Olivia and Levi’s story started as high school students in 2008. In less than a month they will be celebrating the first anniversary of their romantic vintage wedding! We’re super excited to share this blog post with you since Olivia is a long-time Hope’s girl- she’s sharing some amazing throwback pictures from her parents’ wedding and her proms!
Olivia’s junior year and Levi’s senior year of high school at Benton Community, they began talking with a group of friends at a volleyball tournament. “I distinctly remember being drawn to Levi’s goofy sense of humor and handsome smile. I knew I wanted to get to know him more. I will come out and say that I made the first move when I asked one of our mutual friends, Parker, for Levi’s phone number.”
She asked Levi to join her on a double date with some friends. “We went to the movies, sat next to each other and started holding hands… sweaty palms and all. After that Levi and I began to spend a lot of time together,” Olivia remembers. The next three months seemed so long at the time to Oliva, but Levi finally asked her to be his girlfriend October 15th.
“We did all of the typical high school relationship things together- attended each other’s athletic events, Saturday night dates, texting each other until 2 A.M. on a school night, getting to know each other’s family, bad haircuts and hairstyles, homecomings and proms, etc. Everything was so much fun and exciting with Levi by my side not only as a boyfriend, but as my friend.”
The coming fall, Levi headed to Wartburg College. They managed to see each other almost every weekend, even with Levi playing college basketball and baseball during Olivia’s busy senior year. “It was amazing to watch Levi grow not only as an athlete, but as a man from high school and throughout college. It definitely made me fall more in love with him! I mean who doesn’t like to see their man in baseball pants, am I right!” Olivia jokes.
Through the years, they shared so many memories and experiences that made their relationship stronger. The ultimate animal lover, Olivia reminisces about one of the ways Levi proved he was her person. “Levi survived a big test in our relationship when I brought home a kitten; shortly after I then convinced him it was okay that I was adopting a puppy from the humane society, and somehow down the road I talked him into adopting one more shelter dog! He is the man for me, hands down!”
After seven years together, the couple had a home together, and were settling into life nicely. The future was a big topic of conversation, and everyone was dropping “not so subtle hints” to Levi that it was time to pop the question. “Levi would tell me that every time I brought engagement up it would push it back further and further.. and he was serious! So eventually I stopped bringing it up… it worked!
In late September 2015, Olivia and her friend Callie took a trip to Germany to visit Olivia’s sister. Levi made a comment on the phone while she was gone that made her really excited a ring was coming. Olivia and the girls were running through possible engagement scenarios, and they decided he would probably be waiting at the airport with flowers down on one knee, movie-style. Olivia says, “Well thank God the airport scenario did not pan out… something much better was in store for us!”
While she was in Germany, Levi had developed a plan. He asked Olivia’s parents for their blessing to propose and planned his family pictures to take place at Palisades shortly after she returned. The morning of the pictures, Olivia’s parents called her trying to set up a time she could help them get some “barn wood.” They said the place they were going was near Palisades, so they would meet there after the pictures.
Olivia explains, “During the family pictures they show up, and I’m just thinking this is awkward! We’re here doing Levi’s family pictures and my parents and sister show up! Everyone is talking together and acting totally normal, and I’m thinking to myself what the heck is going on! I can’t be the only one thinking this is strange.”
When it was time for Olivia and Levi to get a few pictures taken, he led her on a walk along the beach. He began to tell her how much he loves her and how much it means to him to have her as a part of his family, but there is something missing- they didn’t share a last name.
He turned to Olivia, who had forgotten how to breathe, and got down on one knee. He pulled out the gorgeous ring and asked her to marry him. “For me, nothing else existed in that moment. I forgot there was a photographer, all our family, other people at the park. In that moment it was just us, and it was incredible. Our serene little moment is interrupted by a family member yelling, ‘Well, did she say yes!?’ followed by lots of clapping, hugging, congratulations, and smiles. Reality sets in, and I realize that everyone just witnessed our engagement! Holy moly! What a moment… what a memory!”
After her fairytale proposal, Olivia and Levi began planning their wedding for the next October. They created a romantic, classic vintage wedding style with a color palette of maroon, navy, and neutrals.
Olivia knew where she wanted to shop for her dress. She found her stunning lace Stella York bridal gown, veil, and bridesmaid dresses at Hope’s. All offered a vintage wedding feel that was perfect for fall. “It was comforting knowing that I had been working with these ladies for years. I had gone to Hope’s in high school and bought all my prom dresses from them, same with my sisters. My best friend recently bought her wedding gown at Hope’s. I have a lot of great memories there! The best part was my mom had bought her wedding dress from Hope’s Bridal in ‘87, so it was very special to me to keep this tradition! Hope’s has an incredible selection of bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses, so I knew I’d have no trouble finding what I was looking for.”
The day of the wedding, the girls came back to the hotel after getting their hair and makeup done. They took Olivia to the front desk, where Levi had left a gift for her. “I raced back up to our room and opened up a box all wrapped up with a ribbon on it. Inside was one of those Shutterfly books, with photos of Levi and I over the years. Levi had made it himself with cute captions to go along with all of the memories we have shared over the years. On the first page inside the book Levi wrote me a little note about how excited he was to marry me and start our lives together. I was so happy I cried! He really made our wedding day so special, I will always remember how happy I was in that moment!”
Olivia will always describe their wedding day as the best day of her life. “I seriously wish we could go back and do it again. It goes too fast! Saying our vows to each other was a moment I will cherish forever.”
The newlyweds went to Cancun for their honeymoon. She recommends going on some excursions and wearing sunscreen! “It was definitely fun being away from real life, but by the end of the week we were so ready to get back to our home and our fur babies!”
Olivia says most people expect her to say married life is pretty much the same, but she always tells people it’s way better! “I have such a comfort and ease having Levi as a partner in life, as my husband. I definitely think we were blessed to have found friendship and love in one another at such a young age, and have been able to build off of that foundation over the years. I’m so glad we never gave up on each other when times got tough. No matter how many times I fail, he is always there to pick me up with a smile on his face and arms open for a hug. He is definitely my rock. I cannot wait to share in life’s victories, and surely some curve balls along the way- as long as they are with him. At the end of the day, I can look over at him and count my blessings because I am so lucky to be loved by him!”
We all wish you a very happy anniversary in a few weeks! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story with us, and for letting us be a part of so many special moments through the years! #foreverahopesgirl
Photographer: Michael Grobin Photography
Wedding venue: Stonebridge Church, Cedar Rapids IA
Reception venue: Ponderosa Ballroom, Walford IA
Party bus: Night Train Party Bus, Solon IA
Outdoor wedding party photos taken at Morgan Creek Park
Florist: Karen & Jessica Petersen, Bloomsbury Farm, IA
Bridal gowns/Bridesmaid dresses: Hopes Bridal, Atkins IA
Bridal party hair: Jen, Moxie Salon & Spa, Cedar Rapids IA
Bridal jewlery: Doland Jewelers, Dubuque IA