Engaged: Colby Previti and John Celmer
It will be a winter wonderland wedding (with hints of Ravens purple!) for this fun-loving couple who like to laugh together and spend time with their adorable Chihuahua (who actually played a role in engagement story).
Engaged: John Celmer and Colby Previti. (Chad Heller / April 22, 2012)
Her story: Colby Previti, 26, grew up in Bowley's Quarters and now lives in Middle River. She is a freelance model and make-up artist. Her father, Vincent Previti, is a retired firefighter. Her mother, Kimberly Previti, is a licensed personal trainer and hair stylist.
His story: John Celmer, 28, grew up in Dundalk and now lives in Middle River. He is a representative for Forest Pharmaceuticals. His father, Robert Celmer, is a retired Bethlehem Steel mill wright. His mother, the late Linda Celmer, was a real estate agent.
Their story: They met May 15, 2006 at The Horse You Came In On.
"I had a shoot that day in Bethesda and really didn't want to go out that night," says Colby. "But, my girlfriends [convinced me]. John happened to be there. I saw him and thought he was attractive, but he was with another girl, so I didn't say anything. I went up to the bar to get a drink and saw him checking me out in the mirror. He stopped me and tried making conversation. I wasn't really into it. I said to him, 'Why are you talking to me? Aren't you with your girlfriend?' " Colby says.
"I was checking her out," says John. "Then I walked up to her, talking to her and wanted to find out if the guy she was with was her boyfriend. And she was trying to find out if the girl I was with was my girlfriend."
It turned out, neither one was. So numbers were exchanged, and they went out to lunch within the next couple of days.
"We really hit it off," she says. "He worked right near where I lived. He had grown up in the same area. We're both really big into family — very close to our families. Everything pretty much clicked."
They continued dating.
"About two or three months later, we went to this club downtown that isn't there anymore — Have a Nice Day Café," Colby says. "We were sitting on a bench swing in the back. He grabbed my hand and said, 'I think I love you.' And I said it back."
The relationship continued to grow, and the couple bought a house together in 2010. Then came the next milestone.
"John was going away for work a lot," says Colby. "I was here by myself. I'm an animal person. I grew up with animals. I wanted something here with me when he was away. I found out John is allergic to cats. And he didn't want a big dog. I — being the girly girl that I am — wanted a cute little dog I could carry around as an accessory, and dress up in clothes. So, I asked John about getting a smaller dog. He wasn't too keen on the idea."
"I grew up with dogs," he says. "I thought they were a big responsibility and that we should wait. But, she had other plans."
"He didn't say no, but he didn't yes," says Colby. "So, I knew if I bought him this adorable little dog, he wouldn't be able to say no. So, I went with a friend to a breeder to see these little Chihuahuas. They were about 7 weeks old and were about a pound and half [each] — so tiny, so adorable. The breeder had two left. One was white with some brown spots, and the other was a dark chocolate color with some caramel in the coloring. As soon as I opened the cage, the little brown one came running out at me, wagging her tail. The other one was a little more reserved. John and I are really outgoing, so I knew that the brown dog was for us.
"I didn't really tell John," she says. "But, I bought the dog. I went to PetSmart and bought all sorts of cute stuff for her. I brought her home. I had her little newborn puppy dress on, pink with white polka dots, with a pink fluffy bed. And you can't forget the rhinestone collar. I had her behind my back. He was on the couch watching TV and said, 'What are you hiding?' As soon as I pulled her out, the expression on his face was priceless. He didn't know whether to be mad or excited. But, as soon as he held her, he fell in love with her."
"With her being dressed up and all, it was a little over the top," John admits. "But, she was very tiny and very lovable."
"Zsa Zsa's been with us for almost two years now," Colby says. "And I will tell you that she's daddy's little girl. Her wardrobe is almost as big as mine. She actually weighs about 5 pounds now. She's our little guard dog."
The acquisition of Zsa Zsa is a good example of something Colby loves about John.
"He puts up with me," she says, laughing. "When you do modeling people expect you to be prim and proper. And I'm not like that. I like to have fun...I'm a really outgoing person. I'm a goofball. I'll act out a skit from Saturday Night Live or bust out in a Broadway song. John laughs. He's used to me. He likes me just the way I am. John would just give you the shirt off his back. He's the biggest family person I know. His dad is his best friend. He is a really good person with a really big heart. He's very respectful, too."
It's clear John gets a kick out of Colby, and treasures her.
"With Colby, there's never a dull moment," he says. "She's unique and very spontaneous. She likes to have a good time. It's never boring with her around...She's very funny. She has a big personality. I like to have fun, too. But, she's a little bit more outgoing than me when it comes to singing and acting...I enjoy being around her doing that kind of stuff. I'm more the logical one...She has a good heart. She's very sweet. She's very close with her family and the people she cares about, [like] her friends. She comes from a good family. She's smart. I think she complements me very well and vice versa."
The proposal, Christmas Day, 2011: "We'd been together for five years. And of course, like any other girl, I was getting antsy," says Colby. "Every holiday that came around, I was suspecting something. Every holiday would go by and nothing would happen. I was starting to get a little irritated. Then, I just decided to let up a little on him."
"I wanted to surprise her but I knew that was going to be hard because she asks a million questions about everything," John says. "On Christmas, our families get together for a big party and I thought that would be a good time when she could show everyone the ring."
"I wanted to get John something really nice [for Christmas]," she says. "His dream had always been to fly an airplane. We live right near Martin State Airport. So, I went down there and purchased a one-day learn-to-fly experience. I was really excited to give that to him. I had a little wooden airplane made with a poem on it about it, [among other presents I was giving him]. [Christmas morning], he opened it and choked up. Then, he gave me my gifts. There were three gift bags.
"I open up the first," she says. "It's a Victoria's Secret sweatshirt. Okay. That was nice. Moving on. In the second was another Victoria's Secret sweatshirt. So, I'm thinking there's got to be something good in the last one. I open the last one. There was a Yankee candle. I was a little disappointed. I gave him this flying lesson and got a candle and two sweatshirts. So, I thought maybe there was something good in the stocking. So, I said, 'Let's go do stockings.' And as soon as I said that, his face just dropped. And he said, 'Oh, I didn't know we were doing stockings this year.' I was so mad. Here I was — I'd given him these amazing gifts and his and Zsa Zsa's stockings are overflowing on the fireplace, and there's mine lying there lifeless. And we've always done stockings. I was very angry. Being a brat, I stormed upstairs and slammed the bedroom door. Then I kind of laid in bed, moping around. He came in, asking me what was wrong. I didn't really want to talk. Zsa Zsa's jumping on the bed, I'm just pushing her away. I'm not looking at her. My head's in the pillow. He said, 'I think you might want to open this last gift from Zsa Zsa. But, I kept pushing her away. I'm aggravated. But, I finally turn to pick her up and there's this huge ring dangling from her collar."
"Finally, she looked," John says. "She didn't see the ring at first, so I had to move Zsa Zsa around. I don't even remember what I said, but I got down on one knee and that was it."
"The ring's gorgeous," she says. "He did an amazing job. It's a beautiful 4 carat flower shaped diamond ring from Reed's Jewelers."
The wedding: Because it's Colby's favorite season — and they got engaged then — the couple is planning a winter wedding for 250.
"We both have large families and wanted to make sure we included everyone we could," says John. He admits he's left most of the planning in his fiancée's hands, knowing that she would have stronger opinions on how she wanted everything.
His other priorities were simple.
"A good venue, good music, good food and open bar," he says with a laugh.
Colby did a lot of research for the wedding online.
"If you're a bride on a budget, that is really the way to go. We have so many guests and that in itself was such a big splurge," she explains.
Etsy.com got quite a workout.
"My save-the-date [cards] came from there," she says. "It was set up like a movie poster. [There was a picture of John, myself and Zsa Zsa, with me pulling her on the leash and pulling his tie."
The wedding invitations are being done by the same designer. The graphics followed a movie poster's style, albeit with a little Swarovski crystal embellishment.
Although both of them are Catholic, neither belongs to a specific church. They wanted some place that would have a special feel to it and chose St. Patrick Church of Havre de Grace for the evening ceremony.
The maid-of-honor and her 8 bridesmaids will all wear long black satin dresses, all from JC Bridal.
"I wanted each of my girls to pick out a dress that was different, but fit [her] personality," She says. "Some have a ruffle. One has a flower by the neck."
She is wearing a Simone Carvalli wedding gown from Chevy Chase Bridal.
"It's very different; a form fitting mermaid with a ruffle halter top," she says.
Both her shoes and bouquet are being custom-made by designers Colby found on etsy.com.
"They'll be white with Swarovski crystal that has hints of purple in it...John's obsessed with the Ravens and purple is my favorite color," she says.
"I'm definitely a Ravens fan," says John. "She's trying to make me happy with the Ravens tie-in. So, I'll pretend it's for the Ravens."
"I'm also not going to carry a flower bouquet," Colby says. "I'm having a brooch bouquet made on Etsy. They're made of vintage brooches. They're awesome. You can tell the designer about you and she'll try to put things in there that reflect your personality."
Her bridal party will probably carry smaller bouquets of silk flowers and brooches, and will probably have some sort of purple hair accent.
The two flower girls — his 2-year-old niece and her 7-year-old niece — are being outfitted by etsy.com in tutu-style dresses in different shades of purple, with matching flower headbands.
Chris's best man and 8 groomsmen will wear tuxedos.
"The guys are going to have some sort of purple detail. We're not sure yet, maybe a vest," she says.
"I wanted Zsa Zsa in the wedding, maybe having a flower girl pull her in a cart," says Colby. "But, John wasn't crazy about that idea. So, sadly Zsa Zsa will not be attending."
The reception will be held following the ceremony at Top of the Bay at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
"It's beautiful and overlooks the water," says Colby.
The reception begins with the red carpet, in keeping with the movie poster theme of the save-the-dates.
"There's a company — Baltimore's Best Events — that will bring the red carpet and the backdrop," she says. "People [arrive] and get their pictures taken on the red carpet."
Even if Zsa Zsa isn't there, the pooch will be there in spirit...or, more appropriately, spirits. The cocktail hour will feature a signature purple cocktail named after her, made of blue curacao and cranberry juice. Guests will also enjoy passed hot hors d'ouvres and cold hors d'oeuvre displays. Catering is provided by the venue.
The banquet room will have some uplighting, with a little blue and purple shimmer to give it that wintery feel. Tables will be covered with deep purple tablecloths and set with black napkins and purple jeweled napkin rings — also from etsy.com.
Colby is making the centerpieces herself — courtesy save-on-crafts.com.
"I'm not doing flowers," she says. "I don't really like traditional stuff. So, I'm making crystal trees. I ordered these white manzanita [branch] trees and I am draping them in purple and pearlescent crystals. The trees are in little white pots." The trees will sit on mirrored squares, along with purple votive candles. Fireplaces around the room will be going, with a variety of pictures of the couple and family scattered on the mantels.
Dinner features a split plate of filet mignon and chicken Chesapeake. Colby says the cake is a surprise.
Dance Masters is supplying the deejay.
"They also act as the emcee. They're really good at getting personal details that they can impart to the audience," she says.
Their love of family is evident in what Colby and John are choosing to do as wedding favors.
"John's mom passed away from lung cancer three years ago," she says. "So, in lieu of favors we're making a donation to a charity [that funds research to fight cancer]. People will get little notes saying that."
"My mom probably had the biggest heart of anyone I've ever met," John says. "She would go out of her way to help anyone. I think that's something she would be happy about."
The honeymoon: Colby and John don't know yet where they'll go.
"We're still working on it. But, we started a honey fund, where instead of giving you a gift, guests can donate to your honeymoon," she says. That fund is one of many things listed on the couple's wedding website http://www.johncolby.ourwedding.com