Though she was shy and worried about having all eyes on her, all of Holly Jabara's nerves vanished as soon as she saw her groom, Joey Raper, when she began walking down the aisle in her stunning gown with a V-notch neckline and ruffled skirt. "That beautiful setting coupled with all of our guests made it seem so surreal," shares Joey. The bride also ranks the moment as her favorite of the day. "I will never forget Joey's tearful expression," she reminisces. While the planning took place in a mere six months, the couple's love story started over six years earlier.
The summer before starting college, Joey and Holly happened to meet and discover they would both be starting at the University of Kansas later that fall. "Joey gave me a ride home and we felt instantly connected," Holly says of meeting her groom. They were together from that moment, through college and beyond, and on their five-year anniversary Joey recreated the couple's first meeting.
Utilizing the land that fills the golf course where the Jabara family lives, the soon-to-be groom built a small bonfire. Holly and Joey shared a romantic evening filled with nostalgia as they reflected on the growth of their relationship before Joey proposed. "It was very intimate and will forever be in our memories [as] one of the greatest nights of our relationship," reveals Holly.
Though the couple was engaged for 14 months, the planning process took place in a mere six months due to the couple's move to Chicago for Joey's new job. Holly is the first to admit that they did not initially realize how many details go into planning a wedding. “We originally wanted a destination wedding,” the bride explains, but they quickly discovered that long-distance planning was not for them and decided to stay local.
“[We] felt pretty overwhelmed about the planning process,” Holly says. Luckily, someone was about to come to the couple’s rescue. “[Hope Weis] was a huge help and the entire reason we were able to plan a beautiful wedding in just six months!” gushes the bride. Desiring a soft, romantic theme with fairy-tale vibes, Holly and Joey selected a color palette of gold, the palest of pinks, and ivory to achieve the dreamy look of their big day.
For the ceremony venue, Holly and Joey were on the hunt for a Catholic church, in honor of the groom’s faith. They were lucky enough to “stumble across the St. James Chapel one day and instantly fell in love with the beautiful architecture and stained-glass windows,” shares the bride.
For the reception, they chose a luxury hotel in Chicago. “We loved the French décor of the ballroom,” explains Holly. “We had also heard really wonderful things about the food, which were all true!” For dinner, the couple sat down with the chef to create a customized menu, deciding on a three-course meal with the choice of filet mignon or sea bass.
With the wedding complete, the newlyweds were off to honeymoon in the Caribbean, followed by a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. “Holly is a huge Harry Potter fan,” Joey explains, smiling. Though the bride and groom do wish they had spent more time planning the wedding and enjoying the journey, Holly is pleased to say, “Everything went smoothly on the big day and we were thrilled to finally start our lives together.”