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To Have & to HOLDEN

A Backyard Wedding with Madeleine and Brian

Real Couples

To Have and to Holden is our series where we interview real couples about their romance, weddings, and whatever else comes up along the way. Enjoy!

Madeleine and Brian met through mutual friends. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, they decided to take the opportunity to say "I do" early in a small family ceremony (with friends tuning in on Zoom!). Brian wore our Triangle Profile and Madeleine our Curved Half Eternity Profile. Madeleine shared their story with us.

How did you two meet and start dating?

We had mutual friends. We started talking on Instagram before we met face to face. (Brian is from London and I am from California). Brian came and visited me in California a few months into talking on Instagram. We continued a long distance relationship, visiting each other back and forth. It was really cool to be able to explore different countries and places together.

Madeleine and Brian for Holden

How did you get engaged?

We got engaged in Big Sur, California. Brian took me to Big Sur, and we explored some forests and took some film photographs. We then drove around to little turnouts along the road and just watched the view from our car as it rained. He then took me to the Sierra Mar restaurant - it was pretty much empty, as we got there as soon as it opened for dinner. He took me to the back balcony that overlooked the ocean. It was raining and foggy so it wasn't much of a view, and he kept looking for shelter to get out of the rain and couldn’t find any. He then said, “Whatever, I’m just going to do it.” Then he proposed to me. It was rainy and stormy - but it was really memorable. We then went back into the restaurant sopping wet and enjoyed a meal by the fireplace.

Madeleine and Brian for Holden

Tell us a bit about your wedding day - we saw there was a Zoom component!

Our wedding day was small. We had it on June 14th, in San Luis Obispo, California. We were not planning on getting married this year. We were planning for next spring. But when COVID-19 hit, it changed everything. I had plans to visit Europe in March, but travel bans were starting to be issued, so I had to cancel. Brian then hopped on the plane and came to see me before everything shut down. His return flight for early May was cancelled, so we decided it would be best to go ahead and get married than to risk him trying to fly back home and not knowing when I would next see him.

Our wedding was around 20 people - all family, except the 3 mutual friends we met through. My brother and sister were the only ones in the wedding party. We rented an Airbnb for a few nights, and a few family members stayed the night with me before the big day. We had a morning wedding and then brunch. We did use Zoom for our wedding. There were 100 people tuned in. There were supposed to be more, but because of some issues with our account, the Zoom capped out at 100 participants, which was a bummer. Other than that, it went really smoothly. I was more calm than ever, because I know everyone who was there were people that loved us. Also, since it was so last minute, we had lots of friends step up to help us on our wedding day. The flowers, photography, cakes, and my makeup were done by family and friends. It was really amazing seeing how supportive and giving everyone was. Also, since wedding dress shops were closed, I wore a white bridesmaid's dress that I had worn from being in a previous wedding. I added a crown and belt that I bought from Etsy.

Madeleine and Brian for Holden

What’s a moment from your wedding day that you’ll remember forever?

How at peace I was. I have always been anxious about my wedding day because of how many people would have attended, but because it was mostly close family, I felt safe and calm. Having the support of my family was really amazing - Brian and I felt so much love.

Madeleine and Brian for Holden

Do you have any advice for a couple planning a wedding that has been impacted by COVID-19?

Keep it simple and have people there that you love. It is hard keeping it limited, but it will be for the best. Also, have someone there to photograph - it will make it feel more like a wedding. Last piece of advice, just do it. I know a lot of couples waiting and waiting until things get better to have a “normal” wedding, but we wouldn't go back. Even though the circumstances were not perfect, we were still surrounded by the people we loved, and that's all that mattered.

Madeleine and Brian for Holden

What was important to you when choosing a ring? What made you choose Holden?

Brian and I both were looking for a ring that was vintage-styled and also modern. We also wanted something that was personal. He had my engagement ring made in London. He picked out the diamond and had a friend of his, a goldsmith, make the ring. The inside of my ring is engraved “plus qu’hier, moins que demain,” which comes from a French poem that means “I love you more than yesterday, but less than tomorrow”. It is a poem that is special to us.

I had been browsing rings for Brian for a while, but I hadn’t found one that stood out to me. I kept finding bands that were too artsy or too plain. That's when I came across Holden. I saw a wedding band on Instagram and decided to look at the site. That’s how I found out you could customize the bands. I found one that was a knife edge style (like my engagement ring), so it caught my eye. I bought it in yellow gold and had it engraved “+qu’heir -que demain” to match mine. I bought it in early April (before planning on getting married in June) and did not expect to get it any time soon since Holden was shut down due to COVID-19. But it was a pleasant surprise when the ring showed up in late May. By then we were planning the small wedding. We decided to look at Holden again to find a wedding ring for me. We both loved the Curved Eternity Ring - it gave a modern flair to my vintage-style engagement ring. It fit perfectly with my engagement ring. My two rings and Brian's wedding ring all look like they belong together - and that's all we really wanted.

Madeleine and Brian for Holden

What does love mean to you?

Love means someplace safe. Love is someone you can go to with anything without fear of judgment. Love feels like a home that has been warmed by a fireplace. I didn’t know what real love was until I met Brian. And we are both happy to have found each other.

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Photos courtesy of: Sydnee D Studio