Emilee + Mike (Phoenix Park Wedding)

How did you and your husband meet? How long have you been together?

Mike and I both grew up in Eau Claire – different high schools, but graduated the same year. We had overlapping circles of friends, so we saw each other on occasion. Nearly three years ago, I had a totally random dream about him (I woke up thinking “Hmm, Mike McHorney… that was weird.”), and it must have planted a seed and made me see him in a different light. Naturally, the next time I saw him (perhaps after a little liquid courage – after all, this was in college) I just HAD to tell him about this dream he showed up in … he got my number and I (literally) got to marry the man of my dreams.

How did he propose? We were living in Colorado at the time, and I had just been back in Wisconsin surprising my friends and family with a visit (a surprise he almost ruined when he called to ask my parents for their permission ☺). After picking me up from the airport, we had an amazing day driving through and exploring the mountains. When we got home, he was very adamant about taking out the trash and he called me outside to our backyard to “come look at something.” Because of the urgency of his voice, I was expecting to see some kind of dead animal or something sick. I was very pleasantly surprised to find him on the patio, down on one knee, with tons of little pebbles spelling out “Will you marry me?”

What was the most fun part about planning your wedding?

For me, the best part was how almost effortless it was.  We just didn’t stress about the small stuff, focused on the pieces that were most important to us, and we ended up with a day that was perfect for us.

Did you find your wedding dress right away? Did you end up buying what you initially had in mind or did you find a dress totally different?

The dress I bought was a dress that I had found browsing websites and I had actually printed a copy of it that I brought with me while dress shopping. However, I never told or showed any of my girls what I had in mind, because I wanted to hear their honest opinions. While at our first stop, my Matron of Honor happened to pull the exact dress I had printed out and said, “This totally looks like you.” I tried on several other dresses, but that dress was always the one I felt the most “me” in, so I knew it was the one.

What do you remember most about your wedding day?

I have two memories that stick out the most that day. First, RIGHT before walking down the aisle, I got to have a really wonderful moment with my dad. He had teased me quite a bit about wanting a “real” wedding (he and my mom had decided to get married and two weeks later they were hitched) and he occasionally dropped hints about eloping. When it was just the two of us, he said how perfect the day was and how nice it was to have everyone who cared about us there. It meant the world to me. The other was right after Mike and I exited the amphitheater after our  ceremony and really looking at him as my husband for the first time – best feeling ever.

Now that the day is done, is there anything you would have done differently?

Eaten more of the food at dinner! Time just flied by at dinner because it was the first time we really got to sit and talk to our wedding party and each other. Everyone has been raving about this “wonderful chicken parmesan” (which was part of our Italian buffet) at the Metropolis, but I was too afraid to do marinara sauce in my dress! Other than that, I couldn’t imagine changing a single thing.

What did you include in your wedding that is significant or unique to you as a couple?

We were fortunate to have our close friend, Paul, do the music for the ceremony and the reception – so the music was all hand picked by us. Another unique and significant part for us was raising money for the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society in honor of those who couldn’t be with us to celebrate. Rather than clinking glasses to get us to kiss at dinner, guests were asked to make a donation of any amount to get us to kiss. It meant a lot to us to be able to donate that money in their memory.


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