Real Bride: Natalie J.
From the Bride:
How they Met:
Charlie and I met through our mutual friend, David. He was Charlie’s pledge brother at the University of Indiana and my good friend from high school. Charlie was living and working in Chicago selling insurance. In 2014, he had started travelling to Kansas on a frequent basis for work. On occasion, he would extend his trips to hang out with David for the weekend. On one of these weekends in August 2014, Charlie and I were introduced and can both admit we felt an instant attraction. But, that was as far as it went.
Fast forward 8 months later and David tells me his pledge brothers from Indiana were coming in town and I had to go out with them to show them a good time! Of course I agreed, and was secretly hoping the “cute guy I met that one time” would be there. Sure enough, Charlie was there and the sparks flew once again, but this time they didn’t die down. We spent the entire weekend together, exchanged numbers and so began our relationship.
Conveniently, we were both able to leverage our work travels in order to visit each other which made for some fun trips! I really liked Charlie. So, I was prepared to do whatever it took to keep this going and make it work. Little did I know, fate had better circumstances in store for us! Not more than 3 months into our long distance love did Charlie get a call with the opportunity to transfer to the Kansas City office. He took the job, moved to Kansas City, and so began our happily ever after!
To be honest, as soon as Charlie moved to Kansas City we were completely inseparable. I knew that an engagement would inevitably be in our future. However, the timing of when was pretty up in the air. Charlie is a “planner” and I have a bit more of a laissez-faire attitude. That said, without my knowledge, Charlie had begun planning our engagement about 8 months out. And, he had kept me completely in the dark the whole time. He told me his parents were coming in town in June (2017) and so we had a weekend planned out around that. No suspicion on my part. But about 10 days away from his big planned out day, I got a text from a girlfriend that I wasn’t supposed to get which tipped me off that something was up!
Regardless, I carried on not wanting to expect anything or throw off his planning. So on Friday, June 2nd, we were walking from our apartment to meet his family at Gram & Dunn. As soon as we crossed over the bridge (with all the flags), Charlie stopped, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Regardless of “having a hunch,” that moment was truly special, intimate and perfect. The rest of the night was a complete surprise as we went from one thing to the other without him telling me a thing! The night included blowouts with my best girlfriends, dinner and a surprise party with some of our closest friends and family. It was all amazing and a day I’ll never forget.
The Wedding Day:
Once we got engaged Charlie and I immediately started planning the big day by seeking out the perfect venue. We both wanted to incorporate all the customary events of a wedding day, but with a very relaxed and fun atmosphere. Magnolia was the second venue we toured and we immediately knew it was the perfect fit. We loved that it had an outdoor ceremony space, attached reception space, it was unique and had a beautiful rustic elegant feel. That ended up being the theme for our wedding—Rustic Elegant.
Once we had Magnolia picked out, the rest of the vendors and vision sort of fell into place. This was especially true after we hired Celebrations of Love (Christine Darden) to be our Partial Coordinator. Charlie and I were willing and able to be fully involved in the wedding planning but Christine was immensely helpful throughout the process by keeping us on track and sharing her planning expertise as needed. We chose to do a First Look followed by pictures, an evening ceremony and then straight into cocktail hour and the reception. Charlie and I both agreed that, while the wedding day did go by quickly, we remember every part of the day and enjoyed each and every special moment.
By far our favorite personal piece from the wedding was having our puppy, Theo, as the Ring Bearer! We got Theo in September 2017 at 8 weeks old and actually did our engagement shoot with Marissa 5 days later (Theo was included)! But we didn’t decide until about 4 months before the wedding that we would have Theo actually be a part of the big day. We trained him on a special word, “Bingo”, to use when we need Theo to stop what he’s doing and immediately come to us.
Still, going into the wedding day, we knew there was a 50/50 chance that he would actually do his job in front of all 170 guests. Turned out, he did amazing!! He came straight down the aisle when Charlie said “Bingo”. The crowd’s reaction was really cool to hear, since I didn’t get to witness him in action. Very proud dog-parent moment for sure! And it meant so much to us to have him be a part of our wedding.
Our favorite part of the wedding, while it’s very hard to choose, had to be the half hour that we spent together in the bridal suite between our ceremony and cocktail hour. After listening to the advice of other recently married couples, we decided to make it a point to take special moments throughout the day where we solely enjoyed each other’s company. Therefore, directly following the ceremony, we sat in the bridal suite of the venue. We had a bottle of champagne and just relaxed before going into cocktail hour to greet all of our guests. It was very calming and set us up for a fabulous night to come.
Advice from the Bride:
The best advice I can give is to stick with your gut when planning your wedding! Plan the big pieces first and then intuitively, your vision will come together with the help from some wonderful vendors. I also have to say that hiring Christine Darden for Partial Planning was one of the best decisions we made. Being that I truly had no idea what to expect when it came to wedding planning, it was very reassuring to have our “tour guide”, if you will, to steer us in the right direction. Not only that, but when it came to the wedding day itself, Christine kept our minds 1000% at ease. We didn’t have to worry about a thing. Any question someone had was directed at Christine and she knew the answer. It just made our day completely seamless so we could enjoy ourselves and take it all in.
Natalie and Charlie
Venue: Magnolia Venue & Urban Garden
Gown: Mikaella Bridal Skirt and Wtoo Top
Hair: Paige Alexander
Make-Up: White Carpet Bride
Photography: Marissa Cribbs Photography
Coordinator: Celebrations of Love
Floral: Good Earth
Music: Patrick Lentz Band