Today’s Marriage Monday interview comes from a business-lady whom I’ve long admired. Emily Ley‘s planners, stationery and gifts are all over my social media feeds, and rightly so with thousands of fans of her beautifully functional products all over the world.
I feel a kinship with Emily that might come from our geographical common ground, but I think the sunshiny, positive designs she creates are a big part of that too. To see her work is to know her joyful spirit, and I’m so excited to share she and her husband Bryan’s words of advice and experience with marriage.
Tell me about how you met and how you felt about each other that first day. What eventually happened that made you each believe you would get married some day?
Emily: When I was sixteen, I got my very first job as a hostess at a restaurant in Pensacola. On my first day, I met a super cute, frat boy who drove a red Jeep. I remember thinking he was so funny with a really quick wit. I liked that because he kept me on my toes! I was dating someone else at the time (got engaged, actually) and so was he. Nothing came of it until we were both single a few years later and a mutual friend arranged an impromptu little meet up at a local spot. I remember being so excited putting makeup on and getting ready to leave to meet up with him. For the years that we were acquaintances, I always referred to him as “Bryan Ley,” never just Bryan. And he’d always been “that guy” that I’d always kept my eye on. Somehow the stars aligned and the rest is history.
Bryan: I remember Emily starting at Darryl as a hostess where I had been bar tending my way through college. She was younger than I was and — at that time — 3 years is a big difference. Our actual connection came eight years later when the wife of a college buddy (who happened to know Emily very well) set up the meeting knowing we already knew each other. Long story short…we stayed up and talked the whole night about everything and anything. That began a long-distance relationship. I just remember feeling lucky. She was everything I was looking for. Our relationship moved pretty quick, but I knew I couldn’t let her out of my sights. She was the one.
Tell me the things that mattered most to you about your wedding day.
Emily: We wanted our wedding to feel like a party (without the pomp and circumstance that can sometimes accompany a large wedding). We wanted a big celebration of a big kind of love in our favorite place with our favorite people. It had a jazzy feel, New Orleans-style. Our colors were black, white, ivory and gold with splashes of fuchsia and green brought in with our flowers. Flowers didn’t matter much to me, but they were actually a highlight of our day. Our reception included a crawfish boil, hot beignets and cafe au lait at midnight. It was joyful, vibrant and full. I’d do it all over again the same way we did it in a heartbeat.
Bryan: I just wanted her to say yes so we could hurry up and get to Jamaica. It was more important for me to know that she was having the day she had always dreamed of more than anything We both really enjoyed getting friends and family together to celebrate.
Planning a wedding can be stressful. It’s expensive. Your feelings all become so elevated about the event, and before you realize it’s happened, your relationship and the actual marriage can get put on the back burner almost like a reward for getting through the enormous party. How can a wedding become less about planning a party and more about the new family that’s beginning?
Emily: You know… when I think back on this season of life, I’m so grateful that we knew immediately that the other was “the one.” We didn’t waste any time. We dated long distance for eight months, were engaged for eight months and then married in October, 2008. It was the perfect pace. I kept envisioning us telling our story to our children one day and knew the story I wanted to tell – that our wedding was full of love, full of joy and a memory that EVERYONE cherished – not just me (the bride!) and not just us (the couple!) We didn’t take two hours to take family portraits between the ceremony and reception. We didn’t have a long, drawn out seated dinner. Instead, we made purposeful decisions around the celebration we wanted it to be. THAT is who our family is. We also wove really special details in throughout the day. My favorite special detail was my gift to Bryan. During our time at the restaurant we met at, he would give me the silly toys kids accidentally left on his tables. One of them was an Ernie car (from Sesame Street). He laughed in his flirty way and told me it was a gift for me. I told him he was crazy and pretended to lose it. I actually saved it and gave it to him wrapped in a note before the ceremony. We still have it.
Bryan: Emily, up until our engagement, had been planning and organizing events on a pretty large scale as part of her career. The stress and heightened emotions only exist because this one day is one of the most important days of your entire life. My best advice would be to hire a wedding planner and take lots of photos.
How are you involved in each other’s career goals?
Emily: Very. I can honestly say I more than likely would have never started my business without his love, support and encouragement. Bryan works for a large commercial insurance agency in Florida and love his job as well. We’re lucky to have careers we both love.
Bryan: This is a big part of our marriage. Our lives away from work are a big part of our day and who we are. Specific to Emily’s company, I find myself living vicariously through Emily. I think the life of an entrepreneur is one to be admired. I enjoy the part I play as her cheerleader.
What advice would you each give to a newlywed?
Emily: Easy. Marry your best friend.
Bryan: Enjoy your time together. Do things. Take trips. See the world. In the very near future you will have a 4 year old and newborn twins…and you won’t have time for any of those things!
Thank you so much, Emily and Bryan! We’ll see you sweet readers here next week for another Marriage Monday interview!