As an offensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, Taylor Decker is officially listed as six feet and seven inches tall, so it’s not hard to imagine him making an impression as he easily strolled through a crowded bar during his final year at The Ohio State University. Bryn Toyama, on the other hand, is a petite five foot one and struggled to make her way through while trying to celebrate her birthday. She and her close friend, both recent transfer students, were likely the only people in the room who didn’t recognize Taylor and his teammates celebrating their win earlier in the day.
“Bryn was, to put it poetically, using some colorful language because she didn’t have as easy of a time navigating through everyone to the bar,” he laughs. “I jumped at the opportunity and asked her what she would like to drink.” They talked for hours, learning about each other’s families, and Bryn was surprised to learn that Taylor – an animal science major – worked closely with the Columbus Zoo and had several pictures with baby leopards, penguins, and more. “That’s probably what got me right there!” she admits of the moment that had her smitten.
They met only a few months before Taylor was set to start his professional football career, so they spent as much time together as possible before he left for NFL Combine training in Arizona. “We went from seeing each other almost daily to once a month for some time if we were lucky,” he remembers. Through multiple football seasons and moves, their relationship only grew stronger. Unable to sneak a visit to his sweetheart’s hometown without arousing suspicion, he called her parents to ask for their blessing over the phone. Once the engagement ring was ready, it was scheduled to be delivered the same day Bryn left for a trip to visit friends, so he rushed her out of the house so she wouldn’t see it arrive. Upon her arrival back home, she found Taylor on one knee surrounded by flower petals and vases full of roses while music played. “It was honestly so much to walk into having no idea [what was happening], that I didn’t even see the ring box or hear him ask me to marry him!” Bryn exclaims. Once the moment registered, she of course said yes.
As the couple lives in Michigan during football season and Arizona the rest of the year, deciding on a location for their wedding wasn’t easy. Both of their families are from Ohio, but different ends of the state. Columbus was chosen as it conveniently split the difference between their hometowns and was the city where they first met. From there, finding a ceremony and reception site was simple. “Our state capitol building was the only venue I would be married in,” confirms the bride.
For a special touch, the team chaplain for the Detroit Lions officiated the ceremony, which was held in a rotunda with checkered floors and beautiful murals. “The room is a soft shade of pink and is framed by four hallways with old stone staircases,” Bryn illustrates. “We wanted to accentuate the beauty and glamour of the room with florals and not create too many distractions by doing too much.” A wall of blush and ivory blooms with greenery served as a lovely backdrop for the vow exchange.
Once the duo was pronounced husband and wife, 200 attendees enjoyed cocktail hour before moving to the reception space. “I wanted the look of our wedding to be glamorous, but more importantly, timeless,” shares the bride. Florals in soft hues that complemented the venue were paired with a verdant mixture to create an organic and natural feel. Some of the round tables featured large blooming arrangements held aloft by crystal vases, while others had box-shaped centerpieces covered in blossoms. Rectangular tables showcased hanging structures draped in flowers and suspended tea lights.
Following a surf-and-turf plated dinner, the newlyweds and their friends and family took to the dance floor. Having a live band was important to the groom, and the group delivered the entertainment he was hoping for. “As with the whole wedding, the performance made for a fun environment while keeping that classy vibe we were going for,” Taylor confirms. When the night came to a close, he realized that everyone who told him the big day would go by quickly was absolutely right. “I wish I could do it all again.”