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Steeple proposal leads to black and white blowout Michigan wedding

by Marisa Kabas /  / Updated 
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Today

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Facebook might be the place where you share photos and keep tabs on old friends, but for Greg and Emily Peper, it’s the place where their love story began.

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The pair, introduced through Emily’s brother-in-law (Greg’s first cousin), were originally supposed to meet at his wedding back in 2010. But Greg wasn’t able to get away from his coaching staff duties at Ohio State University, and it would be another two years before he’d meet his future wife.

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After incessant prodding by his cousin, Greg finally reached out to Emily via Facebook, and they exchanged messages for a little while before meeting.

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“I was very nervous the first time we met, and was kind of quiet and reserved," Greg, 26, told TODAY.com. "But after a few times I got to know her and opened up more. And the rest is history.”

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Emily was drawn to the fact that they had similar upbringings, morals and goals: “We both work a lot. We both have the same work ethic and drive to do something more than what we’re currently doing. We both have goals.”

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Emily and Greg hail from southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio, respectively, but when they began dating Greg was finishing his master's degree at OSU and their relationship was long distance for 6 months.

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Greg was eventually able to move back to his hometown, Napoleon, Ohio, just 40 minutes from Emily, and that’s when things took off.

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They purchased a former church in Ottawa Lakes, Michigan in 2013, and began remodeling it into a home. And that’s where, on scaffolding around the steeple, Greg proposed.

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“We both just knew we were right for each other. I didn’t hesitate at all,” Emily, 24, told TODAY.com. “I’m not an emotional person and i just started bawling.”

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Emily and Greg are both extremely close with their families, so naturally the families, particularly Emily’s mother, were very involved in the planning process. “ My mom is obsessed with planning parties,” Emily said. “She’s amazing at it, so I gave her the reins.”

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The couple was married on September 6 at Light of Christ Parish, Emily’s childhood church, by Father Jack. They exchanged traditional vows and had a full mass before a packed house, while their friend Katie performed songs like “Amazing Grace” and the new version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” made popular by a priest on YouTube.

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“The highlight was finally getting to see her walk down the aisle in her dress,” Greg said.

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Emily fondly remembers “that moment when you’re walking up, and you just know this is completely right.”

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The reception was held at Centennial Terrace, which Emily describes as an “old outdoor dance hall/concert venue.” It was also the site of her grandparents' first date.

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Three tents were erected to ease Greg’s fear of a weather-related fiasco, and 410 of their closest friends and family joined them in the black and white-themed space to celebrate, while a 15-piece swing big band played in the background.

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“The whole thing was awesome. I literally could not have asked for anything better,” Emily said. “Nothing went wrong.”

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Greg added: “It was a big wedding, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

All photos provided by Gage Blake Photography in Toledo, Ohio. Check out more TODAY real weddings here.

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