’t recognize all of the little moments that are happening around them, and these two seemed to soak up every little second of it.
They sewed a little piece of one of Holly’s dad’s work shirts in the shape of a heart into her dress…
Holly decided to set aside a little time to have a few moments with her dad and her brother when they each saw her for the first time that day, and it ended up being super special.
They had different peacock elements all throughout the wedding and reception!
Instead of just having Holly’s dad give her away, they had both sets of parents stand up and be apart of the giving away of the bride. We love these little unique elements that just add something extra special to a couple’s wedding ceremony!
Loved the charcoal gray suits that the guys were wearing…they all looked super dapper 😉
And those cute blue dresses…loved them!
We cannot wait to share Part 2 of Holly and John’s big day, so check back tomorrow for the rest of the beautiful wedding goodness! 😉
A huge thank you to the awesome people who helped make this wedding gorgeous: