As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And that’s exactly what Johnny Szydlowski did to finally get his wife Meghan to go out with him for the first time.
Johnny, 33, used to work at a steel mill in Indiana with Meghan’s mother and brother, and the two were introduced seven years ago when Johnny and her brother were going skydiving.
He was taken by her pretty brown hair and pretty face, and, with encouragement from her mom, reached out repeatedly to no avail.
Her interest wasn’t piqued by an invite to a wedding in Miami, or to a party at a castle in Chicago.
But Johnny’s persistence paid off when finally Meghan agreed to meet up with him in early 2012.
They had their first date just before St. Patrick’s Day that year, and four months later, they were engaged. Talk about making up for lost time.
“I knew from the very first night that I hung out with him that that was it,” Meghan, 28, said. “I’ve never felt that way about anybody.”
The feeling was mutual. “Usually you let it simmer for a couple of days, but it was immediate,” Johnny said. “After the first week we didn’t spend any time apart.”
The speedy proposal came in early August, a couple of months after they’d moved in together.
Johnny had planned on staging an elaborate proposal, until Meghan revealed she’d like something more intimate.
One day she came home to find Johnny at the piano, where he played and sang Aaron Lewis’s “Tangled Up In You.”
Meghan was so unaware of what was coming that she continued about her usual evening routine until Johnny forced her to come sit on the couch and listen to his serenade.
It was the first time he’d ever played piano and sung at the same time. "I finished the song, I got down on knee, and asked her,” Johnny said.
But the proposal wasn’t without drama. “I started to get dizzy because I was so nervous. So I sat on the coffee table, and she gave me a big hug, and then the table broke.”
After that minor hiccup, the planning for the big day began. Meghan and Johnny were helped by a number of extremely crafty family members who helped them create their romantic, rustic wedding.
“I’m a very contemporary, very modern person,” Meghan admitted. “But for some reason I pictured in my head having a wedding that’s very vintage and Do It Yourself. “
The DIY aspect of her vision came to life in the most stunning ways.
The 160 invitations were all handmade in the shape of two barn doors that opened up to reveal the details of the day.
An aunt of the groom created 500 handmade flowers that were placed all around the wedding, and she also assembled and frosted pre-made cakes to create a three-tiered masterpiece that looked straight off your favorite Pinterest board.
And the father of Meghan’s sister-in-law created two spectacular, freestanding barn doors to mimic the invitations, which the wedding party walked through to get down the aisle.
Meghan and Johnny were married on April 13, 2013, under a sycamore tree outside the historic barn at Coffee Creek Ridge in Shelbyville, Indiana.
The ceremony was performed by Pastor John Caldwell, who has known the bride since childhood, and the couple exchanged traditional vows, having already exchanged personal vows in private before the ceremony.
That private moment was the highlight of the day for Meghan. “We exchanged them before because we would both be a mess," she said. "It was the best part of the day.”
After the emotional ceremony, it was time to party in the barn.
The bride put on a casual button-down shirt and tied it over her white lace dress to go along with the rustic theme, and the couple and their 200 guests danced and chowed down on some good old-fashioned barbeque and comfort food.
“It was probably the best wedding I’ve ever been to,” Johnny said of his special day.
And Meghan wishes they could do it all over again.
"I feel like I want to redo it because it went way too fast!”
The happy couple is expecting a baby boy any minute now, and they can’t wait for their family of two to become three.
Johnny reiterated the importance of being patient when it comes to love.
“I waited a long time to get married. I thought, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth waiting for. It took me a while to find the right person, and once I found her, I married her.”