Though Audrey Wheeler and Gregory Hopkins attended the same university, it wasn’t until after college that they were introduced at an Ohio State football game. “Gregory actually asked me on our first date within five minutes of meeting me!” smiles Audrey. Three years later, he proposed in front of one of their favorite restaurants. “He secretively had both of our parents and a photographer watching across the street; however, the surprises didn’t end there,” she adds, as their friends and family were inside waiting to celebrate. “It was so special and the perfect night surrounded by everyone we love.” 

Audrey and Gregory didn’t plan to have a 33-month engagement, but Covid forced the couple to postpone their October 2020 nuptials to August 2021 since they didn’t want to host an intimate wedding. “I am from a large Greek family who all mostly live in Columbus, and Gregory is from an even larger Irish family… so it was all or nothing when it came to the guest list,” confirms the bride of their nearly 300-person celebration. 

A weekend full of events culminated with the couple’s ceremony at a stunning cathedral boasting white marble, gilded accents, and stained-glass windows. “I wanted to keep our ceremony décor very classic and timeless,” describes Audrey of the design. She was radiant in a sleek V-neck gown and carried a bouquet of miniature white calla lilies – just like her mother had at her own wedding. “We had waited over 1,000 days to actually get married,” says Gregory. “It was an amazing feeling seeing Audrey walk down the aisle knowing that our planning had ended and our marriage was officially beginning.” 

The ceremony incorporated customary Greek Orthodox traditions, including the blessing of the rings, sharing wine from the common cup, and wearing stefana, the marital crowns worn during The Crowning and removed following the Dance of Isaiah and the priest’s blessing. A string quartet performed classical covers of the pair’s favorite songs, including “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel for the wedding party’s processional, “Latch” by Sam Smith for Audrey’s walk down the aisle, and “Clarity” by Zedd featuring Foxes for the newlyweds’ recessional. 

Next, loved ones made their way to the state capitol building for the long-awaited celebration. “I wanted our reception to really be cohesive with the Ohio Statehouse’s architecture since it is so gorgeous,” affirms Audrey. Though the floral design for their original fall wedding incorporated darker hues, the new summer wedding date allowed them to brighten everything up with a color palette of ivory, green, peach, apricot, and mauve. To keep the space feeling warm and intimate, candlelight was emitted from an array of candelabras and votives. 

The stunning venue was decorated with tables strewn with ivory linens surrounded by translucent oval-backed chairs and decorated with various floral arrangements. “When we had our room reveal, my jaw quite literally dropped, and I started crying… It was more gorgeous than I could have ever imagined,” expresses the bride. “Heather [Thomas of HeatherLily] absolutely knocked it out of the park!” Centerpieces showcased blooms such as delphiniums, dahlias, ranunculuses, Bells of Ireland, lisianthus blossoms, stock, roses, and hydrangeas, as well as verdure from smilax to seeded eucalyptus. 

“Walking into that room with all our friends and family was the most energy I have felt in my entire life, and if I could relive it over and over again, I would!”

In addition to the heartfelt wedding toasts given by the couple’s nearest and dearest, Audrey notes her most memorable moment of the day as when she and Gregory had a moment alone before being announced as husband and wife. “It was just the two of us for the first time in hours, and it really was so peaceful and incredible to just stand there hugging my new husband,” she remembers. “Walking into that room with all our friends and family was the most energy I have felt in my entire life, and if I could relive it over and over again, I would!” 

Following the sit-down dinner, guests enjoyed slices of a towering wedding confection featuring a modern, elegant design of ivory fondant and sugar flowers by Deborah Li, who won the custom cake competition on an episode of Netflix’s Sugar Rush. With their hearts full and palates satiated, attendees made their way to a tent for dancing all night long to the sounds of a 15-piece band and a Greek group. “Both bands brought a ton of energy and were instrumental in making the reception such an exciting night in the middle of the city,” shares the groom. “It was a perfect weekend.”

This real wedding was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

To order a copy of the Summer 2022 issue, visit our library of Inside Weddings back issues available for purchase.

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