Real Columbus Wedding: Emily and Matthew Kvalheim

A bittersweet day full of love and support

Emma Frankart Henterly
Columbus Monthly
Emily and Matthew Kvalheim married on Oct. 23, 2021, at Swan Lake Event Center.

Oct. 23, 2021 | Though they call different states “home,” Emily (Means) and Matthew Kvalheim were brought together by a fateful Tinder swipe in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Both students at University of Michigan, Emily, who’s from southwest Michigan, was finishing her undergrad degree; Matthew, who’s from Westerville, was working toward his Ph.D. Their first date included a Mediterranean dinner, then drinks at a speakeasy. For their second date, less than 24 hours later, they watched the U of M vs. Michigan State game together “and have been inseparable since,” Emily says. 

Though they now live in Philadelphia, the couple chose to marry in Central Ohio for its proximity to family members throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest areas, “and there are more vendor options than southwest Michigan and northern Indiana,” Emily says. “We did most planning via email, FaceTime and Zoom! We were grateful to have Angela [Rango-Patterson] from Red Letter Day Events to guide us through planning, since there were few things we were able to accomplish in person.” 

Unfortunately, the wedding day itself had a bittersweet note: Emily’s father died after a hard-fought battle with lung cancer just three days before the event. “He had been in the hospital in Michigan for over a week, and after visiting him the week before the wedding I had come to the reality that he would not be able to attend/we would have to FaceTime him in,” she says. “When he passed, I knew I wanted to have pieces of him there with me throughout the day as a reminder of his presence and to honor him.” 

To accomplish that, she incorporated items he had made—a redwood jewelry box and a stained glass wishing well—into the day, and she placed his jacket and boutonniere on a chair reserved for his memory at the ceremony, which included a moment of silence in his honor. There was a lighthearted tribute, too: the playing of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” during the reception. 

The newlyweds ended the evening with a private last dance to "Two for the Road" by Henry Mancini. “Matthew vetoed this for our first dance because he said it is a little too sleepy,” Emily says, “but it was perfect for our private last dance on the patio with the fire going, lights strung and touch of rain falling down. … It was really magical.” 


Ceremony and reception: Swan Lake Event Center 

Caterer and desserts: Creative Cuisine 

Cake: Short North Piece of Cake 

Planner: Red Letter Day Events 

Florist:Stem Floral Studio 

Rentals: Got Ya Covered Linens 

Music: Night Music DJ 

Photographer: Chris Bowman Photography 

Videographer: Kodjoarts Videography 

Photo booth: The Foto Bar, and SouthpawandCo on Etsy 

Signage:Lovely Arrows Designs 

Guest book:After the Tone 

Neon sign:LightsByLightkeeper on Etsy 

Accommodations: AC Hotel Columbus Dublin 

Rehearsal dinner: Fadó Pub & Kitchen 

Bride’s attire: Chosen by Kyha gown from Bridal Beginning (Pittsburgh), veil from Amazon, Loeffler Randall heels from Saks Fifth Avenue, earrings from Lolita’s Pearls 

Bride’s hair and makeup: Goode Beauty and Makeover by Elizabeth 

Groom’s attire: Calvin Klein tuxedo from Men’s Wearhouse 

Rings: Bride’s set from Lauren B (New York City), groom’s band from Hitched (Philadelphia) 

Bridesmaids’ attire: Jenny Yoo and Revelry gowns 

Flower girl’s attire: Dress from David’s Bridal 

Groomsmen’s attire: Tuxedos from Men’s Wearhouse