For our first Real Weddings by Hope’s blog post, we are featuring my dear friends Laura and Alex. They are a couple I love and respect, and you can tell they are perfect for each other. I’m so excited to share their love story with you!
One of the passages shared at their September 28, 2013 wedding was from Romans 12: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Laura and Alex both serve others in their careers. Their relationship with one another is similar. They use their gifts and live out God’s directions in Romans 12 with their accepting and nurturing natures, the way they make everyone feel special to them, and the way they listen and offer support when the people in their lives need it.
Laura perfectly describes their story and her husband:
I had just been offered my first job out of college. My roommate Johanna (that’s me!) took me out to celebrate and watch a Journey cover band. Our friend Calvin brought Alex to the same event. Every once in a while Alex would send me a text here and there. I got really sick, and he made sure to send me nice messages telling me he hoped I felt better soon. After a few months, he finally asked me out on a date to a movie (or I asked him. It’s still up for debate). After 4 years of dating, Alex and I signed up for the “Happiest run on the planet” – The Color Run. He and our 2 best friends, Shane and April Hoffman, planned when, where, and how he would propose. At the end of the run, we went to the celebration stage where everyone counted down from 10, and threw their colored powder in the air creating a never-ending cloud of the brightest colors. Under the cloud of color, he proposed. He is absolutely thoughtful, caring, and more than I could ask for. He puts much more thought into every detail of our lives together than any other husband out there. I love him. He is the best!
Wow, right? They are just so sweet! Laura was super-thoughtful with how she asked us to be her bridesmaids as well. She invited all of us to Hope’s to help her find her gown. Amid early-morning cupcakes, she gave each of us of a sweet note and box with a Ring Pop to “pop” the question. So cute!
That day, she found her gown and we picked out the bridesmaid dresses. Here is her take on her experience with Hope’s:
Diane and the Hope’s team paid attention to my interests. They gathered items they knew I would love. The dress I picked was a dress I had been photographed in for a Hope’s catalog. As I was going through each dress, nothing seemed to be just the one. Diane, Johanna, and Katie remembered the dress I had worn previously. I had mentioned in a joking way to “help me remember that dress for my future wedding.” Trying it on again made me realize why the other ones weren’t quite right for me. Fitting appointments were great. I didn’t feel rushed. My asymmetrical waistline created some difficulties with the hem. Diane, Ariel, Johanna, and Jody made sure to give me all of the time I needed to get the dress just right. Hope’s is truly part of our family. They hire the kindest, most caring staff. My family is forever grateful for the friendship the Niebuhrs share with us!
And we are thankful for their friendship as well! Laura said “yes” to Miri by Maggie Sottero accented by a Bel Aire belt. She also wore Meg Jewelry’s Hatti necklace, a Symphony veil, and a Hope’s exclusive tiara. Laura even found a look for her rehearsal, a taffeta Da Vinci two-tone bridesmaid/cocktail dress. Bridesmaids were outfitted in an Impressions dress with asymmetrical details to complement Laura’s gown. Laura put a lot of thought into the different shade each girl would wear to create the autumn color palette she envisioned. We then helped Laura and Alex find Milroy’s tuxedos that worked with the dresses, even matching each groomsman’s accessories to his corresponding bridesmaid!
Laura was an organized and creative bride, even DIYing many of the decorations for her wedding. The whole time, she stayed focused on her future husband and the people she loved. Her thoughtful planning before the wedding paid off when she was able to not worry about many details on the actual wedding weekend. She has this very wise advice for brides getting ready for the big day:
Be flexible in the agenda. It’s good to have a general idea of how you want things, but to not get too held up on each step going perfectly to get there. It made our wedding stress-free. The day before our wedding and the day of were the most relaxing days I had in the entire process. I had good people around me that I trusted. I trusted that if something went wrong, they would help me fix it. If it couldn’t be fixed, we’d do what we could, and move on. At the end of the process Alex and I were going to be married, and that’s all that really mattered. Also, if the bride is wound up and feeling unpleasant, all of the people around her will feel that and have an unpleasant experience too. So, relax… that way everyone else can relax and enjoy the amazing times ahead.
Everyone did enjoy their wedding! There were many special moments and thoughtful touches throughout the weekend that really made it unique and memorable. They did an amazing job of incorporating and honoring their family and friends and showcasing their love and devotion to each other.
At the rehearsal, Alex and I stayed after everyone left to practice our personally written vows that we wrote together. It was one of the most emotional moments of the weekend. Also, seeing Alex for the first time as I walked down the aisle. I will never forget his face. We also surprised our parents and honored them during the ceremony. We both thanked each of our parents and my brother and shared with everyone what we specifically learned from each of them that we hope to bring to our marriage and family. It was a pretty special moment and made our ceremony unique. Also, instead of flowers for bridesmaids, I bought them each sparkly gold clutches to hold all of their items and carry down the aisle.
We all appreciated the clutch, and I still use mine for special events. I thought it was a great way to tie together the different colors of bridesmaid dresses, it’s practical and reusable, and that is probably more affordable than most bouquets you can buy. Consider that, Bride-to-be!
Laura and Alex have been enjoying married life for over a year now. They recently took their honeymoon to Cozumel, Mexico.
We snorkeled on two coral reefs in the Caribbean. I got stung by a jelly fish three times. We also ziplined (I got stuck three times and someone had to come out to get me each time). We kayaked, paddle boarded, and found a bar sitting on a cliff in the middle of nowhere that had a chicken, cat, tiny dog, and two parrots living in the outdoor bar. The water was crystal clear. Alex ate bright purple hibiscus tacos. No meat, just flowers. We spent many of the nights laying in hammocks by the sea. Seven days were not enough!
With adventures like those and their first year under their belt, Laura and Alex have a good sense of who they are as husband and wife. Laura has this to say about married life:
It just seems to keep getting better. Advice for others – just make sure to communicate all the time. If you wonder about something – ask. If you feel something – share. If you need something from the other person – let them know. If you disagree with the other – don’t be afraid to respectfully share and make sure to listen to the other person. Make undivided time with each other at least once a week.
I pray that it continues to just keep getting better! And that all our Hope’s brides can say the same thing a year into their marriage or 50 years into their marriage. Blessings to you all, and happy planning for a wedding and marriage that is perfect for you!
Thanks so much to Hope’s Bride Laura and Groom Alex!
Location of wedding ceremony: Third Reformed Church, Pella, IA
Location of reception: Bos Landen Golf Course, Pella, IA
Faith, Hope & Love,
Photos by Wild Air Studios.