It’s so much fun reading the stories that come in to The White Wren – stories of adventure, love, sometimes loss, learning, and growing. We are constantly grateful to the couples who share their hearts with us, tell us their stories, and inspire us on to greater places with our own relationships.
Today we are sharing Stephanie & Kelly’s story. What started as a romance in Texas has taken them all over the world, and is currently landing them shortly in London for the next part of their adventure! Let’s get started …
from the photographer, Brittany Jean Photography: “Stephanie and Kelly were engaged in Austria in January while on a ski trip after 6 years together! Kelly is currently living in London finishing up his MBA, while Stephanie works in the financial sector in Austin, Texas and is planning her move to London in the next few months. They are currently in Italy scouting wedding venues for their nuptials in 2020 and are so excited to plan their destination wedding!
They chose this private ranch that they found through a few connections with they have with the Hill Country Conservancy and chose to have their engagement session there. It turned out to be an incredibly beautiful day after we were expecting a cloudy and possibly rainy sky. We had an amazing time exploring the property and are so grateful to have gotten to experience the beauty of the Texas Hill Country!”
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
Kelly and I met in the fall of 2013 on campus at our university in Texas! At the time, Kelly and I had not spoken more than a few words to each other, until one day I received an invitation to go to lunch from him. Kelly picked me up in his newly built car (yes, by the man himself!) and we drove to lunch – a little local place in Austin, Texas. That was the beginning. Kelly and I chatted for four full hours at lunch and didn’t blink! Everything flowed so naturally from then – we met parents, went on vacation together, graduated, started our careers, Kelly returned to graduate school, I followed career opportunities. We did it as true partners and recently had the courage to adopt our newest family member, our dog Leo. We live in Austin, Texas, with a big upcoming move to London, UK!
Tell us a funny story relating to your wedding day or relationship!
Christmas 2015! We decided to travel for the holiday, and we had a complicated itinerary planned. The first leg of the trip was a visit to Panama with my family (December is summer there, making it prime beach time). From there, we were go out to Utah to see a close friend of ours and get some skiing in, or at least we tried… Our Panama-to-Utah flight was cancelled due to a freak winter storm in the US! We were well-packed for Panama with plenty of swimsuits, straw hats and flip-flops, but we also had the pleasure of having brought along ALL of our snow gear, including a full-size, freshly waxed snowboard. They don’t even have a word for “snowboard” in Panama! The storm was bad enough that we had to cancel the entire skiing portion of the trip, connecting back home through Miami. So by the time the trip was over, we had taken the snowboard to only HOT places!! I periodically remind Kelly how funny he looked walking through the Panama international airport lugging a huge snowboard bag on his shoulder.
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship or during your wedding planning.
Kelly and I both have worked in the investment industry for several years, which at times can be very demanding – and unfortunately, it can require that we have to sacrifice our time together to do well on what we’re working on. We’ve been through it all! Re-locations, 100 hour week assignments, persistent travel, missed dates, and more! It can be hard to muster up a warm smile and undivided attention at the end of a long day, but we prioritized each other. Getting on the same page about our individual and joint priorities is emotionally tiring, but 100% is the best decision we’ve ever made.
Any special ways you incorporated your family or family history into your wedding day?
To be determined! I (Stephanie) am from Panama and Germany, which have completely different cultures and wedding rituals. Kelly is from Austin, Texas, and don’t get me started on big Texas weddings! We’ve picked neutral territory in Italy, a special place for us, where we are planning to have a massive party: Italian-style!
What part of your wedding day was/is most important to you?
Making sure we have time to connect with each other. We love our family and friends, but definitely don’t want to lose sight of why the special day exists to begin with. Our photographer, Brittany Jean Rhodenbaugh, reminded us that you should build in that time for yourself into a very busy wedding day schedule – and capture the moment with photographs if you so choose!
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
K: The best thing I have learned from Stephanie is just how large the world is, and the number of different experiences there are outside my geographical bubble. We have eaten at what was, at the time, literally the best restaurant in the world in Italy (Osteria Francescana) and it was entirely her initiative and persistence that carried us through a months-long reservation process. Before that, I had never left the country for a vacation. Didn’t even have a passport! I was perfectly content with my delicious familiar favorite foods in central Texas, but I had no idea what I was missing. Because of her, I am so much more motivated to absorb what life experiences I can.
S: To always smile and be yourself, even on the worst days. You never know how someone else’s day is going and you just might make theirs!
What is your favorite thing about each other?
The way we can just be ourselves together – goofiness and all! I remember we once went on a date to a very nice sushi restaurant, but unfortunately, with the smallest portions. Although early in our relationship, Kelly and I locked eyes – and yes – without a single word spoken, we definitely went to a burger place afterwards to continue the night!
What was your favorite part about planning your wedding?
Thinking about all the friends and family that have been so supportive and excited to join us on this special day. Since we are targeting a destination wedding, we were worried that some of our most important guests wouldn’t be able to make it. PRO-TIP! Be sure to include those you can’t live without in the planning process. Everything else will fall into place!
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
S: Think about what you want to achieve together – you have a partner in crime and can do almost anything! Respect the relationship and each person’s part in it.
K: Never go to bed angry. Don’t sweat the small stuff. In difficult times, remind yourselves of your shared purpose.
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
K: True love is the difference between the energy you have and the actions you take beyond it.
S: It hurts so wonderfully. It is not easy, but worth every moment!
Photographer: Brittany Jean Photography / hair stylist: Jessica Harman / film lab: Photovision / nails – Oriel at Lacquer