Alyssa Manning, 26, Airline Captain, Marietta OH
Matt Hillhouse, 33, Air Traffic Controller, North Canton OH
When I was working as a Flight Instructor and Skydiving Pilot in Columbus, OH, and Matt was an Air Traffic Controller there, he first introduced himself to me over the radios during a demonstration jump during which I was dropping skydivers into an event. Aviation is a very small world, and we were no exception. Matt was training to earn his pilot’s license with one of my colleagues at the flight school, and he had heard that I was the “female jump pilot” at our local dropzone. Our dropzone operated every weekend and some weeknights from late March until early November, so we were a very familiar operation to the Air Traffic facility that controlled our airspace – namely, the one where Matt worked. So on the day of the demo jump, Matt happened to be working the airspace, and I happened to be the pilot. He asked if “this was Alyssa?” to which I responded, “yes… who is this?” He told me his name was Matt, and that he was training at our flight school, and I told him it was nice to meet him.
Not long after, Matt’s instructor asked me to assist in his flight training, and I officially met him. We kept in touch occasionally (but professionally) in the coming months, until, once again over the radios, I told Matt I would be going to the airlines. A text conversation followed our latest radio correspondence, and we agreed that when I finished training in several months, we would grab a celebratory drink. That afternoon finally came on a Sunday in April, when neither of us knew if it was actually a date, and neither of us asked, so we invited everyone we could think of to join us in the Short North. To this day, that night is an incredibly fond memory for both of us. We hit it off, and Matt and I went on our first official date the very next night. The rest, as they say, is history.
Matt can seem stoic and quiet upon first meeting him, and so I assumed he was indifferent to me. Being passionate about aviation, and never having met a Columbus Air Traffic Controller, I was interviewing him about their operations during his flight lesson, and he was responding succinctly. I came to find out that he was being concise predominantly because he was focusing on flying the airplane – as he should be!
When we started dating, Matt had already applied for and been accepted at a different Air Traffic facility – Potomac, in the Washington, DC area. This necessitated a serious conversation early on to discuss our expectations of the relationship and of each other. We found that our values and goals aligned, and our future plans already included each other. I knew immediately that I would go to DC with him, if he asked, and anywhere after. I knew that I loved Matt, because he was already home to me.
Our wedding style was industrial romantic. We built on the style of the building – red brick and white marble – with soft white lighting, greenery, and black iron industrial accents.
Our wedding theme was definitely “celebration.” The whole idea behind our wedding was that we wanted to commemorate our special day with our friends and family, as authentically and as extensively as we could. We had a short ceremony, and a long reception, with an abundance of dancing, laughter, drinking, and love.
Our colors were charcoal grey and burgundy with blush accents. The groom and groomsmen wore charcoal grey suits from The Black Tux; Matt wore a champagne and ivory linen tie, and the boys wore burgundy ties and burgundy and grey argyle socks. The bridesmaids wore burgundy dresses; I told them to choose whatever dress they wanted from anywhere they wanted, so long as it was long and in the burgundy color scheme. My dress was ivory lace over soft blush with pewter accents, and I wore blush suede Jimmy Choos. My favorite touches were my “Something Old,” “Something New,” and “Something Borrowed” – my mom’s veil, my pearl necklace, and my grandma’s locket which was pinned to my bouquet. In it, I had a picture of my grandma on my mom’s side, who couldn’t make it to the wedding, and my grandma on my dad’s side, who passed away almost two years ago.
Our favorite decor features were in the ceremony space where we had a drape backdrop with twinkle lights behind the bridal party, and a black iron arbor with an ivory chiffon drape and a greenery garland behind the officiant, Matt, and myself. In the reception space, we re-purposed the arbor behind our sweetheart table, with the ivory chiffon drape, and a “Hillhouse” monogram behind our heads.
My personal favorite decor aspects were the bouquets. I cannot emphasize enough how in love I was with the florist’s work on these. I only had one wedding detail I have dreamed about for years, and that was my bouquet. Deven at Village Flower Basket perfectly made my vision a reality. I wanted a cascading bouquet with dark burgundy/black calla lilies, and lots of greenery. She incorporated my new favorite floral piece (thanks to her!) the cafe au lait dahlia, to brighten the moodiness of the bouquet, and the result was exquisite. I also wanted nosegays, or mini-bouquets, for the moms, rather than the traditional corsages, and VFB also did these flawlessly. They complemented the ladies’ bouquets, but with their own unique additions – namely, lamb’s ear, which was gorgeous. We re-purposeds the bridesmaid bouquets as floral centerpieces for our head tables, and my bouquet as the floral accent piece for our sweetheart table.
We also had a unique table arrangement in the reception space. As aforementioned, we had a sweetheart table, on either side of which was each head table. It was important to us that we seated the bridal party with their significant others during our reception, so none of them would feel isolated. These tables each had burgundy linens and ivory napkins, as well as the accent tables (cake table, cookie tables, etc.) in contrast to the guest tables, which all had ivory linens and burgundy napkins. We had a variety of guest tables – some long rectangular tables, and some circular. The long tables had garland centerpieces from end to end, and the table numbers were lanterns with twinkle lights. Floating candles in pillar vases and votives were placed along its length. The circular tables had the same floating candles in pillar vases with votives, scattered greenery, and table numbers that were our framed engagement photos. We incorporated lots of candles to add softer light for a more romantic touch.
We designed the wedding and accomplished the majority of the planning ourselves, but our favorite part was actually working with our amazing team to solidify the details in the final month. We worked with Michelle with Michelle Joy Photography, Josh with Josh Staley Productions, Kate with Aisle & Co., and Destiny with our venue, Station 67, and it was so fulfilling to have all the choices we had made and the design aspects fit together to perfectly form our vision. Our team was attentive, ambitious, responsive, and more than happy to take the initiative and exceed our expectations to have our day go smoothly.
We did not do a first look, mostly because we wanted the authenticity that would come with seeing one another at the altar, and we’re happy that we did it that way. We were, however, willing to have a first look if it was necessary due to the weather or our picture list seemed unreasonable, so we were definitely flexible with it..
Ceremony & Reception Venues: Station 67
Stationery: Unica Forma
Photographer: Michelle Joy Photography
Florist: Village Flower Basket
Gown: Elegance by Roya Bridal – Old Town Alexandria, VA
Hair & Makeup: Le Reve Makeup & Hair
Veil: Vintage – it was my mom’s!
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Engagement & Wedding Rings: Ashby Jewelers – Manassas, VA
Jewelry: Pearls: Baker & Baker – Marietta, OH
Bridesmaid Dresses: They picked their own dresses in shades of burgundy.
Menswear: The Black Tux
Rentals: Party Pleasers
Catering: Simply Delicious
Desserts: Cake: Short North Piece of Cake / Cookies: Family, friends, and Oakmont Bakery – Oakmont, PA;
Music/DJ: Josh at Josh Staley Productions
Guest Count: 128
Unica Forma was the very first contact I made for the wedding – literally within 2 weeks of getting engaged – and she responded promptly. I was determined to use a local Columbus vendor for our stationery, as I had always imagined it be custom and unique. Our stationery comprised the first design choices we made, and Jordin did a fantastic job capturing my vision for our wedding suite in a way that established our wedding style – simple, elegant, and romantic.
Interested in creating your custom wedding stationery with us for a natural themed wedding like this? I would love to hear more about your story! We can work together to dream up the perfect paper for your big day! Just fill out our questionnaire and I will be in touch!