Check out this wedding in the January 2020 Issue of 5280
Q&A with the bride and groom, Missy Franklin and Hays Johnson:
How did you meet?
Hayes and I actually met when I was 15 and he was 20. We were at Golden Goggles, which is kind of like the Oscars for swimming. It's this big event every year where we get all dressed up and it's a big award show that rotates between New York and L.A. It was my first big one and Hayes was there. That summer at the meet I had done a dance for the team for a rookie skit, so everyone knew that I loved to dance. Once we got to Golden Goggles, the people that knew Hayes and knew me separately came up to me and said "hey, there's this guy over there. His name is Hayes. He loves to dance and is so good. You should challenge him to a dance off." So at 15 I stroll up to this guy and was like, "Hi, I'm Missy. Nice to meet you. I challenge you to a dance off." And he was like, "who is this chic?" But then we became friends and that was it for the next couple years. We saw each other every few months at meets and the last time we saw each other was at trials in 2012. After that we didn't talk for 5 years. Then he reached out after Rio in 2017--that spring--because he knew Rio had been really, really hard for me. He reached to know how I was doing and if I was okay. 2 weeks later we had flights booked to go see each other. The rest is history.
Tell us a little bit about your wedding (your vision, color, style, and location choices).
For our wedding, we really wanted to stay classic and elegant. That was very important for us, especially because candle light had such a huge part of our proposal. We both really wanted it to be part of [the wedding] and we both love it. I really wanted it to be candle light centered and we wanted to keep the colors ivories, whites, greenery, and gold--Really just that classic elegance.
Something [else] that was really important to us was being in Colorado. We wanted an outdoor ceremony--that was something that we thought would just be so beautiful. We also wanted our reception in the same place as our ceremony, just for convenience for our guests. We came across Columbine Country Club and they had a beautiful ceremony set up on their golf course and a gorgeous ballroom and reception area in place, where we could put a big clear tent to fit all of our guests. That ended up being the perfect place for us. They did the most incredible job; the food was phenomenal, the staff was amazing. It was something that really embraced Colorado--which was really important for us--but that it was also really easy and convenient for our guests to get to.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Hayes really wanted to stick to a classic tux. We went with white suspenders and a white bow tie for him, which I absolutely loved. I wore an Ines Di Santo mermaid gown with lace and a Sara Gabriel veil. It was so funny because the two styles of dress I absolutely did not want [to wear] were ballgown and mermaid. Ff course, we walk in and-- it was actually my planner, Heather Allen, that picked out the dress--I put it on and just immediately fell in love. I didn't [originally] want a mermaid [because] I wanted to be able to dance. As you now know, we're both huge
dancers so I was like, "Well, I guess I'm just going to have to get a dancing dress now." We went to a little boutique in Downtown Denver called Mariel's. Denise Snyder, the owner--I've gone to her a million times before--had the most amazing flapper, sequin, white dancing dress that I got. I also got my rehearsal dinner dress from her. It was absolutely perfect. It was so fun to dance in, the pictures turned out incredible. It was so fun being able to dance and not worry about anything.
What was most important to the two of you while planing? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
What was most important to us while we were planning was we wanted our guests to have the best time. We are so blessed and so grateful with the people we have in our lives. We know it takes a lot to come to a wedding-- you're talking about flights and hotel rooms and people are having to leave work early and maybe leaving kids at home. It really is just a big a sacrifice for people to come. We're just so grateful for it, so we wanted to give them the best experience. Throughout our entire planning process, our wedding was really focused on the people attending it. We wanted the food to be amazing, we wanted the band to be incredible so that they could really have the time of their lives.
In terms of splurging or skipping, we didn't do a cake. We did donuts instead--from Glazed and Confused-- and I think we got more compliments on the donuts than anything else. But we always do donut Sunday, so that was something that was very special to us as a couple because we (obviously) love them. Kind of skipping out on the cake and going for a bunch of different varieties and flavors of donuts--people loved that.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Honestly, Heather Allen was a godsend. My advice would be wedding planners are more than worth it. We could not have done this without Heather. She put together the perfect day for us. Not only that but everything on the day ran so smoothly. So whether you need a full time planner or whether you just need a day of planner, I cannot recommend it enough. Having Heather the entirety of the planning process just made all the difference in the world.
From a personal standpoint, the best piece of advice that we got and that we did that made all the difference in the world for us, was--especially during your reception--never leave each other's side. It is so easy to have so many different people and you're getting pulled one way or the other. You want to say hi to someone and someone's grabbing you and it's so easy to get pulled apart, then look back and be like "oh my gosh, I didn't even spend my wedding with my husband." We literally did not stop holding hands, I mean the entire night. There are some pictures that are so funny where, even if we are talking to different people, we still have our arms fully outstretched and reaching--fully holding onto the other person. We wanted to be together the whole night. As we went along we saw what people were talking about and how easy it is to get pulled. We did the best job of literally staying hip by hip, side by side the entire night so we truly felt like we experienced every moment of our wedding together.