From the bride herself: Ryan and I met early in 2015, but our first meeting was far from close to our first date, and definitely not love at first sight – at least on my end. When we were months into dating, Ryan actually had to remind me of the first time we met: at a Cincinnati Swerve soccer game. I was there to watch a friend play in his first semi pro soccer game, and Ryan was on the team. At the end of the game, I asked him to take a picture of our friends and he declined and walked away. He didn’t see me again until summer.
When we actually formed a connection, it was through none other than soccer. Ryan was just hanging out at the complex that I played at, and we had a lot of mutual friends. We chatted and had a few beers, and before the night was over, we had exchanged numbers so I could ask him to fill in if we ever needed a guy. We watched the Women’s World Cup games together. Our entire friendship was built on soccer. One night, Ryan came up to hang out after one of my games. Another friend of ours asked who I was bringing to our friends wedding that upcoming weekend and I said I wasn’t sure, and Ryan offered to go. From that day forward, that was that. We quickly became inseparable.
Many soccer games and soccer related activities later, Ryan proposed on March 2, 2019. We have no big-to-do engagement story; I’ve always wanted it to be personal. It was a Saturday late afternoon, I had just finished a plate of nachos, FRIENDS was on Netflix, and I knew EXACTLY what Ryan had up his sleeve. I was excited nonetheless. My first and only bridal show was A Bride’s Mafia After Hours Bridal Show. It was only 11 days after our engagement, but I happened to be off of work (very much not normal for me) and had a friend available to join me. Were the stars aligning? Probably not, but tempt me with booze and free cake and I’m in. We showed up right on time and wound up staying for the entire thing! We couldn’t stop laughing all night and really enjoyed chatting with the vendors and other brides. I had absolutely no faith in winning. I’ve never won anything, let alone something so big, but I was willing to try, and to have fun doing so.
The next day, while I was doing a hair color at work, the deadline for announcing the winner had passed. I didn’t get any notifications on my Apple Watch announcing me the winner, and I had even said so to my client. We both talked about how cool it would’ve been, but Ryan and I were newly engaged, so it was okay. All of a sudden, I got a notification from one of the vendors congratulating me!! I seriously stopped mid hair color application to look at my Instagram.
Thankfully, Missi did not care, we were both over-the-moon- ecstatic. Then, things became very real very fast. We got married December 29, 2019. It seems fast, but we had seriously the best vendors in the city to help. I never once felt stressed, nervous, anxious. I only felt pure excitement for the whole 9 months. We had everything you could think of included in the giveaway: our venue, The Elements; our photographer, Dolce Vita Photography; our DJ, Hey Mr. DJ; our florist, O’Reilly Floral Design; our cake, Patricia’s Custom Weddings and Cakes; Ryan’s tux, Peppe Ramundo & Sons; my hair and makeup, I Do Updo On Location Hair Artistry; and last but certainly not least, our planner, A Bride’s Mafia. Outside of the giveaway, we had to do a few things on our own, which was great to make it “us”! My dress was from Something New, Borrowed, and Blue. My bridesmaids got their dresses from White Wisteria. We also used No. 9 Images for videography. I’m super lucky, and have a sister who does graphic design, so she was able to do our save-the-dates and invitations.
I could write a novel telling everyone how great every single vendor we worked with was, but I’ll save you the reading time. Just know, we could not have asked for a better list of vendors in Cincinnati! Our wedding day, as most couples would say, was the best day ever. I think a large factor of that was the vendors listed above, but a lot of it also came down to us. We were happy, we were ready to have a good time, we were ready to enjoy everything we worked so hard for. They say the day goes by so fast, so I made sure to take it all in (including my bridesmaids popping champagne at 8am).
I have so many tiny details I loved about our wedding day, and so many great memories, but the best part was the love that surrounded us. You don’t realize until you gather all of your friends and family in one space how supported your love is. It’s a really comforting thing to experience. The next best thing about the wedding day, is actually after.. the honeymoon! Since we got married in December, we wanted to head somewhere warm and tropical. We chose a nice, upscale resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico. It was truly so special to sit poolside and beachside with my husband and enjoy a little luxury to kick off our marriage. For anyone who’s newly engaged, my biggest piece of advice is to enjoy it.
At the end of the day, nobody’s going to remember the details. They’re going to remember the love you and your significant other share, they’re going to remember the happiness radiating off of you, they’re going to remember the fun they had celebrating you! And that’s far more important than the decor. Be fully present for every minute from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, because, hopefully, you’ll only do this once!
Our $20k wedding giveaway winners had their beautiful Dec 29th event at the Delta Marriott hotel. Check out a few photos that @dolcevitaphoto got!!!! Planner @abridesmafiaEvent space @elements.deltahotelscincinnatiHair and Makeup @hmarieidoupdoTuxes: @pepperamundomenswearPhotography @dolcevitaphotoFlorist @oreilleyfloraldesignCake @patriciasweddingsDJ @heymrdjoh Wedding located in Sharonville, OhioCongrats to you two!!! Best wishes for an amazing life full of fun and laughter 🙂