Names and current city of residence:
Matt & Emma Henterly, from Columbus, Ohio
How long have you been married?
Five years this May (May 9, 2015)
What did you enjoy most about being engaged?
For me, it was all the possibilities that planning opened up. I’m very Type A and a huge organizational nerd, so I really loved putting together a binder and spreadsheets. (The Engagement Journal would have been very helpful back then!)
What event do you remember best from your engagement? Any particular moments or events that stick in your memory?
Telling everyone that we were finally engaged was really exciting—we had dated for about five years before deciding it was time to take the plunge. The joyous reactions from our family and friends were so heartwarming, and it really made us excited to celebrate with them on the big day.
When you were engaged, what were you most looking forward to on the wedding day/weekend?
The party! I used to be terrified of public speaking, so the ceremony itself—when everyone I knew would hear me recite my hand-written vows—was really nerve-wracking. We were both just looking forward to celebrating our love with our family and friends.
What traditions did you carry through to your wedding, or what traditions did you start yourselves?
I asked both of my parents to escort me down the aisle, which two of my sisters also did at their weddings later on. My cousins and another one of my sisters all incorporated a belt from our great-grandmother’s wedding dress into their wedding days as their something old and/or something borrowed, and I followed suit by wrapping it around my bouquet. Matt and I also did most of the reception traditions—parent/child dances, garter and bouquet tosses, smashing cake into each others’ faces.
Describe one or two memories or individual moments that you remember most from your wedding celebration.
One that stands out the most for me was the moments right before the wedding. I was so nervous—not to get married, but to speak in front of 200 people! I was shaking like a leaf and feeling a bit light-headed. It was swelteringly hot that day, and our venue’s AC couldn’t keep up. I was a wreck. My bridesmaids all walked down the aisle and they shut the door. I told my parents to wait, I wasn’t ready yet, I needed a minute to calm down. Luckily for me, they didn’t listen—they opened the doors and gently pushed me through them. I remember thinking that I would faint … and then I saw Matt, and the fog around my head lifted. Suddenly, I knew everything would be OK, because he was waiting for me at the end of the aisle. (And for the record, I didn’t faint!)
What is one way you made your wedding “your own”?
Personalizing our big day was a huge priority for us. We wrote the entire ceremony ourselves, as well as our vows, and asked Matt’s sister’s husband to officiate. All of our siblings were involved in some way—my sisters were bridesmaids, my brothers were ushers, my two youngest siblings read a cute children’s poem (they were 9 and 11 at the time), and Matt’s sister did a reading as well.
We also were very intentional about all of our music selections, ensuring that they really reflected our tastes and personalities. Matt’s favorite band of all time is the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so our first dance was to “Hard to Concentrate” from the Stadium Arcadium album. I was dancing with Feverhead at the time, so a friend from the group choreographed our dance for us. It surprised people, especially because Matt usually doesn’t like being the center of attention. There was a dramatic flourish and dip at one point, and one of my sisters got so excited she actually screamed! It was hilarious.
What is one thing you learned about one other during your marriage thus far?
How to anticipate what the other person needs and deliver it. I’m an extrovert and he’s an introvert, so social outings affect us very differently, as do quiet nights at home. I know that when he comes home from a busy day at work (he’s very client-facing), he needs time to decompress and maybe to vent. And he knows that when I’m feeling anxious or antsy, I need to let out all that extra energy through an activity of some sort.
“Anticipate what the other person needs and deliver it.”
What is one piece of advice for currently engaged couples?
Take time during your engagement to actually just enjoy being engaged. It’s such a special time of your life and relationship, and you truly won’t have a period quite like it. Go on date nights where you don’t talk about wedding logistics at all—though certainly feel free to talk about how excited you are to be married ☺ Also, know that you might have some fights during your engagement, and that’s OK. We had an epic blowout over how to address an invitation to his uncle, of all things. At the time it was horrible, but now it’s pretty funny. Tensions run high when you’re planning the biggest party of your life, and arguments are to be expected. Just make sure you kiss and makeup after!
“It’s such a special time of your life and relationship, and you truly won’t have a period quite like it.”
Anything else you’d like to share about your story?
I’ve been in the wedding industry for a decade now. With a few years’ experience under my belt in the early 20-teens, I thought planning my own wedding would be a breeze. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong!) Looking back, there certainly are things about the wedding that I would do differently if I were planning it today, especially with all the knowledge I’ve gained as editor of Columbus Weddings magazine. But I still cherish every crazy moment of our wedding day and the months leading up to it, because they’re ours.