Each week, we feature a couple from our latest issue.
The proposal of Mike Marsden to Courtney (Wade) Marsden was like no other. While the Northeast Ohio residents were vacationing at Put-in-Bay, he hid a glass bottle near the water’s edge while Courtney wasn't looking.
“When I first saw the bottle, I figured it was trash,” Courtney says. “But then Mike called me over to it and said, ‘Look what I found!’ ”
The bottle had the words “Open Me!” on the outside, but Courtney didn’t want to do so, thinking it was part of someone's treasure hunt. Little did she know just how correct she was. Mike insisted, so Courtney opened it.
“Inside was a beautiful, handwritten letter,” Courtney says. “When I finished reading, I turned around and he was on one knee. I obviously said ‘Yes!’ ”
The couple dated for seven years before that moment. They met at Hudson High School, and their relationship withstood a transition to long distance during their studies at colleges four hours apart.
In July 2017, the couple was married by Courtney’s sister, in a room at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Africa Event Center that was entirely decorated by their families. It rained all day, necessitating a change from the planned outdoor ceremony, but a beautiful sunset over the Heart of Africa exhibit’s savannah delighted all the guests.
Courtney and Mike also had the unique opportunity to hold baby snow leopards, a penguin and a kangaroo, and even to feed the giraffes, during their cocktail hour.
Wedding date: July 7, 2017
Wedding colors: Navy, coral and gray
Attendants: Four bridesmaids, four groomsmen, one flower girl and two ring bearers
Bride wore: A Demetrios gown and veil, shoes bought at Kohl’s and accessories bought at Dillard’s
Hair and makeup: Styles for the Aisle
Groom wore: Suit from The Black Tux
Rings: Ashcroft & Oak
Bridesmaids wore: Gowns from Etsy
Groomsmen wore: Suits from The Black Tux
Rehearsal dinner: Local Roots
Ceremony: Africa Event Center at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Reception: Africa Event Center
Cake: Capital City Cakes
Florist: Petals & Leaves
Photographer: Brett Loves Elle Photography
Photo booth: Brett Loves Elle Photography
Videographer: Brett Loves Elle Photography
Reception tunes: Buckeye Entertainment
First dance: “At Last,” by Beyoncé
Guest favors: Seed paper shaped like zoo animals
Registries: Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond
Guests stayed at: Cloverleaf Suites
Honeymoon: Montego Bay, Jamaica