Michele often jokes about how she met her husband in prison. She was working as a psychologist and he was a correctional counselor when they met at work (yes, it was a prison).
Forrest began to express an interest in Michele’s work (admittedly, he mostly wanted an excuse to talk to his crush), but Michele wasn’t keen to start up anything with her co-worker—especially because she had already formed an opinion of him, and it wasn’t a good one. “Even Forrest will tell you I initially thought he was a jerk,” Michele says.
A friend encouraged her to at least try one date, which obviously went quite well. After that Michele’s opinion changed pretty quickly and she fell for his smile, intelligence, humor and thoughtfulness.
To celebrate Forrest’s birthday, they reserved an old Airstream on top of a mountain, and one night after they’d enjoyed a homemade pasta dinner while watching the sunset and drinking beer and wine Forrest got down on one knee and proposed. “We took a selfie overlooking the mountains with the remaining sunlight we had, no makeup, messy hair, hoodie and all (and of course-ring finger included). We refer to that picture as the ‘authentic picture’ since we took much cuter pictures the next day, but that will always be the original ‘authentic’ picture after we got engaged,” Michele says fondly.
The most challenging part of planning was finding the right venue. They knew they wanted an outdoor wedding, but of course wanted to avoid the rain. Eventually they found the Forest House Lodge, and while they enjoyed the weekend road trips touring potential venues, Michele recalls the relief of booking the venue as being one of their best wedding-planning moments.
Before long the big day arrived, and despite the deceptively sunny start to the day, Michele recalls feeling a couple of dreaded sprinkles during the ceremony. It really started to pour as the couple was taking their newlywed photos, but with a clear umbrella and their talented photographer, P.J. from Fits and Stops Photography, they made the best of the situation and got some incredibly romantic and epic shots.
The couple wrote their own vows, and the wedding was small and full of family. Forrest’s brother acted as officiant, Michele’s mother had a moment to pray for their marriage, and their nieces and nephews all had special roles to play, including walking the couple’s beloved French bulldogs down the aisle.
“The setting, the view, the intimacy of our spot was unforgettable. I remember fighting back tears trying to read my vows. It was like time stood still. It was so beautiful,” Forrest says.
Another (regrettably) unforgettable part of their wedding day was the fact that Forrest ended up with the flu. “During dinner at the reception, we had to run up to the room he was feeling so ill,” Michele says. “After about 10 minutes of rest, he got up, put his vest back on and made his way back down to the reception. I was shocked and so incredibly thankful that he made it through the reception feeling so sick for one simple reason: me.”
The happy couple are looking forward to doing more traveling together before starting their own family and are enjoying day-to-day life with their partner (rain or shine, in sickness and in health).
Michele & Forrest's Wedding Resources
Lisbon Portugal, Grezillac France (countryside near Bordeaux), and the Amalfi Coast in Italy
“God Gave Me You” by Elise Lieberth feat. Jeff Hendrick
“I Loved Her First” by Heartland
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
One layer Marble (vanilla and chocolate marble cake, with two layers of chocolate mousse, and one layer of vanilla custard) and the other two layers were an olive oil cake. We chose the design based on a previous cake she had done that we loved and felt like fit the venue.
Roses, amaranthus, protea, dahlia, craspedia
DIY wine glass cups with our own personal logo/wine label (our last name, location and year). We ordered the wine bottles and cut them ourselves. Forrest spent many hours sanding them. My dad and I designed the logo we got printed, and voila!
• All of our vendors were amazing, but we can’t say enough about Fits & Stops photography. We are in love with our pictures. They are absolutely stunning. PJ and Erica were also very flexible. We were running late thanks to me and they remained calm and we still got in some great shots around the town next to the lodge before the ceremony (I wanted some variety and industrial shots). After the ceremony, they were quick to adjust to the rain and those pictures are breathtaking. Since Forrest and I did a first look prior to the wedding, I elected to also do a first look with my dad, and he did not see me until right before he drove me to the ceremony site.
• Forest House made everything so easy and their ceremony site is breathtaking. Everything else was a bonus, especially their inclusive package and game room. Everyone also raved about the food. We chose margaritas for a signature drink because our May 5th wedding of course. The bridal suite is amazing compared to so many venues we looked at. It made getting ready with my family and friends that much more enjoyable.
• The DJ was very entertaining.
• We chose questions for people to have to answer correctly to be dismissed from their table to get food (buffet style).
• Everyone complimented my make-up. It was just what I wanted.
• My family and family friends did such an amazing job with flowers. I can’t imagine them looking any better! The bouquets, flowers on the French doors, our head table, everywhere—they all looked picture perfect.
Don’t procrastinate! Enjoy the process and don’t let yourself stress over it (easier said than done I know). No matter what problems may arise, it will still be such a magical day and one of the best in your lives. Remember there is no such thing as a flawless wedding and you will be able to look back and laugh at the unexpected “flaws” that end up making your special day even more memorable. Also, take as many vitamins, Emergency, Zicam, etc. that you can possibly consume! Nothing is worse than being sick on your wedding day (just ask Forrest).
I procrastinated on the details and things that did not excite me as much. I mean, who enjoys working on seating charts? All that did was left me stressed the closer the wedding came. I would have started earlier on planning for sure!