Some of our favorite moments from the wedding reception were simply standing together as a newly married couple, looking out over the field and watching people we love, both kids and adults, talking, laughing, and playing. We loved having so many people that we love (many that we don’t get to see often) together with us, celebrating and supporting us in entering into this next phase of our lives together. We felt an overall sense of joy and celebration, which was what we wanted! It was important to us that our guests could sense our personalities in the details of the wedding and we feel like that was accomplished. The wedding was in such a beautiful venue that we were able to keep the decorations pretty simple and open up the field to play in. Our flowers were incredible. They were centered around protea (the uniquely beautiful national flower of South Africa – where Steph used to live) and other brightly colored, alien-looking flowers that you couldn’t help but touch.
We had a lot of help from friends, family, and former students in putting things together and making the ceremony and reception happen. This included hair and makeup, DJ-ing, live guitar playing before and during the ceremony, and even the creation of a Steph and Tom coloring book! Not to mention, Tom and one of the groomsmen made the delicious beer!
We loved our coordinator, all of the venders, and especially our photographers! We would recommend all of them to anyone looking for lovely people who are easy to work with, organized, and do great work!
Wedding Coordinator – Mandy Joy Sellick
Food – GUAC Truck (Tacos), Chicken Maison (Mediterranean appetizers)
Travis and Stephanie met in the college dorms at the University of Chicago. Their chemistry was undeniable from the first time they met; however, dating Stephanie would violate Travis’ #1 rule as a college senior – NO DATING FRESHMAN. After months of flirting, Travis finally decided to break his own rules and they started dating in April 2007. Two months later, Travis graduated and moved to St. Louis for graduate school while Stephanie finished her degree in Chicago. They continued to date long-distance for 7 years as they pursued their careers in different states. Travis traveled back and forth between St. Louis and Chicago almost every weekend. In 2014, Travis followed Stephanie to LA so they could finally live together and get married. Their August 2014 Chicago wedding was an absolute dream, but tragically the photos didn’t turn out. The devastation of the photography nightmare was quickly cast aside as they got pregnant with their first child. Now, nearly two years after the wedding, they finally have wedding photos that reflect the true magic and romance of their wedding day!
HOW HE ASKED // Ever present and endlessly inquisitive Aubrey proved nearly impossible to surprise with a proposal. Needless to say, Ben enlisted the assistance of Aubrey’s best friends, Stefenie and Tye, and devised a plan to propose at Huntington Gardens, the site of an important milestone in their relationship. The plan was a picnic in the rose garden, some champagne and a life changing question that would come full circle.
Both Stefenie and Tye were going to be in Los Angeles, a rare occurrence and each pledged to help and keep the plan secret. As the big day approached, Aubrey became more suspicious and inquisitive, finally cornering Ben and asking why all her friends conveniently wanted to see her the weekend of the planned proposal. After what felt like hours of questionable interrogation practices outlawed by the Geneva Convention, Ben finally admitted what Aubrey already suspected, he was planning to propose at the Huntington that Saturday. Ben then proceeded to tell Aubrey the plan was off, that she’d just have to wait until he could surprise her another time.
Resourceful and undeterred, Ben came up with an audible worthy of Peyton Manning to propose Friday, the day before the original plan. That Friday morning he journeyed to the downtown flower market and told the vendor he wanted “all the roses”. Twenty dozen roses and hundreds of tea candles later Ben, Stefenie, her fiancé Simon and Tye were ready to surprise Aubrey in their shared apartment.
Tye was flying in from San Francisco and Aubrey was picking him up from the airport. Ben knew he had a window of opportunity to transform their apartment and execute his plan. Ben sat camped outside their apartment, air conditioning on full blast, praying the roses wouldn’t wilt. Atypical, Aubrey was running late, first ten, then fifteen minutes, slowly eating away at the precious time Ben, Stefenie and Simon needed to transform the apartment. Finally, 30 minutes late Aubrey departed to pick up Tye.
Ben rushed into the apartment and together Ben, Stefenie and Simon began transforming their shared space into the canvas for the proposal. All the furniture needed to go, the thorny long stem roses all needed to become rose petals and the candles needed to spell out marry me. With only 45 minutes to accomplish everything they needed to hurry.
Ben’s phone rang, it was Aubrey. Aubrey was only 15 minutes away and they hadn’t even begun lighting the candles. They needed more time. Ben asked Aubrey to pick up ice, and Tye stalled. A broken lighter, dozens of matches later and two minutes to spare everything was finally set.
Aubrey walked into their apartment and was instantly overwhelmed. Clutching the ice for dear life, she exclaimed “I can’t even.” Aubrey explained to Ben later that this was a good reaction. After what seemed like the longest 30 seconds of Ben’s life, Aubrey dropped the ice and raced through the open flames to Ben’s side. Ben dropped to one knee and asked the question Aubrey had been hoping he would ask for a long time. Aubrey of course said yes!
FROM THE BRIDE // Our wedding day was magical, and a lot of it was due to the great team at our venue. I had wanted to get married at a barn, and Matt didn’t want anything too commercial, so when I came across our venue in a few wedding and photography blogs, I knew it was the one! The barn was rustic, intimate, charming, gorgeous, in person and in pictures. The hard part was convincing the proprietor, Laina, to pick Matt and me over the hundreds of other people that wanted to get married there. I also knew that I wanted to work with Laina right away. I’m not one to fuss over details, and Laina took care of those details for me, including the setup, lights, food, bar, etc. The few parts she didn’t handle, such as floral, deejaying, shuttle service, she referred me to her trusted vendors. I was taken care of from the beginning.
The most memorable part of the day was our first look. I was pretty calm the entire day, but the moment I walked out and saw Matt waiting for me, I lost it. I was so happy to marry this man after 8 years! Other favorite moments included people telling us over and over again how unique the venue was and how delicious the food tasted. Oh, and I have to say that hitting my home-made flower bouquet piñata provided a very cathartic release, and the sparkler send-off was special and beautiful as well. We were so happy to see our beloved family and friends there to share the day with us.
I didn’t want to do videography, so I made sure I picked the best photographers. Tiffani and Ellie from Sun and Sparrow took care of me on my wedding day as well, making sure I got all the shots I needed and that I wasn’t stressed out throughout the day. I chose Sun and Sparrow because they did a fantastic job at my friend’s wedding a few years back, and because the lighting in each of their pictures was stunning. Call it a gut feeling, I knew I wanted to work with them as soon as I saw their website. I’m so glad I did!
FROM THE BRIDE // Nothing says opposites attract more than me and Joel. We actually met as silly, quirky pre-adolescents on a missions trip to Mexico with our church. He wanted to date me early on, but I said no because I wasn’t allowed to until I was 16! Joel had to wait a few years (poor guy), but this was good because we got to know each other as good friends. My feelings for him took time because I was raised in a family that took relationships and marriage very seriously. During high school, I was drawn to how Joel projected integrity and maturity to me and our peers. He was a strong believer in Christ like I was, and he was selfless in his serving towards others. I remember in 10th grade, there was this time of day when Joel and I would cross paths on the way to classes, where he would always stop to give me a hug. As days passed, I became more and more excited for his hugs. They were always what got me through that drooling hour of math class. Finally, when I was 16 1/2, Joel asked me to be his girlfriend on the way to a Sixth Flags church trip. We shared both of our first kisses with each other and have been dating ever since (6 years now!).
I love that in our relationship we complement each other’s differences. I am very enthusiastic, spontaneous, and outgoing, while Joel is very stoic, calm, and quiet. He has been my rock in my most stressful times, and I have been his joy in his most broken times. Though we have our differences, we know that what we share is our love for God. We are definitely competitive with each other, especially in sports and games. And we also love to go on walks, go to the movies, and play with my nieces and nephew. Joel has always been very patient in sharing me with my family and friends, and he has always encouraged me to pursue my own passions and dreams. I love how God has grown and molded our high school sweetheart relationship into something so beautiful and complementary.
FROM THE GROOM // I met Ari on a bus ride to Mexico for a missions trip when we were 12 years old. As crazy as it sounds, I knew then and there that she was a girl that I wanted to pursue. It didn’t happen immediately, but 4 years later our lives and friendship had developed to the point that we were able to start our romantic relationship. We started dating in 2008 and I can honestly say that these past 6 years have been the best of my life, and that is in large part to the amazing girl I have been able to spend them with.
Ari is the most empathetic person I have ever met. It is probably the quality that made me really fall in love with her. She feels so strongly for other people, and she is an inspiration to me every day take others needs and feelings into account when I am living my life. I also love how willing she is to challenge me to grow in areas that I struggle in (usually having to do with social settings). I think that is a really special aspect of our relationship. We can challenge each other without ever fearing backlash. We trust each other and want to continually grow as a couple and as individuals. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life growing with my best friend.
HOW HE ASKED // My family had planned a big trip in June to my one of my favorite places in the world, Lake Powell. This was Joel’s second time coming on the trip. I wasn’t anticipating an engagement yet, thinking it would happen later in the year. I went ring shopping for fun a few months before with a mentor of mine, and I showed Joel a few pictures of rings I liked. Little did I know he would buy one of those rings weeks later. He kept my family in suspense, having asked my dad’s permission back in April, so whenever my family knew we were hanging out, they thought this was it, Ari’s engaged for sure. Of course, I was completely oblivious to all this, so I went to Lake Powell thinking it would be a fun trip spent with family and Joel.
So, on our second day at Lake Powell, Joel took me on a hike up Rock Creek Canyon. We got pretty far and decided to rest before we went back down the trail. We talked and enjoyed the beauty around us. It was a nice, peaceful moment. Then I asked Joel if we should head back down, to which he replied “Hold on, I have to go to the bathroom first.” (Very romantic right? Haha) So I’m waiting and he comes back from behind a boulder and says “Ari, I found a cool rock over there, I brought it over to show you.” And then I look down and notice a ring in his hand. It hit me, Joel’s proposing, right now, right here, that’s not a dirty, brown rock, it’s a diamond rock! And all I could say was “Joel what are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing? JOEL” He then asked me if I would marry him and my first response was, “Did you ask my dad first?” After I got the confirmation, I said yes. And finally, after 5 ½ years, we are engaged! I am beyond excited to begin this new adventure together!