Kristen + Justin by Poema Studios

Kristen teases me because I said “I Love You” after like a week of talking again. But I genuinely knew she was the one I’d like to spend the rest of my life with after just a few weeks or months. That beautiful girl I knew in high school grew up to be the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
(K+J): We’ve known each other for over 20 years and would describe ourselves as adventurous, spontaneous and passionate. We try to experience all we can and learn as many things as possible. We have many hobbies and interests, and our experiences – together and individually – are endless. Kristen worked for years in Marketing Technology, but recently left the corporate world to follow a new dream. She has taken things she loves – embroidery, crafts, personalized gifts – and turned it into a business. Her other interests include basket weaving, holistic health, crystals, dancing and personal development. She has also practiced Kung Fu since she was 14, becoming an instructor at her school. Justin works in sales in the gaming industry and enjoys working with different people and overcoming new challenges every day. He also enjoys sports, fishing, off-roading, fashion, collectibles and investing. Together, we share a love for travel and just about anything in nature. We’ve travelled to numerous countries and go camping as frequently as we can – in the sun, rain or snow. We love spending time with our friends and family, and enjoy hosting at our home. That love carried over to our wedding, where we had the most memorable experience with our loved ones.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?
(J): We first met in high school in 2001. I was a senior and noticed Kristen around campus. She had the brightest, biggest smile and was always laughing with her friends. I thought she was a happy, fun person that I wanted to get to know. So, working as an office aide, I schemed to get her out of class to ask for her number. We had a great connection, but our first relationship was cut short because I was leaving town for college in a few months. We kept in contact, and had another short relationship a few years later. I always remembered how easy it was to talk to Kristen, even after years of being out of contact.

(K) My first impression of Justin was that he was cool and confident, really cute, and I couldn’t believe a senior was asking for my number! I knew he was popular and active at school, dancing at rallies and events. We talked on the phone, a lot, and Justin took me home from school almost every day. I also learned that he was really smart and studious, and made sure I did my homework as well. He took me on my first date, ever, and an NSYNC concert!

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
(J): Kristen never had any hard feelings about how things turned out in our early years. Later in life, I came to realize that her kindness, forgiveness and consideration were qualities for someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I contacted Kristen on Facebook in 2013, hoping to spark things up one last time.

Kristen teases me because I said “I Love You” after like a week of talking again. But I genuinely knew she was the one I’d like to spend the rest of my life with after just a few weeks or months. That beautiful girl I knew in high school grew up to be the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

(K): When we started talking again in 2013, I had all-new first impressions about Justin. He was more mature, confident and had different charisma than I’d known before. Our chemistry was off the charts from the first time we saw each other. Even though we already knew each other for 12 years, we are still getting to know each other as adults, and it was a wonderful time. We had a long distance relationship for a year and a half, and I eventually moved to Vegas so that our relationship could grow. We had our ups and downs, but got closer and developed a deep relationship through experience and hardship. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him when I saw how good he is with my family. They look at Justin as a member of the family, and that means the world to me.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
(K): Justin proposed to me in March 2019 in the backyard of our Las Vegas home. I kinda knew it was coming because Justin was so nervous and fidgety trying to get the ring out of his pocket. He also struggled thinking about which knee to go down on and which hand to put the ring on. I could barely make out anything he was saying because he was so emotional. I faintly heard, “will you marry me???” through tears. It was the perfect, imperfect moment, and totally sums up our crazy journey together! We celebrated that night with shots and Taco Bell!

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…
(K+J): We envisioned a romantic, magical, outdoor wedding where our guests could feel the love we have for one another. We wanted it to feel like a fun disco dance party under the stars – something like a swanky lounge with a big band. We wanted a romantic dinner with tons of candlelight and beautiful table settings. We chose the venue based on our love for nature and the outdoors, but we also wanted a luxurious, cozy and fun environment. We were big on flowers and colors that would compliment the gorgeous venue. We love dancing so another part of our vision was to create custom line dances and have everyone do them at the wedding together. We recorded tutorial videos for 5 dances to some of our favorite songs and had all of our guests learn them. We even held tutorial sessions with groups when we saw them. At the wedding, the music and dancing turned out better than we could have imagined. We could’ve filled two dance floors with the people we had doing the line dances. Needless to say, throwing a crazy, fun and wild party was a big part of the mood that we wanted to achieve.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?
(K): I forgot my veil back home in Vegas, and didn’t realize it was missing until midnight the night before the wedding. Luckily, several close friends were ready to help so one of our groomsmen drove 3 hours in the middle of the night to pick up a veil from a friend. We will be forever grateful to our loved ones for coming to our rescue and taking care of it so willingly.

(J): Kristen recently started an embroidery business, so instead of using traditional place cards, she decided to embroider personalized dinner napkins with each guest’s name. There were different color napkins and thread combinations for our three different table looks – and with the seating chart and table layouts changing until just days before the wedding,

Kristen was embroidering, washing, ironing, organizing and folding frantically – all the way until the night before leaving for our hotel. I wasn’t much help, but I did as much as I could and Kristen pushed through and was able to get them all done! It ended up being one of the most memorable and unique elements of our wedding, and our guests loved them. Many have sent us pictures of them using their napkins at home and that makes all that effort worth it!

Ceremony + Reception Location: Botanica, @botanicathevenue / Photographer + Videographer: Poema Studios, @poemastudios / Celebrant: @mikeheezy / Entertainment: Revel Entertainment, @revelenter / Styling + Planner: Fawn Events, @fawnevents.laura / Flora: Joy of Bloom, @joyofbloomflorals / Cake: Peggy Liao Cake, @peggyliaocake / Personalized Embroidered Napkins: The Gatherers Gift Shop, @thegatherersgiftshop / Bride’s Ceremony + Reception Dress: La Soie Bridal, @lasoiebridal / Bride’s Second Dress: Amanda Uprichard, @amandauprichard / Groom’s Attire: Stitched, @stitchedlife / Bride’s Ring: Lang Antiques, @langantiques / Groom’s Ring: Cartier, @cartier / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka, @badgleymischka / Groom’s Shoes: Santoni, @santoniofficial / Groom + Groomsmen’s Lapel Pins & Pocket Squares: Otaa, @otaa.brothers; Bounkit, @bountkitnyc / Watch: Rolex, @rolex / Makeup + Hair: Patrick Santa Ana, @patricksantaana / Fragrance: Maison Francis Kurkdjian, @maisonfranciskurkdjian; Le Labo Fragrances, @lelabofragrances