Our wedding

Meet Jana and Marco Hilj. The Hiljes were married in September 2008, following a proposal in Venice, Italy, and a 12-month engagement.

Meet Jana and Marco Hilj. The Hiljes were married in September 2008, following a proposal in Venice, Italy, and a 12-month engagement. We asked Jana to tell us about their special day — and the planning it took to pull it off without a hitch.

Q: How did Marco propose?
Marco and I, together with our families, took a 10-day trip to Italy. Both of his parents were born there and have relatives there. Toward the end of the trip, we went to Venice for the day. For part of the day, we were shopping and sightseeing. We visited a lace shop where they make lace by hand. Ironically, my mom bought me a handmade hankerchief with my initial “J.” She knew that someday I would get married and she wanted me to have it for when I walked down the aisle. Little did she know that Marco would propose to me later that day. Marco was able to pull my dad away without anybody noticing while we were shopping and asked him for his permission to marry me. My dad said, “Welcome to the family!” Marco took me on a gondola ride (just the two of us) and asked me to marry him. And yes, he did get down on his knee on the gondola. Once the gondolier realized what was happening, he started singing. It was the most perfect moment! By that time, the word had spread and everyone was waiting to greet us at the end of the ride.

Q: What was the hardest part about planning your wedding?
The hardest part of planning the wedding was juggling it with work. Shortly after getting engaged, I started a new job and had to focus on that. The new job isn’t close to my house, so it was hard to make appointments and meet with vendors during normal business hours. I was constantly receiving calls and e-mails during the day and had to really focus on keeping the wedding and work separate. Luckily, Marco works from home and was able to help out a lot!

Q: What was the easiest part about planning your wedding?
The easiest part of the wedding was planning the details for the reception. Luckily, my mom and I have the same tastes and we both had an idea of what we wanted the hall to look like. We met Michelle from the French Market boutique in Massillon during a routine shopping trip. We started talking to her about the wedding and what we were looking for. She was totally on the same page as us and the results were beautiful! Also, for favors, Marco’s mom contacted a family member that lives right outside of Venice and ordered handmade Venetian masks. Everything seemed to fall into place!

Q: Tell us about your wedding day.
My wedding day was definitely a day I will never forget! The women started at Moda Spa in Belden Village for hair and makeup. From there, we went to the Women’s Club in Massillon, which is a historical home just a couple of blocks from the church. We had a quick lunch, got dressed and took some pictures with my family and bridesmaids. The wedding was at St. Mary’s Church in Massillon. My parents and grandparents were all married there. I will never forget the moment when my dad and I were alone in the back of the church, the doors opened and I saw Marco’s face at the end of the extremely long aisle at St. Mary’s. I felt so proud to be walking down the aisle with my dad — and proud that I was going to be marrying Marco! Our reception was at Todaro’s in Cuyahoga Falls. It was breathtaking! After dinner, we started dancing and I don’t think we stopped all night. It was an absolute blast!