Laura Simola, the Associate Art Director at InStyle magazine, and Holden Babcock, Operations Manager at Parcel, first met during freshman year at Endicott College. “Laura had a boyfriend at the time but with a little hard work she eventually made the right decision and ended up with me,” says Holden. Their romance officially kicked off during a ski trip in Stratton Mountain, Vermont, and the two remained together throughout their college years. Shortly after graduating, the couple moved to New York City together and rescued a baby kitten named Ziggy.
Ten years later, it was during another trip to Stratton, this time with Laura’s family, that Holden was planning on proposing to Laura on her favorite ski trail. “I made my own signs by hand out of wood that replicated ski trail signs with the engraving, Laura will you marry me?” he explains. “I feel like it all happened with seconds,” Laura says of their engagement. “I remember spotting Holden and couldn’t believe he skied so quickly ahead of us; I slowly moved towards him and began noticing Holden’s skis were off, then saw my name on a red sign against a tree trunk and thought ‘how strange.’ As I got closer, with my family and Holden suspiciously staring at me, I read the full sign next to Holden: Laura, will you marry me? I couldn’t believe this moment was finally happening.” Holden got down on one knee and proposed with a ring that once belonged to his great-great grandmother. “I have never been so surprised in my life!” she says. “I also couldn’t believe my four-year-old nephew didn’t spoil the surprise.”
The couple looked for venues in both of their hometowns and ended up choosing Andalusia estate in Philadelphia. “When we visited Andalusia for the first time, we instantly knew it was where we wanted to have our reception,” Laura says. “We immediately fell in love with their lush gardens, rich history, and beautiful views of the Delaware River.” The couple set the date for June 23—“after choosing the date, we found out it’s the same date my parents met 42 years ago,” says Laura. “I got chills when I heard!”—and started working on the planning themselves, with help from the Andalusia estate head and their florist, Sullivan Owen.
“I never thought I’d purchase my wedding dress at a sample sale, but on a whim I decided to check out Naeem Khan’s one weekend in New York,” Laura says. “I was by myself and locked eyes with this dress that seemed to capture everything I was looking for in a dress; classic but bohemian, strapless with floral appliqués throughout. I tried it on and it fit like a glove.” After a quick confirmation via FaceTime with her mom, Laura was sold and even added a pair of oversized Ranjana Khan floral earrings to go with it. She finished off her look with Stuart Weitzman NearlyNude heels and borrowed her mother’s wedding veil. “My mom also gifted me a handkerchief that she hand-stitched with my new initials and wedding date,” she adds.
Her beauty look was the work of Diana DuHaime, founder of ONLO Beauty. “I envisioned my overall look to be ethereal and chic,” she says. “She gave me dewy skin, rosy cheeks, and a bohemian braided crown that I loved.”
As for the groom, he and his groomsmen were in matching navy suits from Suit Supply. Holden also wore Belgian shoes in brown suede, a brown leather belt with a Tiffany & co. engraved buckle, handmade gold cufflinks given to him by his late grandmother, and a light blue nuts and bolts tie from Hermès. “I have a passion for cars and woodworking,” he explains.
The day of the ceremony, friends and family gathered at Laura’s hometown church, Our Mother of Consolation, in Chestnut Hill, PA. “Walking down the aisle with my dad was something I had looked forward to since I was a little girl,” she says. “I was extremely nervous before my entrance, but one glance at my dad, and seeing his smile, instantly made me at ease.” Holden was equally anxious, as well. “Since we decided not to do a first look, I had no idea what her dress looked like,” she says. “I was in shock when I saw her to the point where I almost fainted! The maid of honor told me to breathe as Laura was walking down the aisle.”
The ensuing reception kicked off with a cocktail hour on the front porch of Andalusia with a pianist and sax player performing classic jazz, and appetizers by Catering by Design on offer. Inside a large tent, dinner and dancing followed, with toasts by Laura’s father, the maid of honor, and the best man. “Walking into our tent felt like a dream. Seeing all of our hard work throughout the past year come to life was breathtaking,” Laura says. “There was dancing throughout the meal and well into the night,” Holden adds. “The Atomic Funk Project Band from Brooklyn, NY was truly a highlight for us; guests couldn’t stop raving about how amazing they were.”
For Laura, one of her favorite moments in the evening came when they performed their first dance together as husband and wife to Big & Rich’s “Lost In This Moment.” “Holden is a huge country music fan and this song has held so much meaning to us since the beginning of our first year of dating,” she explains. As for Holden’s highlights of the evening? “Taking photos with my wife,” he adds. “It was wonderful just having a moment alone together during such an eventful day.” But perhaps the sweetest detail of their wedding day was Holden’s custom ski trail signs with which he proposed hanging by the entrance of tent. “It was touching to have it be a part of our big day,” Laura says. “As a reminder and full circle moment.”