Some unions are simply meant to be. Such is the case for Katie and James. They grew up in the same neighborhood, had mutual friends and even attended middle school together, but their love affair didn’t begin until they were reintroduced to each other years later. Though their love grew swiftly and intensely, they took their time when it came to planning the big day.

After James’s surprise proposal at Katie’s mother’s birthday party, they were engaged for a little less than two years before the wedding date came. “We wanted to enjoy our time planning and not stress,” Katie explains. The bride took the opportunity during planning to ensure their ceremony and reception was a beautiful representation of who Katie and James are as a couple—and she did it with an amazing support system, with James at the front of the pack. She is quick to point out, “James helped by being my rock and my biggest supporter through it all.”

“We wanted a light-hearted and simple ceremony,” Katie says.  She added a personal touch that carried many traditions with it. The pillow carried by the ring bearer was the same pillow used in her parents’ wedding. Additionally, she had a close family friend attach her grandmother’s wedding ring to the pillow. Katie says, “It allowed me to have a small piece of her (my grandma) with me on my wedding day.”

While the planning of the ceremony was easy, the reception took a bit more creativity. With such a large wedding of more than 250 guests, Katie needed to find the right mix of elements.“We had always talked about our wedding day being a ‘party’. We, of course, had to do the legal stuff to make it a wedding, but we looked forward to the party part the most!” When Katie looks back on the day, she is pleased with the memories she has. “The entire day was filled with love and laughter with all of our family and friends. It was everything we could have wanted and more.”

For James, there was a particular moment of wedding iconography that moved beyond the abstract and into reality. “The moment when the bride walks down the aisle, I had seen many times before in the movies. But when it’s your bride walking toward you, it doesn’t get much better than that,” he says.

James, a marketing director, and Katie, a registered nurse, took a break from their busy schedules to treat themselves to a honeymoon in Jamaica. They are enjoying their life as a married couple in their new home, but Katie adds, “We have been together for so long that we honestly have felt like the ‘old married couple’ for quite some time. But I love that I officially get to call James my ‘husband’!” 

—Abigail Blank