Jillian & Tyler in Washington, DC

Jillian and Tyler are planning their wedding, but they took some time for a sweet engagement session with White Wren Collaborative Member Kelly Hornberger in the US Capital – Washington DC. We love these sweet moments that they shared, as well as the thing they shared about how they are still putting their relationship first over wedding planning by making purposeful date nights that don’t involve discussing wedding planning, and how they are showing each other grace by not expecting perfection. We asked them to share a few thoughts with us below!

How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
We met in Washington, D.C. in May of 2017. I (Jillian) was living in Texas at the time, and was in DC for the weekend to visit a friend while also considering moving to the area. That weekend we stopped by a party that Tyler and his friends were hosting. I met Tyler for the first time that night and we talked for a few minutes, but I was running a 100-degree fever and didn’t stay long. Even though our first interaction was brief, Tyler remembers it vividly, and was hopeful that I’d move to DC. Sure enough, when I made the move to DC a few months later, we quickly crossed paths again and began dating soon after.

Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Planning a wedding in Dallas, when we live in DC has been challenging, but a big thank you to our parents, especially my mom, for being so helpful and gracious during the process.

Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
It was really important to both of us that we got married in Dallas, Texas, my (Jillian’s) hometown. Most of my family lives in the Dallas area, so we are excited to celebrate our wedding in a place that is so close to home. Our ceremony is at Perkins Chapel on SMU’s campus, which is where my grandparents (who have been married over 68 years) went to college. It is a joy that we get to say our vows with them in the crowd and in such a special place where their relationship first began so many years ago.


What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
When we first began dreaming about our wedding day, we realized that while the day is focused on the two of us, we also want it to be a celebration in community with friends and family who have mentored, encouraged, and supported us throughout our lives. We are excited to be surrounded by people from all different seasons and places, including Dallas, TX, Charlottesville, VA, Texas A&M, UVA, Washington DC, and more. We chose Union Station in Dallas as our reception venue because it allows us to celebrate with all of these special people in one room.

What is your favorite thing about each other?
Tyler and I are really different people, and we see this as a positive. Tyler is steady, calm, and decisive. I am the fun, kind, amazing one (just kidding)! In all seriousness, one of my favorite things about Tyler, is he sees the good in me and makes me want to better. Our goal is to encourage each other in our strengths and to give grace in our weaknesses. We don’t expect each other to be perfect, we know that perfect love only comes from Jesus, but we honored to have the opportunity to love as best as we can.

If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
We have found that it is really important to stay grounded throughout our relationship, and especially throughout wedding planning. Planning a wedding can come with a lot of expectations and traditions. Tyler has been good to remind me to be creative, throw all preconceived notions of “normal” out the window, and have fun with the process! In the midst of all the planning, we make a point to keep our relationship the priority. This was hard in the beginning when we felt there was so much we needed to research, plan, coordinate and execute. However, while the wedding day is something we are both looking forward to, we know at the end of the day our relationship is so much more important. Even more than a beautiful ceremony, we want our marriage to be strong. One practical thing we do is we go on date nights every few weeks and made a rule that we aren’t allowed to talk about wedding logistics – so that we can purely enjoy each other!


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