Real Bride: Jennifer C.

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From the bride: James and I met on a river. We were on separate float trips with separate groups of friends, having never met. Towards the end of the day on the river, I chanced across an inflatable killer whale attached to a canoe with two guys in cowboy hats. True to my personality, I swam right toward the whale and introduced myself. Long story short, I got lost on the river with a stranger. With the help of James’ hero skills, I made it back to my base camp shortly after dark to very worried and not so thrilled friends. During our hours of conversation that day, I learned that James was an Air Force pilot and was stationed in Virginia. I thought, “oh that sucks, this guy is awesome! I’ll never see him again”. But the next morning, I woke up to a picture of Willy the Whale texted to me, and with that the conversations continued. Then the phone calls started, then the travelling to see each other, then the holidays together, then the engagement!

The best advice we got was don’t strive for a perfect wedding, strive for a fun wedding. Don’t get so stressed out that you forget to enjoy the day! Our Wedding Day was perfect. Because I took that advice to heart.

Our only requirements were those things that were truly near and dear to our heart. A First Look at the Scout Statue, the presence of our loved ones, our ring bearer carrying an American flag in place of a pillow, and an appearance from Willy the Whale.

The First Look: Kansas City is our city. James grew up here and when we decided to transition out of active duty Air Force to Air National Guard, Kansas City became HOME once again. James proposed at the Scout Statue overlooking all of downtown Kansas City. Fittingly, we had our First Look on the spot he proposed. It was our favorite moment of the day.

Our loved ones: As we made our way through planning, we started to realize that it didn’t matter if we had the fanciest cocktail napkins or the most high-end invitations. At the end of the day, what mattered to us was that we shared our day with the people we love most in the world. And after the wedding day, we realized that, even if we’d made the “wrong” decision on all of the little details, Having our friends and family from all over the country come together in one place and celebrate our love was all we needed to have the funnest night of our lives.

The Flag: Shortly after we got engaged James deployed to the Desert. Each and every flight he took, he flew a flag with him that he gave to me when he got back to the states. The flag sits on our mantle as a reminder of the sacrifices we shared and the time we spent half a globe away.

The original Willy the Whale: Willy made a surprise appearance at the reception. By that time, every one of our guests knew the float trip story and it was only fitting to have the reason we met make an appearance at our big day!

All in all, it was the BEST DAY EVER! Thank you Altar Bridal for helping me look and feel my best!

James & Jen

April 29, 2016

Venue for Ceremony and Reception: Bethany Lutheran Church and Californos Westport

Gown: Christy by Wtoo

Hair & Make-up: Oz at Roca Salon

Photography: We Are The Parsons

Floral: Kelly at The Monarch Flower Company